Early in the summer we made plans to attend the Pedaler’s Jamboree. A 35 mile bike ride from Mineola to Shenandoah, Iowa and back with live music, food and drinks along the way. What’s not to like?
We got to Mineola the night before registration and got our packet early the next morning. I took off for Shenandoah on my bike while Jim repositioned the bus. We planned to meet up on the trail later in the day. We parked right in the very small town between the town center and a giant cornfield. Iowa, after all.
Growing in the ditch of the cornfield!
It had been raining a lot but the trail was hard packed and in good condition with just a few wet spots. The weather was perfect for riding, partly cloudy, no rain, about 75 degrees.Even though there were supposed to be 600 bikes I don’t think there were nearly that many. The trail wasn’t crowded with packs of riders and there were long solo stretches.
The first music was in Malvern. Blackbird Revue, a woman/man folksinger team. They were pretty good and there was an entertaining belly dancing audience member but I wanted to keep riding. Next music was down the road about 10 miles but they weren’t even set up when I got there so I went on to Imogene where we planned to meet up on the bikes and listen to music before heading back to Shenandoah for the night. It was only 11 miles to the bus from there, making a 42 mile day.
Jim wasn’t there yet so I sampled the margaritas and waited for the musicians to set up. The bar was the only business in town; most of the buildings were abandoned long ago. But the street was blocked off and once the band started playing, scores of motorcyclists arrived, briefly drowning out the music and providing great people watching contrast with all the bicyclists. We shared our table with some guys from Kansas City no less, Randy and Steve. Randy is a stagehand for theater and concerts. Wish we’d met when we lived there!
The evening music was a little underwhelming. We endured a band with an excellent lead guitarist but every song sounded the same. And they just went on and on so we went back to the bus.
The Wabash Trace is a fine trail and in good condition, especially with all the rain they’ve been getting. We stayed over another day after the Jamboree to ride in the other direction and didn’t turn around quite soon enough. We got about five miles from the bus on the way back and it started raining. Funny how the rain just makes you pedal faster!
And a hot shower followed by a cocktail? Priceless!