Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Coffeenuering Rd 5

Coffee Shop #6
The Fruited Plain Cafe
Sioux Center
3.2 Miles

As promised  I saved the best for (nearly) last. I broke out the road bike for this ride, this perhaps being the final ride that I will take with this bike before putting it away for the winter. My old Sekai does many things well, but ice and snow are not one of them. Remarkably for this time of year, the weather was (relatively) wonderful.
The Fruited Plain Cafe is one of two shops in the entire county that you can actually order a genuine espresso at. That rarity probably makes me a bad judge of what makes a good/bad espresso, but I must say that I really enjoyed my double shot. The Fruited Plain also offers a pretty wide range of wine and beer (40 or so varieties of each) and makes some very fine baked goods (My wife being the producer of said goods has not influenced my opinion, I swear).
I remarked to the owner that things were quiet at the bike shop (fat biking has not caught on here yet, not sure if it ever will, we have almost no trails nearby). He noted that even with the nice weather, everyone is starting to hunker down for winter. Harvest is all in, gardens have been cleaned, leaves are mostly raked up, and now we wait for the white stuff.

Coffee Shop 6.5 (VOID)
The Fruited Plain Cafe
1.3 Miles

I know this coffeeneuing stop doesn't count, but it involves stroopwafels and cute small children with excessive amounts of hot chocolate.
Later this same day, I got a notice through Facebook that the Fruited Plain had home made stroepwafels for sale. I mentioned these Dutch treats before, but having them fresh is another level of tasty. I had also been promising to take my daughter out for hot chocolate, so off we went for another round of coffee (the things I do for this challenge...)
On our way over, we had to wait for a train. One side effect of the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline has been more of the Bakken oil field product being shipped by rail. Train traffic in our town has almost tripled since 2011. 

Leg header. Grain/feed is elevated, then dropped down one of the pipes
 for storage before loading out on a truck
Back to Stroopwafels.
As mentioned before, these are a traditional Dutch treat, consisting of a thin waffle that has been sliced (think like a bagel) then filled with caramel syrup. In my mind, they are the ultimate coffee dessert.
Remarkably, my daughter did not find them quite as amazing as I do, but her hot chocolate was another story.

I tried to emphasize that I wanted a very small hot chocolate for my daughter. It still looked like she was drinking from a soup bowl.
But doesn't seem to have been a problem for her.

Coffee Shop #7 (without walls)
Lat: 43.064091°
4.5 mi
Yerba Mate

Obviously, Iowa is flat and open. And obvious to anyone who has biked here, it gets pretty windy. You know what goes well with wind? Kites.

Highly specialized kite packing rig. 
The kite of choice is a 5' wide parafoil. Two nice features of a parafoil kite are its compact pack (no spars) and it's durability. You can crash these kites as hard as you want, and as long as you don't tear the fabric, its all good. The kite is a two string, which allows for very precise control. I'll admit that it is a bit tough to drink hot tea while flying a two string kite.

The odd perspective on the kite lines is from me trying to shoot from the chest
while flying a two handed kite. For scale, the lines are 100' long
The wind was steady, the sky a brilliant blue, and I'm wringing every minute I can from this out of season wonderful weather. Weekend is looking cold and wet (just in time for the Living history farms race) but I'll keep riding.

Thanks again to MG for continuing to host such fun (and odd) events. I greatly enjoyed this challenge, and look forward to reading about everyone's adventures.

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