As RAG approached, i became more confident on how my legs would do and more concerned about how my kids would do. My parents generously rented a big-assed RV and my mother volunteered to watch my 2 girls and my niece (19 mo, 4.5 yrs and 6 yrs) and meet us at the overnight town while my brother, father, husband and i rode. There is very little to see in these sections of IA, my youngest is only 19 mo, and it's a huge RV to handle with 3 little ones. The arrangement was three tents with the three men outside the RV, my mother and niece in the bunk, my oldest daughter in the fold out, me on the other fold out and my toddler on the queen bed private bedroom inside her pack n' play (so she could go to bed at 7pm).
On the drive down, we were stuck in road construction traffic and someone pulled up to our RV and said we had a blown tire. We struck luck in a very very small town, IA (Adair), because not only was there a place to exchange a tire and it was open, they had the very same tire we needed for this RV.
We rolled into Council Bluffs late, and didn't get into bed until after 10pm. I stayed awake until midnight, then woke up 2 hrs later to my youngest daughter. She still wakes once nightly, and 2am is her usual call. But she refused to go back down until 4:30! I had pretty much decided the trip would be a disaster and i wouldn't make it through the night, but after an hours sleep, i was excited to get on the road with my bike. The first day was an easy 53 miles, and we parked the RV in the driveway of very generous people who let us use their shower, water and electricity.
My father and brother, who did RAG 2 yrs prior told me we needed to focus on eating before anything else when we pull into the overnight town. Since we rolled in fairly early (2pm), we found the RV, showered and relaxed, then went to find food--only to find long lines, sold out food and me very very crabby. The LissyJo clan aborted the long spaghetti line and found goopy chinese buffet and went to bed. As i lightly grilled my mother on how the girls did with her and how did they behave and what did they eat and who pooped, etc, my mother said, "The girls are fine. You are not. Don't come back to the RV so crabby and hungry again." Lesson learned.