Sun, Mar 9, 2014 | by TJ JuskiewiczShare
Rock Valley is a pleasant town of 3,354 in Sioux County, which you may have heard is ordered and well-mannered countryside. Folks there even call it “square.” Relax. They’re talking about the wide streets laid out in squares, easy to pedal around without getting lost. Once all RAGBRAI breaks out, they say it will be anything but square.
The great thing about northwest Iowa is there’s so much to find out that you never knew, and once you pedal on from Rock Valley to Hull,you’ll be surprised to know it’s the home of the Foreign Candy Company, it of great international confections sent all over the world, including Rips and Eiffel Bon Bons. You’re in luck, riders. They have a retail outlet store right in town.
After cooling off in Boyden’s Centennial Park water park, you’ll hit another unknown gem of local history. It’s in Melvin, where they are still celebrating a strange visitor, and it’s not you on your old Schwinn. A moose. He came here in 1990 and people swarmed to Melvin to see it. So they decided to have annual Moose Days, which they still celebrate. They know how to party, folks.
Then it’s time to shed the antlers and cut loose. What better way to end day one than in Iowa’s summer vacation capital of Okoboji,home to a deep and clear chain of glacial lakes. This place was carved out to party. Down on the green space by the lakeside Arnold’s Park Amusement Park, an Iowa favorite, Hairball, will be hammering out what’s always a RAGBRAI favorite — classic rock. It will be easy to get around because you can pedal around all the lakes on the 25-mile Iowa Great Lakes Trail.