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Iowa, here we are!
Well, we got to Iowa on Saturday. We set up at the Expo in Rock Rapids, in the northwest corner of Iowa. Before the day was out, we had 215 new activists who want to help NWF make global warming a priority! What a day. It was hot and sunny and thousands of cyclists converged on Rock Rapids to begin the trek across the state.
This morning, we were up bright and early and most of us were on the road by 7 a.m. for the 77+mile ride to Spencer. Team NWF looked swank in our “Cycling Against Global Warming” bike jerseys. We’ve had several requests to buy them! This was probably the best way we’ve found so far to get people to engage in conversation. It was incredible to see 10,000+ cyclists overtake every town we rode through. But the communities really love it – think of all the economic opportunity this sort of event brings to these small farming communities.
This evening we did our first presentation in Spencer featuring Don and Miles Hooper, our father-son duo who are riding and speaking to audiences about global warming. It was not a big crowd – we had to compete with an appearance by Lance Armstrong…but we did get a few new Iowa activists who are interested in helping get presidential candidates to make global warming a priority in the 2008 campaign.
I have it on pretty good authority that former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) will be riding with Lance tomorrow and Wednesday. We’ll be on the look-out for them both. I also heard that former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) will be around – not sure if he’ll be riding. I also heard that Sen. Sam Brownback, R-KS, is riding, but we haven’t seen any trace of him.
Tomorrow we ride another 77 miles from Spencer to Humboldt. We’re crossing a pretty conservative part of Iowa – very beautiful, and the people could not be nicer. Every community has opened its doors to RAGBRAI cyclists. We’ve chatted with several farmers – corn and soybeans are the crops around here – they are feeling the drought and it concerns them. We saw some giant wind turbines – and with a big head wind most of the day – I now know first-hand why Iowa has such potential to produce energy from wind! We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the number of farmers who agree that we need to make addressing global warming a top priority. In fact, we’ve come across few true skeptics – oh, they’re around, and a few let us know, but for the most part folks really understand we need to take action right now.