RAGBRAI XLV Countdown – July 23-29, 2017
Friends of RAGBRAI


Route Inspection Ride: Day 5 – Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids

by T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director

RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-riders had the largest group of riders join them for the week as they gathered at Riverview Park in Marshalltown.  Joining the core group of weeklong Pre-riders were plenty of members of the Iowa Valley Cycling Club, Danno and Fred of Rawhide Riders, Danny from Grinnell, Brian from Pella and Matt from Mike’s Bikes in Marshalltown.  Members of the Marshalltown RAGBRAI committee and Cedar Rapids committee joined us as well.  I forgot to mention that Craig Cooper of Bikes 2 You joined us yesterday.   

The day’s ride was the longest of the week, 84.8 miles and just over 3,500 feet of climb.  It was an extremely scenic route with plenty of rolling hills throughout the route.  Fortunately for the team, the winds were light and favorable.  The pre-ride team left at 7:00 am, stopped in every town and still rolled into Cedar Rapids around 3:00 pm.

The roads were in good shape and the road into Garwin was one of the smoothest, scenic rolls you can experience in Iowa.

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


RAGBRAI has visited Garwin twice before, the last time in 2004.  Garwin is a community of 527 people located in Tama County, 15 miles into the ride.  Garwin will be a great place to stop for breakfast.

Garwin will have most of their vendors in the park or the surrounding area.  Some of the featured food includes Cinnamon Rolls from the church.  We tasted them and they were delicious!  The Legion will be serving biscuits and gravy and the Fire Station will have pancakes.

The Garwin Bull will be serving Bloody Marys andbreakfast burritos.

There will be music in the community band shell to keep everyone entertained and the Legion Hall will have a band.  There will also be cutouts and giant tractors for photo ops.


There will be “Plenty of Fun the Czech Way” in Clutier.  The tiny town of 213 will have plenty of food, entertainment and activities as they host RAGBRAI for the third time.

Clutier, of course, will be serving Czech food including kolaches (Czech dough with filling), rohlicky ( a Czech crescent roll), tea rings, jaternice sandwiches, ribeye steak sandwiches, hamburgers, brats, and more.  They say that the eight ladies that will be baking the cherry, prune, poppy seed and raspberry kolaches are the best Czech bakers around.  When asked if the Clutier Kolaches were the best they said, “No doubt!”  They are planning to make 5,000 Kolaches.

The Czech Point Bar and Pub (they recently renovated original Main Street building) will be hosting the beer garden in Clutier outside their pub in downtown.  DJ Jam Time will be getting everyone moving to the beat. Their will be a variety of music including polkas and waltz, contests, dance with the chickens and if you don’t know how they will teach you.

Neat places that riders should be sure to visit include the Clutier Museum, the Historic Town Jail, Historic Lodge and Dance Hall and the Carroll No. 8 Country Schoolhouse.  A production company is getting ready to film a movie in Clutier tentatively named “A Place for Heroes”.

The Czech Princess will be on hand to greet visitors.  She is known to assist with wedding and the town is happy to accommodate couples wishing to get married on RAGBRAI.

The City of Clutier is recovering from a rare derecho storm (straight line winds of more than 130 mph) which left a path of destruction on July 11, 2011.

A Clutier history lesson: The “Charging Czechs” won the 6 on 6 women’s basketball championship in 1942.  Four of the “girls” are in their 90’s and 2 still live in the area.  Their white ball is still in the Iowa Hall of Pride in Des Moines.


Plan on making a Pit Stop in Garrison!

This will be the first time since 1978 for Garrison to host RAGBRAI and they are excited to showcase their small community of just 213 people.

The Hitchin Post, the town’s local bar, will be having food, DJ music and beer.  Local organizations will be joining forces to serve food, baked goods and refreshments.  

Some type of food they plan to serve include chicken on a stick, sweet corn, pies, pork loins, lemonade, ice tea, Gatorade and water.  Tentatively the following vendors will be in Garrison:  Maley’s Smokin BBQ, American Concessions, 3 Fine Pigs and Custom Tags.

The first racecar of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will be on display (as it is owned by a local resident).  The town will have also have a Race Car Simulator.

Garrison was hit hard from the storm in July and the town is slowly recovering.   The Garrison Emergency Services building has been rebuilt.  The community is currently raising money to build a new library since the old library was demolished in July’s storm.   Also we have currently raised money and purchased new playground equipment for our park.  

