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Things Not to Miss on the 2019 Route

On each new RAGBRAI I have found many interesting places along each day’s route … museums, monuments, historical, etc. but I’m sure I miss much along the route too because there are miles to make and the weather is sometimes iffy and does not allow much time to linger … so I’d like to start a forum with suggestions of “what to be sure not to miss”. I’ll start with Council Bluffs and hope readers will contribute their ideas.

Council Bluffs
Lewis & Clark Monument and Overlook
Lewis & Clark Landing and Riverfront Park
Historic General Dodge House … 605 S. 3rd St.
Union Pacific RR Museum … 200 Pearl St.
Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge
Lauritzen Gardens Omaha’s Botanical Center
Old Market
Heartland of America Park
Joslyn Art Museum
First National’s Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness & Pioneer Courage Park
Henry Doorly Zoo
Omaha Children’s Museum
Kanesville Tabernacle … 222 E. Broadway
Ditmars Orchard … 19475 225th St.
Western Historic Trails Center … 3434 Rchard Downing Ave.
Pottwattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum

Day 1 towns we visit include: McClelland, Underwood, Neiola, Minden, Avoca, Walnut, Marne, Atlantic

25 Replies

jwsknk, March 23, 2019 at 9:38 am

Day 2 is kind of legendary criminal day. Jessie James train robbery sight between Anita and Adair
Close Iowa I80. And Dexter where there was a gunfight with Bonnie and Clyde.


mcpartla, March 23, 2019 at 10:24 am

Yes, this is exactly the type of thing I’m looking for. Many thanks for your valuable input! I also plan to drive around Iowa in the week or so prior to this year’s ride and hope to show her some of the best finds in my prior 15 Ragbrais.


DenBiker, March 23, 2019 at 11:10 am

Here is an obvious one – Day 2/3 – Covered bridges of Madison County. 4 Bridges within 6 miles of Winterset.


DenBiker, March 23, 2019 at 11:26 am

Totally forgot – JOHN WAYNE’S (Marion Morrison before he changed his name) birthplace in Winterset as well.


mcpartla, March 23, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Adair, Casey, Menlo, Dexter … White Pole Road (Day 2)


mcpartla, March 23, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Atlantic (Day 1/2) … Atlantic Coca Cola Center & Museum, Rock Island Depot, Hennisen’s Processing Plant


Uncle Kraig, March 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm

National hot air balloon museum in Indianola, not world class but worth a visit for sure. Lucas County historical museum in Chariton is definitely worth a visit too.


Denton Kernodle, March 23, 2019 at 2:36 pm

While in Madison County, will we ride across any covered bridges?


DenBiker, March 23, 2019 at 3:12 pm

There is one bridge that has been moved into the city park in Winterset. It is not a “ride across” bridge per se but you can certainly get up close and personal with it. On day 3 the route comes within one mile of the Cedar Bridge. It is located in Cedar Bridge Park about 4 miles northeast of town on Cedar Bridge Rd. The road is paved from town to about 1/4 mile from the bridge. From the end of the pavement it is about 1 1/4 mile to the Cumming Rd where you can rejoin the Ragbrai route for the day. While the main road bypasses the bridge a side road goes through it and I am certain it is very ridable.


Uncle Kraig, March 23, 2019 at 3:15 pm

Denton, I dont believe the official route has us going across/through any covered bridges. Most of them are off the beaten path a bit and mostly on gravel so it is unlikely there will be any on the route. That said, there are several within a few short miles of the square in Winterset that will no doubt be an attraction for many. On the way out of town Tuesday morning, the Cedar Bridge is probably only a mile off the route at most, literally right on the way out of town pretty much. I am guessing it will be quite busy there Tuesday morning. Enjoy, it will be a beautiful ride out of town up towards Cumming.


Patrick O’Donnell, March 23, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Uncle Night and others: The Cedar Bridge was destroyed by arson in 2017. The first link mentions 2003 which is wrong. The original bridge was destroyed in 2002 by arson as well. The bridge is currently being reconstructed, but most likely will not be complete by the end of July as they are shooting for an early October completion date. While it will still be interesting enough to see the bridge under reconstruction, while in the area be sure to visit a bridge just a half mile upstream on the same creek – at the spillway to Cedar Lake. There they have relocated the Jurgensen Bridge – a 1911 Pratt through truss bridge from ~10 miles east of Winterset to span the spillway just up from the covered bridge. Just go up Lakeview Ln on the west side of the Cedar Creek 0.3 miles and bear right another 0.1 mile to the end / small lot. Bridge should be visible approaching the lot a few hundred yards ahead. Second link has details of this bridge relocation and third link has a nice video of the move. BTW, I’m a Pontist from Lancaster County, PA (home to 28 covered bridges) and I have close to 70 bridges I hope to visit while riding RAGBRAI – my first time doing such. I will be straying off the course several times a day to visit bridges – all part of my Bicycling Over Bridges. Some are just a mile off the course, others like in Des Moines are ~15 miles off course where I hope to visit 10. Short day of 40 miles will be made to almost 80 by the time I’m done that day. There is a nice paved bike path from Cumming into Des Moines.





KenH, March 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm

Fifty days before the ride the RAGBRAI team will do a pre-ride of the route. There will be day by day reports much like the full route announcements that just concluded today but much more detailed. They will list many things to do, see, and eat. Many will be ride related but historic attractions and events will be included so look for that when the time comes.


klkoopman, March 24, 2019 at 8:54 am

I’m a fan of researching New Deal 1930’s era Post Office Murals and visiting them along the route. Unfortunately, there is only one this year in Bloomfield, but it’s a beauty. It’s entitled “Autumn in Iowa” painted by John Sharp. Visiting always makes the Postmaster’s day, he or she will tell you all about it.



mcpartla, March 24, 2019 at 9:02 am

Day 3 … The Cumming Tap … a suggestion to see the bike trail between Cumming and Des Moines led me to this watering hole off the Great Western Trail called “… a great Destination for many cyclists in Central Iowa” and a “cyclist’s hangout”. I recall many years back on another RAGBRAI meeting some locals and asking me where the trail marked “NOT FOR RAGBRAI” and following them to this spot where many cyclists were gathered and then finding my overnight destination nearby. I’m pretty sure it’s the same place and I’ll mark it down for a visit in 2019.


T. Gap Woo, March 24, 2019 at 10:07 am

Greetings, Patrick O’Donnell!

In 2013, after Ragbrai 41 ended in Fort Madison, Mrs Woo and I headed west for Daughter Woo’s wedding in Denver. On the way, we visited Winterset and toured the bridges of Madison County. I shot many pictures of each one, as Covered Bridges are one of my favorite photo subjects. I was saddened to hear about the Cedar Bridge, but am pleased to hear that it’s being rebuilt. After the day’s ride is done in Winterset this year, Mrs Woo and I intend to revisit all of the bridges, along with a stop at the Covered Bridge Winery, another must-see on the route.

I, too, have been checking off my list of bridges to photograph in Lancaster County PA. Mrs Woo and I visit Amish country several times a year and only need to see the bridges in the western part of the county to finish the list.

We’ve also visited about half of the Covered bridges in Columbia and Montour counties in northeast PA and the central Susquehanna river valley. We hope to see the remainder this spring.

As a interesting side note, Theodore Burr, inventor of the Burr Arch Truss Covered Bridge, was born in my hometown of Torrington CT. I grew up about a mile away from his birthplace. Maybe that’s why I’m bitten by the Covered Bridge Bug??

See you along the I-O-Way this July.


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