The woman who’d been talking to the 85 year old rider was talking about a trail that cut some significant miles off the trip to Perry.
I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to eavesdrop.

Haven’t seen one damned raccoon on this trip.
I asked her about it and she gave me the lowdown.  Said RAGBRAI wanted people to stick to the route, but the trail was brand new and was a great ride.

As I got to the trail head there was a sign there which said, “RAGBRAI does not recommend the Raccoon Trail.”  As I started to ride it, I actually had to agree with them.  The first six miles or so of the trail was not new.  Just an old, cracked asphalt trail, barely six feet wide.

Each of the next half dozen roads the trail crossed were tire-eating gravel roads.  I don’t think the Register would want to be on the hook for 30,000 bicycle tires.

But I’m fearless.  A little gravel doesn’t stop me.  And around the six mile point . . . I was rewarded for my perseverance.

The trail took a 90 degree turn.  It was a very beautiful trail.  One of the first bicycle trails I’ve ever ridden that was concrete, not asphalt.  It was at least 10 feet wide.  You could see lots of shade off in the distance.

It was either a slight down-grade or I had a heck of a tail-wind.  Frankly I don’t ride as fast as I was booking down that trail.  On good days I cruise a little more than 13 miles per hour.  I’m happy if average 12.5.

On the trail I was averaging a mind-blowing 16.5 miles per hour.  Not down-hill speeds, but thrilling none-the-less.  Especially when you consider I wasn’t expending a lot of energy to attain that speed.  Mid-level gear selection.

Guy I was talking to at dinner in Perry talked about taking the trail. When I got on the trail there wasn’t a soul on it.  It was just me.  He said there were only a half dozen when he got on it.

The lady in Yale had recommended a bar in a town called Jamaica.  (Jamaica, Iowa??)  This guy at dinner said when he stopped, it was he and his buddy in the place.  But before they left “three beers later” there were over a hundred “screw RAGBRAI, I’m going my own way” riders hanging out there.

Bartender was a happy camper.