Tue, Jun 4, 2013 | by Andrea ParrottShare
Today’s ride is the toughest of the week at 83.0 miles (plus an additional 24 if you decide to do the Karras Loop) with 4,239 feet of climb. The route features lots of rollers, too many to count, and one named hill – Mockingbird Hill just after Springbrook State Park.
After riding 14.5 miles, our first stop of the morning is the Danish village of Kimballton. Home to 342 people, Kimballton was named one of Iowa’s Great Places in 2010. If you are looking for a good photo-op, stop on the hill just before we enter Kimballton on Highway44 for a picturesque panoramic view.
Residents of Kimballton have always stayed close to their Danish heritage, so close that in 1978 they installed a full-size replica of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen’s Harbor. This beautiful statue and fountain is in H.C. Anderson Park, along with a ½ size replica of a Danish windmill.
Other attractions in downtown Kimballton include the New Genesis Art Studio, New Century Art Guild and The Little Mermaid on Main Street. All feature artwork by regional artists.
Kimballton is also home to Jan Jensen, current Associate Head Coach of the University of Iowa Women’s Basketball Team and member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Hall of Fame. For more information on Kimballton, visit their site at: http://www.kimballtoniowa.com/ or http://www.danishvillages.com/.
ELK HORN (OPTIONAL KARRAS LOOP)
If you choose to ride the Karras Loop, you will find yourself in the Danish village of Elk Horn where you’ll find both the very old and the very new. Elk Horn is home to the oldest Danish immigrant in Iowa, a reconstructed windmill. It stands a full 60’ tall and is in working condition. There is also a 900 AD Viking Smithy’s House. The Danish Villages (Elk Horn and Kimballton) attract over 60,000 visitors each year (not including RAGBRAI!). It has been said that the countryside around Elk Horn looks just like the countryside of Denmark, Europe. Elk Horn was named an Iowa Great Place in 2011, and is the hometown of former Iowa Governor Leo Hoegh (pronounced Hoyg), who served from 1955-’57.
As a contrast, Elk Horn has more electric car charging stations per capita than any other city in America (there are eight around town). If you stick around long enough you are sure to see an electric car or two cruising the streets of Elk Horn.
You may also want to stop by the Danish Countryside Vines and Wines, a 5 acre vineyard, or the Danish Immigrant museum. Visit their site for more information, http://www.danishvillages.com/.
Karras Loop patches will be handed out in Elk Horn between 7am and 11am to registered riders.
If you are looking for the original #1 tenderloin in Iowa, you’ll find it at Darrell’s Place in Hamlin. They won the inaugural top loin in the state by the Iowa Pork Producers in 2003. These fresh cut loins are never frozen, so their will be a limited number of loins served on RAGBRAI day. The restaurant will set up in their parking lot to accommodate the masses. Darrell’s will also be serving breakfast items early and lunch items later in the day.
Hamlin is also on the T-Bone Trail that runs from Atlantic to Audubon and once “elected” a 12 year old mayor.
Guthrie Center is our meeting town on this leg of the ride, and you’ll find it along the Western Skies Scenic Byway. For food and entertainment, 24 vendors will be set up in Mitchell Park, along Highway 44 on the west side of Guthrie Center. They will have the local band Code Blue performing as well as JamTime DJ at the beer garden in the shady park. The town will also feature a petting zoo, bags toss, hotwheel races and slide races at pool (weather permitting)
The Royal Neighbors of America has volunteered to take photos of the riders at the town’s multiple cut-outs showcasing Guthrie Center.
Home to the Annual River Ruckus, Guthrie Center knows how to have a great time. For more information on RAGBRAI’s visit to Guthrie, stop by their site at http://www.guthriecenter.com/Ragbrai.htm.
SPRINGBROOK STATE PARK
Springbrook State Park is located about five miles west of Yale, and features a 17-acre spring-fed lake, as well as a beautiful wooded area. It is a long trek from Guthrie Center to Yale, so you might want to pause a moment in this beautiful park to pick up a snack at their Campground Camp Store, located in the Park Entrance (this is marked by large stone signs, and will be on your left). They will be serving ice cream, Gatorade and snacks. You can also pick up fishing supplies there, in case the need arises. Fair warning – Springbrook State Park is a beauty, but it ends with a notorious beast of a named hill (Mockingbird Hill), which you can see previewed in our photo gallery from today.
One of our last stop of the day will be Yale, which is located in Guthrie County and is home to 245 residents. Yale is a stop along the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Just Ethyl’s is a popular bar in town.
The Consolidated School for Washington Township will host Monday’s last stop. They are planning to serve cold sliced watermelon. The riders will have another 8 miles to Perry, so stop for one last treat!
Perry just celebrated the opening of the North Loop of the Raccoon River Valley Trail. This 33 mile addition creates a 72 mile loop trail and brings the total miles of the RRVT to 89. This 72 mile loop is considered the Longest Paved Loop Trail in the Nation. It connects 4 counties and 14 communities as well as tying into the Des Moines-metro trail network.
Right in downtown Perry you’ll find the Hotel Pattee. The historice Hotel Pattee invites guests to relax in a setting that celebrates the sights and sounds, the people and memories of small town America. A unique reminder of the millions of people who came from all over the world to build the town, the state and the country, the Pattee is one of the few hotels where every room and suite tells its own story. Each of the individually decorated and themed guest rooms preserve history, celebrate ethnicity, honor craftsmanship, and pay tribute to the noteworthy sons and daughters of Iowa and the Midwest.
The Downtown Cultural District is also home to historic buildings housing businesses and cultural sites, including the Carnegie Library Museum, the Perry Public Library, Albert Paley’s Reconfigurations Arches, and the Center for Town/Craft along with the newly renovated Grand Theater.
Combining a stay at the Hotel Pattee with a ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail makes Perry a perfect destination vacation.
The town of Perry has lined up a large variety of entertainment to welcome riders to town after the long 83-plus mile day. You’ll have Nothin’ But a Good Time in Perry, with Hairball as the headliner. Hairball is a Rock & Roll Experience you won’t soon forget. Vocalists lead the band through a 2-hour drop-dead accurate homage to some of the biggest arena acts in the world. Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey, Prince and Aerosmith are but a few of the acts fans will see brought to life. The Hairball stage becomes an entirely new rock concert before your very eyes countless times throughout the night. 2013 finds Hairball celebrating its 13th year of rocking hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
As you first enter Perry, look for the entertainment to be located in Pattee Park to your left, or take a right to make your way to the main campgrounds. Either way, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the town of Perry.