RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
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Route Inspection Pre-Ride

RAGBRAI pre-ride Day 2 – Okoboji to Emmetsburg

We would like to start out by thanking everyone on the Okoboji RAGBRAI Committee for your hospitality! We were disappointed that the rain put a damper on some of the activities we had planned but we still had a ton of fun in the Iowa Great Lakes region and can’t wait to bring our 10,000+ friends back in July.

We had about 35 riders start with us in Okoboji for our second day of the RAGBRAI XLII Route Inspection ride. We couldn’t ask for more as we headed to Emmetsburg, with temperatures in the mid-70s and a mix of tailwinds and crosswinds. This was a welcome “breather day” after a long day in the saddle yesterday. 

Follow the pre-ride team along the route all week with Twitter updates and pictures at DesMoinesRegister.com/trackRAGBRAI.

The cities we visited on Day Two of our ride were Okoboji, Terril, Graettinger (meeting town)  and Emmetsburg. We rode 40.8 miles, and had 1,078 feet of climb (though it barely felt like any with our prevailing tailwinds).  As you can see we only have two pass through towns on Day Two. We’ve visited both only once, back in 1985, and are thrilled to be coming back to the area. We suggest taking your time on your way to Emmetsburg and enjoying what Terril and Graettinger have to offer. Here’s a little bit about what you can expect to see in each town on the second day of RAGBRAI next month!

The first of our two pass through towns on Day Two is Terril. Most likely, the first thing you’ll notice on your way into town is the giant, moving bicycle sculpture at Fairchild Welding. It’s pretty neat, and will make a great photo-op. Once you ride farther into town, keep an eye out for the original jail for Terri. It was built in 1900 to try and help address issues stemming from alcohol.  Rumor has it that the gentleman who built the jail then became its first occupant!  The jail is still standing and is located on State Street just south of the original Post Office.

You’ll find a handful of original buildings in Terril.  The original blacksmith building, built around 1915, still stands on State Street.  The original Post Office, built in 1941, is now an art studio.  And the old bank building built in the early 1900’s is ready to undergo a refurbishment soon.

On the North side of Terril, you will find the old movie marquee now serving as the welcome sign for all visitors to town.  This was resurrected as part of the 1995 centennial celebration.  The sign will serve as a great photo op to commemorate your visit.

The Main Street Bar plans to host a beer garden outside the restaurant, complete with Jam Time DJ, Madame Mary Bloody Mary Mix, and Impact Wrestlers.  Yes, there will be wrestling on RAGBRAI again this year! 

The Outer Limits Bar will be open and ready to serve RAGBRAI riders.  Look for them on the south end of town after you’ve visited the downtown area. 

For more information on Terril’s RAGBRAI plans, Like their Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/TerrilIowa

Next, we’ll head to our meeting town, Graettinger. This section of the route has some of the highest elevation in Iowa so there will be some rolling hills on the way. We love Graettinger’s theme, “We Wear Our Hearts on our Spokes,” and they’ll be selling commemorative logo t-shirts and LED reflectors – proceeds go to GTRA Youth Wrestling!

On our trip into town, we saw lots of turtles along the side of the road. We wouldn’t recommend petting them, but on your way into town there will be a 4-H petting zoo so you can get your cute animal fix.

Once you are farther into Graettinger, we suggest you wash up and dig in. There will be a lot to do here and tons of lunch options. It should be a fun stop, Graettinger is home to Iowa’s oldest Labor Day celebration (this year will be their 118th!), so they know how to put on a good party. That, and the fact that they have the most bars per capita of any town in Iowa.

Many of the food options in Graettinger will be in the park downtown. They include the Fire Department’s chicken breast sandwich and chips (raising funds for new jaws equipment), Hillcrest who will have steak sandwiches, and more. Across the street from the park the American Legion will be serving pork chops, brats and lots of cool drinks. Side note – the Fire Department is also planning on setting up some giant dip tubs for riders to cool off in.

For you history buffs, the first frame house in Graettinger still stands, you’ll find it at 201 N. Lincoln Ave. Or if you’re into more modern entertainment, check out the High School’s talent show and the dip tank on the far side of town.

Be sure to Like Graaettinger’s Facebook page for more info on their RAGBRAI plans: https://www.facebook.com/graettingerragbrai

After you’ve eaten your fill and head out of Graettinger, you’ll head on in to Emmetsburg. This is the fourth time Emmetsburg has hosted RAGBRAI as an overnight stop.  The last time the community hosted was 2002 for RAGBRAI’s 30th anniversary ride.

