Blue Grass Detour onto Gravel

Haven’t seen anyone post this so I will. Great #RAGBRAI. The first 6 days were fantastic in too many ways to list. But the detour up into Blue Grass on the last day was complete BS. Why didn’t the route continue on 22 past Montpelier through Buffalo? Barely saw the river until the finish. And the main route should never include gravel, but this one did just to force us through a gauntlet of Blue Grass vendors. The detour also added unnecessary miles on an unusually long final day. Can anyone explain why this was considered a good idea?

24 Replies

Sully, July 30, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Got there…State Troopers immediately shut it all down. #longlastday


Chris Miller, July 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

It wasn’t such a big deal. I just kept going on the main road and skipped the gravel altogether (sorry about that Blue Grass).
My final day wound up totaling around 75 miles with the miles to and from Pork Belly’s sites. 65 miles were excellent, wonderful riding miles…it was the nine miles after Blue Grass on the divided highway I could have done without. But my backside was done and the legs were toast…and my shuttle bus to the airport was waiting.
All in all….an excellent week across Iowa. Thank you RAGBRAI.


Luv 2 Ski, July 30, 2018 at 4:01 pm

I was fine with Blue Grass. I thought the setting was actually pretty neat and I even took a picture of my son at the entrance. Everything made by locals was priced below what we paid all week. As for the gravel we went back out the entrance took a left at the barricade. We opted to ride the road instead of walking gravel. The cop we passed said the road was not covered as a RAGBRAI route and let us proceed. We then took a left at the light and got right back onto the route. That may have added 2 tenths of a mile at most. If you were not happy with the gravel next time survey the situation instead of just following the cows to the barn so to speak.


jwsknk, July 30, 2018 at 4:36 pm

the reason we wanted to bypass the gauntlet was we realized there was something funky about the mileage for the day. We had 65-66 for the day when we got there expecting 69 and 10 to go. Threw off the timing to meet up with the rest of the group. added an extra 20 -25 minutes.


Harry A., July 30, 2018 at 5:17 pm

We started late on Saturday and stopped for a long lunch at the meeting town. That had us at Blue grass very late in the day. Once we got there they were literally giving everything away. My son and I got 2 free water bottles, 2 Gatorade and one mountain dew. We declined the chips and snacks being offered. All free and with the usual smile from the locals. We even stopped to chat with a local about the drive in operation.
My 15 year old son even used the gravel to pretend he was doing cyclocross.
Get off my lawn :P.


Andy Jelagin, July 30, 2018 at 9:17 pm

The pie was yummy and a good deal. My issue was with the fact that they were playing Beach Boys music instead of…Bluegrass.


Jason Stoller, July 31, 2018 at 6:26 am

No one forced anyone to go through the Blue Grass Vendor area or to Detour on Gravel. That was a personal choice. You could have simply gone through on the paved road if you had bothered to ask and may riders did.



Mark Weintraub, July 31, 2018 at 8:37 am

Jason, if only that were a true statement. In fact, there was a cop manning the barricade in the middle of the road — the one with a sign reading “main route” and pointing left towards the gravel. When my group rode around the sign and the cop and continued on the paved road, the cop shouted at us that the road we were about to take would add “a mile and a half” to our route. Since we could see a line of riders a hundred yards to our left heading in the same direction, this seemed plausible. Only because of that, we turned back and went through the gravel. As we now know, Officer Friendly was lying. Maybe this is one reason so many people were not pleased.


KenH, July 31, 2018 at 4:52 pm

I admit that at first I thought the drive in theater detour was a scam of some kind. I could easily be wrong but I felt the “cop” holding the main route this way sign was just someone wearing a police costume. But I had no trouble walking my bike through the gravel path so I cannot see the point of trying to make an issue of that. As others have said the townspeople were very warm and friendly. I bought a cold drink from one stand virtually without stopping. Just another amusing part of yet another wonderful RAGBRAI as far as I am concerned.


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