Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Kind of State

As I prepared to ride away this morning, I discovered my front tire
was flat. I patched it, but found that when I'd pump it up, there was
a huge bulge in the bead, to the point where I was afraid the tire
wouldn't stay in the rim. I waited for the shop to open and took it
in. The guy insisted on inflating it to its rating, and, sure enough,
with a deafening pop, the whole thing exploded. I got a new tube and

Dubuque, because of its bluffs, has some of the steepest streets I've
ever seen. I moaned and groaned over these, then got sick of it and
walked. Until in Centralia a bunch of bikers practicing for the
RAGBRAI passed me. I didn't want to embarrass myself and rode with
them and talked, panting up hills (they didn't have luggage, and said
they could never bike with it; I told them to borrow some of mine for
a few miles, but no takers). They turned around at Dyersville and I
was alone again.

It was flattening out. I was enjoying the fields, the sea of lush
green to every horizon. The view no longer changed as I pedaled, so
every time I'd pass a town, I'd be stunned at how far I'd gone.

I rode alongside a car and the woman rolled down her window.

"You need to wear something bright. What you're doing is dangerous."

She seemed to enjoy lessons, so I offered one. "You must have not
noticed any of my reflectors, probably because we're heading into the
setting sun and your headlights are off, so there's nothing to
reflect. You should have your lights on when driving into the sun."

She rolled up the window. Oh, well.

I pulled into Independence and found a park and some people walking
through. "Hey, do you know where I could pitch a tent so no one would

They looked confused, and I got worried, but the confusion was the
opposite of what I'd thought. "I can't imagine a place where someone
would care."

My kind of state, Iowa.


  1. I'm so jealous Greg. Keep safe out there.

  2. Don't be overly modest about your journalistic skills.
    --you know who