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Onawa Tire Dip

This may have been discussed before but has anyone determined a decent route for a tire dip in the Missouri from Onawa on Saturday? Im staying with PBV and the campsite is west of downtown and closer to the river.

24 Replies

Dizzy, July 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm


The previous thread is here: https://ragbrai.com/forums/topic/how-to-get-to-dip-site-at-start-town/

I too plan on a Missouri River assault from PBV by going straight down 175.
However, I’ll be in camp Friday and plan an early ride to the river on Saturday AM.
In the spirit of riding “en-mass” for safety as Kevin expressed, I welcome anyone else as accompaniment who’s available.


KenH, July 2, 2018 at 8:02 pm

Ok I see the feature you are talking about now. It was partially obscured by the road labels in the view on Google Maps and I missed it. I am afraid I will not be able to hazard a guess other than the one you have already made: it it probably some kind of water gate for flood control purposes. It lies on what appears to be a straight man-made extension to an old oxbow. I can’t imagine there being much boat traffic on this bow and certainly not north past the gate. It might be a bridge since there are well defined tire tracks leading up to it on the east and much fainter ones on the west side with diverge into two routes shortly after you cross. I know that the “span” does look more like a vertical than a horizontal structure but the tire tracks suggest that you can in fact drive across it. It seems like a very expensive structure to put in place just to allow a very light volume of traffic to cross that watery spur to the bow when it appears like it would be much cheaper to just drive around the north end of the spur. Best I can do is a flood control device of some kind that local hunters or fishermen use to access the area to the west of the spur. There appears to be a small building just to the east that could house a generator to power the “floodgate” when it needs to be operated. Or it could be something else.

I think you should ride out that way to inspect it at ground level in a few weeks and get back to us!


LawnchairMan, July 2, 2018 at 9:05 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Ken. Don’t think I will be able to investigate on site. I don’t have a mountain bike and I won’t have my car in Onawa. It’s not worth the time on the drive back, so it will have to remain a mystery. Thanks again for your opinion.


Gary Ervin, July 3, 2018 at 8:34 am

Dizzy, I’m with PBV and interested in joining you. I’ll also be in Friday night, so look for a guy with orange shoes and a confused look on his face. I’d appreciate the company and chance to tire dip at the start.


Kelly Puster, July 4, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Three of us in PBV might also be interested!


Timothy Winterlin, July 5, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Heather, about two weeks ago I rode from my home in Fremont NE, to Onawa (I live close enough that I can ride to the start of ragbrai, unless it starts in orange city….)

anyway, the toll at decatur is gone. its just a really scary metal bridge that surprisingly did not destroy my tires.

My son and I will probably walk the dirt road to the river (i cant explain why i didn’t actually scout this part when i rode it…)

the ride from onawa to the bridge was not too busy for traffic, and the entire road was flat. if you do that, good luck. My son and I will be doing it on saturday afternoon as we come to town.

**if anyone reading this is curious about travelling to onawa from fremont ne, TURN EAST AT LYONS on hwy 118, do not wait until highway 51…


Cory Rood, July 18, 2018 at 6:01 am


This should be all pavement to the river, about 35 miles round trip.


Barry Schnoor, July 18, 2018 at 7:11 am

Maybe because my usual training routes are on shoulderless 55mph roads, but 175 should be a breeze. Get your lights flashing and wear bright clothing. If traffic is heavy due to RAGBRAI, you’ll have sympathetic drivers. If drivers are annoyed at RAGBRAI, well, you’ll have annoyed drivers. But they’re not going to try to hit you. (so much paperwork involved…) State law requires 3′ distance between you and the car. I’m getting dropped off in Decatur Friday afternoon. That starts my ride. If you’re riding en masse on Saturday, you’ll likely be safer.


bnbeyer, July 18, 2018 at 11:05 am

I like these 2 routes.

This one is 6 miles one way with 1.5 miles of dirt/gravel. https://goo.gl/maps/ByJoE6whikL2

This one is 10.6 miles one way with 3 miles of dirt/gravel. https://goo.gl/maps/9yM5sB4HHd42

Please tell me your pros/cons to help me select.


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