It’s called the Des Moines Registers’ Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa –
Some cyclists want to do it every year but most every cyclist
wants to attend once. The circumstances worked out that this would be
the year that I rode RAGBRAI.

Logistics can be complicated but I attended with my friend and one-time veteran, Scott Scudamore, which made it easier. We drove to the finish city, Clinton, Iowa, on Friday and took Registers’ Annual Great Bus Ride Across Iowa on Saturday to the start city, Sioux Center. Brancel Bicycle Charters transported our bikes in a moving van to Sioux Center.

And for me, RAGBRAI began in Sioux Center. The city center was transformed into RAGBRAI headquarters and so it began. Arriving around 4:30 p.m., I set up my tent and then went for a bike ride.

Tent City in Sioux Center
RAGBRAI is the ride across Iowa and it seemed disingenuous to not start at the Iowa border yet claim that one rode all the way across Iowa. And although it was hot, something that would dog us all week, I put two bottles of water on the bike and headed west — searching for the South Dakota border.
Lots of Jr. High Humor and Innuendo at RAGBRAI
I found Oak Hill State Park which led to the Big Sioux River, the border between South Dakota and Iowa. There were only a few riders here and each dipped their rear wheel in the river. I didn’t.
Big Sioux River. South Dakota is across the river.

I have been in 44 states but never South Dakota and wanted to cross the river. I thought about wading or swimming to the other side but there was no welcome sign.

I left the park determined to follow a road until I came to South Dakota. Heck, I might even have to ask someone for directions. But I didn’t need to.

On Hwy 10 I found the crossing into South Dakota. Now I was ready to return to Sioux Center in the knowledge that I was about to bike all the way across Iowa.

Barry’s start of RAGBRAI
A RAGBRAI tradition is for rookies to write VIRGIN on their calves. Part hazing but good fun. Jake the Hero Grecco was weighing heavy on my mind and I never allowed anyone to write Virgin on my calves — only Jake’s name would go on my legs.

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