My mom has many attachments to Iowa. Obviously. She grew up there, she went to school there, she has many many friends there. She lived in both college towns: Iowa City and Ames. But there is no place in the state that she is more attached to than Davenport, the place where she lived from ages 5-18, the place where she took her kids home to many times, the place where she goes for all of her High School reunions, and, unfortunately, the place where Ragbrai neglected to include in their route for the past four years. This is understandable, as it is a large state with many east coast river towns for the ride to end in. But, every year since 2007, my mom has planned on biking Iowa in July, she's been on the website the day the route is announced to see where it will take her. And since 2007, it has taken her to the Mississippi in Bellevue, LeClaire, Burlington, and Dubuque. Ending in Davenport is not the reason she rides by any means, but I'm sure it's something she hopes for every summer.
Well, if you can't already tell where this story is going, here it is: For the first time since 1982, Ragbrai is ending in Davenport. And, for the first time since 2006, my mom was not planning to bike Iowa. She and my dad have a three week trip to France planned in August, a week of which they will spend biking around Birttany. They thought they'd have their fill of summer biking but now they have to re-think everything. Despite the hassle, the oh so complicated logistics, and the need to work some this summer, my mom is trying to ride at least the final 3 or 4 days of Ragbrai XXXIX and dip that front tire of hers in Davenport's Mississippi River. She loves that town and the people in it. But now she's got me all confused as I revel more in the nostalgia of last summer's trip. Do I want to join her for a few days? Kind of. A lot, actually. In all honesty, it's probably not worth the hassle and logistics for me. For now, though, I'll remain optimistic. And I'll wish my mom the best of luck in her planning and optimism.