Rick Reinhart used to get in the kind of trouble kids used to get into, and would always be there when we did things we had no intention of telling our Mom’s about. We’re not talking bad trouble here, just stupid little kid trouble. He was fun. Half way through High School, he transferred to a different school and more or less disappeared for a decade. He was much younger than me (by a year, which is a HUGE ratio of your life when you’re ten years old), so was always much tighter with the 6th graders than the 7th graders. A few years back, he resurfaced (as far as we’re concerned) got married, moved out west, continued being an outdoorsy-type kid, and just recenly had a baby. (Congratulations!) His wife’s parents live in Spirit Lake, Iowa, on the shores of Lake Okoboji. That is the extremely short biography of Rick Reinhart.

When I sent out a “hey I’m doing this trip, does anyone know anyone that lives along this line that goes through the middle of nowhere” note, Rick was the only person who wrote back “yeah…actually I do”.

When we left Sioux Falls, the winds were punching us in the face again. It was the third straight day of riding into the winds, and we had roughly 85 miles of it. Then we took a detour, to take us off the highly traveled route 9 which has no shoulder. It added 10 miles or so, but was worth it, according to everyone who knew anything about the ride. Then we got a bit turned around near the town of Ashton, adding a couple more miles on. What started out as an 85 mile day ended up being closer to 110 miles. Into the winds. And Quinn’s knee was hurting. It was rough.

No one believed me when I said there was a lake in the middle of Iowa when all we could see was farmlands and all we could smell were cows. I promised them it was there, but I apologized that it was further away then I planned. Once we saw the ring of trees and the glimmer of water, we knew we were close, and they knew I wasn’t a liar. Once we rolled into the neighborhood of Ann & Rick Barry and pulled up to their home, we knew we were going to have a great night. We would’ve had to endure a LOT more brutality for it to be not worth it to get to Lake Okoboji. The Barry’s live 15 feet from the water and put us up in the spare house their parents used to live in. Yeah. Spare HOUSE. Their son Sean and his wife Caroline were there for the weekend, and their friends Tim & Max came over for the night too. Sean made a brilliant enchilada casserole, and Ann told us we were welcome to spend the next day there.

There was only one crappy reason not to take another rest day here and a whole bunch of reasons in favor of it. The one crappy reason was that we had to keep going. But, if you refer back to point A: Quintessential Awesomeness, you’ll remember that we’re way ahead of schedule, so an extra rest day completely fit into our schedule. As it turns out, that rest day fell on Memorial Day, and the Barry’s were planning a huge barbecue.

We’ve got to give a lot of credit to Ann & Rick. Originally, I had told them we were going to get to Spirit Lake five days later. Then we got ourselves way ahead of schedule and couldn’t waste too much time in South Dakota (although we’d love to…fantastic state) because Quinn’s Dad was already on his way to Sioux Falls. I apologize for only having a few short days notice on our new arrival date, but Ann got things together in the spare house in spectacular fashion. Sitting here by the lake, being with this wonderful family, celebrating this holiday has been one of the most relaxing rest days yet. Thank you again. The lake, out of nowhere in Iowa, is a gorgeous oasis that almost no-one knows about and is difficult to get to unless you live within driving distance. Rick drove us all across the lake in his boat to party on the other side. We drank Templeton Rye (allegedly one of Al Capone’s faves) and danced at the Grass Gardens. It was like going out on a Saturday night with your best friends from home except that your best friends live on an lake and drive motorboats.

Rick Reinhart, thanks for pulling through. Of all the people I know, I knew you’d be the one to know someone in the middle of the country. Your inlaws and all of their friends are wonderful people.

Oh, and a big shout out to Annie’s fourth grade class! We hope you enjoy our stories & photos. Have a great summer!