Our group was a little smaller today, with about 30 riders. We gathered together with retired RAGBRAI Director Jim Green, and riders from the Fort Dodge and Coralville RAGBRAI Committees for a quick photo-op on the beach at Storm Lake early this morning, then headed off for Newell. A big thank you to the Storm Lake RAGBRAI Committee for the delicious dinner last night and the hospitality. The cities we visited on the second day of our ride were Storm Lake, Newell, Fonda, Pomeroy (Gravel Loop), Manson (meeting town), Clare, and Fort Dodge. We rode 68.4 miles, and had 1,314 feet of climb. Though we still had some headwinds today the route changed course frequently so there were no long hauls. We ate like royalty for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we used the extra go-power to complete the gravel loop and prepare for the Karras Loop tomorrow.


At eleven miles from Storm Lake, Newell will be the perfect place to stop for your first breakfast. And they will be ready for us (see below). Eat up, proceeds from our visit will go toward a new swimming pool.

Food/Beverage List: Breakfast food in Newell will include: Chris Cakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, protein balls, pies, bars, pork burgers, fresh fruit and much much more. Three beverage gardens: one by the Fire Department (bloody marys, karaoke, will spray riders with a hose if it’s hot), one at the Golf Course Clubhouse (breakfast available here), and the Newell Fonda Booster Club at Sportsters (breakfast here too). We sampled the biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, and pies and we recommend one of each. Many of these food booths support local organizations, including a new pool fund, youth football, the Fire Department, the Newell Good Samaritan Society, NF Cheerleaders and Dance Squad, the Newell Library, and Nain Lutheran Church.

Entertainment in Newell will include karaoke, football toss, basketball shoot, golf challenge, and of course lots of photo ops.

Attractions and historic sites: The Allee Mansion is a restored Victorian home built in 1891, complete with a pump organ, Victrola, stained glass windows and an open oak staircase. It’s only one mile south of Newell and will be hosting free tours for RAGBRAI riders. You’ll see the sign for the turnoff as you come into town.

A fun fact for the history buffs – Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custard and the US 7th Cavalry Regiment got off the train and marched up and down Newell’s Main Street on their way to South Dakota to fight at Little Big Horn in 1876.

For anyone who wants to take an early swim, check out the Newell Swimming Pool.



It’s been a long time since RAGBRAI visited Fonda as it was RAGBRAI VII back in 1979 to be exact.  The 631 good people of Fonda have waited a long time to welcome RAGBRAI back to this Pocahontas County community.

The community and Hometown Pride organization is no stranger to big events as they have held the Big Four Fair which evolved into the Labor Day event for 100 years. The celebration features truck and tractor pulls as well as a demo derby.  Fonda is also a diverse community with a growing Latino population.  The town is proud of the annual Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebration.

The town is eager to put their event experience to work for RAGBRAI.  The town will offer a wide variety of food including the Fire Department serving corn dogs, pulled pork by Hometown Pride, pie and desserts by the Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebration and other tasty foods by the Garden Club.

There will also be a beverage garden in the downtown featuring three vendors serving up libations.  The town’s taverns will also be open and serving good drinks.

The Fonda Museum will not be open that day for visitors but a few artifacts will be in front of the Museum to enjoy.  The Museum is located in the former opera house.

Fonda will be a great second stop on the RAGBRAI route for Monday.


Gravel Loop

For the first time in RAGBRAI history, we will offer an optional gravel loop.  The idea was pitched to the RAGBRAI Director by Steve Hed of Hed Cycling. A legend in the cycling world Hed asked about adding a gravel day to RAGBRAI since his passion for gravel riding had grown tremendously.  Hed had ridden many past RAGBRAIs and vowed to come place a sticker on every bike that completed the gravel loop.

Steve Hed suddenly passed away in November and will be missed tremendously by RAGBRAI and the cycling world.  The gravel loop was added to RAGBRAI in honor of Steve Hed and his lasting legacy on cycling.  RAGBRAI officials will be joined by Anne Hed, her children and the Hed Cycling family and friends to place stickers on the bikes that complete the loop as also hand them a gravel loop patch to registered riders as they ride into Pomeroy.  The pick up location will be under the water tower in downtown.



You can only visit Pomeroy via the Gravel Loop, so why not “Travel the Gravel Back in Time” and check out this unique town. This is the very first RAGBRAI visit to Pomeroy. They will take you back in time with an antique tractor display, an old-fashioned dunk tank, carnival style games, and a photo op commemorating the first ever “RAGBRAI Gravel Loop”.  Be sure to pick up your Gravel Loop patch and sticker – as mentioned above, they will be located under the water tower downtown!  Take in the informative displays at the Pomeroy Historical Museum detailing the F5 Tornado that devastated the town in 1893, the Gordon W. Prange memorial, and other Pomeroy memorabilia.  Also find out about the State Basketball Championships won in 1994, 2001 and 2002.

