This is our second trip to RAGBRAI – this time we have an RV and am looking for tips from experienced RAGBRAI RV’ers! We have a couple folk moving the RV each day while a few of us ride.

20 Replies

kicks9, March 13, 2019 at 1:09 pm

Enjoy it. You will be fine. Should be able to find a place everyday to park etc…

Trouble we had was finding the RV. We would post sometimes on the main board, or if we found a spot on route it was great.

Problem is sometimes they direct you where to park the RV and don’t give you options. Communication is a problem in those cases if Cellular is not working. (see other posts regarding that issue).

Bottom line is have a plan on how to get your group back together. Walkie talkies, Send out a text and make sure everyone knows where to go to get wireless connections etc…

Once you find the RV and your team mates it great! Pool resources, cook your own food have fresh cold beer, no tent camping etc…

DO you have any specific needs or questions?


TheBus2003, March 13, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Enjoy. Don’t stress. Have a plan for the next day. Sometimes there are multiple RV camp areas. Send a text once you have your spot so it has time to be received by your group. Be cognizant of your surroundings, especially if you don’t have a quiet generator.


Patty Warren, March 13, 2019 at 3:17 pm



Herschel, March 14, 2019 at 8:02 pm

Yeah finding the RV can be a challenge. My wife drives ours and does a great job of getting it around. She sends us a text of her location and we have learned to have her send a picture also because you will be looking a a sea of campers. Ask around to find the dump station in the towns. A hint my wife learned is to get on the road early to find the best spot in the next overnight town. She says the camper caravan is quite the show.


mootsman, March 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

In terms of electronic communications from your driver to let you know where camp is, yes I’ve had trouble with cell connections (voice & text) being overwhelmed especially in small towns. My experience has been that no matter what emails have made it through. If your driver emails your group with the directions or address, it might be the most reliable. Just check when you get to town. I thought RAGBRAI had an official RV parking location which I’d assume is known before RAGBRAI even starts.


KenH, March 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm

I think the overnight towns are a bit hit or miss when it comes to details like which campground is for RVs on their maps. When I drive the RV into the overnight town I have to hope that someone from town is directing us in many cases. But yeah, check the maps to see if they give you any guidance on that. And if you find that this information is missing be sure to complain about that in the after ride survey. Eventually the message will get through….

Texts usually go through well too but I know that some people have trouble getting them. If you keep your phone in airplane mode or off to save battery power it is a good idea to pull over at a spot a few miles before the overnight town and power it up to see if you have any texts. The cell towers in the towns will be swamped but if you can catch a rural one between towns you have a better chance of getting the connection you need.


3 Pedal, March 20, 2019 at 11:52 am

I’ll throw in a couple of non communication tips or ideas.

1. Leveling boards. Often times, RVs end up parked in odd locations on RAGBRAI. The ground can be much more uneven than you may be used to. Make sure you have a good supply of boards, blocks, or what ever you chose to level. Even with auto leveling you sometimes need them. You also might need them under your auto level jacks, in case of soft ground.
2. Shopping. If you are in a motor home without a car behind, it can be easier to do your resupply in between towns. I like spending my money in the towns supporting RAGBRAI, but it is very tight getting a motorhome around small town parking lots.
3. Water. Consider bringing extra water hose. We have at times been able with a couple water hoses to reach a water point to refill that we could not get with only one. Do not be an a$$ and stay hooked up to one if it isn’t designed just for where you are parked.
4. Dumping. Some, but not all towns will show where they have an RV dump on their maps. We review them to plan timing and routes of dumping. We do not use the RV shower, as we do not want our driver(s) to have to dump every day. You can also sometimes get the guys that service the Kybos to come right to your rig to dump. Of course, that costs more.
5. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, do not bring a construction generator that makes more noise than power and plan on running it all night.
6. We support riders that sleep in tents, so we prefer grass lots or edge spaces in parking lots with grass. If you don’t have tents, try not to take the only spaces that can support tenters.
7. Outdoor rug. Since we are often parked on strange things, the outside is not always comfortable, especially when you take your bike shoes off. Having some kind of rug to walk on can be nice.
8. Electricity. Don’t expect to find electric hookups all the time. And be prepared if you find them that they may not be great. Someone next to us one year plugged into an outlet that we were told we could use and it destroyed part of the electrical system of their rig. We do not plug into anything without our power analyzing surge suppressor. I think newer rigs, that have a lot more electronics are more sensitive to this than older ones. Also, just like everything else, the electric grid is most likely under unusual strain when we are in town.
9. Where to camp – We generally look at each town’s maps to plan. Often, we will have a first and second choice defined the night before we leave. If the text of where the RV is setup doesn’t get through, then we at least know where to start looking.
10. Have fun. No one thinks of RAGBRAI as an RV event, they are just a side event of the main show. That said, I suspect it is one of the largest rolling RV events of the year. You will get to see and camp near all kinds of people and rigs. Be prepared to help the newbie that agreed to drive for someone and has never used one before. We have met people we would see for years at the different RV camps. It is a new opportunity to make friends on RAGBRAI.


