Sneak preview: RAGBRAI XLI

I am reblogging Iowa Girl on the Go’s (click here to see her blog) blog about RAGBRAI XLI that takes place in Iowa next week. For bikers that do the whole week, they put their tires in the waters of the Missouri River, ride a week across Iowa, and end the event with putting their tires in the Mississippi! She gives a great feel for what is ahead when well over 10,000 people from all over the world descend into small town USA!  If you want to see more pictures of the pedestrian bridge in Council Bluffs, click here to check out a prior blog of mine!

Iowa Girl on the Go

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When 10,000 cyclists ride en masse through Iowa’s small towns and big cities next week, everything changes. Tiny towns with no more than a few businesses and a grain elevator will be pushed to the limit with an explosion of pork chop vendors, pie-peddling church ladies, port-a-potties, beer gardens, and bikes, bikes, bikes.

I wondered what it would be like to drive the RAGBRAI route – this year through Iowa’s midsection – BEFORE the bikes come. So yesterday I drove the Council-Bluffs-to-Harlan section (Day 1) and a bit of the Day 2 Harlan-to-Perry route. (The actual bike event begins on Sunday, July 22.)

Here is what I found:

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA

I started my exploration of Council Bluffs on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, a footbridge that connects Omaha, Neb., to Council Bluffs, Iowa. It’s a short walk across the modern, S-curved, cable-stayed bridge, the first to connect two…

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