RAGBRAI XLII Countdown – July 20-26, 2014
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RAGBRAI 2014 Route for Thursday, July 24: Mason City to Waverly



Day 5: Mason City to Waverly

Riders can rest their weary bones where older bones have been resting for a long time: at the Fossil and Prairie Park Preserve and Center just outside of Rockford. The former clay quarry was a popular RAGBRAI stop in 2010, when riders scoured the dirt for clam (pelecypod) and snail (gastropod) fossils from the Devonian Period. The souvenirs from Iowa’s soggy prehistory are free for the taking.

The geology lesson continues in Marble Rock, so named for the area’s marble-like limestone. The river that cut through it, the Shell Rock, is a popular route for canoeists and kayakers, who paddle by the town’s old brick powerhouse and picnic-worthy park.

On down the road, Greene has a riverside spot of its own, Perrin Park, with a bandstand and stone walkways and lawns as green as parsley. Pick up a cinnamon roll from Clayton’s Bakery and plop right down for a snack.

Tired of biking? Take the last train to Clarksville.

City clerk Larry Betts blasted that song from the roof of city hall the last time RAGBRAI rolled through, but he may not again.

“I got too much of the Monkees that day,” he said.

If you’re hungry, stop by Pete & Shorty’s, which inspired the Hooters restaurant chain.

“It’s kind of like the family version of that restaurant, if you know what I mean,” Betts said.

But save some room for dessert: Waverly sits in the so-called “dairy spot of Iowa” and is home to a Nestle distribution center, housed in a 1923 plant formerly owned by Carnation. Besides that, the Bremer County seat of almost 10,000 has a thriving downtown district right next to Wartburg College.

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