Extreme Reader

Welcome to our Extreme Reader / Extreme Stitcher series where we profile people willing to go to great lengths to read and/or stitch.

Meet Kat Rocha:

There are a few authors I will pre-order or try to buy the day a new bookcomes out. In the middle of the Harry Potter craze, J. K. Rowling was one of those authors. I remember receiving the fifth Harry Potter book from the UPS guy the day it came out: it was a Saturday and it came it a specially printed box. When the seventh book was coming out, I couldn’t pre-order it because I wouldn’t be home until a week after the book was released.

Love the cat with bike!

It was the summer of 2007, and my husband was going to ride in RAGBRAI, also known as the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. RAGBRAI is a 500+ mile bike ride across Iowa, and we live in Texas, so this was a bicycle adventure of epic proportions. RAGBRAI that year started on Sunday, July 22, 2007. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on Saturday, July 21, 2007. Houston, there was a problem.

We left Houston early on July 19th and after two days of driving through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, we arrived in Iowa. RAGBRAI that year was starting from the town of Rock Rapids. We actually spent the night in Luverne, Minnesota, bringing the number of states visited so far on the trip to six.

Both Rock Rapids and Luverne are not large towns, and Rock Rapids was going to be crammed full with 10,000 bicyclists and support people. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time hunting down a sold out book in a small town, so before we left, I looked up where the nearest Barnes & Noble’s was from Rock Rapids. The nearest one turned out to be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I’m personally not into staying up until midnight to buy a book and I knew the week would be a long one of early mornings and late nights, so I opted to get up early on Saturday, the 21st of July to drive to Sioux Falls. This was in the pre-iPhone days, so I had printed up a map from Luverne to the Barnes & Noble’s in Sioux Falls. It was about a thirty mile drive, and I only got mildly lost finding the Barnes & Noble’s in the city. Driving to South Dakota also put my tally of states travelled to on the trip at seven. If the store had a release party the night before, there wasn’t a sign of it Saturday morning. I didn’t have to wait in line and got my book right away. Then I got back in the car and took the back roads to go straight back to Rock Rapids for RAGBRAI festivities. Seven days later, my husband had ridden his bicycle 500 miles across Iowa and dipped his bicycle tire in the Mississippi River at Bellevue, Iowa.

I had driven the car from campsite to campsite and had packed and unpacked the tent six times. I actually didn’t get much read of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, since I was finishing another book, but I got to read it on the road all the way home to Texas.

Kat, as most of you will know, is the owner/designer of Cross Eyed Kat, a cross stitch design company. She is also the first needlework designer to single-handedly adopt a library for the Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy Bookmark Challenge. She welcomes all donations of hand-stitched bookmarks. Find where to send them on the Participants page. Of course, all participants will gladly put your fabulous bookmarks into the hands and books of young readers.

Categories: Reading