Protocol for Reserving Camping Space

There was a large team group who, in ‘Nola, “reserved” a shady space, about 1/4 the size of a football field for a team that didn’t need nearly that much room. When I arrived at the middle school, there were a dozen trees with no tents under them. I really wanted a space to sling my hammock, but alas. I dropped my gear there to start setting up my tent, when the “leader” of the team came and told me I couldn’t put my tent there, because she scoped out the space a month ago and was saving that space for her team.

To my knowledge, this team is not a charter. (And do Charters pay an additional fee for the privilege of securing their space for their hundreds of tents?) Rather, this is a group that just wanted their space, without putting up tents. They *did* encircle the whole area with police tape. Question for the forum: Can they DO that?

I called the leader a “horrible person,” and then walked away before anything escalated. It wasn’t worth making it worse. I picked up all my stuff and moved to a different place.

And I had to chuckle toward the end of the day when their tents were sitting in full afternoon sun because the team had failed to take into account the fact that shadows move as the sun travels across the sky. So there!

I also commented to my teammates that I had finally found someone in Iowa who isn’t “Iowa Nice,” and who clearly doesn’t adhere to the generous spirit of RAGBRAI.

And I’ll also accept that I’m the one being the jerk here, who responded negatively at the end of a day of riding. This is a jury of peers, after all.

3 Replies

hnschipper, August 5, 2019 at 12:54 pm

We encountered a charter in a city in one town that had a very large area of the park and 3/4 of it sat empty. They had all this nice, flat area roped off with no tents while those of us outside hilly, rocky ground to deal with.


jwsknk, August 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm

Some towns assign spots to larger groups. I dont know how the decide how much space. Sometimes the groups find spots on their own. I think RAGBRAI gave us the formula to determine space needs as average 10×10 per tent. This year about 85 people. Figured 60-70 tents. Also need to figure in space for a 26 ft truck plus a SUV.


jdeutmeyer, August 19, 2019 at 8:27 pm

Many teams contact people they know for private camping sites. The city has arrangement to be an overnight town and plans a certain zone of camp sites. Some of these teams are assigned by RAGBRAI to a certain zone of a park/ camp site. They pay individual registrations and team vehicle fees for privilege of assignment. These teams pay for extra KYBO next to site. There are other areas that are allowed camp sites without assigned zone, meant for individual registered people. These would be first come first serve. Not sure which applies.


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