Miles traveled: 431
Feet climbed: 11,316
Pieces of pie savored: 25 (9 a la mode)
Flat tires: 4*
Other repairs: 1 new brake lever**
Pork chops eaten: 18
Friendly, welcoming Iowans met: 1,276
Guys who told us to get off their lawn: 1
I “Heart” NPR buttons distributed: 1 gallon Zip-lock baggie full
Pairs of bike shorts ripped: 1***
People Who Told Us They Rode RAGBRAI for the First Time After Hearing About It On NPR last year: 25
People Who Told Us They’d Ridden All 42 RAGBRAIs: 1
Coolest Detour: Buddy Holly crash memorial
Un-coolest Detour: 2 am kybo search
Times Cheating Death due to Unexpected Rumble Strip Encounter: 1
Weeks till Next RAGBRAI: 51
*all Horsley’s. Thanks to the mechanics in Rockford for the new rim tape. Smooth sailing ever since.
**ask Arnie about the cool high school kid in Independence who patched him up in time for those big descents on the last day.
***ask Gonyea, but he probably won’t tell you.
It’s not all pie and pork and pedaling. Last night in Mason City we visited the historic Park Inn Hotel downtown. The building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s stunning — as you can see by this wall sized stained glass in the ballroom. (Alas, we slept in our tents, not Mr. Wright’s hotel)
Here’s an Otocolobus manul — nature’s Grumpy Cat — discovering a camera trap outside it’s den. Camera traps are used by biologists to lean about rare animals’ behavior, abundance, and health — just by setting up a solar-powered camera with a motion trigger. No physical trapping necessary.
O. manul (also known as Pallas’s cat) is about the size of a house cat, but you’ll notice has round pupils instead of slits. It lives in western China and the steppes of Central Asia.
You’d think that Pallas’s cat would rule the internet by now - but there aren’t too many photos of them because they are both rare and shy. The IUCN lists them as near-threatened. Just another reason to support species conservation!