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This was my first year as a support driver. I had a non-rider pass and a vehicle pass. Personally, other than the discount for food and the free admission to the boring Counting Crows concert, that the non-rider pass gave me, I really didn’t see a need for the Vehicle pass.
I thought having the pass gave you access to the camp in the Register’s camp ground. Usually I would drive into town, head to the info center and then they would say, “You don’t have a reserved site? Were full up.” Then I would have to drive around and find a camp for my team. It was a small team, but what good is a vehicle pass then? Sure your supporting Ragbrai, but what else is it good for?
Also I was told you can only go to the meeting town and once your in the overnight town you can’t leave to go back and pickup any of your riders if needed. There were lots of vehicles in the other towns. I even ended up in a town once because I followed the convoy of vehicles and didn’t realize I was going the wrong way.
Another issue was the signage. They really could improve on that one. A couple of places I went way out of my way because of a missing signs or lack thereof.
If I were to be a support driver again, I would save the money and use it for gas, and do a little more research before ever leaving for Ragbrai.
Anyone else have this experience?
Posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago ago #269207
Traffic controll seems to be something very few towns do anymore. Some overmight towns used to block off strees and only let the registed vehicals pass through to get into campgrounds.That cut out the non-registered and the gawkers, people either from town or nearby out for a drive just to see what it looks like. Also kept the local troublemakers out, at least with their cars.
As long as you find a way to towns to meet or pick up riders that does not involve the bike routeI really don’t care where drivers go. As far as leaving after you get in, You probably run the risk of losing some of that space to others and just getting in and out of some of those places probably takes quite a bit of time. We have 3, the baggage truck goes from camp (between 8-9 am) to store to camp and that’s it. The other leaves early, goes to camp and puts up signs, tape, and waits for baggage truck. 3rd belongs to the mechanic and usually goes to meeting town. Sometimes those 2 can make trips around town, esp. when we are not close to things like in Webster City, Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids which were all a couple miles or more from downtown at private residences.
Posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago ago #269214
There is a fine line where the bus driver has to bail out on the midroute town set up and race into the overnight town to find suitable scarce resources..It’s not your job to GO BACK and sag some team members..That’s Ragbrai’s job.
If they make it to the midroute town and want to SAG, that’s your job..
Your job is home base, rally point, operations….you move the bus as little as possible…
Buying a TEAM BUS vehicle pass might get you slightly better spots in the long run.
Posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago ago #269265
Still, no one has given me a good reason, why a vehicle pass is needed. I see no benifit in having one.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270028
YOU CAN WORK WITHIN THE SYSTEM OR OUTSIDE IT. IN THE PAST SOME TOWNS WOULD NOT LET YOU PARK IN THE RAGBRAI SELECTED AREAS WITHOUT THE PASS. YOU ARE TAKING A CHANCE ON FINDING NO WHERE TO PARK WITHIN REASONABLE DISTANCE AND/ OR SHUTTLE SUPPORT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE VEHICLE PASS. SOME TOWNS MAY BE LAX WHILE OTHERS MAY FOLLOW THE POLICIES TO THE LETTER. THE QUESTION IS, DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270054
Still, no one has given me a good reason, why a vehicle pass is needed.I see no benifit in having one.
How about HONESTY?
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270139
I understand some of your frustration dbkguy. We are also a small group (all riders and driver registered) yet in numerous towns our driver was told you can not camp here because you don’t have a reservation. If it’s one of the designated camp grounds why are we not allowed in? This was our fifth year and have only had this problem the last two years and not in every town. What is the reservation process? We thought the registration entitled us to camp at the designated camp sites. We are in tents so obviously don’t want to be near the RV’s and their noisy generators.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270203
Oscar, there is no reservation process. Prior to the ride I would advise your driver to study each overnight town’s web site and print out the maps provided that show the camp grounds, vendor areas and dinner locations.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270248
A Rag official Vehicle BUS pass can get you the better spots in the campground or on MAIN STREET..If you choose to not pay, you get the side streets and outskirts…
Local households families are more inclined to host a team if the support vehicles are all “registered” ..
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270263
Sorry, if I offended anyone. I was just trying to reason out why a vehicle pass was needed. It was my understanding it gave you access to the Register campgrounds, but I found this not to be true all the time. I understand your supporting Ragbrai by buying a vehicle pass, and I’m all for that.
Here’s a note from Ragbrai’s Driver Safety Post.
5. Make sure you check in with the Information Center at every overnight town. This helps your group find out where you’re camping, and also gives the Information Center your location in case of emergencies.
I did this. Checked in at the information center in every town. I did and usually was told the campgrounds are all full. Then I would go out and find a spot to camp for my small team. After setting up I would go back and post a note on the Info board for my team to find me in case other options failed. The latter part didn’t seem to apply and they didn’t ask for that info either for emergencies.
I’m just trying to reason out what does the vehicle pass offer you? Can anyone from Ragbrai offer an explanation?
Just so you know, I followed all the rules. The only time I didn’t was when I ended up off the route, because of lack of signage or from following the convoy and not realizing they took me off the route until it was to late.
