Newton to Marengo, Continued

After my Belgian* waffle, I wandered down the street to the Wagaman Mill and Museum.  It was a very nice old water mill, built in 1846, and they turned on the water turbines and ran the grinder a bit for us.  I took lots of pictures for the benefit of my friend Jack Smoot, who administers Bollinger Mill in Burfordville, MO. 

I actually stopped a lot today, in part trying consciously to dawdle so that Lance might catch up with me**.  At Montezuma, I stopped long enought to ask how the town got its name.  The woman thought that it had something, vaguely, to do with chief Powashiek, whose hunting grounds this used to be.  Kind of like Pocahontas MO is named after some Indian maiden whose name nobody knew, and since Pocahontas was the only female indian name they knew, they just used that.

In Brooklyn I had a couple of chicken breast sandwiches and watched some little girl gymnasts and a really bad comedy duo. 

Toward the end of the ride, I was moving along at a good clip when I saw a guy fixing a flat tire by the side of the road.  Just then, he looked up and called out “Pump?”  So I stopped and helped him pump up his tire.  Turns out he was an Italian named Alberto, and contrary to my preconceived notions, he didn’t know much about changing a rear wheel flat.  I helped him, and got on my way again.  I realized toward the end that, in the process, I’d used up my only CO2 cartridge for my pump.  The one thing I failed to belt-and-suspenders, and there you are.  If I have a flat, I’ll just put on a foreign accent and call out “Pump?”


Pulled into Marengo about 1:30, and the signs directed me through a long, winding dirt road in the fairgrounds, petering out in a very unpromising-looking field of rough, unmown grass.  I wound up camped next to Matt and Jimmy, neighbors from Ida Grove.  It was baking hot with not a tree around, so once I got set up and found showers, I went into town. 

At the Catholic church (spaghetti again; cherry pie with canned filling and a lattice crust that, though promising in appearance, was very ordinary) I sat next to two brothers, Dave and Mike.  Dave said that he had in fact ridden with Lance’s “peloton” for a short distance before getting dropped.  They were hauling ass, not surprisingly.  I think I was probably in the shower when they got into town. 

Afterward, wandering around town looking for shade, I ran into Helen and Arnie.  Arnie felt that my assessment of the campground*** was accurate.  They’d apparently complained about the fact that the RV campers got a nice field of manicured grass, which they really don’t need, while tents were out in this bog.   We sat on the sidewalk in front of the county courthouse**** and chatted for a while; they recommended that I should try riding GRABAAWR instead.  We also discussed children and cats.  Robin and I have both; Arnie has the former, Helen has the latter.

Well, I’ve hogged a computer long enough, so I’ll go see what I can do downtown now — anything to avoid the “campground” at least until it cools off a bit.


* Some guy next to me was explaining in a stentorian voice to his son that these, although good, are not REALLY like the waffles you get in Brussels.

** I was, it turns out, ahead of Lance the whole way.  I’d be proud, except that your arrival time in RAGBRAI depends mainly on how early you get up in the morning. 

*** It sucks.

**** There was a monument to the brave sons of Iowa who, during the War of the Rebellion, helped to dissuade some unprincipled residents of my adopted home state of their erroneous ways. 

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