How to get to Dip Site at Start Town?

I’ll be riding with my 14 yr old son this year and this will be his 1st RAGBRAI (Mom finally approved ?) While I enjoy the tradition of dipping my tires, I don’t find it necessary to do so if the start town is not on the river. However, with this being my son’s 1st RAGBRAI, I’d like for him to experience the “dipping of the tires” at the start and finish towns. Has anybody mapped out and scouted a safe path to a dip site on the river? If there is such a route I’d plan to do it on Friday before the ride. Thanks!

26 Replies

David, May 17, 2018 at 10:00 am

Any chance you will have a car? Even if not maybe do the dip & pictures before getting dropped off. I would dip from the Nebraska side in Decatur. There is good access as long as it isn’t flooding.

While it isn’t quite a cool as dipping and then riding you get the pictures and most of the memories.

Riding down 175 won’t be safe off route. They might even attempt to stop bike traffic to the west. Unless riding longer distances on gravel is an option it doesn’t look like there are good ways to ride to a dip site.

I hope you both enjoy the ride. First ragbrai will be awesome.


genefruit, May 17, 2018 at 11:16 am

There appear to be a couple of directions to dip that avoid 175. I plan on taking this route but it will not be paved the entire way, if that matters to you, but there should be less traffic. –


David, May 17, 2018 at 11:32 am

Someone local might be able to verify but that road appears to be gated once you get off the main gravel road. Hard to tell but that looks like private property. Parts of that road are pretty much in the field.


Randall Murphy, May 17, 2018 at 11:52 am

I looked at a route that involves riding further than Genefruit’s route south to Blencoe and then west across the interstate. That’s where the road turns to gravel. It runs west, then south and again west to the river if I remember right. About 3 miles each way on gravel and another 7 on paved roads. I would welcome comments. This is my 14th ride but my sister will be joining again this year and she wants to dip the rear tire. Last year it was a bit too long of an option but this year it looks to be doable.


David, May 17, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Are you talking about Huff Park? That should be a great dip site (assuming normal river levels) and about 6 total miles of gravel. Depending on where you camp about 21 total miles.

The ride down to Blencoe shouldn’t be too bad. Just remember that off route is always more dangerous no matter the road.


LawnchairMan, May 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm

I was considering riding further on K45 to the city of River Sioux, and then turning West. Just over the freeway there is a campground with a short perimeter road that may or may not be paved. That would be the least amount of gravel roads I can see. There are boat ramps too. I think it is about 18 miles one way.
If I get into Onawa in time I may still do that on Saturday.


Randall Murphy, May 17, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I like the River Sioux idea depending on K45 traffic and shoulders. Upon further review of the turn at Blencoe, the boat ramp that I was looking at may be private property. If so, I won’t be bothering them.


Bill Barry, May 17, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll keep searching but it doesn’t sound likethwre is a safe route to take my son. I’ll just squirt him with a hose and tell him it came from the Missouri River. ?


David, May 17, 2018 at 3:54 pm

They usually setup a tank with river water when the river isn’t close. Lines can be long :(


LawnchairMan, May 17, 2018 at 5:12 pm

I thought the idea of dipping was to show you rode border to border. What does tank dipping prove?


LawnchairMan, May 17, 2018 at 5:52 pm

The route I am suggesting on K45 is about as safe as any past river route I have seen. Looking on Google maps I see two cars the whole route. It’s mostly a North/South route so the sun won’t be in driver’s eyes. Sure it would be roughly 40 miles round trip, but if your son can’t go that far he isn’t ready for the main ride. At 15 mph that would only be three hours including twenty minutes for a snack break. Go for it!


LawnchairMan, May 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm

From the high school to the River Sioux dip site it is 18.1 miles with 89 feet of climb.


David, May 17, 2018 at 6:47 pm

It doesn’t seem right to suggest that being unable or unwilling to ride 40 miles off route would mean you aren’t ready for the main ride.

1. A lot of accidents that happen are off route riders. On Saturday in particular, traffic is very unpredictable. All it takes is an accident or traffic jam on I29 and K45 is going to have a ton of heavy traffic. It is almost certain traffic will back up at I29 and 175 causing people to use alternate routes.

2. For a kid, the support stops and getting started early in the morning makes a big difference in how hard the ride is.


LawnchairMan, May 17, 2018 at 9:48 pm

My reference to riding 40 miles was just saying that the distance should not be a factor. Unless there is a time restraint. Didn’t mean to insult anyone.
Mr. Barry’s original plan was to travel on Friday, so traffic should be light.
Obviously he is OK to ride off route since we don’t start in a river town.
True, I hadn’t thought about extra stops for food or water, but extra supplies can be carried, and there is a diner of some sort at the campground near the river.
I was just stating that in my opinion this is about as safe of a river ride as possible.
I was trying to encourage them to do it so Bill’s son could have the whole experience. That includes bragging rights of riding across the whole state!


genefruit, May 18, 2018 at 11:01 am

Hazel to 284th looks like even a better option than my original. If you’re adverse to gravel though, I wouldn’t consider it. I sent a message to the Onawa’s RAGBRAI Facebook page asking whether they have established routes or locations for those who want to dip. I’ll share their response if/when.


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