RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Day 3 – Fort Dodge to Iowa Falls

  • 8 June, 2021
  • Andrea Parrott

You know it seemed so easy to be Rollin on the River, we decided to stay Nautical by Nature and head to Iowa Falls! About 25 riders gathered this morning to ride from Fort Dodge to Iowa Falls.

We got out of (Fort) Dodge this morning but we can’t wait to come back!

Today’s ride was 55.5 miles with approximately 1,028 feet of climb. Those who rode the Gravel “loop” traveled 70.2 miles and had 1,376 feet of climb. On our way from Sac City to Fort Dodge, we visited Duncombe, Webster City (Meeting Town), Blairsburg, Williams (2 miles south), and Alden. Click this text for a map of the third day of RAGBRAI XLVIII.

Photos from our trip are below – but be sure to scroll down for details on the day’s ride and our overnight town, Fort Dodge!

Enjoying an Oreo break in Duncombe in honor of Greenie

We had a delicious lunch at the American Legion in Webster City – Pork burgers, chips, and brownies!

Enjoying a surprise visit from Mr. Pork Chop and Sassy Lemonade today!

The Opera House in Blairsburg is a hidden treasure!

Alden is renovating their main street so we had a break in their shady park next to the Iowa River!

We were treated to a boat ride on the Scenic City Empress Riverboat today!!

Tuesday on RAGBRAI XLVIII is Jim Green Day and Gravel Day!

Jim Green Day
RAGBRAI XLVIII is in memory of James “Greenie” Green, the popular, long-time RAGBRAI director from 1991-2004. On this day, we honor Greenie’s outgoing personality, passion, and the energy he brought to RAGBRAI. Let’s celebrate him by wearing green, ringing our cowbells, and enjoying the heck out of the ride. “If it’s not fun, don’t do it!” For more on Greenie, check out the Ready to Launch Route Inspection blog we posted a few days ago.

Gravel Day
There are no denying riders who enjoy gravel riding! In the past, RAGBRAI has offered a gravel loop. This year we’ve taken it to the next level with a 70-mile route taking riders through Alden. This optional route is recommended for those who truly want a taste of Iowa gravel.

As always it was a great day on the RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre Ride. From Duncombe who opened their bar to welcome and talk RAGBRAI with us, to Webster City who fed us a complete lunch, to Mr. Pork Chop and Sassy Slushies who surprised us with a break spot, to Blairsburg (only Blairsburg in the US!) who gave us a tour of their Opera House, to Alden where we took a much needed shady break, to Iowa Falls who gave us our second surprise of the day with a cruise on the Scenic City Empress Riverboat, it was an incredible day that we won’t soon forget.

For a description of our visits to each pass-through town, check out today’s episode of the JustGoBike podcast! Featuring Kathy “Murphology” Murphy and Andrea “ParrotTalk” Parrott. You can find it wherever you like to listen to podcasts, or follow this link:

Click here for photos from today’s ride by Brian Powers of The Des Moines Register! 


Hip hop hooray, we’ll be in Iowa Falls tonight! If you didn’t already know, they’re Nautical by Nature. We’ve visited three times before, the last time being 2004.

The theme for RAGBRAI – Iowa Falls is “Nautical By Nature,” which reflects both the Iowa River that winds through Iowa Falls and the many green spaces and nature opportunities that Iowa Falls and its surroundings provide.

The RAGBRAI route into town will follow Washington Street to Main Street. Our charming downtown area streets are lined with local businesses and restaurants. This will also be where our vendors are located, to include bike shops, food, and merchandise vendors.

One block from downtown on Main Street, the RAGBRAI route will pass Estes Park, home for our entertainment and beverage garden. Our beverage garden will open at 10:30 a.m., and live music will run continuously from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. We will have two stages of music showcasing seven musical acts, to include five local bands and two regional headlining acts. In addition, we will be welcoming back a RAGBRAI favorite to send off the riders Wednesday morning. Look for our musical entertainment line-up to be announced soon on our RAGBRAI – Iowa Falls Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RagbraiIowaFalls

Our main campground will be held at Iowa Falls – Alden High School on the north side of Iowa Falls. Our other school facilities and city parks will also be utilized as camping areas for our RAGBRAI guests.

