Tornado Watch Separates MN Riders from Des Moines Ceremony

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Cycle America/N

The storms that Peter and I dodged (almost) all day yesterday (96 miles worth) descended upon us
while overnighting in Story City, IA. While the whole day was expected to be rainy, we didn't have
to deal with it too much but it probably did slow our pace for the day. Unlike previous days where
we just had a plan to go southward as far as possible before dark, today had the pressure of trying
to cover a lot of ground and make it to Des Moines in time for the 12 noon mayor's meeting.

Till today, the days were pretty much corn, corn and more corn, but today seemed consumed with a
need to always know the time and how much of a chance we still had to make the Des Moines party.
Actually, Peter and I made good time all day skipping food or rest breaks in favor of munching while
riding to keep the momentum going toward Des Moines. We did stop briefly to repair Peter's rear rack
as it had lost it's mounting screw holding it to the rear dropout. No big deal to fix as we got some
mechanics wire and put it back in place. Time lost: 10 minutes tops.

We arrived at the far NW side of Des Moines (Polk City to be exact) and admitted to ourselves that
we were going to be too late to join the others for the big ride into town but we were darn close to
being able to make the proclamation ceremony if we had a quick route in. We called in and were
advised to jump on the city trail as it would take us right downtown. Sounded good but we soon found
out that the trail was the most awful route possible, especially considering our deadline. The trail
is shown on the IA bicycle map as a clean, straight line all the way downtown but we soon found
ourselves doing endless S-turns, loops that went in and out of the woods (hey, didn't we already
ride by that?), and killer hills that nearly all required a drop to the granny gear. At this rate I
figured we'd be lucky to make it by the weekend. Peter decided we'd locate a road, any road, get out
of this purgatory, and make a road rally into town. Here comes a kid riding the opposite way on the
trail holding up a radio as he says "storm warning!". He kept riding. Hmmmm...

Peter and I traversed down a hill from the trail and onto a roadway. Yes! Now we're on our way! is kinda black all of a sudden.

We ride on.

About two blocks later, the sky opens up with a torrential downpour complete with hail and a
fierce wind to finish it off. Gotta press on and make our meeting. Suddenly a man appears on our
right yelling at us to come into his business and take shelter as we're under a tornado watch and
storm warning.

Six miles from downtown and we're stranded!

I call my son, Mitch, downtown who has travelled to meet me and take me and my bike home and hear
that the weather is fine downtown as our surprise storm hasn't arrived there yet.

Peter and I wait out the storm over a coffee and a Diet Coke, make small talk with employee Megan,
check our e.mail, and finally take off when the rain tapers off a bit.

By the time we arrived, when it hit downtown, the storm had chased away everyone who had been at the
city hall ceremony. Jim retreated to his hotel across the street and the brothers Reser to the
public library a few doors down. Peter and I pulled in and Jim quickly appeared from nowhere with an
outstretched hand to welcome us. Jeff and Jason Reser soon showed up as well and we gathered for a
picture on the city hall steps. After handing off our proclamations to Jim, we all said our
good-byes and went our separate ways as quickly as we had come together. I guess our adventure had
come to a conclusion already.

It was a great ride!

Thanks Peter for sharing the road, spirit, song (it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...), and
yes, the tequila.

Thanks Jim for your spirit, energy, and efforts. You are an inspiration to all!

And thanks Martin for your work with the National Bicycle Greenway and the Mayor's Ride! Let's make
next year an even bigger event!

Signing off for now...

God's blessings and safe travels to all!

Jeff Longtin cyclogical recumbent bicycles

Local access to PocketMail mobile e-mail now available in Europe, North America & Australia

MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
Greenway CEO Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru
clinical death and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.
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