Hello and happy RAGBRAI week! Usually at this point in the summer I am on a charter bus being shuttled to the starting Missouri River town in Western Iowa ready to participate in what is known as RAGBRAI.
What exactly is RAGBRAI you may ask? It's the Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa organized by The Des Moines Register and going from west to east across the U.S. state of Iowa, that draws recreational riders from across the United States and many foreign countries. First held in 1973, RAGBRAI is the largest bike-touring event in the world. The ride attracts nearly 10000 week long riders plus the addition of many riders that only ride a day or two.
For the past 4 years I have got to be a part of this event and Iowa tradition where we start by dipping our back bicycle tire in the Missouri River, ride our bicycle across Iowa for 7 days, camp in tents each night, and experiencing the hidden beauty of Iowa culminating with dipping our front tire in the Mississippi River.
Each night there is a host town that features a carnival of events in their downtown with food, concerts, and fun. The downtowns of these small overnight host towns turn into a huge moneymaking ventures for small local businesses with thousands of riders hungry and looking for fun before they head out at the crack of dawn the next day. I've seen some great concerts over my past years participating and always dreamed of being able to play on the RAGBRAI stage at an event I am so passionate about.
I knew in the back of my mind with this new coffee adventure I needed to stick around to help out with the new 601 building along with help support and execute Michele's plan to get Grown N Gathered in the building by the deadline of two weeks from now :) ! So I ended up taking a hiatus from traveling to Iowa to participate in RAGBRAI this week but since I trained all season I decided to just put in the miles around Quincy area this week to still support the cycling community.
Even though putting in those miles around the area this week is fun I miss getting to experience the people, concerts, and festivities of the overnight towns. Every town tries to put on a better show and welcome for the riders and hire out some of the best entertainment and music they can work in their budget. This year the weeks biggest concert is on Thursday night in Ottumwa IA with RICK SPRINGFIELD! (his hit song was "Jessie's Girl") Anyway Ottumwa put out a contest wanting bands to submit a video of a song and the winner would be one of the opening acts for Rick Springfield!
On a whim since I knew I wouldn't be able to participate the full week and ride in this years event AND because Bad Wolf Media (badwolfmedia.net) graciously recorded a video of my band THE HOOK & THE HUSTLE a week prior to the contest I submitted the video he recorded which you can view here https://youtu.be/bfH-w4UB7ag.
Well wouldn't you know it...after a few weeks of submitting the video I ended up getting a call from the organizers in Ottumwa. They informed me that they chose our video and that we were the winners of that contest! So I WILL be making a trip to RAGBRAI afterall this year..for one night to open up for Rick Springfield in Ottumwa, IA with my band The Hook & The Hustle! (www.hookhustle.com)
Im excited to feature our band at this event and makes this year a little more special for me. It will be a memory that will stick with me along with all the other awesome times I have encountered on these excursions across Iowa. One of those memories I will never forget was encountering the best cup of coffee I've ever had. It was from a coffee roaster from Virginia that sat up on the side of the road everyday of RAGBRAI usually within the first 15miles of each day of the event. They would just set up their small operation in someone's yard or on the side of the road. But man I rode my little heart out those first 15 miles each day just looking for the "Fair Trade Organic Coffee"....the person working the cash register literally said that when you bought a cup.
Me: I would love to purchase a cup of coffee...
Worker: "One cup of Fair Trade Organic Coffee coming right up"
Loved it. I still remember the taste but most importantly I remember the friends I shared that cup of coffee with (see photo above). That cup really made me start researching about what "Fair trade" & "Organic" coffees were about and really added fuel to the fire of me wanting to launch an Organic Coffee Bar & Roastery in Quincy. That clean cup of coffee I had for the first time 4 years ago has stuck with me and something I continue to search out each year of RAGBRAI. I hope to create that cup or an even better cup of "Fair Trade Organic Coffee" for the community of Quincy with Electric Fountain Brewing.
So hop on your bicycle, grab a cup of Electric Fountain Brewing's organic coffee, and create a memory with friends!
Also as you commute through life in your vehicle please keep an eye out for cyclists. Illinois has a law that you must pass bicyclists slowly and allow at least 3 feet. 😃 So thank you in advance for being aware and for helping make our city more of a cycling supportive community!
