Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Historic farmhouse in Nashua, Iowa

Janne and Jerry Fecht took time on the Ragbrai to visit Nashua, Iowa. Seeing the tiny farmhouse and log cabin reminded us what our ancestors experienced in their determination to build the "good life" for us.

Monday, September 6, 2010


The Little Brown Church in the Wildwood, a national treasure. We visited the church in Nashua to see where Burnet Brown's great grandmother was recently discovered buried. The church is an influence over the "Little Brown Church" in Studio City, California where Nancy and Ronald Reagan were married.

Helping Ragbrai riders get into rain gear.
Rain dance by Ragbrai rider.
Pat Hartung of Preston, Iowa holds a rain poncho over fellow rider Kimberly Breaux of Port Byron, Illinois in the town of Rowley on the Ragbrai.Ragbrai rider Jonathan Stichter of Sigourney, Iowa gets a hug from Sister Mona Rottinghaus of the Singing Nuns in Jessup, Iowa.
On Friday, the 30th of July the rain poured and our riders slept in, to join the pack in Quasque, Iowa.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ragbrai stops off at Parkersburg

In Witchita Kansas we stopped to see an exciting Miro mural at the State University. While looking for a rest room, Brendan and I see big warning cards telling students where to go "when" the next tornado comes. This stack of bicycles sculpture greeted our riders in the meeting stop of Parkersburg. A massive "twister" came though this village in 2008. The village was grateful for the infusion of money some of the 15,000 Ragbrai riders made to their economy.
In my thinking, this "Rhoades Car" seems the right way to take on a state wide bicycle ride. An awning, someone to talk to, and 42 cycling speeds.

The Aplington - Parkersburg High School Junk Percussion Emsemble made lots of energetic noise when we were looking for our riders in Parkersburg. Janne and I parked about a block from these kids, called Katy Fletcher on her cell phone. She was watching our arrival in the middle of a zillion riders.

The Ragbrai trip had lots of heroes, and our champion was Janne Fecht who managed a huge r.v. from Des Moines to Sioux City to Debuque and back to Des Moines. Here in Charles City, Janne took on laundry to keep our rides fresh and clean.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ragbrai clippings

Eric Sorensen of cools off in a sprinkler in Swaledale, Iowa.

Falls on the Cedar River at Charles City, Iowa during the Ragbrai

Shellie Pfohl assists her para-Olympian with her handcycle in Rockford, Iowa

Rider John Phillips of Manchester takes dip at Nick Hanig's pond in Carterville, Iowa.

Ragbrai in Charles City

In the Floyd County Museum, this wicker casket once transported the dead to a funeral "home" for embalming.This helped curtail the odors of decomposition. Folks, observing the wicker container passing, referred to the deceased as a "baker case".
What must it have been like to have graduated from high school in Charles City in 1942. This quilt, in the Floyd County Museum, is a sweet tribute to classmates of the era.

Downtown Charles City, Iowa

Ragbrai Ride Continues

Charles City was once famous for the manufacture of heavy duty farm equipment. Today, remnants of its equipment are only park sculptures.

Kristi Bacon of Waterloo brough along her wire haired terrier dog on the Ragbrai. Photo is from the Des Moines Register.

Ragbrai riders from the top of the Gold Egle Cooperative grain elevator in Wesle, Iowa.

The RAGBRAI ride from Clear Lake, Iowa to Charles City was 51.8 miles for our bicyclists. Janne and Jerry drove ahead to secure parking and hookups for the rv and to find a place to wash clothes. Once the clothes were in the washing machines, Jerry took off to see the Floyd County Museum.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ragbrai Color

Louis Plummer, 90, of Pocahontas pedals on a stationary bike and greets Ragbrai riders.
Riders take a corn-on-the-cob break in Kingsley, Iowa
Rusty and son Travis Schmidt do their Elvis thing for riders in Garner, Iowa


The Studers, David,Mark and Mike cook sausages for Ragbrai riders in Wesley, Iowa.
Carl Yee of San Diego rode an Elliptigo bike across Iowa on the Ragbrai.
Katy Fletcher, Charles Earnest and Brendan Fecht prepare to leave Clear Lake, Iowa.


Forest mushroom in Clear Lake Iowa- photo by Jerry Fecht

Beautiful Clear Lake Iowa
On Tuesday July 27th, our riders on the RAGBRAI rode from Algona to Clear Lake, Iowa

Monday, August 23, 2010

these photographs are taken from a week's packet of Des Moines Register newspapers that arrived in California about two weeks after RAGBRAI.
Just before we were to leave for our trans-Iowa RAGBRAI bike adventure, Janne received a cancellation of our campground in Waterloo, Iowa. Floods, likely caused by world climate change, had caused rivers in eastern Iowa to overflow their banks.
Our r.v. was parked only a block away from where this flood ruined their homes of residents of Manchester, Iowa. The man who ran our bed and breakfast in Manchester said that the flood waters came up to the barn at the back of his property.
The dam on Lake Delhi, just south of Manchester broke just as we arrived in Sioux City, Iowa.
We visited this historic mill on the Wapsipinicon River in Independence Iowa, about a week after this photo was taken.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Detail of a "snow quilt" - First Congregational Church of Algona, Iowa

Bikes parked everywhere, and on the lawn of the First Congregational Church of Algona, where we stuffed ourselves on baked potatoes.

The midpoint meeting place on Day Three was in a very small village called Garner, Iowa. But, it was easy for all of us to find one another, since the grain elevator and the railroad tracks were the main feature of the place. Janne Fecht makes contact.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Jerry tests out camera to see if flash is working on Janne, still busy at her computer at 10:30 at night. Clyde Fletcher Indian rug on the wall in the background.


Brendan Fecht, Charles Earnest, and Katy Fletcher leave the r.v. in Algona, Iowa for day three of the great trans-Iowa bicycle ride.

Off they go. Now, Janne and Jerry pack up and move the r.v. to Clear Lake, Iowa. When our three riders arrive there will be air conditioning and cold drinks. Hard to imagine, but just blocks away they will join over 15,000 riders.


Our hostess in Algona, Iowa, Ms. Rita Long with her faithful dachshund Hildy.
/>Our r.v. can be seen behind the Long's house peeking around the back yard.


Among the nicest people we met on our RAGNRAI bicycle trip across Iowa, were the folks at the First Congregational Church. I went there, because the ladies of the First Methodist Church said that I should see their beautiful windows. As usual, the Methodists were right.
Pilgrims detail from a quilt in the parish hall of the First Congregational Church of Algona.
Was it the baked potatoes that were stuffed, or those of us who found that the Congregational people were putting on a feed for the RAGBRAI riders?
An early electric church lamp at the First Congregational Church of Algona.