Emmetsburg is an active community in Northwest Iowa with a population of approximately 3,900 people.  The community is the home of the Five Island Lake, the Wild Rose Casino & Resort, Smith Wellness Center, the Emmetsburg Riviera Theatre and the Little House on the Prairie replica.  The Five Island Lake has a beach area near the main RAGBRAI entertainment and food zone.

The town is proud of their Irish tradition and will recreate some of the fun they enjoy each spring as they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Emmetsburg theme will be “Get Lucky in Emmetsburg!”  So break out your green and your shamrocks or pick up your “Get Lucky” t-shirt.

On the Palo Alto County Courthouse there is a statue of Robert Emmet.  Emmet was a great Irish hero – but he was captured and hung at the age of 25.  The statue was created by Jerome Connor, a Irish born sculptor.  There are only three other versions of this statue cast – in Dublin, Washington DC and San Francisco.

Emmetsburg is also home to the Victorian Museum on Main.  Located at 1703 East Main Street, this Victorian home is a crown jewel of Emmetsburg.  It was built in 1883 by a prominent member of the community as a wedding gift to his daughter.

Emmetsburg Campgrounds
There will be many campgrounds for RAGBRAIers through the Emmetsburg community.  The main campground will be the campus of the Iowa Lakes Community College.  There will also be camping at the high school, fairgrounds, the Wild Rose Casino and a few of the city’s parks.

Emmetsburg Activities
It’s a short day’s ride, so you might want to play a round of golf at the Five Island Golf course in Emmetsburg.  The course in running a great special, just $20 for 2 people for 9 holes with a cart.  The course is located at 14 North Lawler.

Emmetsburg is also home of the Wild Rose Casino and Resort.  The Wild Rose Casino opened in 2006 as one of the premier gaming facilities in the Midwest, where visitors come for a good time. The 16,800-square-foot casino boasts 550 state-of-the-art slot machines with ticket-in/ticket-out technology and 17 exciting table games. You can enjoy their incredible buffet for under $10 or dine at Dunigan’s Irish Pub.  The Wild Resort will also have entertainment as the Vic Ferrari Band will perform.

Emmetsburg Entertainment
The main entertainment for Emmetsburg will take place in Soper Park, a scenic park right on the south shore of beautiful Five Island Lake.  The park will be surrounded by lots of great food and drink vendors to serve the hungry RAGBRAIers!

Johnny Holm Band
Johnny Holm is the “Leader and front man of the most widely known and traveled band in America.” “Surrounding himself with the finest musicians in the Midwest, the band rocks, picks, and thunders along for 3-4 hours, almost non-stop from the first song to the last laugh.”  “The Johnny Holm Band” performance on July 21st in Emmetsburg is sponsored by POET of Emmetsburg.  Visit POET’s web site,http://poet.com/Emmetsburg, for information about POET.  Johnny Holm Band will play from 9pm until midnight.

Classical Blast
“Classical Blast is a unique 4-pc band dedicated to bringing the classical arts to mainstream rock & pop music. We’re classically trained musicians who love to rock.” The performance by “Classical Blass” on July 21st is sponsored by Iowa Trust & Savings Bank of Emmetsburg. Visit Iowa Trust & Savings Bank’s web site at https://www.iowatrustbank.com/  Classical Blast will perform 5pm-8pm.

One Layne
One Layne is a local band bringing sounds from the 70’s,80’s,90’s and today. Classic rock, rock, country and pop, we cover a lot of ground. Three guys playing music for the right reason……”FUN.”  One Layne will perform from 3pm-5pm.

Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band
In keeping with true Emmetsburg Irish tradition, the “Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band” will be playing for the crowds on July 21st.  The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band will play throughout the festivities.

6 Responses on “RAGBRAI pre-ride Day 2 – Okoboji to Emmetsburg


June 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm

I can’t believe you failed to report about every crack and pothole along the way. Damn you! If I cross the yellow line and my tire pops and I flip over the handlebars it is all your fault. You must all be fat because food is all you talk about on here. My wife is yelling for me to get off the computer. Ragbrai should not include any women or kids. They don’t know how to ride. Yee Haw!


June 3, 2014 at 7:27 am

I am still jealous…I also want to know why Emmet was hanged. Guess I will have to Google it


June 3, 2014 at 7:27 am

I am still jealous…I also want to know why Emmet was hanged. Guess I will have to Google it

Profile photo of Dixon


June 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

I see you brought your pig on the pre-ride again this year.
Wooo Pig Sooiiieeee!

David Taylor (papa T)

June 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm




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