Of course after all that gravel riding, you’ll want to fuel up. Luckily Pomeroy has lots of options – there will be a Food Court in the Community Hall sponsored by the Community Betterment Committee, or try one of the wide variety of flavors of Tiefenthaler famous skinless brats on a stick, homemade pies, hot fruit turnovers, cookies, bars, veggies, fruit, pancakes and more. And if that’s not enough, there will be food stands in the beverage garden located at Byron’s.

Speaking of Byron’s, stop in this local bar famous for hosting well-known musical talents nearly every Sunday. Byron’s will be holding a street dance featuring “Brother Trucker” when RAGBRAI comes to town. In addition to the food, drinking and dancing, there will be old fashioned games and other down home hospitality.

Proceceds from our visit will go toward: improvements to the tennis and basketball courts, playground equipment and repairs to the town trolley and other such projects.



We will be Cruizin’ on the Crater as we head into Manson, our meeting town for day two. Keep an eye out for Crater Signs, once you see them you’ll know you’re close to town. Believe it or not this will be our first ever visit to Manson and they are really excited to welcome us in July. Don’t miss the large “Manson – Making an Impact” entryway sign, it’s a great photo op.

When we stopped in Manson they were READY to feed us. Food options include smoothies, pie (including rhubarb), cinnamon rolls, pork burgers, Rick’s Famous Ribs at the Augustana Lutheran Church, ham balls from Our Savior United Methodist Church (proceeds send youth on a mission trip), turkey wraps, veggie and meat lasagna and pasta alfredo from Big Beve’s (a local restaurant), root beer floats, pork loins, brats, wings on a stick and so much more. We ate as much as we could and can’t wait to come back and eat more. Other restaurants in town include Shoreside Pub & Grub (who hosted our lunchtime feast) and Pizza Ranch.

If you just want to drink, they’ll have that too! Proceeds from the beer garden will be used to construct a new Fire Station.

Just want to spend some time and stretch your legs in Manson? There will be live bands, games, and lots of photo ops.

Beyond all the delicious food options, you should know that Manson is famous for three things. First, they are the site of the Manson Impact Structure. This is a geological anomaly, a meteorite hit the town 74 million years ago and created a 23 mile below ground crater that was since buried by glaciers. Visit the Library (East of Main St.) to see the Crater Exhibit and for photo ops.

Second, this rock formation left Manson with the only naturally soft water in Iowa. Go to literally any faucet in town and check it out!

Finally, Manson has the only stop light in the county. Hopefully you don’t get stuck at the red light for too long J

For those of you who didn’t go swimming in Newell and would like an afternoon swim – The Manson Aquatic Center was completed in 2006, stop and take a dip!

To keep up with Manson’s RAGBRAI plans, visit their Facebook page here: http://ift.tt/1LZmjvG



We will be “Riding High in Clare”, which is an appropriate theme given that the Clare area has the highest elevation in Webster County.  Take note of the signs along the route showing the elevation.

In 1905, the old St Matthew’s Church was destroyed by fire.  A new church was built in its place.  In 1924, the church spire was struck by lightning and burned down to the brick part of the tower before it could be extinguished.  The spire was not rebuilt, but the present roof and cross was placed on the brick tower.

Though Clare is small, there will be lots to eat, drink and enjoy. Local non-profit organizations including The 4H Club, Clare Library, St Matthew’s Church, Deer Creek Lutheran Church, Clare Fire Department, and the Gene Giraffe Project will be serving brats, hot dogs, walking tacos, fruit, veggies, drinks, and of course pies and cookies.

Antlers Bar, right on the road into town, will have a beverage garden, stage with a DJ and more. Take a look inside to see why it’s called Antlers.  Spot the Jackalope proudly displayed behind the bar. And yes there will be photo ops available with cutouts. Each non profit organization will be donating their proceeds to a different organization. Check out their booths for more information.


Fort Dodge

The overnight stop for Monday night will be in Fort Dodge.  This community of 26,000 residents is hosting RAGBRAI for the fifth time with the last visit occurring in 2004 during RAGBRAI XXXII.  Fort Dodge has made very dramatic steps forward since our last visit.  They are recognized as the economic hub of north-central and northwest Iowa.  Of particular interest to RAGBRAI riders may be some fresh amenities.  The Rosedale Rapids Aquatic Center is new and is located within walking distance of the campgrounds.  It opened in 2011 with its first full season of operation.  This will also be the location of the quiet campground area on their expansive property.  Fort Frenzy is new to Fort Dodge in 2014.  This indoor/outdoor entertainment center contains bumper cars, video games, roller skating, go-karts and dozens of other fun and exciting, family-friendly entertainment options.  As the riders enter town they will ride up our downtown business district with an array of shops and stores.  Take some time to look around and enjoy their many unique offerings.

