RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 4 – Des Moines to Knoxville
IOWA STATE CAPITOL
On our ride out of Des Moines, riders will pedal up a steep hill past our Iowa State Capitol. Located at East 9th Street and Grand Avenue, the Capitol is set atop a hill and offers a panoramic view of the city’s downtown and the West Capitol Terrace. Various monuments and memorials are to its sides and front, including the Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument and the Lincoln and Tad statue. The building was constructed between 1871 and 1886, and is the only five-domed capitol in the country.
We think our State Capitol is the best in the land!
IOWA STATE FAIRGROUNDS
This is RAGBRAI’s first visit to Des Moines in 16 years and the first visit to the Iowa State Fairgrounds!.
“We’re just excited to be a part of the celebration of the great ride across Iowa,” said Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair director. “The potential of 30,000 riders going through, maybe they’ll remember to come back in a couple weeks.” Slater is encouraging fair vendors to open for business two weeks before the start of the Iowa State Fair Aug. 8. Food and drink stands, and even the Sky Glider, are a possibility.
The Iowa State Fair is an annual state fair and is one of the largest state fairs in the country. “Nothing Compares” to 11 days of food, fun and family! The 2013 Iowa State Fair will run August 8–18.
“A lot of people who go on RAGBRAI are from out of state or out of the country, so they’ve probably never been on the state fairgrounds,” said Kandi Reindl, assistant to the Des Moines city manager. “This is a little way for them to experience the Iowa State Fair without it actually being the Iowa State Fair.”
The fairgrounds are composed of 400 acres. Riders will cruise down Grand Avenue, which also called the Grand Concourse, and then head south on Rock Island Avenue which is where most of the livestock barns are located.
The Iowa State Fair always has great entertainment and this year is no exception. Toby Keith, Carly Rae Jepsen, Train and Alan Jackson are just some of the performers in this year’s Grandstand lineup. In addition to the annual state fair the fairgrounds also hosts auto shows, livestock exhibitions, flea markets, antique shows, concerts, trade shows and other events.
It will be “Christmas in July” in Runnells! So get ready for Christmas songs and caroling, mistletoe, snow “bales”, sleighs, Christmas Cookies and all the trimmings! There might even be a little snow to cool you down too… To top it all off, as you ride into town, you will be welcomed by the SEP Jazz Band. The town theme is “Hills, Chills and Wheels” so the downtown will have plenty of Christmas cheer for all.
The Southeast Polk band will be playing their hearts out as riding roll into town.
Runnells was named for John S. Runnells, a former editorial writer for the Iowa State Register (which would eventually become The Des Moines Register) and private secretary for Governor Samuel Merrill. This former coal town boomed in the late 1800’s, but a fire in 1892 burned down most of the buildings in town.
Runnells has nearly doubled its population since the 1970’s. The town boasts a bank, grain elevators, two bars and a winery.
Rosey Acres Winery is a small family owned boutique style winery which opened in 2006. The winery is owned and operated by Tom and Karen Diltz, both of whom share in the winemaking and blending of several grape wines. Wines range from dry reds and whites to sweet grape, and several seasonal fruit wines. The winery tasting room is located at 102 Brown St. in an 1890 bank building. One of only a few buildings left standing in the small town of Runnells, Iowa. The wines and several gift items are displayed in the original walk in bank vault. Stop by on your way through Runnells, sample some fine Iowa wines and ask the owners about the old bank. They will be serving their tasty Mimosas for RAGBRAIers!
Monroe is the Last BRAKE before the LAKE!
Monroe will be a very welcoming and interactive experience for all riders. The town will have several types of vendors to cater to everyone. There will also be a beer garden with a DJ and live music on the bandstand playing hits all day. No vendors will be set up in the town square itself, leaving a perfect shaded green space for visitors to sit back and relax. After resting, riders will enjoy the activities that Monroe has planned.
There will be outside vendors in Monroe, but the local vendors are bringing all the flavor. Be sure to check out the Monroe Kiwanis stand, which is cooking up fresh rib eye sandwiches along with chips, drinks, and of course pie made locally by All About Pies! Also enjoy fresh corn on the cob by our PCM students. Hope you have an appetite!
Along with the DJ at the beer garden, Monroe will have local talent performing on the bandstand. Everything from local garage bands to the dance teams will be performing throughout the day. Maybe we will even see Elvis! After relaxing for lunch, riders will have the opportunity to pitch horseshoes, play sand volleyball, and join the local fire department for a water fight. On the way out of town, they can take a picture with “farm sized” tire swing!
