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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

Chris Miller, March 25, 2019 at 8:48 am

Stuart Iowa is the site of a Bonnie and Clyde bank robbery. There is a sign on the bank building (apparently now a hair salon).

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jwsknk, March 25, 2019 at 9:07 am

last day when we get to Montrose ( sorry different one, not on Lake Geneva shoreline, that’s Montraux
) across the river is Nauvoo Ill, if there is no Smoke on the Water, should be able to see it. https://www.beautifulnauvoo.com/nauvoo-history/

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Cory Rood, March 25, 2019 at 9:55 am

You could visit atleast 1 Freedom Rock each day.

Day 1, Lewis, would be a 9 mile one way detour
Day 2, Hwy 25, 3 Miles south of the route
Day 2, Winterset
Day 3, Norwalk
Day 4, Corydon, 8 miles south of Millerton
Day 4/5, Centerville
Day 5, Drakesville, 5 miles north of route on Ice Ave(paved)
Day 6, Stockport
Day 7, West Point

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Vlad Yu, March 28, 2019 at 12:23 pm

subscribing! great thread. Thank you!

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Chris Miller, March 28, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Avoca; if you like Americana, look up the Beetle spider there. Definitely a photo op!
Also in Avoca is Farmall-Land, what appears to be an extremely good tractor and farm equipment museum. It is north of the route but easily possible to get to.
Later in the week in Salem, also a meeting town, there is the Lewelling Quaker Museum…actually served as part of the Underground Railroad helping escaped slaves make their way to freedom. The folks there said they would be open if RAGBRAI is coming through. Looks like we are.
This is a great thread….keep it going.

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mcpartla, March 29, 2019 at 6:34 am

Thanks, Chris. I’m also putting together a similar list for all of Iowa as my wife and I plan to drive around Iowa for about a week prior to this year’s Ragbrai seeing some of the highlights from my past 15 years doing Ragbrais.

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Brady Bisgard, March 29, 2019 at 9:32 am

About 4 miles north of Cumming (all via trail) is the Outskirz Bar and Chicken Bar. Both great stops. They’re having an unofficial off route party this year. Also I know some bars downtown DM are going to be fun – the day is only 38 miles so I know people planning on riding downtown to have some fun mid day.

Thankfully its accessible via trail so no dangerous off route road riding – but be careful on the crossings if you go off route. Don’t make RAGBRAI look bad!!

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KenH, April 19, 2019 at 10:28 am

I might try to stop by an unassuming home at 604 North Court Street in Fairfield. It is an obscure historic site at best and I don’t even know for sure that the current building on that lot is the original one. But late in the 19th century a young boy by the name of Henry Harrison Chase Dunwoody lived there. I’m not sure that Fairfield remembers him but he contributed to some extent to the development of the LED, the light emitting diode that has become so commonplace these days.

He went to West Point, became a brigadier general and while in the army contributed to early efforts to improve weather forecasting and got involved with a very new communications technology called radio. When he retired from the military he worked for the early radio/electronics pioneers DeForest and Marconi. At the time crystal radios were a hot item for military and commercial use, radio broadcasting to the public was still a decade away. He invented a type of crystal detector for radio signals. The most well known crystal detector from that time was made from the lead ore called galena. But it was too fragile both mechanically and electrically for commercial and military use. Dunwoody made his detector from carborundum or silicon carbide as we know it today. Unlike galena it was too insensitive to radio signals to make a good detector on its own but it worked very well when given a boost by a battery. Dunwoody’s personal legacy continues to this day. His great granddaughter Ann became the first female four star general in US history in 2008!

The path from Dunwoody to the LED is a bit indirect but it starts with that carborundum detector and the battery that was needed to make it work well. It had been invented/patented in 1906 and within a year an experimenter named Henry Joseph Round discovered that if you powered the carborundum detector with rather more voltage than necessary to make it detect radio signals the silly thing would light up! And it wasn’t incandescent or any other form of light known at the time, it was something new. We now know that it was an LED and the first one known to have been made.

In the 1920’s a Russian engineer by the name of Oleg Losev either discovered the effect on his own or was put on to it by earlier reports of it. He made some attempts to explain what was going on that were not too far off the mark and attempted to get Einstein to help him but never got a response from the famous physicist. He was used to being ignored. As the son of an aristocrat living in the Soviet Union he was tolerated to an extent but largely ignored even though he was doing some work that would have been groundbreaking if it had been given the support it deserved. He not only did work with LEDs long before they became a thing, he did the same with solid state electronics. Certain of these early “crystal radio” detectors actually had the properties of devices we would call tunnel diodes today. When connected to a battery they could be made to amplify radio signals and he successfully built completely solid state radios three decades before anyone else! The Soviets wanted nothing to do with him however and only one American magazine publisher seemed to have recognized the enormous potential of his work. Losev ended up dying in the siege of Leningrad, his lab and papers destroyed by the German occupation forces. Right before the end he sent a letter to a friend that suggested that he may have invented the point contact transistor some five years before Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley at Bell Labs in the US. Imagine that, Silicon Valley in Leningrad, if only the Soviets had known what they had!

But the story begins in a home in Fairfield that as far as I can tell no one makes any fuss over.

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mcpartla, April 19, 2019 at 11:29 am

Good find and story and we have Henry Dunwoody to thank for our savings installing all those cheaper light bulbs. Reminds me of Daniel Drawbridge in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania who beat Alexander Graham Bell in inventing the telephone in 1867 but was too poor to patent it. Bell Telephone fought Henry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for the “honor”. Historical sign at 155 Lake St., New Cumberland (near Harrisburg, our state Capitol).

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Eric olson, April 28, 2019 at 11:06 am

Planning to catch a Burlington bees (A affiliate of the angels) on Friday. I have a soft spot for minor league parks

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