RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
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Route Inspection Ride: Day 2 – Cherokee to Lake View




 by T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director

Over 30 riders gathered this morning at Letsche’s Bike Shop in downtown Cherokee for the second day of the RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride.  Joining the core group of weeklong Route Inspection Riders was again several members of Team Checker, plus a few from Team Joker and quite a few riders in the area of Cherokee. 

Vern and Vickie Willey joined us again and will next with us the next several days.  Vern was one of the committee chairs in Altoona and rides with the Adaptive Sports Iowa Team. The local RIDE RIGHT Committee members from Cherokee and Lake View also joined us as did Tom and Dave from Letsche’s Bike Shop in Cherokee.

The day’s ride was approximately 62 miles and just over 2,100 feet of climb.  The ride travelled through some great agricultural areas of our state as we rolled past soon to be lush corn fields and plenty of livestock along the route.  You will notice a good many Barn Quilts between Cherokee and Lake View. 

Barn quilts are large, colorful 8-foot square wooden blocks mounted on barns or cribs that are at least 50 years old.  See how many you can count along the route that day.  There are some of the most spectacular barns in the country!

The day starts will a decent climb out of Cherokee and then there are a few medium sized hills along the way that might cause you to drop a little lower, but no granny gears required on this day.  The day started with favorable winds for the RAGBRAI Pre-riders that switched to much less favorable direction by late morning.  All of the towns are spaced out nicely on this day with every leg of the journey being between 8.2 and 11.6 miles.  So stop in them all and enjoy.

A few of the roads are a bit bumpy on the day, but still safe.  Most of the roads are very nice and smooth.  A new bridge was just completed south of Aurelia and you will notice that we will have a 100 foot stretch of gravel north of Sac City where they are building a new highway for US20.  Also watch for the three sets of double rumble strips that might fool you.   

Here are some facts and points of interest from each town.

Aurelia

RAGBRAI has never visited Aurelia, but this town of 1,036 is excited to be hosting this summer!  The town is just 8.2 miles into the day, so perfect for a morning breakfast stop.

The shady park as you enter town will be the main location for breakfast foods tentatively including breakfast burritos, omelets, pancakes and other breakfast treats by the fireman.  In downtown, Jake’s will be serving breakfast as well as Bloody Marys.  Mud on Main is a quaint coffee shop that recently opened that will be serving “breakfast wedges” which are sort of like a breakfast calzone that are to die for!  They also serve a variety of coffees, smoothies, frozen yogurt and wraps.

A little history lesson on Aurelia: When the railroad was built from Iowa Falls to Sioux City, it is said that more than 80 town sites were laid out along the railroad. Each town had to have a name. The railroad builder, named the town of Aurelia after one of his daughters.

Hanover Historical Village

A visit to tiny Hanover Historical Village on RAGBRAI is an opportunity to see a slice of rural Iowa life.  You will probably not find the village on some maps, but it will be the place to be on Monday morning of RAGBRAI.  The community still proudly claims the heritage that was brought by the German settlers that came to the area in the late 1800s.  RAGBRAI visited Hanover Village just once before back on RAGBRAI VI in 1978.

Since the early 20th century, the village of Hanover has been well known through Northwest Iowa.  The Hanover Store has been a landmark to wanderers, travelers and a meeting place for locals since the turn of the previous century.

The restored country general store (circa 1890′s) showing original furnishings, old time barber shop, unique two story machine shed, and old time home provide an experience from long ago. The working mill house with its pulleys, shafts and belts as well as the display barn with old time agricultural displays, also provide an insight into agriculture from years past.  There is also a vintage country home restored beautifully.  There will be docents on hand from the Hanover Historical Society to answer your questions and inform guests and bring history to life.  

Be sure to check out the display of modern and antique farm machinery and witness the operation of a saw mill powered by steam engine.

The Hanover Village will have a Pancake breakfast flipped by Chris Cakes as well as pork burgers and beef burgers later in the day.  Plenty of Gatorade, Pop, Coffee and Bananas will be available as well. The Village will be providing free tap water and restroom accommodations.