As riders make their way into the downtown area, you will want to check out Red Rock Park. There sits a small replica of a building that used to be in the town of Red Rock, which is now flooded and has become Lake Red Rock. Those interested in a game of golf should check out Gateway Recreation located on the west side of town.
Monroe has three bars around the square that riders will enjoy. Mike’s Lounge, the American Legion, and the Southside. There is also a small eatery on the South side of town called the Monroe Diner and even more south visit Subway. Riders will need to save room for ice cream and be ready to milk the jersey cow at Jersey Freeze ice cream on the way out of town!
Monroe’s major project is the completion of our new Monroe Recreation Park on the Southwest corner of town. This has been a community wide effort for the past few years. To date, the Kiwanis has raised $18,000 for the park, and a portion of the money raised during RAGBRAI will help further progress at the Monroe Recreation Park.
So Monroe will be the “Last BRAKE before the LAKE!”
LAKE RED ROCK
Lake Red Rock is Iowa’s Largest Lake with over 15,000 acres of water and 35,000 acres of land for your enjoyment. Located just north of Knoxville, the reservoir collects runoff and drainage from over 12,320 square miles of Iowa and southern Minnesota land. This protects communities and agriculture lands downstream from the Red Rock Dam.
Lake Red Rocks has beautiful bluffs, especially in the fall when the leaves turn colors. It has great multi-use path that goes around the lake and through the campgrounds for easy access. For anglers, Lake Red Rock is chock full of a bass, walleye, catfish, crappie and bluegill.
Knoxville is ready to show riders a Dam Good Time on the 41st RAGBRAI.
Riders will be treated with a view of the beautiful bluffs and the Red Rock Dam at Iowa’s largest lake, Lake Red Rock, as they cross The Mile Long Bridge. They will then take a spin around the fastest half mile on dirt at the Sprint Car Capitol of the World, Knoxville Raceway. Riders will have an opportunity to take a pit stop at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, the world’s only museum dedicated to open wheel racing, to learn about the history and heritage of those who made the sport great. Riders will venture to Downtown Knoxville for a celebration of Iowa culture featuring creations from Peace Tree Brewing Company, a variety of Iowa based bands scattered throughout Downtown, local and regional vendors, and pieces of Iowa history including the home of the Iowa Flag designer, Dixie Gebhardt, and the historic Marion County Courthouse.
After lunch make your way to the Marion County Park where you will find 115 acres of camping and recreational opportunities. Home to the Marion County Historical Village, the County Park will be your hub for information, bike repairs, and the Downtown Shuttle stop.
Heading back Downtown for main stage entertainment, riders will find the large shaded beverage garden, family friendly soda pop garden in front of the historic Grand Theater, and a continuation of the day’s entertainment proving Knoxville to be the best town on the route for a Dam Good Time. Several mini-stages will be set up around the downtown entertainment area with one main stage on the Square surrounded by our Beverage and “Pop” Gardens. All of our bands are Iowa-based or heavily Iowa-influenced, so this is going to be a great celebration of how great we are as a state!
Knoxville’s Entertainment Line-up:
Kevin Gordon (Americana, Roots Rock)
A Louisiana native, now 20-year East Nashville resident, Kevin Gordon is a touring recording artist and songwriter. His 2012 release, Gloryland, garnered high critical praise from The New York Times, USA Today, Rolling Stone and others. His songs have been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Irma Thomas, Ronnie Hawkins and more. The title track from his Down to the Well CD is a duet with Grammy winner Lucinda Williams. Also a published poet, Gordon earned an MFA degree from the renowned University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Kevin Gordon and his band will close the night’s festivities.
Diplomats of Solid Sound (Soul, R&B, Funk)
The Diplomats of Solid Sound is a vibrant soul group based in Iowa City that performs original soul music with a modern garage band twist. The lineup includes guitar, percussion, dual saxophones and Hammond organ. The resulting sound is retro, funky and thoroughly entertaining! Fronted by the powerful female vocal talents of The Diplomettes, this group has enough groove to get the dancefloor moving!
