RAGBRAI XLIII Countdown – July 19-25, 2015
Friends of RAGBRAI

Route Inspection Pre-Ride

RAGBRAI Pre-Ride Day 6 – Waverly to Independence



We would like to start off by saying thanks to the Waverly RAGBRAI Committee! We loved the ice cream, music and police escort, and are looking forward to bringing the riders back next month to “Go All Knight”!

This morning we snapped a quick picture in the Walston-Hoover Wartburg football stadium and rolled out of Waverly with about 70 riders for our sixth day of the RAGBRAI XLII Route Inspection ride. After heading out of town past the aromatic Nestle plant, we enjoyed riding rolling hills on our way to the first several pass-through towns. The route ended with a quick tour through Amish country. Then, we headed into Independence with our second police escort of the week, and had an enormous dinner of ribs and chicken at Bill’s Pizza & Smokehouse.

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 Six of our ride were Waverly, Bremer Station, Tripoli, Sumner (meeting town), Westgate,  Oelwein, Amish Settlement, Otterville and Independence. We rode 67.4 miles, and had 1,623 feet of climb – we started out the day with rolling hills that smoothed out as we got closer to Indee. During RAGBRAI, this day will be Carter LeBeau Day. Carter was a 41-year rider who recently passed away, and we will be riding in his honor July 25th. His signature look was to wear a red and white rugby sock on his right foot and a blue and white striped rugby sock on his left foot. We will be selling similar pairs of socks for $10, all proceeds going to his favorite charity, the Roatary Club. We w ill post to our blog and Facebook page as soon as we have them for sale.

Our trip to Tripoli (pronounced Trip-ola) promises to be a sweet ride! Not only is the route into town pretty, the town is home to Sweet Marsh, which is a large water fowl and fish reserve and famous bird watching sanctuary.

Tripoli is also the self-styled Breakfast Stop on our journey from Waverly to Independence. Current vendors include the Tripoli Boy Scout Troop 32 and Tripoli Dollars for Scholars with more to come soon! On the Route Inspection, we made a quick stop at The Hub Bar & Grill for a refresher before we headed on our way to the next town.

You may need to walk around a bit to settle the giant breakfast you’ve eaten, we recommend checking out the Sweet Water Welcome Center that is styled as a log cabin, as well as Sweet Water Creek and hand painted walking bridge. Read more about Tripoli’s RAGBRAI plans here: http://www.tripoliragbrai2014.com/

After our trip to Tripoli, we rolled off to Sumner. The town of Sumner has hosted RAGBRAI three previous times, the last being in 2002.  Sumner, with a population of 2,028 people, will serve as the meeting town on Friday.

Sumner has a modern public library and an aquatic center, a local grocery store, two convenience stores, several specialty shops, health care resources, a volunteer fire department and a local ambulance service.  Sumner is also home of the Life Line Emergency Vehicle Company.  The Clock Tower is one of the icon images as riders will roll into the downtown.

Horse racing was one of the first organized sports in Sumner, becoming very popular in the 1880′s and 1890′s.  A Bicycling Club was active beginning in the 1890′s.  By 1952 Sumner was somewhat famous for its own Cubs baseball team, which played in the Amateur World Series at Battle Creek, Michigan.  The land for the baseball diamond became known as Cub Park.  This site continues to expand with the support of our community and their many donations.

The American Legion, located on Main Street, and the local Fire Department will both be opening their doors for inside seating.  A beverage garden will be located just on the east end of the business district… one stop shopping for beer, wine and sodas.

There will also be several different food vendors here during the day… complete with grilled hotdogs and hamburgers at the American Legion!

Sumner is being featured this year as Day #6 official RAGBRAI Souvenir selling headquarters.  PLUS… the Des Moines Register will also be here to report the day’s activities.

If you’re participating in RAGBRAI… you’ll be treated to music, food and local entertainment while you’re here.  Be sure to check out Sumner’s website for all the sites you might want to see while you’re here.  http://www.mysumneriowa.com/ragbrai.html

The RAGBRAI activities in Sumner will mainly take place in downtown.  In addition to some of the great restaurants in town, there will be many, many vendors with a variety of choices including Tenderloins, Burgers, Briskets, Pizzas, Buca-wich, gyros, Korean BBQ and much more!

After a relatively short, mostly flat ride out of Sumner, riders will find themselves in Westgate. Westgate is a small community that welcomed RAGBRAI back in 1990.  The town is looking forward to another successful stop this year.  The Westgate Tap will be serving a limited menu with service outside the restaurant.  The Lutheran Church in Westgate will be serving watermelon, sweet treats, and corn on the cob.  The church also plans to open up their basement to help cool riders as they relax in Westgate.