There will also be some small farm animals to see and hold including some bottle calfs.   You will also see that the Hanover Village is home of the National Hand-picking Corn Contest winner.  The trophies and awards on display.

The Society is a non-profit organization that collects, preserves and interprets the history of the people who have made Northwest Iowa their home.  The society depends on donations for financial support.  Funds made from food sales and donations will allow the society to keep preserving the rich history of the area.

Mark your calendars for the Annual Hanover Festival held on Sunday, August 26, 2012.

Schaller (Meeting Town)

RAGBRAI has visited the “Popcorn Capital of the World” three times before, the last time occurring in 2001.  Schaller (pronounced SHAY-LER) is a community of 772 people located in Sac County. 

Throughout the mid-twentieth century the town’s major industry consisted of the packers of Bango and Jolly Time pocorn.  These two companies helped Schaller become “The Popcorn Capital of the World.” Popcorn is still a major area crop but the companies moved on to other locations in the 1980s.

There will be plenty of food for hungry RAGBRAIers in Schaller.  Of course there will be FREE POPCORN, plus you can purchase from local vendors Pork Chops on a Stick, Pasta Salads, Steak Sandwiches, Taco in a Bag, Bag Lunches/Sub Sandwiches, Homemade Pie, Breakfast Burritos, Pancakes, Brats, Sweet Corn, Pancakes, Root Beer Floats, Frozen Oranges. The town will also welcome in Carbo Hut, Funnel Cakes, Big Oven Bake Shop, Smoothies, Peanut Butter Jam, Munch Mobile  & Burgers & Corn Dogs.  There will be a community Beer Garden (for guests 21 years & older) at the east end of the block.

Schaller is ready for a good time as they will Sheltered Reality, a drum and dance core band made up of students from across the state of Iowa. There will be plenty of fun at Lobo’s Bar and Restaurant, which recently saluted our veterans will a memorial right outside of their bar and restaurant.  There will also be a DJ at the community Beer Garden. Local talent will also be performing during the day and you might even get to participate in the Zumba dance demonstrations.

Some other neat happenings in town include the VFW float with flags flying at the cemetery as you ride into town, a parade of tractors-toy to full size, the Popcorn Days float from the local museum, fire trucks, various Photo ops and more info to come on these!

Schaller is fundraising for their Pool!  They have to install a new pump, filter system, heater, and we need to put a new roof on the bath house to the kids.  The town is raising funds through food sales and a tee shirt booth during the RAGBRAI stop.  In addition, the Hup Tu Squad will be taking donations to try to get new uniforms and flag stands.

So, for a great time on RAGBRAI…. Follow the Popcorn Trail to Schaller!

Nemaha

Nemaha is a Mighty Small Town with just 85 residents, but they are not too small to host RAGBRAI!  The town last hosted RAGBRAI in 1998 and this will be the fourth time for the tiny Sac County community.

The community will have a slew of vendors booth along Main Street including the 4H group, the church, and elementary school teachers.  The Early Legion will host the beer garden in the city park and have Jam Time DJ entertaining RAGBRAIers.

Sac City

Sac City will host RAGBRAI for the third time this summer with the last occurring back in 1995.  This community of 2,200 people is the Home of the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball and recognized as the Guinness World Record.

The town is just 9 miles away from the overnight town of Lake View and will have music, food, drinks, games, all-night swimming, camping, indoor overnight facilities and other housing.

There will be so much food in Sac City to choice from including watermelon,  turkey tenders, pork chops on a stick, bananas, cookies,  porkburgers, pies from the church ladies, ice cream, chocolate brownie sundaes, floats, grilled chicken, smoothies, bar-be-que pork, pizza, Bloody Marys, Lime-a-ritas, lots of beer and a lot more!

