Seeking Info about RVs at RAGBRAI

A group of 4-5 of us are very interested in participating in RAGBRAI for the first time. We’re considering driving to Le Mars from Baltimore, MD, in a Class C RV and using it along the ride route as our nightly lodging. This site mentions RV campgrounds, but notes that hook-up not guaranteed. Without a hookup, we’d be forced to use a generator all night (noisy, unpleasant) or leave the vehicle running- neither option sounds good.

Does anyone have any tips for us? Is an RV an viable option?

Is there a way to ensure access to RV hookup ahead of time? Either in an official campground or perhaps a private home?

Any suggestions appreciate. Thank you.

This topic was modified 6 months ago by Becky Redett.

24 Replies

garywilk, February 10, 2020 at 8:20 am

We have done it several times and doing it again with an RV Makes it very nice especially if it is raining through the night or in the morning. There will be 1000’s of RV/Buss types. You may be able to get electrical hook-ups one or two nights if lucky and get out real early but most of them are in open fields, school parking lots etc. There are a ton of generators running. It will be northern IA so there is a good chance of turning it off around 10-11 or later when you go to sleep. That is what we do. Then around 5 they will start firing back up. If hot, it will just run but so will everyone. There are enough dump sites along the route. RV is the best way to do RAGBRAI as long as you have a driver. But again, I am now over 50 and my dad 75 who is our driver.

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garywilk, February 10, 2020 at 8:26 am

Should of mentioned that my dad has done it over 25 times and still loves it. I have also done several and used other sleeping options. Charters are nice that put up and down you tents but a little more expensive. Doing your own tent in the rain in the morning is not a lot of fun but usually only happens about once. Setting it up in the afternoon in the rain is not much fun either but it usually never rains all afternoon/evening so you can usually find a non-raining time.
RV is the best. I bring a set of ear plugs which help me sleep. Usually there is someone that snores and makes more noise then the generator running.

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KenH, February 10, 2020 at 9:58 am

We’ve done the class C MH thing every year save one starting in 2012 and that is the plan again this year. You will hear generators running all night in the RV campgrounds and that is why they tend to segregate us. If you want to use another campground or if the RV campground is cheek by jowl with the rest as it sometimes is then you need to be more circumspect. Full or electric hookups are rare, we’ve had a grand total of one, and when they are available they will be booked up FAST if they are advertised. The one time we got one was totally by accident, our driver was just told to park “over there” and over there happened to be a full hookup site! We dry camp for the week, only emergency use of water is allowed, to avoid whatever lines there are at the dump sites. I imagine they are long but since I’ve never been at a RAGBRAI dump site I could be completely wrong. A team MH makes a great way to do RAGBRAI!

I actually would prefer to tent camp however!! The weather can be a huge issue and the “bed” can be very hard and I have never, ever been able to get the AC in my tent to work. But I like the minimalist approach to the week. It gives you a very different experience of life, it is a much more cleansing, spiritual way to do the ride.

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Niles, February 10, 2020 at 10:53 am

I kind of understand/don’t understand/don’t wanna understand of doing RAGBRAI in RV way. If you think your RV are so nice to everyone else outside your cocoons, please spend a night in a tent surrounded by hundreds RV running generators all night (in some overnight towns you have to). I totally understand Ken’s saying of “spiritual way to do the ride”. Before you just believe you are entitled/want/necessary to live in the “comfort” RV to do RAGBRAI, please ask yourselves one more time if you need the RV TRULY and the purpose of your doing RAGBRAI.

Our team have a team bus which makes easier to transport our bikes and luggages from east coast but nobody sleeps in it. Most of us set up our own tents, some of them does that over more than 30 years while some/sometime let our local driver’s kid to do so in order to let the kid earn a fat tip. Over the years, we have met our tent camping neighbors who should be afford of /deserve/need some luxury like RV but still choose tent camping, like retired general, state supreme court justice, fast silicon-valley multi-millionaire, internationally famed big lawyer, knee-replaced retiree, multi-medicine taking person, …

For the reasons of not doing RAGBRAI in RV:
1.) Riding at home and sleep in your master bedroom is 100 times comforter than your million-dollar RV;
2.) There are much more crowd rides like Now York City’s Five-Boro Ride;
3.) There are more challenging rides like Ride The Rockies;
4.) There are logistically-easier/comforter sleep week-long rides like Velo Virgina.

