RAGBRAI – Day Two

We had 30amp electrical service at the fairgrounds in Spencer, Iowa. This made it possible for us to keep the windows closed. I had the rear A/C on when we went to bed and changed the fan setting from Auto to Low. This kept the fan running continuously and the compressor only cycled when the temperature rose above the thermostat setting. This gave us some white noise to drown out the sounds of generators running all around us.

Monday morning we were up early again. The RV There Yet? RAGBRAI team was ready to roll before 6:30am.

RV There Yet? team ready for day two

It was a much cooler morning – about 60 degrees outside. Once the riders were off, we headed out of the fairgrounds with Deb leading the way and Fred following me. Our route for the support vehicles made the 65-mile trip to Algona in less than an hour and half. We started out with light fog over the farmland that burned off along the way. One of the designated support vehicle overnight parking facilities in Algona was at Bishop Garrigan High School. We pulled in just past 8am and found the lot to be nearly empty. Deb snagged a choice spot shaded by trees with easy exit access. I pulled in behind her and Fred parked off to our right across the driveway.

Deb and I parked on the east edge of the lot so we had no one next to us on the driver’s side. Over the next hour or so the lot filled. Four semi tractor trailer rigs with Joe’s Bunkhouse painted on the side of the trailers pulled in. Each trailer is outfitted with with four small rooms and two restrooms. Each room has three bunks on each side – six total per room. One of the drivers told Fred that the bunks rent for $800 for the week of RAGBRAI. If it’s totally occupied, that’s $19,200 income for the week. Everyone that reserves a bunk must book the entire week. If you want the room for yourself, you pay for all six bunks.

Joe’s Bunkhouse

The rear compartment of each trailer was set up for different purposes – some had storage for a large tent, tables and chairs. Dinner is included with the bunk. One of the trailers had two sets of washers and dryers. I saw them washing towels – I don’t know if the renters are able to wash clothing.

Washers and dryers in the rear of this bunkhouse

Deb unhitched their GMC Denali from their fifth-wheel and she drove Fred and I to the meet-up town. Meet-up towns are towns designated along the bicyclist route that are set up with ample parking for support vehicles and volunteers to direct traffic. They are the only places along the riding course where support vehicles should operate along the bike route. In one of the support vehicle lots, I saw the Agents of Fortune bus belonging to Rick that we met in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Support van – lower your standards

Today’s meet-up town was West Bend, Iowa – about 21 miles from Algona. We arrived there around 11:30am and found Jeff and Donna. Tom and Geoff decided to take the optional loop making it a century ride – 100 plus miles for them today!

Main drag through West Bend with most bicyclists walking through

Donna told me that most of the small towns they go through end up with bicycle traffic jams and they usually walk their bikes through. After we had lunch from the food vendors on the street we walked to the north side of town to see the Grotto of Redemption. This Grotto is a shrine – actually a conglomeration of nine Grottos depicting the life of Jesus. It is the largest Grotto in world and also considered to be the most complete collection of minerals, fossils, shells and petrifications in one place. It attracts about 100,000 visitors per year.

Two views from outside the south side of the Grotto

After looking around the Grotto, it was time for Jeff and Donna to get back on their bikes and ride the final 20 miles of a 72-mile ride. It was already after 1pm.

Back at the school, generators were running all around. That’s part of the deal when dry camping at RAGBRAI. Donna and Jeff rolled in just after 3pm. They had headwinds and a long grinding uphill at the end of a long day on the bike.

They’ve covered just about a third of the distance in the first two days. Tomorrow will be a shorter ride of about 52 miles. Donna has been expending a lot of effort trying to keep up with the guys and told them not to worry about her in the coming days. If they truly want to hang back and take it a little easier, she’s happy for the company but she doesn’t want to hold them back. She’s happy to just cruise along and enjoy the sights along the way. That said, she’s feeling good about the pace she’s been able to maintain over the long days.

I’m having fun cruising with the support vehicles. These were my first two days of driving a motorhome without a co-pilot, but it was fine. I’m posting when I can, so my posts may publish in the afternoon, evening or night. The mornings are too busy.

 

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