College Tour 2009 – Grinnell IA

So here’s the route:

View College Tour 2009 in a larger map

We set out with the new Honda CR-V Friday afternoon. Traffic was a little funky in Rockford at the I39 on-ramp, and I-80 was trashed at the IL state line as usual, but for the most part, the trip was uneventful. Lots of water at the side of the road, and rivers we crossed looked very high.

The car did great. I was fairly comfortable, and Bette really liked it. There was a lot of room for stuff in the back seat, and our single suitcase fit underneath the rear cargo area cover. I reset the MPG meter and we averaged 26.7 MPG on the 700 mile trip – filled up twice. Not bad; the Van got 15MPG on a good day, and the Volvo does maybe 20. The CR-V does not have the pickup of the Volvo when you want it — a turbo is good for some things. But I never really needed any more power than I had. Fine.

We found Grinnell and felt our way to Broad St as we left my printed Google maps home. We called Leah as we approached, and we parked on the main drag, in front of a take-out Chinese place. Leah’s apartment is over the bike shop. If we had time, I would stop there to look at bike racks.

Funny how nervous I am about parking the damn car now. With the van, I didn’t care – nobody in their right mind would break in except to sleep in it. Now, will someone hit it, break in, steal it? A drawback to a new car I suppose.

We walked around a bit and saw the Sullivan Jewel Box building, now a city hall. Wonderful concrete sculptures all over the front with a gorgeous round window.

For dinner, headed over to the Depot Crossing, a restaurant built in the old railroad station. Nice place. Went in, sat at the bar for a few minutes and we had a beer. We split a great bruschetta appetizer, almost gooey, not like the crunchy ones you usually get. Bette had the 1/2 burger. I had had the Maytag Bleu Cheese Sirloin ($24) with a glass of Red Diamond Zin ($6.50). Leah had the sushi-grade grilled tuna ($18) and a small Caesar. We finished with coffees. Good meal, the place is very nice.

Had breakfast at the hotel, and met at the coffee shop in front of Leah’s. Fresh coffee, lots of people, and art for sale on the wall. We got 16 oz. CERAMIC MUG coffees and sat on the tables in the early sun. It was very calm, and warm. Sunny. Wonderful. People walked by. With dogs. Nice.

Leah came and we shared a caramel bun. It was good, but South Beach has ruined me for meaningless carbs.

Walked around the campus, in and out of various buildings. Nice campus. Then we headed back, Leah to study, us to hit the “Bikes to You” bike shop.

The heavily equipped bike shop dude recommended the Saris Thelma 2. It fits the Honda receiver hitch via the adapter and weighs 26 lbs. so it’s easy to put on. A dude in the store asked if I was considering it, I said “Yes.” He said it was a great rack, he has had several and it is the easiest to load and mount. He said it was a top-five purchase – well worth it. The bike shop dude told us $260 or so. Based on Web search, that looks like a fair price, but I really need to see if the bikes will work on it, as some of the REI reviews say their bikes don’t fit and warn about bikes with fenders as Bette’s has.
I wish I could buy it from him, but shipping would be a killer and what if it doesn’t work? Maybe next time we are in Grinnell.

Saints Rest Coffee House, 917 Broad St, Grinnell, IA‎
Bikes to You Adventure Outfitters, 921 Broad St, Grinnell, IA‎

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