HAMPTON _ While Monday's RAGBRAI route was challenging, Tuesday's proved to be rather easy.

With no winds to contend with _ something that dogged riders on the previous day of the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa _ and few major hills, today's 71.1 mile voyage went rather painlessly.

We started out from Humboldt and in no time at all, we were at our first town. That's mainly because Dakota is a mere ONE mile from Humboldt.

Shortly after Dakota City we hit our biggest hill of the route, but even that wasn't too bad.

After the 10 mile trek to Thor, it was another nine to Eagle Grove. It was during that time when a beautiful sunrise was taking place, something one doesn't always stop to enjoy unless on RAGBRAI.

When Eagle Grove was a pass-through town on my first RAGBRAI a few years ago, the folks there did an excellent job.

Not to be out-done, this year's organizers had another great performance.

First, before entering town, signs told riders to be on the lookout for an eagle.

As we got closer to town, we were instructed to look up at a tree on the right. Sure enough, quite high in the tree, was someone dressed in an eagle costume to greet riders.

Entering town, clowns performed and a ring master proclaimed Eagle Grove to be the "Greatest show on the ride."

Several classic cars sat in front yards and as we entered the business district, I saw a site I remembered from my previous visit.

An old police car reminiscent of the one Andy and Barney drove on "The Andy Griffith Show" was parked on the side of the street. Not only were Andy and Barney present, but so was Aunt Bee and Otis the town drunk.

Otis stood in a jail cell where riders got their pictures taken with him.

After posing with him, I pointed to their entire set-up and said, "This is great."

Otis then pointed at his flask and said, "It would be really great if this thing was full."

While all of this was going on, Barney continually told riders there would be no loitering or pedaling in the town streets. Get it? Pedaling ... peddling. It took me a bit to get it.

After Eagle Grove it was another 14.5 miles to Clarion, where riders were given orange bandanas and food as they entered town.

The journey continued with an eight mile jaunt to Lake Cornelia. A bit confusing name, though, since I never saw a lake. Maybe there was and I didn't look in the right direction.

After that we went 12 miles to Alexander before our final 17 mile ride to Hampton.

During the final leg, probably a dozen signs advertised homemade ice cream for sale by a girl named Kyli, who suffers from juvenile diabetes.

Her sale was to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

While standing in line, a man in front of me ordered two cups of ice cream for his wife and himself.

After being told the cost, he began questioning Kyli and the other girls selling it. At least a few times he said, "You want THAT much money for this?"

Anyone who knows me realizes I'm a pretty easy going guy, but I couldn't stand this.

I finally broke in and said, "Geez buddy, relax ... it's for charity." This drew laughter from those in line behind me and a sheepish grin from his wife, probably realizing what a bozo he was being.

Because of the price he reduced his order to one ice cream. Last of the big-time spenders, I guess.

When I placed my order, I said, "I'll take one, and I won't complain about the price." This drew a laugh from Kyli and the other girls.

Overall this was pretty satisfying _ I got good ice cream, I helped a charity and I put a knucklehead in his place! That's better than any trifecta I could hit at the race track.

Shortly after this incident we passed over Interstate 35, where numerous vehicles honked at us.

Those drivers were probably thinking one of two things, either that they wished they were on the ride or glad they weren't!

Anyway, not long after that we arrived at Hampton where we're staying on the school grounds.

I'll report more later.

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