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. -H.G. Wells
...and by friend I mean this fun little tool that I have never used before! Haha this weekend our friends Laura and Chase stopped by to see the building and I greeted them with this pose and power tool stating "this is what I do when I don't play gigs!" Very rarely do I get a weekend off from playing live but it was nice to invest some time and manual labor into the new building.
While Michele and the contractor are focusing on the Grown N Gathered part of the building I wanted to expose a little more brick in the part of the building where EFB will set up shop. (See photos below)
...and speaking of brick...also had some fun moving over 1000 bricks one by one into a truck, out of the truck, into a wheel barrow, dump into the patio area, stack and repeat :)
Patio area!? Why yes...have been working on the best part of the building that not a lot of people know exists...yet. (shhh...the building comes with an enclosed courtyard with trees that is only accessible through the coffee shop or Grown N Gathered)
This area was in pretty rough condition so we cleaned out this space, tilled the ground, did some yard-work, then Michele wanted 1500 bricks back there to build a patio. So my weekend began and we started laying brick pavers so that we can turn it into a super cool patio space for the community to enjoy the weather, conversation, and some EFB Coffee!
It was a productive weekend as we continue to chip away at the demo and remodel of this big ole building and I add another power-tool to my list of equipment I sort of know how to use.
With that being said this weekend taught me the following:
2. youtube is awesome for learning about power-tools and laying brick pavers
3. I'm not just a sensitive musician
4. I can carry 55 bricks in a wheel barrow and I sweat more than the average human
5. Rev : el : ry (Revelry) - google it ;)
While the contractors are working away on the new building I have been taking the time to travel to "experience" good coffee in bigger cities so that I can bring back ideas and supply our community with big city fun to our sweet home of Quincy IL! You might ask...why did he put quotations around experience?
Well my friends I did that because that is the whole concept of Electric Fountain Brewing. I want to provide you with a "coffee experience." When you come get a coffee or espresso at our new building I want you to feel at home and enjoy the best possible cup of coffee we can make for you. We want to show you different ways to prepare or brew coffee to get the taste notes of that coffees homeland in your cup. I want you to "experience" community within this shop where all people mesh together share ideas, collaborate, have meetings, talk, or just a place where its ok to say something nice to someone here or give a stranger a high five :)
Electric Fountain Brewing - why this name? Two reasons...1. Growing up the first memory I have of coffee is from my grandparents at their local business. I remember my grandmother always having her coffee and letting me try a sip. My brother and I spent a lot of time at that shop of theirs and over the years my grandparents became huge supporters of my music career and were huge inspirations in my life. Their last name - Fountain. Their business - Fountain Electric (my grandfather was an electrician and my grandmother was the office manager, two person local business..) it makes me smile just thinking about those two in their day running that business while my brother and I running like wild children around the shop. That inspired me to switch the name around to Electric Fountain - to honor my grandparents and seeing their name on my logo is a way to keep me focused, grounded, and a smile on my face.
Reason 2...and I just came to this revelation the other night.
A definition of "Electric" - having or producing a sudden sense of thrilling excitement.
A definition of "Fountain" - a source of a desirable quality
A definition of "Brewing" - make (tea or coffee) by mixing it with hot water.
Put those 3 things together and you have "An exciting, desirable quality cup of tea or coffee made with water"
Seems like the exact thing I am trying to do and something that needs to be "experienced." ;)
Here is our first go at blogging! Woo hoo. Anyway for those of you that haven't heard I have decided to make a long time dream a reality and currently working on opening a coffee bar and roastery in downtown Quincy!
Grown N Gathered owner Michele W. bought the old "Everything and the Kitchen Sink" building on 6th and Maine to triple the size of GNG along with being able to fit a bigger Yoga facility for YOGA7EVEN! I then talked Michele into letting me create my vision with an unused back part of the building on the 6th Street side.
These blocks of window will be coming down in the next few weeks so that I can put in a glass garage door and an entry door to the ELECTRIC FOUNTAIN BREWING COFFEE BAR & ROASTERY!I am in talks with US Roasting Corp out of Oklahoma City OK and have a commercial 3 Kilo Shop coffee roaster reserved to be delivered once the building finishes the remodel process. I will go more into detail about the building and my vision for this coffee bar and roastery is as the building progresses! So keep checking the blog or drive by the building and see whats new! 601 Maine Street!