If you would like to order a “Nautical By Nature” T-Shirt, you can order yours here: https://form.jotform.com/210914724614048

To find out more about RAGBRAI – Iowa Falls, check out our website: https://ragbrai.com/route-maps/fort-dodge/?section=ui-rb-towns-1

If you are looking for housing or camping options in Iowa Falls, please connect with others on our Iowa Falls Housing Match Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/351963849527014/

To find out more about Iowa Falls, check out our website: http://iowafallstourism.com/

We look forward to welcoming you to Iowa Falls on Tuesday, July 27!

Iowa Falls is known as “The Scenic City” as it located on some of the most scenic portions of the Iowa River. The town was laid out and platted in 1856. It was named from the falls on the Iowa River. The Illinois Central Railroad was built through Iowa Falls in 1866. We suggest kayaking and canoeing on the Iowa River! Iowa Falls is home to Ellsworth Community College.

In 1851, the first European families built cabins in Iowa Falls. The Native Americans had used the area for hunting and summer camps. They both were attracted to the woods and river which had abundant wildlife and resources. The city was originally to be named Rocksylvania, but was later changed to Iowa Falls to reflect the ripples in the river. On May 4th, 1869, the city was officially incorporated. Iowa Falls is home to Ellsworth Community College, which has operated since 1890 and is an excellent two-year school with over 46 degree options. When the river was widened to allow for more recreational use, the “falls” were eliminated. A man-made falls has since been developed on the west side of Iowa Falls.

Iowa Falls has been a retail and agricultural hub since the beginning. We have been blessed with the scenic Iowa River and limestone bluffs that gained us the name of “The Scenic City.” The Scenic City Empress river boat is a great way to see the river and bluffs. You should watch for the Peter Toth Indian Statue along the river just north of the beautiful Washington Avenue Bridge spanning the river if you are enjoying a boat ride on the Empress.

We have over 100 acres of parks and green space in the city. Another great way to take in the river and bluffs would be a stroll across The Swinging Bridge from the west end of Rocksylvania Avenue to Assembly Park. The Rainbow Bridge over the Rock Run Gorge is located at the east end of Washington Avenue and crosses into Jones Park, the home of the Meyer Municipal Aquatic Center. It offers a great view of the gorge, which is another scenic area of town. The Rainbow Bridge is a trailhead for our trails system in Iowa Falls that begins at the aquatic center and ends at Cadet Field. The trails system is routed through some of the scenic areas of town and is a great ride or walk.

We have many points of interest in Iowa Falls and the surrounding area. The Meyer Municipal Aquatic Center is a great place for summer fun. We have the Dow House & Historical Museum located at the intersection of Rocksylvania Avenue and Stevens Street. The Pat Clark art collection is also displayed at the same location in the former Carnegie Ellsworth Library Building. If you wish to venture outside of city limits, make plans to visit Calkins Nature Area. Located between Iowa Falls and Alden, Calkins Nature Area boasts a first-rate nature center of over 6,000 square feet which greets you as you enter 76 acres of rolling hills, nestled up to the banks of the Iowa River. Admission is free to the public.

The citizens of Iowa Falls look forward to welcoming the 2021 RAGBRAI riders to come and stay with us for a day (and night). We hope you will find Iowa Falls a welcoming, fun and friendly community that you will want to visit again.

Click this text for more information on Iowa Falls’ RAGBRAI Plans!

Click this text for more fun facts about Iowa Falls including notable locations and famous citizens!

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RagbraiIowaFalls
Instagram: @RAGBRAIiowa

We recorded a preview of our journey from Le Mars to Sac City on the JustGoBike Podcast! Listen here:

Be sure to tune in each day for Route Inspection updates:
Social Media * Here on RAGBRAI.com * JustGoBike Podcast
ft. Kathy Murphy aka Murphology and ParrotTalk!
We’ll release a JustGoBike Podcast every day! Including fun facts and RAGBRAI plans from the pass through towns on RAGBRAI XLVIII!

You can also follow the pre-ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following us on social media:
Facebook: Facebook.com/RAGBRAI
Instagram: @RAGBRAI 
Murphology Podcast on Instagram: @MurphologyPodcast
JustGoBike Podcast: soundcloud.com/JustGoBike

Have a great day and we will check in with you tomorrow! – Andrea

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