I completely concur with Brandi. My first two Ragbrai rides were also 2018 and 2019. I ride solo, I use the baggage truck, and camp in the general camp grounds with everybody else. To each his own and I can completely understand using a charter service, but for me, I will always use the truck, and only use a charter to get across the state. From there on, it’s just me and everyone I meet along the way.
Don’t think that you need a lot of guidance because this is your first ride. You don’t. Repeating Brandi, just come armed with only the knowledge on this forum, some common sense, and use the countless number of people who will take the shirts off their back to help you with whatever you need.
Just get to the bus on time so that you, your bag, and bike are in La Mars on Saturday. Hope to see you out there.