A Garrison history lesson: The Garrison Rockets” won the 6 on 6 women’s basketball championship in 1957. 

Vinton (Meeting Town)

As riders enter Vinton, they will be greeted by the varsity Vinton-Shellsburg cheerleading squad and a display of U.S. Flags. Riders are encouraged to continue their journey through the city until they reach the downtown area as most vendors will be located on Fourth Street between C Avenue and 2nd Avenue.

Vinton has hosted RAGBRAI just once before, back in 1978.  Vinton is one of the larger pass-through towns on the route with a population of 5,257 people.

A beer garden will be located on First Avenue just south of Fourth Street. A large entertainment area will be located around the courthouse square at Fourth Street and First Avenue highlighting local talent.

There will be a large variety of vendor and food selection offered in the downtown area.

For entertainment, the community band; Gene Spicer/Rachel Kramer (local duet group); Dave Arnold Trio (local band); UPSTAGE.

Places riders should be sure to visit include The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School at 1002 G Avenue; Ray House at 912 1st Avenue, Horridge House at 612 1st Avenue and the Vinton Railroad Depot located a short distance from the 600 block of 4th Avenue. Please note that these places are not located on the official route, but are in town.

A few restaurants/pubs riders should be sure to visit in downtown include La Reyna-Mexican restaurant, Lotus Restaurant-Chinese restaurant and the RonDaVoo, a local bar in downtown on 1st Avenue that will be hosting beer garden. If you want to cool down, be sure to visit Peppy’s Ice Cream in downtown.

The City of Vinton is also recovering from the massive windstorm event that took place in the morning of July 11, 2011. Some building may still show some effects of storm damage while most of the city has been rebuilt


Shellsburg is a community of less than a thousand people that has never hosted RAGBRAI.  They are planning a big celebration on both sides of the river for the riders as they roll through Shellsburg. 

The community is preparing a warm welcome for riders starting at the corner of Pearl and Main, and continuing across the river and down to the town park. To make the stop as comfortable as possible the Shellsburg community is working diligently to turn their town park into an area that is welcoming, efficient, and most of all fun. Plans are still developing, but the Shellsburg community will have numerous KYBOs, shaded areas to cool down, efficient meal and beverage service, and a beer garden with live local music. 

Riders will be able to munch on some local favorites like jalapeno & cheese brat patties, caramel dipped potato chips and Tiny But Might Popcorn at Divine Decadents Candy & Confections.  The RAGBRAI pre-riders sampled all of these treats and all were fantastic!  RAGBRAI  rider favorites such as smoothies, watermelon, ice cream, popcorn, baked goods, water, sports drinks, beer, will also be available. The town is still accepting vendors and they should contact Marlys Harms at timarly@fmtcs.com if interested.

The community will host a beer garden in the park featuring the local band Monkey Business from 12:00-4:00.  There will also be simple yard games available to play in the shady park.

Be sure to visit Coop’s Roadhouse, Divine Decadents Candy and Confections and Pearl Street Social Club, all of which are located along the route. Another place of interest is the Masonic Lodge – the building itself is not that old, however, the Freemasons have been a part of the small community for over 150 years and have some of the oldest documents in Benton County, including documents from Benton City which is no longer exists.

While not near the devastation experienced by Cedar Rapids in 2008, Shellsburg suffered its own flash flood in July 2009; and then 80 plus mph straight line winds in July of last year.  Those two events severely damaged the park. Shellsburg Area Community Group, the main organizer for Shellsburg RAGBRAI pass through events, has earmarked their proceeds for park restoration and expansion.   

For a continuous feed of information please visit Shellsburg’s Ragbrai FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ragbrai-Shellsburg-IA-Follow-the-Yellow-Brick-Road/154919677972011 Shellsburg website www.shellsburg.com, and starting June 4 Shellsburg will begin chatting on twitter about local preparation, events, etc… @RagbraiShellsburgIA

So “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” through Shellsburg!

Palo Community Center

The Palo Community Center and City Hall was added as a stop, half way in between Shellsburg and Cedar Rapids.  RAGBRAI riders will have one last chance to rest up while finding some great food, drink and entertainment before heading to the overnight town of Cedar Rapids.


At the present time, we do not believe that Covington will be offering any services.

