A raccoon kept me up most of the night trying to get into my stuff. At one point he even tried to drag away my bear canister. He successfully made off with the lid to my pot. I don’t know what he wants with that. I think I finally fell asleep about 4:00 a.m. A Facebook friend recently posted a picture of three raccoons peeking from behind a tree thinking it was cute. Raccoons are not cute. They are the spawn of the devil. Every time I see a dead raccoon on the side of the road, I smile.
Needless to say, I overslept and was sleepy all day. I didn’t leave the campground until noon. I rode a little ways to Lamoni, IA and thought I would just have a short day, do some chores and get a good rest in a motel room.
While I was doing laundry, I found out RAGBRAI was going just a few mile north along Highway 2. RAGBRAI is an organized bike ride across Iowa. It is the granddaddy of cross-state bike rides and is the most famous and most popular. One rider told me 20,000 plus riders ride it each year. Their end point for today was a small town about 15 miles northeast of Lamoni. With so many riders, every motel room, campground, and spare space in parks and church yards within 30 miles was taken up. Calls to the two motels and the bed and breakfast in Lamoni confirmed that there were no rooms available. At about 6:00, after finishing my chores, I headed west on a county road hoping for the best.
About 15 miles or so west of Lamoni, I came across a small park at the intersection of two county roads. I stopped to eat dinner as the sun set. It looked like the park was not used very often. After checking out the park, I found a spot that was well hidden from three directions. It was pretty visible from the fourth direction and from a farmhouse about a quarter mile away. I checked out the area around the park as well, but there really wasn’t any other place to camp without ending up in someone’s field. So the park it was. I waited until it was dark to set up my tent and only did a minimal setup with the tent body and poles. I didn’t bother with staking it out, nor with the fly and footprint. If camping is not allowed in the park and someone finds me, I think if I explain what I am doing they will probably say to go ahead and camp, as long as I am gone in the morning. Without the fly, I am hoping to have a nice view of the stars tonight.