RAGBRAI 2014 Route for Monday, July 21: Okoboji to Emmetsburg
Day 2: Okoboji to Emmetsburg
This short 40.8-mile day is made for lingering over the quirks, history and old-timey charm that riders have come to love.
In Graettinger, you can get off your cellphone for a minute and stop by the River Valley Telecommunication building on Robins Street and see the display of an old hand-operated switchboard and wonder how the ancients ever talked to each other. But history is a treat not just of the mind. Just down the street is a small popcorn stand that has long been located in town, cranking out popcorn with the same, original old popper for decades. If you eat popcorn from western Iowa, you are now part of its rich corn history.
The town also claims this, which we’re sure has to be confirmed by RAGBRAI veterans and a team of statisticians: The most bars per capita in Iowa.
Speaking of the Irish, Emmetsburg was a nice place for them to settle back in 1858 along the Des Moines River before they realized it flooded and moved the town down by the lake. Now they wear green and holler a lot in March. All that blarney will be trotted out again for an Irish-themed celebration centered on a three-block stretch from downtown to the edge of Five Island Lake, which has been transformed from a silt-filled lake to sparkling waters after several years of dredging. Wear your green jerseys and listen to a band at the lakeside park, or take a shuttle out to the Wild Rose Casino. Or just sit in Dublin’s Food and Spirits and talk funny.