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

Route Inspection Pre-Ride

RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 7 – Fairfield to Fort Madison



We had one of our largest group of riders join us on today’s RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-ride from Fairfield to Fort Madison on Saturday.  The ride was more challenging than the day before with 62 miles and about 2,800 field of climb.  Most of the climbs were departing the Villages of Van Buren communities that are along the Des Moines River as we climb out of the river valley.

The last few miles into Fort Madison are some of the most enjoyable as you see the Mississippi River (which is currently flooding out the dip site area) and then coast down a long descent into town.  The dip site will be built just behind the Fort Madison Historic Site.

We had several area riders joining us including committee members from the Fairfield and Fort Madison Committees and Team Gnarley from Fort Madison.

BIRMINGHAM
Birmingham, home to former Iowa Governor William S. Beardsley, will be the first stop on our last day of RAGBRAI XLI.

Riders can look forward to a delicious breakfast from outside vendors, Chris Cakes and Dad’s Belgian Waffles. The local pub and short order grill will be open for service along with comfort stations and hand washing facilities.

While you are in the park downtown, you might want to visit the 1923 log cabin, which is currently undergoing restoration. Though the log cabin is not tied to Abraham Lincoln, his sweetheart Ann Rutledge’s family moved to Birmingham in 1837.

The park will also host a “Where are you from?” sign-in board, and a photo-op with a commemorative Birmingham sign.  For more information on Birmingham and the ride, visit their website at http://showcase.netins.net/web/djnsweb/bham/.

KEOSAUQUA
Our second stop of the day is historic Keosauqua, pronounced Key’-oh-Sock-wa meaning “Big Bend”. It is located on the horse shoe bend of the Des Moines River, and is surrounded by beautiful woodland and rolling hills, with which you will become intimately acquainted. This village has previously hosted RAGBRAI in 1981.

One historic site in Keosauqua is the Pearson House, a stone and brick home built in 1847, which was a station on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. Another is Hotel Manning, which was built in the 1890s with Steamboat Gothic architecture. Van Buren County Courthouse will also stand out to visitors, it is the oldest courthouse in Iowa and is the second oldest in continuous use in the United States. Famous Keosauqua residents include Phil Strong, author of “State Fair,” and artist Wendell Mohr.

Just outside of Keosauqua, riders will find Lacey Keosauqua State Park, which hosts 1653 acres of trees, hills and bluffs, perfect for outdoor activity and sightseeing. For more details on Keosauqua and the RAGBRAI experience, visit their site at http://keosauqua.com/ragbrai-xli.html.

BENTONSPORT
Our third stop of the day, Bentonsport, is also rich in history. Bentonsport is located on the Des Moines River, and was once a steamboat stop and is home to the first paper mill in Iowa.  Guests can look forward to scenes of old mills, the century-old iron bridge, and the magnificent riverbank view.

Iron & Lace Pottery, Mason House Inn, Greef General Store, and the Indian Artifacts Museum are a few of the specialty shops that will be open for business. To learn more about Bentonsport, visit their website at http://www.bentonsport.com/.

BONAPARTE
Our next stop of the day is another town located on the Des Moines River. As you enter the city, you may feel as though you are stepping back into time, since there as been a recent resurgence of historic restoration.

While you visit Bonaparte, browse the National Historic Riverfront District for your entertainment, including an art gallery, antique shops and the infamous fudge factory. Or if you are hungry, stop by the Bonaparte Retreat Restaurant, formerly known as Meek Grist Mill, for the blue plate lunch special, great food, and the amazing historical atmosphere.

Bonaparte is an award-winning town, named a Main Street Community in 1990. The town holds the honor of being the United States’ smallest Main Street Community. It was also one of five towns to win the 1996 Great American Main Street Awards, an All-America City Award finalist in 1997, and designated as one of 12 “Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust in 2001. Bonaparte strives to remain a thriving community.  They welcome guests to experience a blend of yesterday’s ambience, today’s progress, and tomorrow’s success.  For more information on Bonaparte, visit their site at http://www.bonaparte-iowa.com/index.htm.

This is the last of the Villages of Van Buren.

WEST POINT
Our final stop of the day is West Point, which is in Lee County, home to the largest contiguous forest in Iowa. If you are hungry, you can look forward to walking tacos, lunch meat sandwiches, rib-eye sandwiches, corn dogs and ice cream provided by local vendors. Restaurants and pubs located on the square will be open for business. RAGBRAI festivities will include a DJ in the park, an obstacle course, antique tractors on display, and Mount RAGBRAI.

While you are eating your walking taco, take a stroll and check out West Point’s rich German heritage and 100 acres of parkland. Other attractions include the Presbyterian Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, a war memorial in City Park, Pollmiller Park, South Park and the five bars around city square, which we know will interest many RAGBRAI riders.

