Sunday, August 14, 2011

PIGS Tandem Rally–Storm Lake, IA

8-12-2011 (Friday)
Rally Day #1—Ice Cream Ride: 13.26 miles
Comments: Ride Time was 1 hour 14 minutes, average speed: 10.6

We knew our trip to Storm Lake, IA would take us close to the Winnebago Factory in Forest City so we planned on attending the 9:00 a.m. tour of the factory. We travelled in a Winnebago bus first to see Stitchcraft where all interior fabrics are chosen and used to make the cushions for each motor home. Busy seamstresses were hard at work as we toured through the plant. We then boarded the bus again to learn more about the many buildings on the property each playing a part in the manufacturing of each home. My favorite building was “Big Bertha” which houses the main production lines for the company and called thus because of its enormous size. We were impressed to learn that most parts used to fabricate these beautiful motor homes are made here in the USA. We finished the tour by picking out the motor home that might follow us home some day—a little diesel Via. But for now, our Chevy Van will have to do.

We reached our rally destination in Storm Lake around 2:00 p.m. and needed to find accommodations for our 2-night stay. The Baymont Inn & Suites had one room left so we took it and hauled all our gear up to room 230. We had some spare time so drove around town to get a feel for the area before the rally began. At the bike store, we found our registration packets neatly arranged so we checked ourselves in and claimed our route sheets, welcome letter and rally roster. We read that the Ice Cream ride was mass starting at 6:30 p.m. and would include a ride around the lake to view the many wood carvings.


This pelican statue greeted us before each ride like a beacon wishing us a safe journey.


8-13-2011 (Saturday)
Rally Day #2—Windmill Ride: 66.94 miles
Comments: Ride Time was 4 hours 55 minutes, average speed: 13.5

Wow, what a beautiful day for a ride and all day to do it in! The temperature remained in the 70’s and not a single raindrop fell as we enjoyed this second day of the PIGS rally in Iowa. We fought some wind for the first half of the ride but enjoyed the tail wind as we pedaled back towards Storm Lake.


The group was meeting again at the KC lot for a 9:00 a.m. mass start. Our PIGS president, Lee Thorson, greeted us with a few last minute notes and then we were escorted out of town by Mike Wells on his motor scooter. The route was well-marked and directed us through two large wind farms. The windmills on these farms produce enough power to serve the electricity needs of over 114,000 households—awesome. However, where there are windmills, there must be wind!

Many rest stops were set up along our route where we could gobble down bananas, sweets and liquid as we continued to visit with those we haven’t seen since last biking season. At one of the rest stops we took a look under Dennis’ seat to investigate where a squeak was coming from. What we found was rather unfortunate—the hinge holding his seat together was split at the screw head causing the seat to squeak. We were able to finish out the rally but will need to order new parts from Rans when we get home.

Our lunch stop was positioned on top a slight hill at a Lions Club Shelter house. Sandwiches, fruit, veggies and sweets were served. After lunch we only had about 20 more miles to pedal before our finish. We were well-cared for on route today. Many times the scooter patrol passed us checking to make sure all was ok and Lee also circled the route checking for those needing extra care making this a very well-run event.

We finished biking around 4:00 p.m. with just enough time to wash up for the evening banquet being held at the Lake Avenue Historic Lodge downtown Storm Lake. The hall was decked out with lights, white linens and cloth napkins stitched by our Co-President, Roxy Fudge. The food was very good and plentiful—pork, chicken, salad, vegetables, treats… Entertainment followed a short business meeting and included the witty tales of our club’s own, Faith Ericsson. It was very entertaining to listen to her 1988 travels by bicycle from Mexico to Canada—not many females were brave enough to attempt such a trip in the 80’s—remember cell phones were not yet invented!

This evening was also very special for one tandem couple celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary—of which most have been spent biking with the PIGS. We also had a few new members attending this rally for the first time which reminds us of our first tandem event where we were welcomed into the group and treated like we were lifetime members—what a great group of people.


8-14-2011 (Sunday)

Rally Day #3—Breakfast Ride: 11.05 miles
Comments: Ride Time was 51 minutes, average speed: 12.9

The group met one more time this morning at 8:00 a.m. for a short ride around the lake and to our breakfast stop at one of the many city parks. Again we could eat like pigs if we wanted to—bakery goods, bagels, fruit…

The route around the lake was picture perfect again this morning. It was sad to know it would all be ending soon and we would each scatter to our small corner of the USA but not without the memories we created from another fine event put on by a few volunteers from the PIGS Tandem Club. Thanks to Lee Thorson, Roxy Fudge, Robert and Faith Ericsson, Barb and Mike Wells and the great bike support from Geoff’s Bike and Ski—the 33 teams attending enjoyed 3 wonderful biking days in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Total rally miles: 91
Rans miles since purchase: 15,421

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