This year the family is coming along as week-long non-riders. The wife and two elementary school-aged children will be my vehicle support team. A couple of questions about all this: 1) Do children need to be registered as non-riders? 2) Does every overnight town have a family campground? In the past, we have camped at nearby county/state parks, but this year I’d like to stay closer to ride. I’d appreciate any shared experiences.
The campgrounds are set up by the host communities so it is up to them to designate campgrounds if they want/can. “Family” campgrounds are not what is typically designated but usually there are quite(ish) campgrounds and RV campgrounds where generators are allowed.
It sounds like you haven’t registered yet. Registration for weeklong passes is closed. You can still register for day passes and the lottery is held May 1st so people will know what passes they were granted and the secondary sales will start. Usually that doesn’t really pick up until June when people realize they have to cancel RAGBRAI plans.
Make sure you have things along for your children to do and keep them entertained, as waiting around for Dad each day gets to be pretty boring for that age of child. If you don’t have a travel DVD player you might want to pick one up, and stockpile a selection of DVD’s for the trip. Or invest in an iPad and load lots of games (like monopoly, etc.) that you can play as a family or the kids can play independently of adults. Another idea is to put together a scavenger hunt type of game or a RAGBRAI scrapbook that keeps the kids engaged during the day, gathering information and flyers about each day’s stop, team stickers, etc. that turns into a family keepsake momento of their experiences. They could even take some object like a lawn gnome and then take pictures of the gnome along the route to send home channeling your adventure. If you have a video cam or smart phone, they could try and interview different teams along the ride and compile the information into a Teams of RAGBRAI video. If you blog or set up a family facebook page, they could enter daily updates for their friends or extended family to follow.
Just a few suggestions based on seeing bored little faces on RAGBRAI over the years.
Ask your wife; “honey, what will you do all day”???? Ascertain her expectations. Is she prepared to spend seven nights in a tent with the temperature hovering at maybe 85 degrees with two kids a tired snoring spouse and no air conditioning????? Have you, the wife and the kids spent seven nights camping before??? Frankly, I don’t see anyone with children this young having a good time, sorry to be a wet blanket but I have seen far too many “family RAGBRAI adventures” end in maybe two days.
Not having a vehicle pass may also be a problem. You might be able to get your vehicle close too unload but will not be able to park it close to the campgrounds without a vehicle pass. You will have to see if you can purchase a vehicle pass and non rider passes after the lottery drawing. There is always someone who thought they could ride but ends up not being able to make it.
At least in the middle of the week finding things for them during the day will be easy, the day you ride from Perry to DM the can go ahead and hit Blank Park Zoo or the Science Center of Iowa, (really close to the activities downtown). Then DM to Knoxville they can do the State Historicla Building and the statehouse grounds. other towns like Harlan , Perry, Knoxville (unless open wheel sprint car fans), Osky not so muck, Knoxville to Pella day can meet you in Pella, thats kind of interesting with the old style Dutch architecture and Wyett Earp home.
Might be able to catch a break in camping in DM too if you need it, some downtown hotels connect by skywalks to Court Ave near some of the festivities, connect up to Vet’s Auditorium and Iowa Hall of Pride too and almost to the Western Gateway Sculpture park.