Day Four: Indianola to Chariton - The Rolling Mardi Gras - CycleBlaze

July 22, 2009

Day Four: Indianola to Chariton

When we woke up this morning everything was soaked with dew. It wasn't just damp, it was actually wetter than it had been yesterday morning after it had rained during the night. It wasn't a big deal... we just packed everything up wet... we'll let it dry this afternoon.

The morning started off foggy, but it burned off after a while. 

The road out of town
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Again... Iowa is NOT flat.

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Just past Sandyville I saw this guy:

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"Team Gourmet: It's All About the Food." I was intrigued. This could be interesting.... I pedaled up and started a conversation. His name is William, and he's from Scotland. Team Gourmet really does go all out on their meals. Last night they had foie gras, caviar, new potatoes, and a very nice cabernet. There were several other items, but I can't remember all of them. They have a team bus which carries all of their gear, and they generally stay in someone's yard instead of a campground. (read: REAL bathrooms instead of PortaPotties) They bring a CHEF with them. Now I'm really interested. "How many people are on the team?" I asked. He said it varies from year to year, but usually about twenty five. "And how does one become a member of the team?" I asked, even more interested. He said, "You have to know someone on the team." I was silent for a full ten seconds....

"Hi William, my name's Mark. It's nice to meet you."

By the end of the conversation, William and I were good friends.

In the town of Milo (pop 839) I saw, for the first time, a bike with a sail. I don't know how many times I've wished I had one of these. The guy who designs them is a marine engineer who lives in Iowa City. Here's a picture of me sitting in the captain's seat:

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And here's one I took later during the day:

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Mr. Pork Chop is famous. He cooked pork chops on RAGBRAI for 27 years, finally retiring in 2007 and letting his son take over. Few people even know his real name, he's just known as Mr. Pork Chop. I'd heard about Mr. Pork Chop for many years and was excited to be able to eat one of the legendary chops, even if I didn't get to meet the man himself. How does a person who sells pieces of meat gain so much fame? Well, one, you do it for 27 years. He's been around a long time. Two, you have a famous call by which everyone recognizes you. Mr. Pork Chop has such a call. I found this on youtube so I could share it with you.

I was expecting a pretty good pork chop, and wasn't disappointed. What I wasn't expecting was to see The Man himself, holding court and calling out his famous pork chop yell. As it turns out, he was only there for one day, the day we stopped. Mr. Pork Chop only agreed to a picture if Heather would kiss him. A little creepy, but Heather was cool with it.

Here are some pictures taken throughout the day.

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One thing you'll commonly see along the RAGBRAI route is a riderless bike next to a corn field. Frequently, you can see a non-green color in the corn... a rider relieving himself. On two occasions, there were hand-made signs that read: "Bathroom. Turn right here. Go four rows in. Bring your own TP."

Look closely on the right to see the gracious gentleman helping to water the poor farmer's crops.
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These two guys appear to be lost
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This guy is less subtle.
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... and these two were even less concerned about modesty.
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I'm curious about what large amounts of human-processed beer does to corn.
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Me? I'm not going to say whether I availed myself of the corn fields, but I will say... I'm sure glad I'm a guy. (You should know that a lot of women wandered off into the corn as well)

We stopped for the night in Chariton (pop 4,573), and took a shower at Bingham Park. They must've heard I was coming.

Distance 46.79
Average speed 12.5
Maximum speed 35.2
Time 3:44.01
Cumulative 256.5
Feet climbed 2182

Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 258 miles (415 km)

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