At some point we stop helping Sara who seems to have all the information she needs for now, and we start talking for the benefit of how ever many others may tune in, now or in the future, glean some information, and leave without saying a word. Speaking as someone who came with a team of 3 plus a driver, all newbies, to our first RAGBRAI with little advice from veterans beyond what you can pick up here and had a simply grand and completely successful time of it, I can say confidently that you do not need to use a charter even as a newbie. And I have talked to others who have done the same, with the same result. You don’t NEED a charter. And I have looked carefully at charters and know that there are SIGNIFICANT cost differences among them. Not saying those costs are not justified, in my opinion they are justified by the differences in service levels. But, just as with many things in life if you go with a charter you can expect to pay less if you invest more sweat equity and more if you choose to be served in the manner which you all truly deserve! Charter or not, its up to you and your budget. Just don’t feel that this is something you can’t possibly do on your own. You can. Even if you’ve never done it before. I am sure Sara’s RAGBRAI pioneer cousins can take care of the rest of the clan just fine.