Monday, August 2, 2010

Des Moines

That last four days have flown by (and have been great fun)!  On Friday we left Doran's and rode 100 miles to Le Mars and entered Iowa.  After hearing about it from my friends for the past two years, Iowa turned out to be more beautiful than I ever imagined (I'm not kidding).  We found the the city park in Lemars to be a mosquito breeding ground, but fortunately the Catholic church left their front door ajar and we slept in their basement.

On Saturday, we rode another hundred miles to Manson, IA.  In Manson we were hosted by Jake and Lois Birkey.  They made us a wonderful dinner and sent us off a few miles down the road to the Central Plains Conference youth gathering at Twin Lakes Mennonite Camp.  We were hoping to hear the keynote speaker from the weekend, Shaine Claiborne, but missed him by a couple of hours.  We did get to see some friendly faces from EMU.  This was a nice suprise, but made us realize that schools starts in 4 weeks!

Sunday was supposed to be a shorter day, but when we reached Jefferson after 45 miles we found a bike path that went all the way to Des Moines.  We started down this path at 3 in the afternoon and found ourselves 20 miles outside the city around 7:30 or 8.  Not being able to think of anything better to do, we kept riding.  We reached the suburb of Clive around 9:30 completing another 100 mile day.  We enjoyed McCafe smoothies and fries before finding a place to lay down for the night.

We set up our tent in the dark next to the bike path and struggled to fall asleep in the heat with insects buzzing around our heads and we awoke at 5:45 to a looming thunderstorm.  We hurriedly packed up our tent and sleeping bags as the drops began to fall and scurried back to the Micky D's as the lightning flashed and the rain increased.  We sat there for awhile with growing hunger and no desire to eat an egg McMuffin.  Finally, at 7:45, I gave up waiting for a "reasonable hour" to roll around and I called the Des Moines Mennonite Church where we are staying tonight.  To my suprise, I got ahold of Randy who gave us directions to the church.  We set out in the rain and battled the traffic to arrive at the church by 9:00.  Randy cooked us some eggs and toast and his wife and church pastor Karen showed us around.  One of the church members, Esther, drove us downtown in the afternoon and we got a chance to see the capital city and enjoy some good coffee.  Nate and Joe are napping right now (I just woke up).  Later we will meet with some church members and talk with them about bikes and peace.

Tomorrow we will ride to Joe's hometown, Iowa City!


  1. Ben, Nate and Joe:
    You're awesome! Appears you are getting close to Wheaton. If your schedule allows, remember that there is a warm shower, a washer & dryer, a comfortable bed and plenty of food available at 320 Browning Court. It would be wonderful to see you again.
    George and Joanne

  2. Hi, Ben! Do you know that folk artist Dar Williams? She's got a fab song about Iowa: Try this link to hear it.

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  4. Iowa deserves to be crossed in nothing less than centuries every day. Keep up the good work, boys :)....