Look for the greased pig competition in the corn patch near the Lutheran Church.

Sites of interest in town include The Opera House and The Bank Bar and Grill.  The bar and grill is housed in a building built in 1895 as a bank, and now operates as the restaurant and bar.

Next, we headed on in to Oelwein. They will be serving a wide variety of lunch options, including pizza, Asian food, sweet corn, fruit, homemade ice cream sandwiches by a local vendor called Tootie Tang (we sampled these, they are delicious!!), and more! The information booth, food vendors, and bike shops will be easily accessible on your way into town.

For entertainment, Oelwein will also have live local bands all day, and tons of oversize games including giant beer pong, jenga and candy land. We would also suggest taking a minute and riding around and seeing some of the many transportation-related sights of Oelwein.

In its early days Oelwein served as a major railroad hub, hence its nickname Hub City. You can still see several rail related landmarks including the Railroad Depot Building, Railroad Yard Tower, a Railroad Viaduct (longest “underpass” viaduct in Iowa!) and an EMD FP7 diesel locomotive, restored by the Hub City Heritage Museum (located at 26 2nd Ave. SW).

If you’re more of an aviation person, there is also an Air Force Jet located in City Park on South Frederick. Or you might want to check out Oelwein’s log cabin, preserved from the first settlers. You can find that in Orville Christophel Appreciation Park.

After Oelwein, we were off to our last pass through areas of the day, Amish Settlement and Ottervillle.

The Amish community in Buchanan County, is home to approximately 800 of Iowa’s 7,000 Amish residents, and is recognized as the most conservative Old Order settlement in Iowa.

Amish farmsteads and small businesses are strewn along Amish Boulevard as you head for Independence.  Riders will cruise past livestock, horse-drawn buggies and small schoolhouses. Since we will be traveling through on Friday, laundry is hung out to dry, a good reminder that the Amish choose to live without many modern amenities.  The Amish speak fluent German and English and are renowned craftsmen. Their handmade furniture, hand stitched quilts, made-from-scratch baked goods and canned delicacies inspire many visitors.

RAGBRAIers are asked to respect the Amish during their visit. Photography of the residents is strictly forbidden and permission should be obtained prior to photographing shops or goods.

As you continue south towards Independence, riders will travel through Otterville.  The Buchanan County Trail Association will have water and sports drinks for sale with all funds going towards the trail.

Independence is ready to get their glow on with thousands of RAGBRAI riders on Friday, July 25th!  Nestled in Northeast Iowa, Independence was home to some of the first settlers west of the Mississippi.  Known for its Midwestern hospitality and strong-dedicated work ethic, Independence residents have been proud people promoting progress since being founded in 1847.

Riders will be welcomed into Independence with great hospitality from local youth groups, organizations, and business leaders.  Throughout the day there will be several options for dining, play, relaxation throughout the community at local churches and halls, and in Riverwalk Parks, where the main entertainment will take place.

With two beverage areas, the main beverage garden and a specialty beverage garden, ‘Snooty’s Bar’, there will be plenty of options for refreshment, including a specially brewed ‘Indee Dark’ by Backpocket Brewing, located in Coralville, IA.

Ultimate lawn Twister, volleyball, DJ from 2:30pm-5:30pm, and live music, including the Indee Alumni Jazz Ensemble from 12pm-2pm will be provided within the entertainment area at Riverwalk Parks in downtown Independence.

The main entertainment will begin at 5:30 with local Independence band, STAMPEDE.  STAMPEDE is Eastern Iowa’s high energy country and classic rock leader featuring a strong lineup of musicians playing steel guitar, fiddle, keys, stand-up bass and much more.

Following STAMPEDE, Boogie Wonderland will be taking the stage from 9pm-12am.  A six piece, fully costumed band based out of Minneapolis, Boogie Wonderland will keep everyone on their feet dancing to their favorite disco, dance and rock and roll hits.

As the sun sets on Independence, the party will begin with glow necklaces, bracelets, glow towers, and glow beach balls taking over the park.  Special lighting effects, strobe lights, black lights, disco balls, and more will create a glowing atmosphere to celebrate the final night of RAGBRAI. Get ready to get your GLOW on in Independence on Friday, July 25th for ‘Glowing on the River!’

For more information, visit our Facebook page at Indee RAGBRAI or visit our website at www.indeeragbrai.com.

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