The entertainment and vendor areas are both within four blocks of the main campground area…a very quick and easy walk for many.  Fort Dodge will have an awesome array of vendors and entertainment.  They will lead off the night with the band Saucy Jack.  They originate in Fort Dodge but have a wide audience draw.  Together since 1998, Saucy Jack has opened for such acts as REO Speedwagon, Chicago, Loverboy, The Guess Who, Marshall Tucker Band, Head East and Molly Hatchet.  They will cover many of your favorite rock tunes as they lead the way for our main act.

The Chicago Spazmatics return to RAGBRAI with their fun-filled, high-energy nerdy journey back to the 80’s!  You won’t be able to help yourself from singing and dancing along to all the new wave favorites from the generation.  These energetic entertainers will keep you entertained through the entire night.  They played the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party two years ago and they are excited to be lighting up Fort Dodge with their spectacular show.  The end of your day has a great chance of being the highlight of your day with the Spazmatics!

While the vendor area will have huge offerings, an added bonus is that literally dozens of restaurant options are all within easy walking distance of our vendor area.  And if home cooking is your thing, Fort Dodge will have several churches and organizations in town serving your home-cooked favorites.  Spaghetti, lasagna and hundreds of your favorite pie selections will all be available through local vendors.  Dining and shopping are also available inside the air-conditioned Crossroads Mall immediately adjacent to the vendor area.  Local entertainment from cheerleaders to dance troupes will be on the center stage during the afternoon.

The opening day of the Girls State Softball Tournament will be occurring at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Park on Monday night.  As an incentive, any registered rider who attends the softball tournament on Monday night can show their wristband at the concession stand and receive a hot dog and pop compliments of the Fort Dodge RAGBRAI committee.  The expanding bike trail system throughout Fort Dodge has a path that leads, literally, to the front gate of the ball park.  The other amenities are also conveniently located on the bike trail system.  The community has also built a large new Middle School near all the activities.  This area will be utilized for overflow camping needs.

Fort Dodge has one of the finest junior colleges in all of the Midwest with Iowa Central Community College.  The support vehicles will enter Fort Dodge near the college and are encouraged to view this beautiful campus.  Iowa Central has 6,000 students with over 1,200 of them living on campus.  It is a four-year college experience with the flexibility of a junior college.  The Corridor of Commerce is a new addition to Fort Dodge on 5th Avenue South from 21st to 32nd Street. You can stride out to the Corridor of Commerce and take in sit-down dining at a vast array of options.   The Iowa Crossroads of Global Innovation will be visible just west of Fort Dodge as cyclists turn for home onto Highway #7 near the end of the day.  Cargill, Valero and C.J. Bio-America all call this area home as they take Iowa’s precious corn commodity and turn it into literally dozens of by-products.

And yes, Fort Dodge has a fort.  The support vehicles will pass by this iconic structure as they enter the city.  This 1862 fort, along with 18 other replica buildings, re-create much of what our founders experienced as Fort Dodge was being born.  It is both an interesting and educational experience.

So, if what you are looking for is a memorable Monday then Fort Dodge is your stop.  The theme rings of Fort Dodge’s passion…We’re Going Places!!  You’ll enjoy all of the offerings.  Fort Dodge is convinced once you experience their progress, you’ll want to come back for more very soon.

To keep up with Fort Dodge’s RAGBRAI plans, follow them one of three ways: on their website, http://ift.tt/1KJuvTO, their Facebook page, http://ift.tt/1LZmjvJ, or their Twitter page, https://twitter.com/RAGBRAIFD.



Follow the pre-ride team along the route all week here at RAGBRAI.com, on Facebook: Facebook.com/RAGBRAI, on Twitter: @RAGBRAI_Iowa, and on Instagram: @RAGBRAI

Can’t wait for the next blog post to come out? Follow us LIVE on the RAGBRAI Route Tracker here: http://ift.tt/1SPuhwY

More info on the towns, route | Interactive map | Downloadable mapRelive 2014 ride

For more information on RAGBRAI XLIII Day 2 – Storm Lake to Fort Dodge:

Here is a link to the Storm Lake RAGBRAI website for additional information on your overnight stay in Storm Lake.

And here is a link to the Fort Dodge RAGBRAI website for additional information on your overnight stay in Fort Dodge.

Want to read yesterday’s Route Inspection review? Click here.


Storm Lake









Fort Dodge


via RAGBRAI http://ift.tt/1dbgKPr