Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sioux Center, IA to Storm Lake, IA

Today was 76 miles of hills and wind.  Last night we mapped out our route for today, but mid morning we changed our minds due to the need to go through larger towns to find accommodations for tonight. Well we made a mistake, and went south too far by 10 miles.  We were on the north edge of the Loess Hills and riding on roads with constant hills.  Plus the wind was out of the southeast!  It was not an easy day, but even so Cal still rode 76 miles. Positive things of the day – it was cloudy, so the high temperature was 76 – great biking temperature.
Ribbon of Hills
We also encountered a detour as apparently there were flash floods in the past week – we could see the remnants of debris over fences and over corn plants that were already at least 3 ft tall.  Roads were simply washed out, as well as 2 bridges.  To get around the one construction area, we loaded the bike on the rack and we drove on a gravel road.

Today as I was driving it occurred to me that some of our readers have never been to Iowa or even the US, so maybe I need to take photos of things we consider very common.  Those of you who are from Iowa, please be patient.

Some of the things we saw today:

Landscape – Iowa is gentle rolling hills (they are ‘gentle’ if you are not biking!)

Landscape with Ripening Wheat in Foreground 

Landscape of Corn fields
Field terraces – farmers terrace their hilly fields to keep the soil from eroding

Cattle Lots – there are some large cattle lots in northwest Iowa – not as big as in Kansas.

Barn Art – Barn Art is becoming more and more popular in Iowa.  I took 3 photos today
    and I plan to continue developing a collection of barn art.  I turned around to shoot 2 of
    my barn art photos today.

Young Deer Fawn – I saw two small fawn at the edge of a windbreak around a farmstead – they
   still had their spots.
Turkey barns – there are 10 turkey barns this farm.  Interesting they had their own wind
   turbine generators to produce power.

Round barn – Iowa has a few round barns still in existence – very unique
County Court Houses - While crossing Iowa I am going to take photos of the Court Houses of the
               Counties we travel through. This Court House is for Sioux County in Orange City, IA

Hog barns – we have seen and smelled lots of hog barns since being in Iowa! Hopefully will have a good photo tomorrow.

We also traveled through Orange City, IA today.  This area was first settled by Dutch immigrants and still retains heavy Dutch influence. They have a lovely windmill on the edge of town and any new buildings must bare some Dutch building motif. It was nice to drive around town without RAGBRAI being in town!
Orange City, IA - War Memorial with Flags and Dutch Windmill

Orange City Stores with Dutch Facades

Our day ended in Storm Lake - We have been in Storm Lake 3 times on RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).  It looked completely different today – there were no bike, no tents, and 15,000 fewer people!!

Tonight there were fireworks over the Lake, but we were/are too tired to go watch them! 

Tomorrow, July 4, we will continue east. Tomorrow is also our son Tony's birthday. 

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