Day 58: Pave America with bike trails (Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids)

Woke up feeling fresh this morning, stomach seems to be all healed up. John made us Scottish oatmeal with raisins and vanilla almond milk with a touch of honey. Plus the best coffee we've had this trip. Well. I've had. Rachel's cutting her addiction loose and reverting to tea.

Goodbye goodbye!

Goodbye goodbye!

Goodbye's are always bittersweet and this one especially so. Naomi and John took such good care of us, so that while this could have been an extraordinarily low couple of days, it wasn't. Instead it was a treat to spend an extra day in a house full of art, adventure, clean sheets and generous meals. But pedal on we must so off we went.


We rode bike trails along the Iowa river almost the whole way to Cedar Rapids. The first segment, to Waterloo, was all paved, green light filtering through the veil of cedars (I assume, I don't know trees) that bowed over the path. Every so often we caught a glimpse of the river, of an old man with a cap and his fishing rod, of a couple of happy kids out on boats. 

Construction blocked the bit of trail from Waterloo to Evanston, where we caught back up with it and rode an easy 20-something miles on a blacktop path through the riparian forest. The pavement gave way to gravel, then to dirt, sometimes totally grown over with grass, until 10 or 15 miles out from Cedar Rapids. Sometimes the mud got real sticky, catching the tires and making each pedal a slog. But for the most part, it was incredible to be off the road. One of the pieces of this trip I didn't really think through was that the best roads are often the most traveled.. or at least well traveled. So on a bike, we can only really access places you can access by car - until now. It looks like we're going to have trails almost clear to La Porte, Indiana, our next teaching spot. 

Day 55: When 50 miles seems easy (Iowa Falls to Cedar Falls)

Inches out of the sleeping bag at 9:12 and met Sherrie for coffee and the Coffee Attic. We are two breakfast sandwiches and gave an interview to the town paper too.

Then she took us on a tour of Iowa Falls: to the bike shop (home of the Super Tuned tuneup), Ricky T sr's garage (the Ricky's are not related) to see Sherrie and his decked out bicycles, stereo systems and all, the hospital to actually visit Ricky T, where Rachel got some advice about her knees, then finally back to Mark's house to pack up. Sherrie offered to drive most of our stuff to Rachel's family at Cedar Falls, so we only had to carry a few bags. We didn't leave until 1:30 but weren't worried cause 47 miles seemed breezy after yesterday. Or not breezy. We're just finally confident we can make it any distance 60 and under with no real difficulty, assured of our strength. It's a deep kind of comfort that we only just learned.

We had a headwind the whole way, but no detours. We even stopped for a road whiskey at Grumpy's in Ackley. We made it to Cedar Falls by 6:30 or 7, welcomed by Naomi and John, Rachel's dad's cousin and her husband. They cooked us an incredible meal of Iowa State Fair food (no deep fried butter, don't worry).

Then, while unpacking, Rachel realized she couldn't find either of her rain jackets, which had been tied to the back of the tent. Worse, her wallet was in one of the pockets. So we called in our Iowa Falls reinforcements, but, no luck. The jackets are gone, along with her wallet, so we're trying to figure out how to get her an ID. Turns out California is the only state that doesn't allow you to apply via mail, you have to go in in person. But she can't. Cause she's in Iowa. There's traveler IDs, but those require an itinerary, which we don't have, cause we're science vagabonds. And expedited passports take forever and also take you for all your worth. Any ideas?