Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009 Tour de Kota Day 2 - Yankton to Wagner

Better late than never. It's been a couple busy weeks so I'm trying to catch up on my blogging about Tour de Kota and other things. Thanks to my wife driving to Bike-A-Palooza in Sioux Falls today, I was able to catch up on a couple days of Tour de Kota blogging on the way. Here is day 2 of Tour de Kota, also known as the crazy tent day.

Waking up with water in far too many places in our tent was just the beginning of an eventful day/ride for us. No matter what I tried, I could not get my Garmin Edge 305 to turn on. I was devastated to think that my new Garmin had just bit the dust. I put it on the bike anyway and met up with Cycling Cathy, Ride Vermillion, and Jim Wynia at Hy-Vee for a large order of Biscuits and Gravy and some Starbucks coffee.
After breakfast we rolled out of town and it was very evident that it was going to be a pretty decent headwind on the ride. As we dropped down by Gavin’s Point Dam I noticed that The Owner was assisting another cyclist on the side of the road so I handed him my Garmin, explained the situation and rode off to catch my contingent. I caught them on the big climb back to Hwy 50 and suffered along with them during the climb.

On the road to Tabor for their world famous kolach’s , The Owner went by us on the road and pulled over ahead of us. He held up my Garmin and had it working again. Apparently it’s a common issue as it was the number one hit on Google. So, if you ever have issues with a Garmin not turning on, hold down reset, mode, and the power button to reset it. Tip of the day. You’re welcome.

After Tabor – and eating kolach’s and getting to see the Czech Day’s Queen -- we rolled into Tyndall where there not much was going on as far as welcoming the TdK into their town. There was even a report that the owner of the DQ refused to open before his appointed opening time even though there were many bicyclists outside and he was there anyway. Um…DUH!

We received the opposite reception in Avon where it seemed that half the town was in the park to welcome us in. Food vendors everywhere, reusable grocery sacks made special for the TdK, and people everywhere striking up conversations. The only issue was the temperature as we had worked up a decent sweat by now and the cold wind was definitely making our body temperature drop quickly.

Leaving Avon into the wind, we tried to keep a pace line together but young Master Wynia was out front and soon looking back our line was down to three. A couple more miles in, Bald-n-Surly said he was going to back off as well, leaving me to get dogged by the youngster. We took a quick break at the last rest stop before Wagner and fought our way into the wind through the last eight miles.

Now for the drama of the day. Laura called me as I told her to check various places in Yankton for a better tent since ours definitely seemed far less than rain proof. I received a call saying that nothing really met what we needed for and wanted for a family tent. I told Laura to just come to Wagner and I’d go to Cabela’s in Mitchell and get a new tent for us once she was there. And so I did.

The lady at Cabela’s was really good at explaining the tent features and after discussion found a Cabela’s tent that worked for exactly what we were looking for. So it was purchased. I noticed a set of poles in plastic on the outside of the tent box and while I found that strange, I didn’t put much thought into it. Back to Wagner – about a 150 mile round trip – to put up our new buy.

While putting it up, the excitement was mounting. The tent seemed so huge compared to our old one. Down to the last couple poles we realized that the poles seemed really long. CDV and I determined that they must be the top poles so we replaced the poles we already had in place and started to stand it up. Um…something is wrong here. There is no way these poles are going to fit in their appropriate notches. We tried to bend it to make it work, being the manly men that we are, but we realized that the poles were simply the wrong size. Almost on cue, as we looked puzzled at each other…. RIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiipppppppp went the seam that the pole went into.

I called Cabela’s and explained my quandary. It ended up being that some of the first boxes of this tent were minus a set of poles and that’s why they put them on the outside of the tent. After some discussion, I was offered the “opportunity” to meet them half way, which initially they wanted to be Parkston (about 25 miles from Mitchell) and I quickly offered a point considerably closer to halfway (Tripp).
I’m happy they righted the issue, but I have to admit, I was a little more irked when the lady (whom I DO appreciate) showed up with a single box with no poles on the outside. Now tell me, if you have a tent you know has everything in it, wouldn’t you sell THAT one first? I understand wanting to rotate inventory, but this little mix up cost me another 70 miles of driving and about three and a half hours of frustration. While their customer service to make it right was stellar, I’m not sure I got the best end of the stick on this problem.

Back in Wagner, the tent went up perfectly fine with the right poles, and I had time for a couple quick beers and conversation before crashing for the night.

The day from my Garmin, starting a good distance in due to my Garmin issues noted above. This chart missed out on the good early climbs leaving the river valley.

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