Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 28, Owatonna (Ice Cream again)

BEST: Interactions we had at the Scream (ice cream) and the bike store.

WORST: The last 15 miles of the ride on really really really krappy road.

MOST UNEXPECTED: Seeing an architectural masterpiece in Owantonna designed by Louis Stevenson. (Farmers Bank)

Last night after seeing "The Amazing Spiderman" we headed back to Lola's for airconditioning and dinnner. I think I should have listed Lola's as the best yesterday because it ended up being the place to hang out, eat, and relax. The dinner was outstanding and consisted of the best chicken pot pie I have ever had. I also had a mango freeze.

On to today's ride which ended up being 74 miles because of a small detour. Flat and fast, we got into the town of Owantonna before 11:00. It was getting hot (already humid) so we stopped at the Scream which served ice cream concoctions and a few items to eat. The road was abysmal coming into town with major cracks and holes for the last 15 miles. This felt great on the parts of the body which make contact with the bike. The population density is getting higher as we head east and we went through several towns with populations greater than 5.

At the Scream I went for a hot dog and the blueberry milk shake. The owner was very interested in the Big Ride and ended up giving us all a free aquafina water bottle. She wrote in chalk on the sidewalk and I had to take a picture. She also mentioned the classical architectural design by Louis Stevenson for the Farmers Bank. Louis Stevenson did a lot of work in Chicago and was the firm which Frank Lloyd Wright worked before starting his own firm. It was absolutely gorgeous, but of course this is Sunday so we were denied the view of the inside.

As it turned out, the other owner of the Scream also was the owner of the bike shop, (The Scream is defined as a great bike ride, and their speciality ice cream dish, the Betty, is a woman cyclist.) She opened up the bike shop for us so several of the riders could buy gear they needed, e.g. chain, tires, sunglasses. I ended up installing the chain on a riders bike in the bike shop using their gear. The bike shop is closed on Sundays, but the owner, Ann, was very interested in helping us, out. She used to be a County prosecuter but decided to pursue a different career, in other words she found the light of owning a bike store as opposed to pursuing child molesters, rapist, murderers, and three card monte experts. She is on the right side of the picture below.

We finally made it to the County fairgrounds where we pitched tents around 1:30, and walked across the street after taking showers to the Mexican restaurant whose name is Closed. Sunday is not a great time to be in a smaller City, although the population here is 25,000. We popped over to an adjacent bar and grill and ate our first dinner. Later we will be eating at Hyvee where for $11.95 it is all you can eat buffet.

The temperature is somewhat reasonable at the campsite with a nice wind blowing through. The shower facility is down a ramp under a building where it is dark and dank. There was a giant earwig in the shower that wouldn't die even after getting squished twice. I have a fear that tonight it will crawl into my ear and take me out.

I took a picture at Loon Lake at a hamburger joint owned by one of the riders family. They had a sign congratulating her in between the prices for pizza and hamburger. Loon Lake is the third lake I have seen since entering Minnesota, and we only have one more day to see the 9,997 other lakes that they advertised on their license plates and everything else that moves.

Yesterday was the day that many riders broke down and bought fans after the first night in the dorms at excessive heat. As a result, the campground tonight is littered with electric cords connecting the fans to electricity. Good luck getting up tonight to use the facilities and not ripping out half the campgrounds air conditioning.

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