West Point’s RAGBRAI theme will be “Awe shucks, it’s all done,” which echoes our sentiments exactly. To learn more about West Point, visit their site at http://www.westpointiowa.com/.

FORT MADISON
The climatic ending RAGBRAI will take place at the Mississippi River in Fort Madison.  Riverview Park will host all of the RAGBRAI festivities with a huge arch for riders to ride under before heading to the river and the sip site.  The dip site will be constructed just behind the historic Fort Madison Historic Site for a beautiful ending of the 406 mile journey across Iowa.

The town’s theme is “BIKES, BURGERS & PARADISE – The Florida of Iowa”.  If you look at the location of Fort Madison, it is similar to Florida’s position in relation to the United States.  This fun theme will spawn catfish and flamingos through the park.  Tons of vendors will be waiting for hungry finishers just after dipping as will entertainment, last-minute souvenir shopping and a celebration beer garden.  The Cherry Gun Band is the featured entertainment for the last day of RAGBRAI.

It has been a great journey across Iowa for the pre-riders.  We will be doing a wrap-up blog and will gather some thoughts from some of the riders that made it all the way across in the coming weeks.  We will also be highlighting some of the pass-through and overnight towns in the coming weeks as we learned more about their plans for hosting RAGBRAI.

Thanks for following us!!!!

 

3 Responses on “RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 7 – Fairfield to Fort Madison

Chas Daker

June 9, 2013 at 11:54 am

Thanks for posting

Angie

June 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Bentonsport will host a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser with bierocks and PIE! What’s a bierock? Stop by and try one of these yummy German treats. Did I mention PIE? Look for the tent on your right as you round the big curve into town. Hope to see you there!

james

June 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thank you for your article, it’s very useful, will definitely try to experiment what you have indicated… there’s only one thing I want to talk about in more detail, I wrote an email to your address about it.

Leave a Reply

Latest Blog Posts

  • The Results Are In...

    Before we get too far down the road planning RAGBRAI XLV, lets take a quick look back at what a great time we all had in 2016!  Here is a ...

  • A big thanks to nuun hydration for supporting RAGBRAI

    A big thanks to nuun for supporting RAGBRAI and keeping riders hydrated this summer!

  • Thank you to TransIowa Equipment

    Thank you to TransIowa Equipment for helping keep the #RAGBRAI towns clean every day!

  • Thanks Jamis!

    Just wanted to thank Jamis Bikes for supporting #RAGBRAI this summer. This is the 3rd year Jamis has brought a fleet of bikes to Iowa.

  • Thanks Bianchi!

    Just wanted to thank Bianchi for their continued support of #RAGBRAI every summer by bringing their demo team to Iowa!

  • RAGBRAI Web Store Now Open!

    The RAGBRAI Web Store is NOW OPEN!

  • RAGBRAI Training: Now that RAGBRAI is Over for Another Year, What Should You Do?

    Well, RAGBRAI came and went, and I hope you were well prepared and had a great time. Hopefully you learned something to do better for next year.

  • Adventure Traveler's Video Captures the Essence of RAGBRAI

    Check out this great ‪‎RAGBRAI‬ video from Ryan Van Duzer, who travels the world and creating content aimed at inspiring people to hit the road.

  • Congratulations to the Dream Team on Another Great Year!

    The Dream Team uses the power of a bicycle to assist youth in developing a positive approach to life’s challenges.

  • Congratulations to Grace from Shenandoah for Winning the 2016 RAGBRAI Kid’s Art Contest

    This year’s winner of the RAGBRAI Kid’s Art Contest is 9 year old Grace from Shenandoah. Grace’s artwork depicted the local theme in Shenandoah of “Peace, Love, Ride”

Latest Videos

  • Take a look back on all the fun moments the Des Moines Register staff captured on video during RAGBRAI 2016.

  • Riders brave the swinging bridge in Columbus Junction.

  • Winds remain out of the northeast for Saturday and with partly sunny skies, highs will hold in the lower 80s. The weekend looks dry for the most part, perfect for those finishing up Ragbrai or maybe heading out to the Indianola Balloon Classic.

  • Omaha-based Team Pump's bus is one of the most colorful, and oldest, team buses currently operating in RAGBRAI.

  • Hal Colliver has been collecting signs since 1973. Its a hobby of his he loves to share with others who often stop by to look at his barn.

  • Teresa Condon and Tracy Henriksen have fun in their infant costumes.

  • Riders take over Wooden Wheel Vineyard

  • The complete century ride, including the Karras Loop, from Leon to Centerville on RAGBRAI 2016.

  • Lyle Dumont has built and rebuilt enough model trains and full size tractors to fill 30,000 square feet of space. Take a look around his collections

  • \u0022The best part of this job is hearing all the thank-yous,\u0022 Iowa State Patrol trooper says.

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2016 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy