For breakfast we ate the food we bought the night before, but in addition I wanted a cup of coffee. I was ready ahead of the other two so I went into town to see what I could find. The supermarket was open and the same manager was there from last night who gave us directions to the camp site. After telling him we slept well, I asked if he sold coffee. He said that he had none for sale, but he had just made a pot and I was welcome to it. He brought me to the break room and filled up a large Styrofoam cup, and offered sugar and creamer too. We chatted for a while in the front of the store while I drank the coffee and learned he had moved back from Denver, drawn by the small town experience. Like many we have met along the way, he likes living in a place where he knows most of the people and has a strong sense of community. He was very proud of his town and we agreed, as it was a great place for us to stop.
It was a little cold when we started so we still had on our jackets but the temperature quickly became perfect.
It wasn't long before we left South Dakota and entered Iowa. There was not an official "Welcome to Iowa" sign as we were traveling on a small secondary road but after crossing the Big Sioux River we knew we had changed states and took a picture next to the most official looking sign we could find.
Out first and only official stop was in Rock Rapids, Iowa for lunch at the Sunshine Grocery store. It was early in the day and they had an attached restaurant/diner, so we orders eggs, ham, toast, etc. and picked up a few bars for the road. We were anxious to get moving as we would be spending the night with some friends.
When we reconfigured the route to drop south, it brought us through the Lakes region of Iowa. I have a good friend and classmate from Williams College, Carl Leafstedt, who was from Sioux City but would spend summers on Lake Okoboji, near where we were scheduled to stop. He's a professor of music at Trinity University in San Antonio Texas and I thought he might be at the lake this time of year, so I sent him a text. Unfortunately he wasn't going the be there, but his mother was there and she was happy to host us. We were thrilled to be staying in a house for the night, with a chance for a swim also, so we made great time out of Rock Rapids. The roads were very good, gently undulating, and we had a nice tailwind which brought us to the house a little before 3 PM.
We were a little self conscious about our appearance, unshaven and dirty with road grime, entering this beautiful lake house, but Mrs. Leafstedt immediately put us at ease. After catching up over beers (Shiner Bock!) and chips and salsa, Mrs. Leafstedt let us air out our gear on the outdoor furniture.
We played in the lake,
did laundry and took showers. When we were finally clean, we were served a fantastic Midwestern dinner of bratwurst, sauerkraut, baked beans, corn in the cob and fresh fruit.
Here we are sitting together at dinner. Also in the photo are Carl's brother Matt's two children who had just flown in from Switzerland where they live. They'll be here at the lake for a few weeks visiting with their grandmother.
Of course the meal was excellent and we were easily able to replace the lost calories from the day of biking.
We needed to make a few adjustments to our route and a computer would really help us. There wasn't one at the Leafstedt's but their very friendly neighbor, Denny Anspach, invited us into his house the use his.
After about an hour of tweaking the route with my sisters on the phone, we were confident we could borrow some miles from New York so we wouldn't have to race to Milwaukee in three 140 mile days.
Walking back across the yard, we caught a picture of the sunset on this beautiful lake.
Denny came Back to the Leafstedt's with us where we had cherry pie and ice cream for dessert and discussed a wide variety of topics including ice fishing and architecture.
We brought out gear in from outside to keep it dry and headed to sleep in real beds. What wonderful hospitality.