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For Australian, a gastronomic tour of Iowa



Gary Whitby has a long list of foods to try on his three-week trip through Iowa and the United States.

Fortunately, the 45-year-old from Perth, Australia, has a week of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa to help conquer many of the staples.

Whitby has already crossed off sweet corn and steak on a stick, thanks to his Iowa host, Tom Casavant.

What’s left? Rhubarb pie, pork chops and Beekman’s Homemade Ice Cream, for sure. And maybe a State Fair corn dog for good measure.

“This is going to be my gastronomic tour of Iowa,” Whitby said Saturday as he relaxed in the food tent after downing a fresh-squeezed Iowa lemonade at the bike expo that precedes RAGBRAI.

The nation’s oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event starts this morning in Council Bluffs along the Missouri River and ends Saturday in Fort Madison along the Mississippi River.

Whitby flew into the United States for the first time on Thursday. While here, he’ll also travel to Colorado, California and Wyoming.

Despite that, the three-time Iron Man competitor had several people ask: of all the places to visit, why Iowa?

“Tom told me about this ride and the opportunity to get a little crazy so I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Whitby said.

Fewer than 1 percent of the estimated 10,000 participants in RAGBRAI come from overseas, according to RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz.

This year, they hail from Nepal, Germany and Japan, among other countries.

Whitby traveled 11,000 miles to participate in the seven-day trek across the state. It’s similar to the trip Casavant took in 2012 to participate in Perth’s Rottnest Channel Swim.

The University of Iowa professor swam a 20-kilometer race across the channel from Perth to Rottnest Island.

Whitby, a stranger at the time, volunteered to be his skipper and follow his route in a boat. The two became fast friends, and Casavant invited the Australian to come take part in another uniquely local challenge.

Though Perth and Iowa are nearly half a world apart, both men say there are strong similarities between the two.

Like Iowa, Perth, in western Australia, often gets written off when people think of the country as a whole, they said.

“There’s no respect, but there’s a lot of interesting and awesome things about it,” Whitby said.

The same goes for Iowa. And, said Casavant, much of that is on display during RAGBRAI.

“I think he’s going to find out there’s a lot here,” he said.

1 Response on “For Australian, a gastronomic tour of Iowa

china tour

September 10, 2013 at 9:13 am

As the capital city of China, Beijing is the center of national
politics and culture, and a hub of Chinese international
interaction. Alongside Xian, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Nanjing and Hangzhou, Beijing is one of the Six Ancient Cities in China.

In addition, Beijing was the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
With a population of about 17 million people, Beijing contains 18 districts and counties, which are further subdivided
into 273 lower (third)-level administrative units at the
township level. Situated at the northwest edge of the North China Plain, Beijing City is
next to Tianjin City, to its southeast. The landform
of this city basically falls away from northwest to southeast.
Beijing was also known as Peking by the Western world before 1949.

It is one of the famed ancient cities in the world. With more than two-thousand years of history,
Beijing City is a place of military importance.
It had consistently been the capital of the Liao, Jin, Yuan,
Ming and Qing dynasties. In the early nineteen-twenties, Beijing
became the cradle of Chinese new democratic revolution.
The May Fourth Movement against imperialism and feudalism began here
in 1919. And in Oct. 1, 1949, Beijing became the capital city of the PRC,
which opened a new page in this ancient city. Beijing boasts abundant tourist resources; ancient architecture,
royal gardens, mansions, towers, temples, palaces, and modern structures, including the world-class
Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and the Great Wall at Badaling.

With such a mature ability in receiving tourists, Beijing will
be an ideal tour destination to get more of an idea of China
as a country, and moreover as a cultural gathering place for artists and musicians.
Airlines connect Beijing with more than 110 cities at home and
abroad, while the city boasts a fine railroad and highway system for local travelers.

Urban construction has brought new changes to Beijing, resulting in a unique combination of ancient civilization and modern
metropolis.

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