If I were going to be a support driver again, I would do more research, and I would try to reserve sites ahead of time. If I knew this before I would have done it. I’ve been a rider, multiple times, just never a support driver. I had a good time and would do it again if needed. I prefer to ride if given the option.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270271
I didn’t have a vehicle pass in 2010, was unable to camp with the vehicle basically anywhere in town (everyone were registered riders, however). So be it, lesson learned, get a vehicle permit… Got it.
2011, just me so latched onto a much larger team with a bus. (Best way to do RAGBRAI by the way)
2012, same team two years prior, HAD a vehicle pass and it was checked…sort of….Not to let us in but to keep us out. Multiple towns redirected us to the “vehicle RV campground.” These campgrounds amounted to tree-less, shade-less, service-less wastelands. We had a small truck with our gear and camping. We were NOT in one of the hundreds of A/C’ed RVs who are completely fine with wasteland camping.
Ultimately we ended up parking somewhere in town, reasonably close to the better campsites (that were meant for tents), and hiking in… making the vehicle pass completely useless all week. We literally had someone with RAGBRAI tell us that we “cannot park there nor camp here.” Mind you, we were parked on a street with ZERO no-parking markers and we were registered with the event, trying to camp with the rest of the registered participants. I told him to either to try to get the police to tow me from that completely legal parking place (side street, not marked as “no-parking” at all, other cars parked along the road just as we were) or to please leave me alone.
The way we saw it was that we were ALL registered riders and payed MORE for the luxury of NOT getting to use any of the campsites that were even REMOTELY comfortable for people without the luxury of an RV.
Moral of the story:
* I hate that people ride RAGBRAI unregistered.
* I am HAPPY to pay a little extra to bring a support vehicle along with me.
* At the end of the day, it’s a free country. You are welcome to drive your vehicle/park wherever you are legally allowed to, regardless of the event going on around you.
* 2012 proved that a vehicle permit for non-RVs was more of a burden than a luxury. Total waste of money and caused many logistical problems but solved none.
* 2013 may be completely different if the RAGBRAI folks help overnight towns understand how to properly manage their campsites (see 2010 as an example).
All in all, this year was a lot of fun for us. The heat and vehicle pass did not contribute to that fun.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270515
I didn’t have a vehicle pass in 2010, was unable to camp with the vehicle basically anywhere in town (everyone were registered riders, however).So be it, lesson learned, get a vehicle permit… Got it…..
Sorry for the wall of text. Didn’t realize how much of a rant that was until I submitted the post.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270517
Maybe the question should be “Vehicle — Is it really needed?”
You know, I keep coming back to the fact that this is a bicycle ride. Despite the obvious resemblance these days, it still is not the Tour de France where you need to have a team car with spare bikes, an on-board mechanic, and a support crew to hand water and food out the window to you. If you feel that you need this in order to do the ride, maybe you should look for a different ride. I understand some of the fund-raiser rides like the old AIDS rides used to do it that way; you didn’t even need to provide a tent. Just show up, pay your money, and pedal; everything else, including pits stops every ten miles or so, was furnished for you. Or you can join up with one of the for-profit charter groups like PBV or Bubba’s Pampered Pedallers — but better add about $500.00 to your budget for suce a service.
Personally, I look at RAGBRAI as a return to a somewhat simpler, perhaps more primitive week. Even at a cost of $150.00 for the week, this is not a connisseur’s ride across Iowa. All you really need is your bike, a tent, a sleeping bag, a couple changes of clothes, an old US Army O/D duffel bag to put it all in, and some money for expenses such as food and drink. Leave the TV, the La-Z-Boy, the king-size bed, the caterer, and the air conditioning at home. Then you don’t have to worry about getting shunted off to a WalMart parking lot or parking in a residential neighborhood (and incidentally usurping the resident’s parking) to spend the night. You’ll be able to join the crowd at the main campground area near where the Register trucks drop the baggage.
And just for the record — most of the main camping areas are huge open areas such as fairgrounds, HS or college football fields, local ballfields, or other open rec areas. One year in the distant past — RAGBRAI IX in Mapleton, I think it was — they even shut down the local airfield and we were camped on the grassy area surrounding the single runway. There’s not a lot of trees or shade available on a football or baseball field or alongside a runway; and with somewhere between 10 and 15K riders looking for a nice, comfy, shady place to set up camp, unless RAGBRAI figures out a way to somehow pick up and move Yellowstone Park to each of the overnight towns it’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270528
Thank you all who have posted to my question.
Is a vehicle pass really needed?
In 2012, didn’t seem to matter, but in other years Yes. I forgot that it may make a difference in where you are allowed to park or even camp. I thought the main reason of the vehicle pass was to give you access to the Registers campgrounds, but that is not always the case.
It appears to be a way to support Ragbrai, somewhat control the number of vehicles on the road, access to parking, and campgrounds (where enforced), and to try and get you to follow the rules of support vehicle safety.
So the answer to my question is, Yes, it is needed. If you don’t buy one your totally on your own and you will most likely have a harder time, doing what you need to do as a support driver.
If anyone feels I have gotten this wrong, please feel free to post it and why.
Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago ago #270536
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