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RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Recap Day 5 – Mason City to Charles City

  • 28 June, 2022
  • Andrea Parrott

Apologies for the delay in publishing the remainder of the Pre Ride Recap Blogs. They are on their way, we promise! Had to take a break after the 100 mile day…

We started things off Classy on Day 5 of the Route Inspection Pre Ride, with a photo from the lobby of the Historic Park Inn in downtown Mason City. The HPI is the last remaining hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright – if you have any interest in architecture, hotels, Frank Lloyd Wright, Iowa History, or just cool places, it’s not to be missed.

Twenty one riders gathered on this bright Thursday morning. Day Five’s ride was a light 48.0 miles with approximately 1,260 feet of climb. On our way from Mason City to Charles City, we visited Rockford and Marble Rock (Meeting Town)Click this text for a map of the fifth day of RAGBRAI XLIX.

On Day Five of RAGBRAI XLIX we honor Charlie Harper, founder of Harper’s Bike Shop (one of our official Bicycle Shops from the beginning) who passed away in May of 2021. He enjoyed joining us on the Route Inspection rides whenever he could and he was dearly missed this year. In his honor, Day Five is also Crazy Socks Day. Charlie always created RAGBRAI socks to match our yearly kit (and Harpers still does this). While his socks were/are tasteful, we wanted to add some RAGBRAI flair to this theme day and thus Crazy Socks Day was born. Mismatched, bright, loud, funny images, we want to see them all!



Just before we reached Rockford, we stopped at Floyd County Conservation’s Fossil and Prairie Park! True to any good Conservation stop they did have bananas but more importantly… they had fossils! Devonian era fossils cover the ground in this area – from over 365 MILLION years ago! During RAGBRAI you will also be able to stop and dig up your own fossils, and even take some with you. Talk about a unique souvenir.



Rockford’s theme is Rock Your Socks! Follow their page on Facebook to keep up with their RAGBRAI plans – just click this text!


And Rockford did indeed Rock our Crazy Socks! The town has a Fossil Museum, and will have a petting zoo for us on the day-of. Other vendors include Planet Coffee Shop (you can see AP sampling their delicious coffee and muffin holes in the photo above), Rockford on Main (also recommended) (they’ll have a bloody Mary bar on RAGBRAI), an FFA stand, church booths including pie, biscuits and gravy, and more, offerings from the Lion’s Club, HoQ Restaurant, Heartland Coffee Nosh, Rhinehart and Farm Kids, Wine on Wheels, and Chris Cakes. In other words, get ready to fuel up in Rockford!



Marble Rock

Y’all we had a pink Cadillac escort us into Marble Rock – and we thought that would be the most memorable thing about our visit – we were wrong!! EVERYTHING is memorable in Marble Rock.
We were met by the Pony Express, the Sheriff, and other notable historic personalities. Some of us were not lucky enough to avoid jail time:
We recommended planning to stay in town for an hour, or two… or three! Other photo ops and historic sites in Marble Rock will include a 1941 Fire truck, Jail (pictured above), Barbershop, Historic Drug Store with Root Beer Floats and free popcorn, museums, historically accurate farm house and much much more. Vendors will include Whitetails bar (we loved their loose meat sandwiches), the Community Center with a beer tent, and 12 other vendors downtown.

Charles City

Situated in picturesque Northeast Iowa, Charles City is sure to have something for everyone. Whether you’re here for an adventure on Iowa’s first whitewater course or you’d rather peruse our award winning Mooney Art Collection, we’re happy to have you. Our trails are speckled with public art and our streets have plenty of historic homes for the eye to consume. If history is your thing, we’re proud to recommend the Floyd County Museum; this locale does a great job highlighting our history as home of the Hart Parr tractor and shares our journey of regrowth after an EF-5 tornado decimated business and residential areas. Bikers are welcome on our miles of trails with lots of yummy restaurants prime for a quick bite to eat. Our entire locale is excited to welcome RAGBRAI riders and support July 28!

Charles City’s theme is Viva! Charles City! We had a police escort into town:


And then checked out Charles City Whitewater at their Riverfront Park, and the Mooney Gallery at the Library (awesome art, will be FREE and have AC on RAGBRAI!).



We also stopped by Tellurian Brewing for some refreshments:


While in Charles City your entertainment for the evening will include:


Viva Knievel is headlining Charles City’s RAGBRAI entertainment lineup! They’re set to take the main stage the night of July 28, and we have no doubt you’ll love them. Featuring a full horn section and diverse catalogue of upbeat selections, Viva Knievel is here to rock. We can’t believe Viva Knievel hasn’t been to RAGBRAI before, it’s about time we took the plunge! See more of their performances here:


For more information on Charles City’s RAGBRAI plans, visit their page on our website: Charles City RAGBRAI

Follow on Facebook:

Ready for more? 

For a description of our visits to each pass through town, check out the Day Five 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: 

You can also follow the Pre-Ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following us on social media:
Instagram: @RAGBRAI 
Murphology Podcast on Instagram: @MurphologyPodcast
Murphology Podcast on Facebook: @MurphologyPodcast
Murphology Podcast on Twitter: @murphologypod
JustGoBike Podcast:

Have a great day and happy trails! – Andrea

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