Barbarajobach@gmail.com, March 21, 2019 at 10:14 am

3 Pedal—thank you for the info you’ve posted. I too will be RVing for the first time. You mentioned ‘checking the maps’. Where do you find these maps? We would like to begin our planning preparations now that the route is being published. Many Thanks!


3 Pedal, March 21, 2019 at 10:51 am


Each of the overnight towns generally start publishing maps on their RAGBRAI websites in the next few months. Some will have early maps up and then update them later, others don’t publish maps until close to the ride. I build a binder for each year with all the maps printed out for each town, along with any other specific information for that town. If they don’t have a lot of maps, I may also print out some online maps for the town.

When the support vehicle maps are published, I add those as well. We look at the bike and driver routes and where the designated campgrounds are and start planning out what we will try for. Normally it works, but sometimes it does not.

Not sure if it will help, but you can get a little feel for it by looking at our blog. https://3dudaks.wordpress.com/

This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by 3 Pedal.


John Dovishaw, March 22, 2019 at 9:50 am

It states that you have to have three riders for an RV pass, there are only two of us riding and a third as the RV driver. Is this a problem? Please advise.


3 Pedal, March 22, 2019 at 10:19 am

2 riders and 1 driver will cover it. Has for us for years when most of our riders could not make it.


John Dovishaw, March 22, 2019 at 11:37 am

Excellent, thanks for the reply.


Sandaltan ., March 22, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Judging by what I read 3 Pedal has a earned a PHD in RAGBRAI Logistics. Great advice.



3 Pedal, March 22, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Thanks Sandaltan.

This will be year 15 for the team, every year with an RV. All but one of those years my Mom has been our driver, so she knows more than I. It is amazing some of the places she has found, and where she has parked their Motorhome. One year, I talked a buddy into driving my 5th Wheel when Mom and Dad were in Houston for cancer treatments. I am always involved in the planning before we depart. If you have questions on the ride, watch for our rig. We are well branded for a smaller team, and can always offer advice and sometimes help. Or watch for me on the route, I am the slow one.


John Dovishaw, March 28, 2019 at 5:29 am

Hopefully someone can help, I am having problems registering my RV. See the process I followed below. I have already emailed Ragbrai info as well ascalled them and have not heard back (will try again today) so I thought I would ask this group. I also have tried to set up a separate Forum question for just this but have no idea how to start a new thread. Anyways, hope someone can help:

Here are the steps we took:

Three of us registered for Ragbrai.

Group was set up and all three accepted.

Went to add vehicle and chose RV, also chose driver. Said cost was $75, then hit save.

Then I closed the group and it billed me for the vehicle, I chose the pay later option as I assumed I could just pay when I had my credit card on me.

Now it is not letting me pay and is telling me I can’t add a vehicle because the group has been closed.

Please advise.


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