Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids
Total miles: 77.1

What we hoped would be a pleasant bicycle ride across Iowa has turned into Survivor – RAGBRAI edition.

Temperatures reached 106 degrees Wednesday. Let’s put it this way: Have you ever tried to ride a bicycle inside a pizza oven?

But we somehow reached our stop in Marshalltown, only to be faced with a quick-moving thunderstorm last night that sent Team Simpson scurrying for cover inside our host’s house and garage.

Jill Ramthun Johnson ’85, executive director of Marketing and Public Relations, joined the team yesterday as a support driver. The storm nearly blew her tent away and soaked her and most of the clothes she had packed.

This is a proud Team Simpson tradition. Several years ago, Leslie Midget Held ’86, director of alumni relations, joined us as a support driver. On her first night we stayed at Morningside College in Sioux City and the sprinkler system went off, soaking her.

Johnson wasn’t the only Team Simpson member caught in the storm. Kelley Bradder, vice president for information services, and her husband, Jason, lost the services of their tent and spent the night sleeping in their car.

Then there is the late-night adventure of Eric Van Wyk, who has been riding RAGBRAI on a tandem bicycle with his father, Marv, a retired Simpson faculty member.

Eric decided to use the bathroom at our host’s home. When he went to leave, the door knob came off, on the inside, leaving the door locked with no way to get out.

Not wanting to wake other sleeping cyclists, he began rapping on the door, lightly, hoping someone would hear it and come to his rescue.

No one did. So he knocked a little louder, and a little louder, wondering if he was going to be sleeping on the floor of the bathroom (still better than Jill’s soaked tent!).

Finally, he was rescued, Macgyver style, by someone who inserted a meat thermometer into the outside door knob.

Here is a relieved Eric:

Now, back to the ride.

Jacki Askelson ’97 took this photo to show how riders celebrated their arrival in Story City.

Our stop in Marshalltown turned into a nostalgic journey for Bryan ’87 and Amy Usher Gregston ‘87, who will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this September.

They took the opportunity to visit the Marshalltown church in which they were married. Here, they re-enact their wedding pose:

We also want to pass along this story from earlier in the route. Hoping to find some air-conditioning, and not particularly caring what was playing, President John Byrd and some friends headed to a movie theatre in Cherokee.

The movie? “Ted.” Can’t wait to hear the review.

Finally, we are happy to report that Miles Kirts, our RAGBRAI rider who will be a Simpson freshman this fall, was not seriously injured when a rider in front of him decided to change lanes without notice. Miles took a tumble and ended up with a nasty scrape on a part of his body designed for sitting on a bicycle seat. But he planned to be back on the road today as we set our sights on Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids Fun Fact

Has served as the setting for the musical, “The Pajama Game” and the movie, “Cedar Rapids,” although the movie was actually filmed in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses the largest collect of Grant Wood artwork.

Previous Stories from the Road

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1