Cedar Rapids

Get ready to Survive the Ride when you roll into Cedar Rapids on this year’s RAGBRAI!

Riders are invited to join in the Party on the Island Event featuring RAGBRAI’s 40th Anniversary Celebration! This event takes place in downtown Cedar Rapids on the 2nd and 3rd Avenue bridges from 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. There will be live music, food, beverages, and a special concert featuring Counting Crows. We Are Augustine, Kasey Anderson and The Honkies, and Field Report will also be included in the concert as opening acts for Counting Crows. A second downtown venue stage—the TikiTorch Stage—will feature Chad Elliot and Bonita Crowe, blues and folk musicians, at 4:30, and Adobonga, an alternative group, at 5:30 p.m. The concert venue also includes the Beverage Garden where attendees ages 21 and older can enjoy a variety of drinks. This 40th Anniversary celebration will commemorate RAGBRAI as well as the communities and Iowans who have made 40 years possible. What better reason to celebrate than 40 years of greatness? All registered riders receive free admission to the Party on the Island.

If you are looking for something to do with the kids check out the Outplay Island Kids Zone located downtown in Greene Square Park from 2 to 7 p.m. There will be performances from storyteller Darrin Crow, MovMent Dance Co., the Titan Dolls Dance Team, Jugglers, TCR Camp Rock Disney Dancers, live music and more! Funny Face Design by Lori and Papa Balloon will be onsite providing face painting and balloons to the kids. Outplay Island will have bouncy inflatables/rock climbing area, food and beverage, Tiki Toss and many more activities available! Best of all, it is free to all families!

Riders coming into Cedar Rapids can also choose which tribe they’d like to join. Campsites are being set up in three locations around town. The Green Tribe Campground will be set up at Cherry Hill Park and will feature tribal themed games and challenges from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Blue Tribe Campground will be set up at Veterans Memorial and Cleveland Park. You during the day you can relax at Veterans Memorial Stadium, home of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Kernels will be on the road, but will be broadcasting baseball games throughout the afternoon and have their inflatables up and running for the kids. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. enjoy the classic baseball movie, Field of Dreams. And the Orange Tribe will be setting up camp at Ellis Park right along the Cedar River. There will be games and entertainment from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. including DJ Jam Time, variety, from 2 to 3 p.m.; Jeffrey Capps, folk from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.; and Funk Stop, funk, soul and R&B from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Friday morning make plans to stop in Czech Village/New Bohemia District to have Breakfast on the Bridge. Check out all the vendors, shops and restaurants that will be open early. Grab some delicious breakfast fare, including a kolache or two before riding out of town. Breakfast starts at 6 a.m. on the Bridge of Lions. After eating take some time to enjoy the variety of cultural activities going on throughout the morning. The Iowa Accordion Club and Czech Band Plus will offer live music. There will be Czech Folk Dancing and a performance by the Sokol Tumblers. Art Bikes demonstrations and displays will also be available. Several cultural and artistic attractions, including the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, the African American Museum, St. Wenceslaus, and CSPS will be open to riders. It will be a memorable, and tasty, morning!

Day 6 – Friday, June 8

The team is looking forward to a nice short ride from Cedar Rapids to Anamosa.  Tune in tomorrow for another report from the Route Inspection Ride!

6 Responses on “Route Inspection Ride: Day 5 – Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids

Profile photo of Joel


June 8, 2012 at 2:55 am

First paragraph regarding Garwin: you mention Kamrar instead of Garwin. Simply mistake after a long ride, but thought you should know to fix.


June 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm

TJ, thanks for arranging a great MoTown to Cedar Ride yesterday. I had a great time. The weather, winds, roads, and hospitality of the towns was spectacular. Looking forward to July.

Profile photo of TJ


June 9, 2012 at 12:02 am

Thanks for the correction, Bramas You are welcome Brian


June 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I have a room in Cedar Rapids for July 26 @ Days in Suites that I would like to sell for my price of $88.19. I will be charged even if I cancel . I booked through Hotels .com. “mistake”
Anyone want to buy this room? 1 king/non smoking.
On the north end of C.R. in the cluster of motels.
contact me @ missionmeadows@heartofiowa.net


June 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Three Dog Night. Little River Band. Counting Crows. I’m in music heaven after all that riding!!!

Edward Sunders

July 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This is an amazing adventure. I used to do this when I was in college. The long tiring trip after the ride is the best part of it.

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