Riding across Iowa in the RAGBRAI ride was so many different things . This ride definitely has its own spirit, made up of some 17 to 19 thousand people riding on any given day. The weather was almost perfect lows in the 60’s and highs in the mid 80’s. The first couple of days were a little hilly and the second day was torture, 80 miles and these amazing hills that go up 500 feet but only go downhill on the other side about 100 feet. One after another all day, I’m getting tired just thinking about it.
The ride is amazingly well organized and people were generally very safety conscious. Camping was easy with large nice sites in the overnite towns . Shuttles to events in town and baggage shipping of up to 50 pounds made it all very easy.
The pass thru towns were always lively and would have local vendors along with the 20 or so that were everywhere. The best find was frozen cherries, loved them. Every town was throwing a party with bands or DJ’s and all kinds of games, goat races , slip n slides. lots of fun. These parties seemed as much for the town as for the riders , sort of a thank you for the huge inconvenience of the mob that was passing thru and blocking / clogging the roads.
Along the road were some of the best food, Mr Pork Chop stands out . Huge pork chop and lean, very tasty. Amish bake goods and in particular fried cherry pies could keep you from losing weight even though you are riding almost 500 miles. Watermelon was plentiful as were bananas and other fruits. Smoothies and pickles everywhere. Lots of pickles.
I started in Council Bluffs and rode most of the way on the Wabash trace rail trail and loved it. I am looking forward to more trails like it.
Overall I probably won’t ride again in the RAGBRAI but only because it takes a lot of time and there are so many other places I want to ride. The experience was awesome and no matter what you think could change and make it better there is no chance. With nearly a third of the riders not even registered and so many people in the ride it becomes like a giant Ouija board making its own spirit and self. However if I could I would like to not hear the boom box blasters for two miles coming and two miles going. I like to hear the corn grow and the quail calling.