Today we began our journey from East Moline to Sioux center for the start of RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. I was sent out from our office in Austin on a mission to accompany Logan, the gentle human who feeds me and will on occasion take me to fun bike events. He sometimes finds himself in over his head, so I was asked to keep a close eye on him, and document the events of RAGBRAI for this very first Field Trip entry.
The six-hour drive across Iowa west bound on Interstate 80 made the state seem stale and endless. The humans kept themselves entertained being disgusted by the terrible choice in radio stations and reading the conservative bumper stickers that seemed to be growing in number as we closed in on the Nebraska border. The interstate was dotted with huge buses carrying dozens of bikes on top with logos and team slogans spray painted on the sides, everything from “God Hates SAGS”, “Team Cuisine” and “Team GoodBeer” I had some terribly inaccurate preconceptions about this ride. I overheard a lot about the distance and the number of humans involved but wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
We ended our journey on four wheels in Sioux Center only to begin our journey on two. Well, three in our case, including my B.O.B trailer. Sadly the Fairdale prototype dogcycle wasn’t quite ready for the long 500-mile journey. Sioux Center is a small Iowa town nestled on the border just south of the Minnesota border. Today it was over-run with some 20 thousand visitors for the beginning of RAGBRAI. There was a product expo and a kick-off party so managing to get a handle on how things worked took Logan a while to figure out. Once the camping location was selected I had a minute to take in my surroundings and relax for the evening while the tent was being put up. We went to sleep shortly after a thirty minute firework display and some people watching.