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Route Inspection Ride: Day 6 – Waterloo to Manchester

  • 11 June, 2010
  • Jared

We were joined for Friday’s ride with some Waterloo RAGBRAI committee members as well as some area friends.  Charlie and Chuck (Muscatine), Lisa (Dyersville), Brian (Dream Team Mentor from Des Moines), Diane (Gilbertville RAGBRAI Committee and Heather and Carter (Waterloo RIDE RIGHT committee) joined the pre-ride team for the 62 mile ride from Waterloo to Manchester.  A big thanks to Heather and Carter for previously riding the route and compiling an in-depth report.

Today’s ride started with a huge thunder clap and then a constant rain for the next two hours.  The rain wasn’t too bad, but the headwinds were brutal.  There was a 20 mile stretch that was straight into the teeth of over 30 mile per hour headwinds.  The pre-riders just grinned and bared it the best they could, know eventually we would get a reprieve and just a cross-wind. 

The ride had some climbs as we crossed a few watersheds which typically signifies descents down to the river and then climbs out of the valleys.  The day’s ride will cross the Cedar, Wapsipinicon and the Maquoketa Rivers.

Here are some facts and points of interest from each town.


Washburn is an unincorporated area in Black Hawk County that is just south of Waterloo.  Washburn will be less than 5 miles into the day.  With two taverns and a church, Washburn will have some food available that morning for hungry riders.  Just past Washburn is the Izaak Walton Center that will also have hot breakfast served by the residents of Gilbertville.  This will be the ride’s first time through Washburn.


This predominantly German community was founded in 1854. Gilbertville is located on the Cedar River in Black Hawk County, with a population of 800 residents.  The original train route that ran through Gilbertville has been converted into a great bike trail.

Gilbertville has a tradition of high school wrestling. Don Bosco High School has won 5 straight 1A team wrestling championships dating back to 2006.

The new Veteran’s Memorial Park was dedicated in 2009.  It is one of the nicest Veteran’s Memorials that you will see during the week.  Gilbertville is a small town that supports and takes pride in their church, school and veterans.

The Catholic Church was established in 1875 and has been the foundation of the Gilbertville community. The Church has a renowned grotto and “cathedral”.  You’ll see the steeple of our church as you come into town. The church will be one feature that day as it has a cathedral look to it that is breath-taking.  They’ll also play off their Catholic roots with some good fun as nuns sing and tell jokes on stage as well as a Confessional for RAGBRAI riders down in the park on the river where most of the activities are planned.

The town’s theme is “Frog Town” as the community is located on the beautiful Cedar River which is home to many, many frogs, thus the nickname for our town.  Gilbertville plans to use this as their theme with some frog races, leap frog and other games. All of this will be held in the City Park by the new Veteran’s Memorial, a great tribute to America’s heroes.

The City Park and the nearby American Legion will be the places to stop for food, drink and fun in Gilbertville.  In addition to a variety of breakfast items, there will be tons of some of the best homemade pies in Iowa.  We know… we got the sample some of the award-winning pie baker’s blueberry, peach, cherry and apple pies this morning.  Thanks to the American Legion that kept us dry and the Gilbertville RAGBRAI Committee for the delicious pie, coffee and hospitality!

RAGBRAI’s last visit to Gilbertville was in 1985. Gilbertville was a pass-through town twice previously.


As you near the unincorporated Black Hawk County community of Jubilee you will see the Zion Lutheran Church.  This beautiful white church will turn 150 next year!  Sounds like the church members will have homemade pies ready for RAGBRAI.  This will be the ride’s first time through Jubilee.

Shady Grove

This will also be the first stop that RAGBRAI has made to Shady Grove, the unincorporated area in Buchanan County.  Sounds like a few food vendors will be setting up Shady Grove.


Founded in 1873, Rowley is now home to 290 residents. Rowley is located in south central Buchanan County. The community is known for caring about each other and providing basic needs.

Completed in July of 1984 the AFLAC tower is 1999 feet tall. The tall guyed mast broadcasts television and radio stations. Located in Rowley, the tower is one of the tallest structures in Iowa.

A few food and drink vendors plan to set up in Rowley’s shady park to feed the riders including Tyson Fresh Meat.  Iowa Telecom’s trailer for internet and phone will also be in Rowley that day.

Rowley was visited once before by RAGBRAI in 1998.

Quasqueton (Meeting Town)

Settled in 1842, Quasqueton is the oldest town in Buchanan County. Meaning “swift running water”, Quasqueton (originally Quasquetuk) was named after the Indians that lived on the west side of the river.

In 1949, Veterans Park was established by the community’s hard work, donations, and fundraisers. The most well known fundraiser was held at Lowell and Agnes Walter’s home, which was built by Frank Lloyd Wright known as Cedar Rock.

