RAGBRAI 2019, day 4: Indianola to Centerville

With the start date of the actual RAGBRAI XLVII bike tour across Iowa bearing down on me, I took a vacation day and headed for Indianola, the town where I’d left off more than a week before.

By 8 a.m. I had already experienced an extremely rough road (riders, beware of R63!), encountered a detour and a confusing intersection, and may have taken the wrong route into Lake Ahquabi State Park. (Is there gravel on this route? I don’t think so.)

“Ahquabi” is a Sauk and Fox word meaning “resting place.” The 770-acre Ahquabi State Park has a 115-acre lake, sand beaches, and trails. The man-made lake is said to be good for fishing,  boating, and swimming. Paddleboats are available for rent.

It was already hot and humid this morning, with a high predicted around 97 degrees – 110 if you factor in the heat index.

I didn’t stop in unincorporated Liberty Center and just kept moving until I came to Lacona (population 349). There I found some residents putting flowers in pots at the fire station department (above). I walked around the block, already sweating, and took pictures of the Willis Cabin, built in 1846.

I found a lot to like in downtown Chariton, including what would be the first of many beautiful old courthouses along this section of the bike route. I also found several signs of RAGBRAI, which would soon be passing through the town.

I meant to try to find Chariton’s popular cinder path, but I forgot.

I did not stop in tiny Millerton, population 45 in the 2010 census. I did stop to walk through a pretty cemetery on county road J22, but then continued through Bethlehem, which I’m not sure is really a town.

As I popped over hill after hill surrounded by green Iowa farm fields, it occurred to me to be grateful to the RAGBRAI planners. Without them, I would not have been on these roads, going through these towns, having this experience.

I didn’t expect much from unincorporated Confidence, Iowa, but I not only found another cemetery but also a small park.

I rarely take the extra-mileage loops on the RAGBRAI route, but this morning I made an exception. The optional Karras loop takes riders around Rathbun Lake and to Honey Creek Resort. I’ve stayed at the resort before and blogged about it, and it’s really worth going out of the way to see this place. There’s a large lodge featuring a soaring lobby, restaurant, bar, and 105 guest rooms. There’s also an indoor water park – perfect for winter travels but not truly necessary today with access to the lake – plus a golf course, cabins, trails, and more. It’s truly a gem in southern Iowa.

I didn’t stop in unincorporated Walnut City (not to be confused with Walnut, Iowa, which was on the route a few days ago), but I did find this scene in Mystic, population 405:

And then, gosh, I was already to Centerville, the next overnight town. My goal was to get here by noon, in time for lunch. I had no trouble finding a place to eat. I chose the Northside Diner because it serves breakfast all day. There’s also an all-you-can-eat salad bar, if that’s more your style.

Afterwards, I walked around the square, enjoying the architecture and the preparations for RAGBRAI.

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