I had the same question and asked a frequent contributor (Michrider) in a private message and here is what he had to say:
The meeting town is usually half way (more or less) through the days route. Vehicles are allowed in this town (not allowed in other towns). Iowa State Police have a presence in all towns and enforce vehicle rules. Team buses and other vehicles will meet up with their riders in this town. Lots of drinking going on. Many riders will stay and drink for hours, then take the team bus to the next overnight town. This is a huge party town!!!
Or, we could go with RAGBRAI’s definition.
“Meeting Towns, Each day, one of the pass-through towns is designated as a meeting town for you and your riders. We will indicate on the support vehicle map the routes into the meeting towns that you may use to meet your riders and enjoy the hospitality of the local residents. Bright pink arrows will be used to direct support vehicles to and from the designated meeting town from the vehicle route.”
Funny, they don’t mention anything about drinking, LOL!!!!!!