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Becky Redett, February 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Niles-
Your response seems a little heavy handed. I don’t own a million-dollar RV, nor have I ever traveled in an RV before. I don’t believe I’m “entitled to live in the “comfort” RV to do RAGBRAI”, as you said. The logistics of RAGBRAI are a bit daunting to people who haven’t done it before and don’t live nearby. An RV sounds like a logical way to get 5 people, 5 bikes from the East Coast to Iowa (and back), have lodging along the way, and then provide lodging along the ride route.

My original post asked if it was a viable option and for advice. You didn’t need to jump to conclusions about who I am and how I perceive other people.

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Becky Redett, February 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm

Thank you, Gary and Ken H. Appreciate your responses.

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hnschipper, February 10, 2020 at 6:19 pm

I know I’m probably in the minority, but I love camping next to an RV running a generator. I’m a white noise sleeper, and a generator is fantastic white noise. Given the choice, I will always choose to set up my tent close by an RV with a generator.

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Sandaltan ., February 10, 2020 at 6:23 pm

Becky, you will be welcome in the RV campground. Could be right between an older puppy pickup pulling a popup and a Prevost pulling a twenty foot trailer containing a Chrysler Pacifica. No shade and no hookup but plenty of good time and adventure.

RIDE RIGHT

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jelly0317, February 10, 2020 at 6:40 pm

Niles, am I the “internationally famed big lawyer” to whom you refer in your post? If so, please add “recently-retired” to your description.

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tjdale57, February 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm

Niles-
Your response seems a little heavy handed. I don’t own a million-dollar RV, nor have I ever traveled in an RV before. I don’t believe I’m “entitled to live in the “comfort” RV to do RAGBRAI”, as you said. The logistics of RAGBRAI are a bit daunting to people who haven’t done it before and don’t live nearby. An RV sounds like a logical way to get 5 people, 5 bikes from the East Coast to Iowa (and back), have lodging along the way, and then provide lodging along the ride route.

My original post asked if it was a viable option and for advice. You didn’t need to jump to conclusions about who I am and how I perceive other people.

Sent you a private message.

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Sandaltan ., February 10, 2020 at 8:24 pm

Congratulations Jelly0317!!! Still sporting the cammo panniers or have you upgraded?

RIDE RIGHT

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Niles, February 10, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Becky, my apology. The “you” I used never means you as Becky. And what I was trying to say is that in my personal opinion, RV might not be the most enjoyable way of doing RAGBRAI, to the RV riders themselves and others. The might-be precieved comforts a RV provides could not compensate the lose on other aspects of RAGBRAI’s total experience, for example, closeness to night activities, relative isolation, naunces to others, etc.

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jelly0317, February 10, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Thanks. I’ve still got them, and hoping to use them on my 37th RAGBRAI in July.

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Sandaltan ., February 10, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Jelly, I will watch for those panniers as riders pass me by. Take care.

RIDE RIGHT

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garywilk, February 11, 2020 at 8:16 am

The other benefit is a bathroom that my mom likes much compared to the other options. Especially in the middle of the night. Also a shower is nice. Does not take long, basically a quick rinse off. We do not even turn on hot water. The 75 F water in the tank is good enough. We are joking with my nephew that he will sleep in a tent next to the RV for the proper experience. My dads RV is more in the range of $30K with basic features. On a shorter day, my brother and I will take it to the next overnight town early in the morning and then ride back about 75% of the route. Meet back up with my dad and others. If you ride backwards, be careful and do it early before it gets crowded. It is dangerous later on.

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