For the third year in a row, Jay and Jan Pattee of Perry welcomed a group of almost 70 bicycling family members and friends from Madison, Wis., who come to Perry to ride the Raccoon River Valley Trail and recreate at the Hotel Pattee.
And for the second year in a row, the ride was rained out.
But badger-like in their determination, the Wisconsinites were undeterred, and “some of them as they were leaving the hotel were already making their reservations for next year,” Jay Pattee said Monday.
A few of the visitors arrived Thursday, and the bulk arrived Friday and Saturday, with a ride of the full circuit of the Raccoon River Valley Trail planned for Saturday, Pattee said. Seeing the forecast, most of the intrepid souls rode out Friday evening and crossed the High Trestle Bridge, rewarding themselves for their efforts at the Flat Tire in Madrid.
Although the weather did not cooperate, “it gave them time on Saturday, when they would have been riding, to really get to know our town,” said Pattee, who led the tour with prompt assistance from Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Wilson, Carnegie Library Museum volunteer Roger Emmert and local businessperson and Perry booster Jenny Eklund.
The group visited local landmarks such as the Perry City Hall, Carnegie Library Museum, La Poste LLC and the Mary Rose Collection, lunching at El Buen Gusto and later dining at the Hotel Pattee.
“It’s a great boost for our community when we can get groups like that coming in and dropping their dollars,” Pattee said.
Among this year’s riders and would-be riders was Philip Van Valkenberg, a recovering stroke victim who writes for “Silent Sports” magazine. He brought his recumbent bicycle and was planning an article on the event.
“Jay’s sister, Marianne, is the mastermind of this event,” said Jan Pattee. “She is the Madison connection. This was the third annual ride, and they have already begun to book next year’s ride on the last weekend of April 2017.”
Three brave souls did accomplish the full circuit of the Raccoon River Valley Trail on Saturday, Jan said, and then “they all took off today. Sadly, one man and girlfriend had car trouble. He stayed overnight with us because no help was available, but she was able to get a ride back to Madison.”