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Reply To: Carry my tent or let Ragbrai haul it?

Chris, July 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

We’ve gone both ways over the years: we’ve carried all of our stuff, some of our stuff, and used the RAGBRAI truck entirely.

In my humble opinion: have the RAGBRAI truck carry your stuff.

Here’s why: They’re good. They’re really good. They have it down to a science, and as was earlier pointed out, if you make a note of what time you left in the morning (easily done, as they have a large clock at the loading ramp), it’ll take you no more than 5 minutes to find your bag. If you have distinctive bag (streamers, bright orange bag, polka-dots, whatever), it’ll take you 30 seconds to find your bag. Ours is very colorfully marked up; I usually found our bag before I even walked into the corralled area. The first morning is a bit of a zoo as they do weigh bags in, but it gets easier and more relaxed as everyone settles in during the week. As for the load/unload times…it’s really only the load time you have to worry about, as after 6pm you can still get your bag. It’s just not guarded anymore by the RAGBRAI staff. As for the load time, it’s really not bad. Sure, if you like sleeping until 10am, it’s too early, but I find the advantage is that it helps me get up and going in the morning.

The RAGBRAI camping site is, as mentioned, generally pretty close to the end-of-day festivities and all of the services. Figure a 10 minute walk most days to get where you need to go. If you get in really late (like 6pm), space will be at a premium close to the trailers, but you’ll find a spot. If it rains, yeah, your bag will be soaked, so pack your must-stay-dry stuff in something like oversize ziplock bags. It’s cake finding the trucks, too: you almost can’t miss the huge white trailers with the red lettering on them.

We carried our stuff one year with the idea of feeling even more free and untethered. The opposite ended up being true: because we had all of our crap with us, we were more free at the end of the day, but we felt more tied down during the day as it was harder to maneuver the bikes though both people traffic and town crowds.

See ya on the road
-CH

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