Ragbrai with a Backpack

Ragbrai with a Backpack

Choosing a Different Approach

Several years ago my sisters and I decided to do Ragbrai in a different way for us.  Instead of tent camping, we decided to use a combination of Bed and Breakfasts and host homes.  We crafted and sent out what we thought was a terribly clever ‘ad’ for the sisters from TX and KY with Iowa roots.

Finding Welcoming Hosts

We received calls back from hosts homes, and found several wonderful people to stay with during the week.  Small and big homes, but the common thread was very nice people.  It was nice having a bed every night; a definite contrast from tenting in the Freezing Cold/Stormy/Humid/Sweltering HOT ‘normal’ Ragbrai weather.

An Unexpected Delay

We arrived in Sioux City on Saturday late afternoon and were disappointed to find that we couldn’t put our gear on the Ragbrai truck until Sunday morning, the official start.

A Trusting Encounter

We left our luggage with some newly met camper/riders who understood our dilemma, and set up a time to be back before they left for the 1st leg of Ragbrai.  They were about 15 feet from the semi truck for Ragbrai and we did trust them.   We rode to our B&B for the night, about 5 blocks away.  After a nice night in a cozy bed, and a great breakfast, we headed down to the Ragbrai truck.  We were about 5 minutes later than expected, and the camper/riders had left.  Our luggage was no where in sight.  We didn’t panic and thought perhaps they had loaded the luggage before they left, but we were mildly concerned.

The Search Continues

At the next stop (Storm Lake) our luggage was nowhere to be found.  Ragbrai staff was contacted, and we felt like our luggage would be found soon.

Adjusting to the Circumstances

We went to a Walmart and each of us brought a backpack, and one extra shirt. We had our toiletries and sleepwear, and we put that in our backpacks along with the shirt, and traveled to the next nights stop.

Making the Best of the Situation

We stayed a a variety of places, host and B &B’s, and the hosts were quite nice and would allow us to wash our extra shirt/our 1 pair of socks and undergarments.  We checked with Ragbrai every day, but our stuff was never found.

A Valuable Lesson

I will say it was pretty freeing: not having to claw through dirty, Monday-Saturday plastic labeled bags for our daily wear.  We still had a great time.  That Ragbrai stands out in many ways, and it’s a story I often tell.  And it was a great learning experience:

you really DON’T need all the stuff you take…….


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