Brother Trucker (Roots Rock, Americana)
Hailing from Des Moines, Brother Trucker has forged its own path as one of the most-respected and sought-after bands in Iowa’s Americana music scene. A dynamic and energetic live act, this five-piece brings together Southern roots-rock with a distinctly Midwestern sound and blue-collar work ethic. Brother Trucker is helmed by singer/songwriter Andy Fleming, whose impassioned, heartfelt lyrics and gravelly voice are as compelling as the music itself.
Joe & Vicki Price (Blues)
If you haven’t heard husband-and-wife duo, Joe & Vicki Price, you’re missing out on one of the best country blues acts on the scene today. Joe Price alone has half a century of blues behind him, having opened shows for the likes of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Joe’s ability to hammer out, bend and slide his strings into fuzzy layers of guitar tones creates a unique and nearly un-imitable sound. Paired with the more traditional blues guitar structure and vocal twang of wife, Vicki, the two form a cohesive whole — evidence of many years performing together. Their albums have won multiple awards and accolades, including a 2010 Independent Music Award for Best Blues CD for Joe’s album, “Rain or Shine”.
Matt Woods (Blues)
Matt Woods is best known for his tenure as the frontman of Des Moines blues trio and former Blues on Grand house band, Matt Woods & The Thunderbolts. Woods’ gritty, shuffling electric blues guitar is steeped in the rich tradition of the masters, but with a raucous energy and songcraft all his own.
The River Monks (Indie, Folk-Pop)
The literal translation of Des Moines is “The Monks”, named for the monastic fishermen who traveled the river long before the birth of the city. The River Monks is a folk-pop and indie rock band from that current city. Lush, multi-part harmonies and acoustic folk join forces with driving rhythms and interesting instrument combinations, including banjo, ukulele, trumpet and accordion.
Chad Elliott (Folk, Americana, Country)
Averaging over 150 shows per year, Coon Rapids native Chad Elliott has been on the road for more than a decade performing a blend of Americana, roots and country music. An adept fingerstyle guitarist and storyteller, Elliott has recorded 18 full-length albums and won multiple songwriting contests, including the Woody Guthrie Song Contest.
Thankful Dirt (Folk, Americana)
Thankful Dirt is the musical collaboration of husband and wife team Darren and Molly Matthews. Darren was already an accomplished guitarist and seasoned veteran to the Iowa music scene when the two met, but it wasn’t until later that they discovered their natural talent for performing together. Molly’s vocals are soulful, authentic and cathartic and Darren’s guitar picking is subtly complex. The two added trumpeter Erik Brown to the lineup in 2011, rounding out their dark folk stylings.
The High Crest (Folk, Acoustic)
The High Crest is the self-described “Folk & Roll” duo of husband and wife Aaron Short and Kat Darling. The two share songwriting, vocal harmonies and guitar duties. The spiritual connection to storytelling and to one another is evident in The High Crest’s emotionally driven music.
Dustin Busch Trio (Blues, Roots, Americana)
Iowa City’s Dustin Busch is a luthier by trade, whose respect for the guitar as an instrument is evident in the way he plays. While you never know what guitar he’ll bring to a show, it’s even more unpredictable how he’ll play it. What is predictable is that he’ll sound great. Busch recently began focusing his attention into a trio, which is not to be overlooked.
Typical Males (Americana, blues)
Typical Males is the guitar duo of Tim Verdon and John Price of Des Moines. Verdon writes songs with personal, heartfelt and often humorous lyrics and Price accompanies on electric guitar. Typical Males have been known to jam with other musicians, so don’t be surprised if they bring friends.
Rumble Seat Riot (Rockabilly)
Rumbleseat Riot is a Rock ‘n Roll trio from Des Moines, featuring Knoxville’s own Gene Senn on vocals and guitar. The band’s rockabilly persuasion is loud, dirty and lots of fun!
Retro Jukebox (Retro, Covers)
Knoxville’s Retro Jukebox is a five-piece variety cover band, playing country, soft-rock and pop tunes of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s on up.
Entertainment Schedule and Locations:
Retro Jukebox 10-12
Rumbleseat Riot 12:30-2
Typical Males & Friends 10:30-12:30
Dustin Busch Trio 1-3
The High Crest 11-1
Thankful Dirt 1:30-3:30
Chad Elliott 11:30-1:30
River Monks 2–4
Matt Woods 12–2
Joe & Vicki Price 2:30–4:30
Diplomats of Solid Sound 6–7:30
Brother Trucker 8–9:30
Kevin Gordon 10–11:30/midnight