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. it will be a local DJ, followed by The All Star Band whose members have all been inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

Neat places that riders should be sure to visit:

  • Sac City Museum complex – Home of the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball
  • Sac City Chautauqua Building – 1 of 3 existing Chautauquas in the state (and the only complete building of all three)
  • Sac City Library – WIFI Hub for Sac City RAGBRAI
  • Sac City Aquatic Center – All Night Swim

Neat restaurants or pubs that riders should be sure to visit:

  • Sac County Cattle Company – Home of the 2010 Iowa Beef Producers’ Best Burger in the State (but you ought to see their steaks & seafood too.)
  • Sac City VFW – Home to an inside/outside Beer Garden for RAGBRAI
  • Viking Bay – Home to more drinks and an evening band for RAGBRAI
  • The Depot – A pizza place located in the historic Sac City Train Depot featuring their infamous pizzadias. 
  • The Sac City Bowling Center – Home of a finalist for the 2012 Beef Producers Best Burger in Iowa, they also do a little bowling here too.
  • The Place on State – featuring Bloody Marys &  Lime-a-Ritas.
  • Subway – featuring the best of Subway always.

Sac City is an Iowa Main Street community so the town is pursuing a city-wide façade program.  The Early Mansion is also in the throws of restoration.  

The town has a neat t-shirt since they are the Home of the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball.  Got Balls? We Do! 

Lake View

After being named Iowa’s “Tourism Community of the Year” in 2011, Lake View is excited to host visitors from around the world in 2012 when RAGBRAI arrives on Monday, July 23rd. Lake View is encouraging riders to “Take a Brake at the Lake,” being that they are home to beautiful Black Hawk Lake, a 957-acre body of water that is the southernmost glacial lake in the U.S.  Riders may even feel like they are at a southern spring break destination upon arrival, as swimsuits, flip flops and beads take over the town. Riders will also be greeted by true, Iowa small-town hospitality as Lake View is one of the smallest communities to ever host RAGBRAI riders overnight.

While Lake View may be small, they are certainly planning big things for riders. With limited local restaurants, they will be well-prepared with a wide variety of Main Street food stands, church dinners, beverage garden eats and local food fundraisers. While this summer lovin’ town has lots of built-in entertainment options, from trails to parks to swimming beaches, they are bringing music and more into town to make “Summer Brake 2012” memorable for riders.

The beverage garden and main stage will be positioned alongside beautiful Black Hawk Lake so boaters and bikers alike can enjoy endless summer party tunes. The headline act will be RAGBRAI rider favorite, The Johnny Holm Band, who will play the main stage from 9pm to Midnight.

Here’s the main stage lineup for Monday, July 23rd:

  • Beverage Garden opens at 4:00 pm
  • Chad Elliot, 4 pm: Lauded as a modern-day troubadour, Chad has played hundreds of live shows across the country performing a blend of roots, blues and folk.  www.chadelliott.net
  • Nice Bangs, 5:15 pm: A rockin’ party band covering a wide variety of songs from the 60s to today, Nice Bangs will have riders banging their heads to the music.  www.nicebangs.com
  • King of the Tramps, 7pm: A roots-rock group that is fast becoming a local legend in the area, these five musicians play original tunes that appeal to a wide-range of fans, from blues lovers to jam band followers to classic and country rock fans.  www.kingofthetramps.com
  • Johnny Holm Band, 9 pm – Midnight: A RAGBRAI rock & roll party like no other. Enough said.  www.johnnyholm.com

RAGBRAI riders with wristbands are admitted at no charge. Your Lake View RAGBRAI “Take a Brake at the Lake” t-shirt is also a free ticket to the event. Admission to the beverage garden for others will be $5.

Additional entertainment will be provided downtown, where the South Dallas County Crewcut Cowboy Band will perform on the Main Street stage from 4-6pm. Playing crowd favorites like “Margaritaville,” “Momma Don’t Allow”, and the “Hokey Pokey,” riders will be dancing in the streets. More live music and DJ entertainment will also be found at local Lake View watering holes. The lake and downtown are within walking distance of one another, but shuttles will also be moving riders around the lake and between key community hubs. 

A Big Thanks

A big thanks to our friends at Fareway, Gatorade and Pepsi for keeping the riders hydrated throughout the ride.  We had plenty of cold Gatorade and Aquafina water on the route and Pepsi products when we got off the bikes.

Day 3 – Tuesday, June 5

The team is looking forward to the challenging the ride from Lake View to Webster City.  Tune in tomorrow for another report from the Route Inspection Ride!

 

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