RAGBRAI virgin! advice sought. thank you!

i just registered and await the lottery. i will be driving out to the starting area.

how does one get back to the starting area? is that what this bit about charters is all about?

i am totally down with bringing my own camping gear. do we make our own breakfast and dinner? are there showers at the stops?


31 Replies

jelly0317, February 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm

1. You could use a charter service or try to find someone who’s driving back to the start. Posts on rides will be appearing as we get closer to the ride.
2. I don’t know of anyone in the tent campground who “makes” dinner or breakfast. There are plenty of dining options downtown or in/near the campground.
3. Showers are available in/near the campground, $5 or $6, usually.
As others have mentioned in other threads, you’ll catch on to the daily routine pretty quickly. Have fun!


molly martin, February 23, 2019 at 8:28 pm

great! thank you!


SFC JKL 2, February 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm

You need to understand the scale of the ride. We are talking about over 20,000 people coming into these towns. Sure, you could eat a granola bar, but there will probably be about 50 places selling breakfast by the time you get to the first town. Even more for dinner. Think state fair with restaurants too. The most popular dinner option is church suppers. They will be plentiful.
Charters are for camping in the overnight towns. The sky is the limit for what they offer as long as you have the money. For your situation, many groups and charters will offer what’s called the West/East service to take people from the end back to the start town. Expect to pay somewhere in the $160 range for that. You can find cheaper ways if you would advertise of the forum as we get closer to ride time, to ride with others making the trip that way.


Herschel, February 24, 2019 at 7:38 am

Another option depending on what direction live from Iowa is to come to the ending town (Keokuk) to leave your vehicle and catch a ride to the starting town. Then you can ride the last day at your leisure instead of pushing to make whatever time your ride west is leaving. There will be ride options posted closer to July to choose from.


Sandaltan ., February 24, 2019 at 9:13 am

Go to YouTube and search RAGBRAI . You can get a visual preview of your upcoming adventure.



molly martin, February 24, 2019 at 9:33 am

so i look for a charter that has transport service to Keokuk. thank you!

thanks for the youtube suggestion, it’s nice to know you can buy stuff to eat along the route.

do people just pull off the road anywhere to pee? or is that a big no no?

should i bring my ukulele?

so you basically arrive in town, grab your bag off the truck, look for a place to camp, pay for a shower, and there are booths set up for grub and beer nearby? thanks for all the help :)


molly martin, February 24, 2019 at 9:44 am

Oh and FWIW, i would NEVER leave TP on the ground. I am a big advocate for LNT, so I pack it out <3


jelly0317, February 24, 2019 at 10:42 am

(1) Corn fields serve a dual purpose.
(2) My late friend “Moon” brought his banjo for years. Ukuleles are welcome!
(3) Pay attention to the time you loaded your bag on the truck in the morning: that will determine its general location on the ground when you arrive.


Paul Hlas, February 24, 2019 at 4:33 pm

Molly where you starting out from? Our team meets in Des Moines. We’ve got openings for 3 people. We rent a nice van and have special bike trailer for gear. We also are indoors campers and stay at peoples houses if possible. Send me an email or pm me if interested iowaboy2020@outlook.com


jay williams, February 24, 2019 at 6:56 pm

Welcome to the adventure Molly!
Your registration cost includes transport of your bags to each overnight town. Showers always available for a small fee. Food is everwhere, so just bring cash. As a registered rider, you can “add on” to any charter for transport from keokuk to council bluffs (for a fee). Really though, just getting on this forum and asking for a ride, while chipping in for gas money is a great way to do it. Most people doing Ragbrai are incredibly generous and will help you out. It’s really the most magical part of this whole event.


jay williams, February 24, 2019 at 6:58 pm

Oh, and definitely bring your ukulele.


Robin Labonte, February 25, 2019 at 9:50 am

Hi this would be our first RAGBRAI too and we are looking to do the last two days as single riders. How do we sign up and in everyone’s experience what is the likelihood we can find a ride from the end point to the starting point of the next to last day? What are the accommodations in the night before the last day? Thanks!!!


jwsknk, February 25, 2019 at 11:05 am

the pass through towns almost always have plenty of food and drink stands, free water bottle refills are usually on the way out of town or at the fire station. There are also Kybo’s in the towns, usually in a nice all day sunny spot.
I’d save the weight and space and leave cooking equipment home, the Register truck is 50lbs one bag (is that right? haven’t used them for a long time). Don’t know what they say about fuel.
Corn fields yes, beans fields no. Watch out for CORN BEARS! If you have to go through a ditch to get to a field avoid ones with yellow flowering plants with a flat head, the sap from those will react with the sun and cause some nasty blistering.
Shower truck, high schools, swimming pools all shower options, a garden hose if you really want “refreshing” shower (as in cold) I can get warmer water out of my water bottles for a quick washcloth cleaning up to get rid of days sunscreen and dirt layers.


RDaryl Daryl, February 25, 2019 at 11:25 am

Those yellow flowering plants are known as POISON PARSNIP. Get to know what they look like and avoid them.
It is always better to enter corn fields at a grassy area or drive rather than through a ditch.
Most memorable hose shower was Forest City on XXX. Brrrrrr . . . deep well water.


Groeny82, February 25, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Don’t worry about food or drink, just worry about bringing enough cash. There will be so much food and drinks you couldn’t go hungry or thirsty if you tried. My biggest piece of advice is to slow down and enjoy the ride. My first year I was so worried about getting to the overnight town late that I didn’t stop much along the route and I spent very little time in the pass through towns. After a week of getting to the overnight town around 3:00 or 4:00 I realized I have way more time to stop and experience things. So now I stop for a beer or piece of pie (or two) in every town. I stop at several roadside places. Once in a while I take a nap. Even with all of that I still get to the end town by 6:00 or before.


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