So people have always laughed at me because I often mention that I used to do what I called RAGCRAI every year. I called it my Regular Annual Great Car Ride Across Iowa, because let’s face it, I’m not much of a biker. In fact, I’m not a biker at all! I fully admit I cannot, nor want to, ride a bike! Does it change my feelings about RAGBRAI? Not in the least! I am all about RAGBRAI* as long as nobody expects me to take part in the 2-wheel portion of it!
So you’re laughing, right? Why would I like RAGBRAI if I don’t even ride a bike? It’s simple. I love that people come to Iowa to party. Seriously! Sorry. Let me restate that: I love that people come to Iowa to test their physical endurance… lol. First of all, I’m thrilled that people in Iowa take part and that others actually come to our state to participate. Secondly, I’m glad that Iowa shows we do know how to have fun and that we can make a week out of it! I love that it even involves exercise! But mostly, I love that it involves a bunch of towns gearing up for a big event and putting on a good time. That makes me happy! I can see the good! And I hear lots… and I do mean LOTS…of stories!
You hear stories all the time about people stopping to help someone with a tire, giving them a water, offering their barn for a nap, or their bathroom in the middle of nowhere. I love that those stories come out of Iowa because that’s who we are. We want to be the good guys. I still remember when RAGBRAI came through Oakland a million years ago and the church did a food-stand. I got to help my mom make signs and we did Burmashave signs that lined the road saying things like 3.14 ahead for homemade pie. I was pretty damn proud of my signs and if I’m not mistaken, they sold out of food! 🙂
Of course, another favorite story was my trip to Muscatine. As many of you know, my best friend from my cattle showing days lived there and RAGBRAI was scheduled to hit the river one afternoon when I was there so we ended up taking her parents’ boat out and watching as the bikers came in to dip their tires and end the night with a fireworks display. It was so freaking cool to watch these people celebrate making it across Iowa – tears, laughs, personal victories, beers…
Sure, there are much crazier stories as we all well know, and good for them! Live it up, my friends! Just keep me out of the pictures! 🙂 But whether the story is one of accomplishing all the miles or the naked mud slide, there’s no way you can’t find a little good on the road!
So Happy RAGBRAI, everyone! Tip the stein or dip the tire for me!
*Footnote: For you out-of-staters, RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Thousands of locals and out-of-staters bring their campers and buses and bikes to bike across Iowa for a 7-day bike ride/party. They ride by day and drink by night! I kid you not! And the route changes every year, but they start on the Missouri River and bike to the Mississippi River so sooner or later everyone gets included.
*Further disclosure: Just call me Schultz off Hogan’s Heroes: I know NOTHING!
*Final footnote: for you in-staters, don’t forget that means extra State Troopers on the road if you’re traveling. 🙂
Have a RAGBRAI story? Let’s hear it! Out-of-state and curious? What do you want to know?