RAGBRAI Day 6 – A Memory Maker

by | Jul 26, 2014 | This Lefe Family

After my previous post yesterday morning, it didn’t take long for the rain to start up again.

We rode 4 blocks and decided to park under an overhang near a Subway restaurant to wait it out. Four blocks was enough rain for this girl!

Sitting inside Subway, we warmed up as we enjoyed a nice breakfast, in a fun atmosphere with 50 other bikers who were also waiting for the rain to pass. The Subway staff helped us “make lemonade out of lemons.” They were great!

Finally, two hours later, the rain quit and we were back on the road again.

Sometimes you just have to “go with the flow,” and we knew it yesterday was going to be one of those times.

Again, beautiful landscapes. Amazing scenery. Great people we met on the road.

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Westgate was our favorite stop of the day. The best tenderloin I’ve ever had, meeting up with friends Gary and Sharon, and running into many friends there who were on the ride. Two of them pulled me out on the town’s dance floor for a song!

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On the way to the next town, one of them noticed we had a broken spoke on our back wheel. Getting it checked out at a bike shop vendor in Oelwein, we found out we had four broken spokes. We were told the entire back wheel should be rebuilt.

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As you can imagine, that took the wind out of our sails. An hour and a half later we were able to get back on the road. Much later than we had planned.

But peddling down Amish Boulevard lifted our spirits. Soaking in the scenes of a simpler lifestyle, families in bonnets and straw hats, all together sitting on their front porches watching us crazy people bike past them, was refreshing to us. Each one of them waved.

But we were struggling. We were tired, our rears were sore, and we just wanted to get to our last town.

And then we were met with a wonderful surprise. Along the side of the road, sitting in two lawn chairs were my brother Steve, and sister-in-law Kelly. As soon as they saw us they stood up and cheered for us!

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I couldn’t believe it! Who does that for us?? Steve called me every night all week to check in with us. That alone was a blessing. But to surprise us in person?? That was incredible.

And it was just what we needed. After visiting with them a few minutes, we took off again to finish the ride.

Camp never looked so good when we arrived… finally.

Steve and Kelly were waiting for us. Our friends Bruce and Marcia came to visit us too. And our friend Ron stopped by. We all hung out in lawn chairs until after dark. What a gift this was to Bill and I!

We had decided after the spoke incident and knowing that our rear wheel still needed more work, it might not be the safest to continue our ride. We were sore, exhausted, and we had an open door to go home last night. We walked through that door, as our wonderful daughter drove to pick us and all of our gear up.

We finished the day with dinner out with our friends, then headed home.

I was a little disappointed in not finishing the ride, yet I knew we made the right decision.

I’ll share more in tomorrow’s post. But for now, it’s good to be home.

I feel like I should be peddling today though!

Julie

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8 Comments

  1. Jennifer Stallman

    You did great! That was so awesome that Steve and Kelly came up and surprised you guys! Maybe next year you will be able to do all 7 days! 😉 j/k

    Reply
    • Julie

      Yes, Jennifer. Hopefully we’ll be able to. On a new bike. That’s my hope! Steve and Kelly blessed us so much! I’m still in awe that they did that. Thanks for all you did to help keep us going throughout the week! I’m so glad we’ve stayed connected all these years! God bless you, dear friend!

      Reply
  2. Sabra Penley

    Welcome home, Julie! Six days! Somehow I doubt that not finishing will be what you remember most. What an awesome experience!

    Reply
    • Julie

      Yes it was an awesome experience. One I’ll never forget. We plan to do it again next year! Thanks for the welcome home. I’ll never take a hot shower or my own bathroom for granted again. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Doug Drury

    Great job guys. You made the right decision. Those downhills on Saturday were too dangerous to try on a bike that wasn’t 100%. I got passed by a tandem that had to be doing 60.
    John broke a spoke going up a hill 6 miles from Guttenburg and couldn’t finish. I cried for the next two miles, I felt so bad for him. It was an amazing week, bring on 2015!

    Reply
    • Julie

      Doug, congratulations on a great week! It was so fun to run into you and to hang out with you in Mason City! Thank you for confirming our decision to not ride yesterday. We both felt a strong “nudge” not to. That’s too bad about John’s bike. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been to be so close and to not be able to finish. Glad you made it safely, and yes… bring on 2015! If you do any more rides this fall, let us know. We hope to!

      Reply
  4. Kim

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures this week. Congratulations on all you accomplished! You have inspired me. I am getting ready to go on a bike ride with my husband right now. I have not ridden in over 8 years.

    Reply
    • Julie

      Kim, I hope you enjoyed the bike ride with your husband! Thank you for following my adventures last week. It was unbelievable, and more than I ever imagined. Blessings to you today!

      Reply

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