Showers

Okay, this will be my 22nd RAGBRAI but I have a newbie question! I am using RAGBRAI support for the first time. I am curious how the shower availability works. Are they usually close to the camp area? Are the lines long and slow? And are they always cold? I have my packing figured out to one bag under 50 pounds but now I am stressing about the showers! Give this old Princess some info please!

4 Replies

Matt Riddell, March 4, 2020 at 9:35 am

We have used various shower services and this has been our experience. Shower locations vary according to each host town’s layout. You can typically find a shower within walking distance or a shuttle will place you near one. The mobile shower trucks have consistent hot water. We’ve found that local facilities (schools, ymca, etc.) “tend” to be cold or ice cold unless you arrive very early. Line length varies throughout the day based on the closeness to campgrounds and rider arrival volume. We have passed up showers with a long line to find another with a short line (or not). It’s a gamble whether to stand in the line you find or wander from shower to shower hoping for a shorter one. The mobile shower lines all move at a similar speed because they are a similar size. Local facilities have varying stall (group stall) sizes and line speeds.

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Cory Hedin, March 4, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Joe’s Wet Shack is within walking distance or a golf cart ride away from the campsites, and that’s consistent every day. Lines vary by day. I’ve had no wait, and waited up to over an hour. I think it’s $6. More if you need a towel. You get your own stall, which is a bonus.

Sometimes the locals set up their own showers. I’ve showered in a pig barn, a school with no warm water, a garden hose at a fairground…it’s a risk, but generally lower cost ($4-5) and close by to RAGBRAI camping. Downsides are showering up close and personal with 50-100 of your naked-est fellow RAGBRAIers (thankfully not co-ed), water temps and conditions of the showers can be iffy and who knows what’s in the water.

Good luck and happy camping!

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KenH, March 4, 2020 at 1:59 pm

In my experience YMCA and school showers tend to be excellent. Ditto for college showers. Showers in aquatic centers can be good but they are the ones most likely to be lacking in anything remotely like warm water. The pig barn shower in Fairfield has been excellent, both times I have used it. The horse barn shower somewhere in 2018, not so much. School showers sometimes have excellent organization, sometimes they have none. One time in 2018 I steered my team to a school shower instead of a shower trailer and my, oh my, what a zoo that was! There was one young man who must have been home schooled because he clearly had never been in a locker room situation before and was quite self conscious of being naked in the presence of his peers. Shower truck showers are generally good but the coldest shower I ever had at RAGBRAI was at one where the heater had failed and sometimes they are operated by new owners who, well, still need a clue or two. It’s RAGBRAI, not everything is perfect but everything is bearable or at least will make a GREAT story in a year or two when the pain wears off!

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SFC JKL 2, March 6, 2020 at 12:27 am

Trucks seem to be plentiful and no worry about running out of hot water. I prefer them over the locals because you never know what you will get in a building. Most schools are not set up to handle that man showers.

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