Day 24: Clarksville to Otranto

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Clarksville, IA to Otranto, IA (67 mi / 108 km)

We head out of our campsite pretty early and are greeted by the husband of the couple nearby and he brings: COFFEE. A quick friend indeed.

We go to the Casey’s not too far away to fill up on water and it turns out that my water reservoir has fallen out, so Nathan headed back to find it and I headed in to fill up on water.

The ladies at Casey’s were really nice and actually take the bottles back and fill them up for us. Nathan is gone about 15 minutes. My water pack had fallen out at the entrance of the park. =)

We get on the road and continue on our hills and into the wind. Iowa we found was a pretty tough place to ride our bikes. We’re trying to get into a riding groove, but that would prove difficult.

We hear a pop. Guess what?! Nathan breaks another spoke. On the freewheel  side (all of the gears) of his back wheel. We pull over to a power tower with a small gravel driveway and unload all of his stuff.

Nathan gets out the adjustable wrench and guess what?! It isn’t wide enough to get around the freewheel removal tool. He uses the Leatherman and can’t get enough grip. So again, we are stuck.

I decide to start flagging down trucks that look like they have tools. It is a difficult job with people going 60 mph. Finally a truck pulls over and Nathan gets the right sized wrench, with enough leverage (important later) and after about 40 minutes we’re back riding on the road.

We ride up to a small town about 7 miles away and stop for breakfast at about 10:45. We ended up eating lunch because the place stopped serving at 10:30. Yay! After Nate heads to a hardware store and picks up a larger adjustable wrench. We head on our way.

At this point our campsite feels very far away. About 35 miles. We ride, we ride, we ride, up, up, up and into the wind.

We’re getting nearer to Minnesota, but not quite close enough. Our campsite is about 8 miles across the border. We pull into this modern looking farm house and Nathan asks for a refill on our water. We ask if there is a campsite nearer than Minnesota, she says yes! We are thrilled. The truth of this story is that I was really tired and we’d biked about 60 miles and I just wanted the lady to say that we could pitch a tent in her yard.

Thankfully, the campsite that the iPhone didn’t pick up was just about 6 miles away. We left with water and excited about sleep coming soon.

The campsite was really pretty and only 10 bucks. We set up camp and there was another tent not too far away. Pretty soon another guy shows up and then the owners of the tent. We had crashed a family gathering, but that’s okay.

We were eating out of our backpacker meal bag and they were having grilled chicken and potato salad and lots of other things. I’m not going to lie, if they would have invited us to eat with them, I would have. Our beef stroganaff was actually pretty good.

We say good night and head to bed.

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