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 6: Take me to the candy shop (Yuba City to Chico)

I woke up before Rachel and slipped inside. Ashley poked up from the couch and Josh emerged from his nightrobe; I felt a little like St. Nick popping down a chimney to kids waiting under the Christmas tree. We held a pre-breakfast science lesson with the Sol Cycles. Ashley named the purple one Sunny, appropriately, and she had the bicycle moving in the weak 8 am light. She and her brothers are being homeschooled, so her assignment for the morning was to write an essay on it. Awesome! (Ashley, if you’re reading, we’d love to see it!)

After breakfast burritos, we rode out with Rick, their grandfather. He took us up Larkin road and talked a little about “world’s smallest mountain range,” the Sutter Buttes.

In Live Oak, we found Penny Candy. Sugar sugar sugar sugar baby.


Eventually we made it sixty miles to Sierra Nevada, the first in our brewery tour of America. Rachel conducted a solubility experiment, for science of course, comparing nitro and CO2 stouts (see right).

Big burgers, two tasters laster, we wandered over to the store to see if they had bike jerseys (they didn’t) and ran into their Earth Day celebration. They were showing “The Little Things,” a documentary about some environmentally-conscious? snowboarders. I can’t say I’d recommend it. There were a couple of stories that spoke to innovative ways to alter lifestyles and positively impact the earth, but mostly it felt like the director shopped around to a bunch of his/her friends and asked if they knew anyone doing something along Earth Day lines. Like there were a lot of "tiny house" examples. Eh, it was a free movie and there was free popcorn.

We hung out at the Naked Coffee Lounge for a while, propped our legs up on the tables and bit into the internet.

Our couchsurfing host, Raymahh, returned from Muay Thai class around 10:30; she had the whole set up going: mattresses and couches for us in the living room, which we took advantage of fast.