2004 Bike Trip: Sioux City

Leif Johnson — 28 Jun 2004, 15:06

after seven straight days of battling winds and gravity across the rolling terrain that people call iowa, pete and i have stopped for a day off just outside sioux city. i have a mere 20 minutes of internet time left so this update will have to be a quick one ...

hilly country

as we biked our way through madison county a few days ago, we didn't see any bridges at all. somewhat of a let down. but a county that's famous for its bridges must also have a considerable number of rivers ... and with rivers come hills. so on what was probably one of the most beautiful days i've seen in years, we rode up and coasted down hill after hill after hill. our daily distance ended up topping 130 km after 7 hours of time in the saddle ; two more days like that finally brought us to the gloriously flat missouri river valley, where we suddenly rode 24 km/h instead of our usual 18.

pete theorized at one point that iowa might actually be made up of one big hill, but i think it's made up of several little hills—probably something around a billion or a trillion. the difference between riding on this flat river valley floor and riding through the incessant hills is just amazing, both mentally and physically. as pete noted, someone definitely slacked off on the quality control for whatever glacier once tried to smooth out this territory.

the pies of small towns

as if trying to make up for the exceedingly difficult riding, we've encountered some really outstanding pieces of pie on our way through iowa. the best so far was a strawberry-rhubarb at the cafe in pisgah, iowa. the waitress said the pies are actually made by a woman in town, not in the cafe itself ... home made for real ! the runner-up was a raspberry pie in massena—this one impressed pete so much that he got two slices, one before and one after the meal.

for that matter, we've become quite the connoisseurs of small towns and the cafes that they support. one of the best meals i've had in a while was at a ukranian restaurant called european delight in chariton, iowa (immediately preceding the last update, actually) : borscht and vegetable-stuffed chicken with noodles. yum ! we also stopped at a pretty good danish restaurant in elk horn one afternoon. but for the most part the fare is fried : pork chops, chicken, square fish, triangle fish, freedom/american fries. all that a body needs for the next 2 hours of riding.

the road ahead

so today is a rest in sioux city : letter writing, mail sending, movie watching, clothes washing. tomorrow we'll head into northern nebraska, with a lofty goal of reaching mount rushmore by the 4th of july. we'll see how that goes. after that pete will head to new york, and i'll continue northwest to devil's tower, glacier nat'l park, and whitefish. lots of riding left, but the trip is finally half over, and i'm excited about returning home for some rest.