thoughts and views of an Iowan Cyclist

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter December 30, 2011

Winter Landscape of Northern Iowa

Evergreens live up their name.

Early morning frost clinging to the deck rail.

Cracked Ice


Weekly Photo Challenge: Up August 31, 2011

The Aeroshell Team at the 2011 Cedar Valley Air Show.

AeroShell Team in Black and White




All the Lost Souls August 26, 2011

Last week I went for a bike ride that took me through one of the neighboring communities in the area. As I rode along the main avenue through town, something out of the ordinary caught my eye. I noticed first the large American flags on every light-post along the street, and then the small flags, arranged in perfect rows like little toy soldiers in front of every house. At first glance it seemed like a celebration, like the old news reels of New York City at the end of the second world war, and in fact one of America’s soldiers was returning home. But it was not to the sound of the Star Spangled Banner and the hugs and kisses of loved ones that he returned to, but the playing of taps and a twenty-one gun salute. Navy Seal John Tumilson was aboard that now famed helicopter crash in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 29 others. They have returned home, their bodies to the grave, and their souls to eternity.

When events like this involve someone from my local community, I remember that these “foreign affairs” this country is involved in come at a cost. I think we all need to ask ourselves one question…why? Why does this country feel obligated to pursue these war’s overseas that cost American lives. Why are we still in Afghanistan even after the man who brought us there is dead, and to what end do we still occupy that country? Are we there to build schools and roads, to bring “democracy” to a people who have repelled every attempt of westernization since the early 1900’s? The people of Afghanistan do not want democracy, or freedom of any kind, all they want is to be left in peace to fight among themselves as they have for centuries. We Americans mistakenly think that since we have freedom in this country, though we have less and less every day, that other counties want our system of government. Our concern should not be for the well-being of other countries, but our own. Our President has stretched this country’s military presence so far and wide across the globe, costing us billions if not trillions of dollars and many hundreds of American lives, that this country is about to implode upon itself. One look at the history books and it is clear that we can not sustain this course of action and hope to remain afloat much longer. From Rome to Great Britain, history is full of empires that involved themselves in too many country’s affairs, and it didn’t end well for any of them. Our founders knew their history when they wrote the documents that established this union, they tried to make sure that the power to declare war was left up to the congress, where it would have to be voted on by the representatives of the people, not decided by one power-hungry dictator. ( US Constitution Article 1, Section 8 )

If we want to preserve this country for which so many have fought and died, then we need to bring our military home. We can no longer afford to be the nanny police for every little country that is struggling with internal affairs. Would our founders like the way we try to babysit for all these other countries? I think if they did we would still be drinking tea and singing God Save the Queen.


The Battle Continues April 22, 2011

Filed under: Iowa,Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 10:52 AM
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I am constantly reminded that I am not in control of the weather. Earlier in the week the temperature was well into the mid 60’s. This morning it snowed. It seems that as soon as I get into a routine with riding and training for RAGBRAI, the weather has an identity crisis. I looked out the window this crisp, spring morning, and tried to think of a way to make an analogy out of this atmospheric change, and I came up with this. Weather is like a battle and we are the deer. Allow me to clarify. Think of the warm and cold weather like two opposing factions of a mighty battle, the warm holds it’s ground in the south while the cold finds refuge in the north, and Iowa is the no-man’s land. Each storm is a battle between these mighty foes, at times the warm holds the “front” line, while at other times the cold gains the high ground. The battles that result from these engagements can become quite fierce, with the blinding flash of the cannon that can be seen for miles and the resulting window-rattling boom that rolls over the prairie like a tsunami. Their bullets flood our rivers and sometimes dent our cars, and the smoke from their guns fills our skies to the point that the sun ceases to shine. We are at the mercy of the these two mighty forces and there is nothing we can do when the battle ensues but take cover. But when the battle is over, we dare to venture forth from our shelter to graze and find sustenance while we can, and we become oblivious when the battle does not rage. But when we hear the boom and see the flash, to cover we go, like little deer hiding in the woods. So all we can do is hope that the major engagements don’t come our way, but in the meantime; the battle continues.


Small Town Humor. April 8, 2011

Filed under: Iowa,Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 8:43 AM
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It’s the small towns that often have the best stories, and my small, Iowa community is no exception. All that I am about to relate to you took place around the turn of the century, when today’s sleepy little town was a thriving, booming rail-road town. During this time, the local physician was a man by the name of Dr. O’Keeffe, an ex-military man who during the summer always dressed in a white suit and Panama hat, a very disciplined and tidy man. Well Dr. O’Keeffe would always get into jokes and pranks with the local undertaker, a man by the name of Bert, who just loved to antagonize the poor doctor. Now Dr. O’Keeffe had a beautiful Buick that he just loved, and the boys would sometimes go and put axle grease on the door handle, which just drove Doc crazy, to get dirty grease all over his hands. Well one day, Bert and the boys went one step further. They went and put grease all over the seat of that pristine Buick,  and when Dr. O’Keeffe jumped in his car, he got grease all over his white suit.

Oh, Dr. O’Keeffe was so upset. He knew that Bert was the one behind this, so he hatched a little plan. Now Bert also had a furniture store besides the undertaking business, and was such a heavy drinker that sometimes he would pass-out from being so drunk. So the next time Bert passed-out, Dr. O’Keeffe put his plan into action. He quietly stripped all of Bert’s clothes off while he was asleep, and tied a big red ribbon around Bert’s middle, so as to cover the important bits. Then he put Bert in one of his own caskets, with the lid wide open, and rolled him out into the front window of his furniture store. So the next day, when all the ladies and townsfolk were going about their business, there lay poor Bert, naked, asleep in his own casket, for all the world to see.