RAGBRAI Finale, Day 7 Woohoo!

American Julie with Hawkeye at University of Iowa.
American Julie with Hawkeye at University of Iowa.

Who turned on the sauna? I thought it was humid before today, but oh my! I was wrong. Today was like hot yoga on my bike. I still enjoyed the 26 miles I rode before meeting up with Team Larry.

We left at 7 a.m. and I wrote the first 10 or more miles with Steve from Team Larry and got to hear his many life stories. I appreciate that he can talk while going uphill. I especially liked seeing the Iowa University campus in Iowa City. I was moaning about how hard the hills felt and then I met a young man who is cycling whilst towing a canoe. He is doing it to raise awareness and money for ALS research. He said he likes towing his canoe around on his bike and when he gets tired of traffic he lloads his bike and trailer onto his canoe and pedals awhile. He added that he gets tired of people staring at him with his canoe and he lost a friend to ALS in 2014 so he painted the ALS web address to basically make him seem less odd. Anyway he reminded me that it is easier to go uphill when you can use both your arms and legs. Good perspective.

Humidity and bike shorts do not get along.
Humidity and bike shorts do not get along.

Steve stopped to pee in a cornrow and I decided to keep riding to the Farmboys pop up restaurant and use the porta-potties. You know it is humid when you cannot pull your cycling shorts back on. Awkward. Even with all of the adjusting I was not able to get my chamois aligned. Fortunately I only had 6 to 8 miles left to ride.

Team Larry SAG support Lane from Atlanta met me in West Liberty and drove me to the Team Larry meet-up. In Wilton we shifted my bike and our van set off for Des Moines. A third of Team Larry did not ride at all, a third rode to the end at Davenport, and a third of us rode part of the way. People have a variety of schedules to meet.

On the way home we stopped in Grinnell and ate great food at Montgomery’s Sandwich Shop (one of the original Made-Rite restaurants). It was fun and tasty. Good thing one of these restaurants is not in my home town or I would weigh a ton.

Loved Montgomery's in Grinnell, IA
Loved Montgomery’s in Grinnell, IA

We arrived at Steve and Barb’s in Des Moines and unloaded the gear. We all said good-bye and Cousin John brought me to the Hampton Inn. Blame it on RAGBRAI brain but I thought my key was not working and when I got back to the front desk I realized it was room 208 not 206.

I am now showered and relaxing and listening to the Satellite Sisters podcast. I am so exhausted and I have such a good feeling of accomplishment.

Postcards from California Highway 1: Central Coast

I signed up for Chris Guillebeau’s book event in Santa Cruz, and convinced my friend Connie to go too. This quickly became a girls weekend starting at her home in Half Moon Bay. Getting anywhere in the Bay Area on the weekend is becoming more of a challenge. I avoided the Bay Bridge and SF City traffic by taking Highways 880 and 92. Although as soon as I got past Highway 280 it was bumper to bumper, because lots of people want to go to the coast for lunch, or to catch a last beach day before fall really sets in, or to buy a pumpkin.

Farmer John's pumpkin patch has a teepee, a tractor and an annual gathering of Burmese Mountain dogs.
Farmer John’s pumpkin patch has a teepee, a tractor and an annual gathering of Burmese Mountain dogs.

There are pumpkin patches all around the town of Half Moon Bay. The places on Highway 92 are competing with gimmicks like pony rides and bounce houses. Or going for the bargain, “All pumpkins $5”. I like the classic Farmer John’s pumpkin patch right on Highway 1.

We caught up as we drove down the beautiful coastline toward Santa Cruz. There is farmland signs pointing to beaches. Everything is gentle compared to the more rugged coastline below Monterey. The road is much straighter and makes for quicker progress than the windier route to Big Sur. We stopped in Davenport for a later lunch.

Whale of a Diner in Davenport
Whale of a Diner in Davenport

Our motel, the Continental Inn, was a fun redesign of a classic motor hotel. We LOVED the wood floors—brilliant in a coastal hotel where guests are likely to get sandy.

We did a quick walk around the harbor. I have not been to this part of Santa Cruz since Sarah Harriet completed Bike and Build (SC2SC11).

This morning we took our time and enjoyed the lack of agenda. I finished Colum McCann’s Transatlantic—a lyrical book that features Belfast. Then we drove to the main shopping street, Pacific Street. With a lot of time until Chris Guillebeau’s talk and book signing at 7:00 p.m., we fossicked around shopping and looking for a place to eat lunch. We ended up at the excellent Assembly for brunch. We ate amazing fried green tomatoes and enjoyed a very filling and delicious repast.

Assembly restaurant in Santa Cruz
Fueling station for fossicking around Santa Cruz, CA.
Lulu's coffee place
How could I not go to Lulu’s coffee shop in Santa Cruz. Lulu the adventure dog would approve: there is outdoor seating.

Now I am getting some work done while Connie finds a salon for a mani/pedi. I ended up at the Octagon in Santa Cruz called LULU’s!!! How could I not try the coffee? This is my first trip away without Lulu and I am like a new parent enjoying my freedom and fretting about her.

Meet Ivy
Mini Cooper S to be named Ivy.

Finally, Connie helped me decide to name my car Ivy. This was solidified when we went to Dig Gardens in Santa Cruz. What a shop! It is high praise from me to say it compares to the fabulous Flora Grubb in San Francisco. Garden inspiration. Ideas are flowing.

Dig Gardens
Dig Gardens in Santa Cruz