The first day of RAGBRAI I ran into an adorable little boy, a real RAGBRAI-er, Jayden Skalberg, 7 years old, and his dad, Bryan Skalberg, from Stanton, IA. Jayden looked like a real laid-back young fellow, the kind of easy going kid we need more of on RAGBRAI. I got a photo, and they're anxious to see it.
I also got a photo of one-year-old Elsie, another cutie, and Matt in Orange City. I assume Matt is her Dad.On
Speaking of Dutch country, I got a photo of Arlyn Schaap in a Dutch outfit with big buttons at the top of his black trousers.
On the third day I crashed in the first two miles or so out of town. I was talking to a nice young woman named Emily from Iowa City and bumped someone's back wheel. I don't know if he cut in front of me and was suddenly there, too close, or if I just wasn't paying attention.
Anyway, he didn't go down. He kept on going. I went down hard and I hate that feeling of falling with no control. It seemed like as soon as I started to go down, I could hear bikers yelling, "Biker down! Biker down!" to clear a space around me.
An EMT from Highland, Indiana, Ed Watrobka, was riding right behind me and was wearing his EMT T-shirt. He'd just proposed to Natalie Collom, also from Highland, Indiana, who is a surgical technologist from Community Hospital. They both had their medical kits with me and patched me up real good in the road. They were so nice! The father of the bride, John Collom, was also riding with them.
A bicyclist who'd been blocking from us told us to get the hell out of the road in a very angry voice and then said it again. I signaled to him that I didn't appreciate his tone, especially since I was still dazed and confused and bleeding all over, and I kept my comments short and sweet. He kept yelling, so then I started crying. I wasn't proud of it, but the man hurt my feelings. Then he apologized.
Ed Watrobka cheered me up after we'd moved to the side of the road, and Natalie continued to wrap me in gauze. Luckily, I didn't break anything.
I know the couple is going to be very happy together because they're so nice, and I told them so. Got a photo, too.
At the Comfort Inn in Fort Dodge, a North Dakota man who was hired to drive for a team out of Minneapolis, came in to snag one of the last two rooms in the place, and said he'd just gotten out of the hospital with kidney failure from dehydration and he was going to kill his roommate. He said he called eight people to tell them he was hospitalized and no one called him back.
I told him a lot of people were having a hard time getting cell phone service and Wi-Fi because of RAGBRAI demand, but he said, "I called eight people! No one called me back. Not even my roommate." He clearly felt that betrayed.
He said the doctor would only release him from the hospital if he promised to go home and have some blood work done in the next couple of days. He said he was mad enough he might just go home and send the Minneapolis team, a group of 90 riders, a bill.
There was a rumored fatality that the Fort Dodge Messenger and the Des Moines Register said was not a fatality. A man named Murphy, 38 years old, from Urbandale rode without back lights on his bike at 5:30 a.m. and a pickup truck ran into him at 50 mph. He was taken to one local hospital and then air-lifted to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. He was still alive, in good condition, the last time I read about him in the newspaper, but had a separated shoulder and some other injuries.
Real Christians and hateful, scary Christians:
Vital Ministries men handed out free slices of watermelon with welcoming smiles and handed out cards printed with their ministry's website:
I'm grateful they didn't proselytize.
Then several pro-lifers came by with huge, horrifying photos of aborted, mangled fetuses proudly displayed on the side of their vehicle. An elderly man whipped out a megaphone and started proselytizing against abortion on the other side of the street from a vendor who'd set up to raise money for a kids' basketball camp. There were little kids with her, kids under 10, and they were mesmerized by the huge photos of the mangled fetuses.
"Don't look!" their mother yelled at them and told them to go back to the back of the truck. Of course, the kids looked anyway. They'd never seen anything so horrifying, and neither had I.
The mother told the pro-lifers that her kids didn't need to see that. Bicyclists yelled at them as they passed. Both the mother and I walked across the street to give them a piece of our mind(s).
But the proselytizers were filled with self-righteousness, creepy, scary self-righteousness, given the offensive and disgusting nature of their large photos.
I called the sheriff. Remember. I asked for help, but so far I haven't been arrested.