Quasky’s RAGBRAI theme is “Legendary”, going back to the roots of the town.  Quasqueton is well known for the legend of Wapsi and Pinicon hence the name of the beautiful Wapsipinicon River flowing through the town.  Legend has it that the two were for forbidden to be together by their tribes so they drown together in the river to be together for eternity.

The towns has many exciting events happening throughout the day.  The biggest attraction is the non profit food tent right on the path, serving BLT wraps and homemade pie baked fresh by local church ladies and residents.  Sweet corn and pork burgers cooked fresh by our local pork producers and corn growers will also be plentiful.  Most of these funds with help add an addition to the town’s only church.

Live entertainment will be going on throughout the day also.  You might even be able to sample the town’s famous Haunted House that spooks many each October.  You’ll see plenty of totem poles and paintings by local artist Donna Wolfe.  She painted the Veteran’s Memorial and the signs that you’ll see throughout town.

The town also has two large taverns.  Wee Willy’s and Wolfey’s Wapsi Out Back.  Wolfey’s has been totally renovated and has a beautiful deck that opens out onto the Wapsi River.  Be sure to check out the men’s room two way mirror!

Big thanks to Chuck Staton and the Quasky RAGBRAI Committee for the great hospitality!

RAGBRAI last stopped in Quasky in 2002. The ride has gone through Quasqueton 4 other times.


Founded in 1857, Winthrop has a population of 772 people. Winthrop is located in Buchanan County. Known as the “Friendliest Town for Miles Around”, Winthrop has a small town atmosphere, friendly people, and a clean environment.

Winthrop is home to Actress Michelle Monaghan. Professional football player and former Iowa Hawkeye Robert Gallery attended Winthrop’s East Buchanan High School.

This year will mark the rides 5th stop in Winthrop. The last stop was in 2007.


Manchester is hosting a giant tailgate party for RAGBRAI under the Friday Night Lights.  The community prides itself on supporting their local teams and RAGBRAI riders are invited to join the tailgate party of Team Manchester.

One of the state’s most popular bands will be the concert headliner for Team Manchester’s downtown festivities. The Nadas are a group of rockers from Des Moines. Over the past sixteen years, The Nadas have built a strong community of fans and together they have sold more than 125,000 albums through their own Authentic Records.  The Nadas will perform at Manchester’s RAGBRAI event late Friday night in the main entertainment area near the Delaware County Courthouse.  The Nadas have appeared on other RAGBRAI nights including Greenfield (2009), Ames (2008), Cedar Falls (2007) and Waukee (2006).

Along with The Nadas, the Entertainment Committee has lined up some other great performers including the Large Midgets and Manchester’s own Ali Beck, who is traveling back home from Nashville to perform.

Ali Beck is not just a strikingly beautiful young lady with personality to match, but she is also very talented vocally. Born in Manchester, Iowa, Ali was raised on a farm along with her three sisters and one brother. She grew up listening to country radio, and it became a strong influence in her desire to be a professional singer.

Ali was introduced to veteran hit producer Chuck Howard, and he produced her current CD demo. Some of Chuck’s credits include such hits as “Blue” and “How Do I Live Without You” with LeAnn Rimes, “Pour Me” for Trick Pony, several hits with Hank Williams, Jr., and most currently he produced Bombshel and got them signed with Curb Records.

The Large Midgets are known to bring audiences a mix of rocked-up classics, new hits, hard rock, and Large Midget thongs, the Midgets set the pace for energetic performance, playing something for everyone, and having fun. Singer Steve Kappler, guitarist Mike Nurre, bassist Ken DeKeyser and drummer Pete Wessels bring diverse influences and unique personalities, some multiple, to the stage. The Large Midgets continue to enjoy a busy schedule and packed shows. The band has opened for national touring artists Soul Asylum, .38 Special, Loverboy, and the Rock Never Stops Tour, to name a few. The Large Midgets strive to inspire our growing group of friends to keep the party rolling.

The Manchester RAGBRAI Committee expects bike riders will use the shady and scenic Tirrill Park as a place to rest, so they’d like to offer a variety of entertainment for those who stop by. They are looking for local talent to offer a variety of entertainment, lasting around 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Those interested in volunteering their time and talents in music, dance, comedy, magic, etc. should contact Aaron Plein: aplein@dupaco.com or John Dolan: john.dolan89@gmail.com.

Manchester has hosted RAGBRAI three times with the last overnight in 1999.  The town also hosted as a pass-through in 2007.

Day 7 – Saturday, June 12

It’s the home stretch as we head to the Mississippi River and the ending town of Dubuque.  Tune in tomorrow for another report from the Route Inspection Ride!


  1. Heather

    Thank you Greenie and Chuck for all your suggestions and help with our committee! Thank you also for the wonderful treats on the ride yesterday and the positive attitude during the wind! Shout out to Gilbertville for the EXCELLENT pie.. Lookin forward to July–Heather

  2. st. cloud realtor

    wow that looksgood. I really need to eat healthier

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