Pork Belly Update #12---Your June Need-to-Know Update

June 7, 2021
Dear Friends,
It's June, and our cycling season is suddenly heating up! Our team has just returned from Emporia, Kansas where they provided showers, tents, PHAT Rooms and other amenities during the largest gravel race in the country, Unbound! We will be serving back-to-back bike rides throughout this month--any of which would be a great RAGBRAI warm-up! If you'd like to go browsing for a summer road tour or trail ride, check out "Events" at pkbelly.com (top of the homepage).
We're always looking foward to that last week of July! If you're with us for RAGBRAI, we'll lead off this update with reminders for YOU, and a preview of what's coming in our June updates.
We'll finish this update with Memories of Birds & Bees (our May Wabash Trace trail ride--watch the video of the Burney Sisters!), and a warm invitation to join us on the Mickelson Trail or the Katy Trail later this summer!
News and Reminders
Scan these topics, friends,
for info you need at this point in our season.
All The Goodies
We are in constant communication with our RAGBRAI hosts these days--lining up all kinds of good stuff for you. Your suppers in camp, your breakfast vendors beside the coffee trailer, live music on stage, your massage therapists and bike mechanics---All That. So stand by for our favorite update--Our Week in the Corn, with the blow-by-blow description of your RAGBRAI experience with PBV.
About RAGBRAI Registrations
  • Registration (for both weeklong rider and day passes) is closed at RAGBRAI.com; however, you'll be able to purchase day passes at RAGBRAI in July!
  • PBV is beginning to introduce buyers and sellers, for folks who need a weeklong rider registration packet after all, and folks who have one to sell. We provide complete instructions from RAGBRAI on how to complete the transfer.
  • Want to get on our list of buyers or sellers? Please write to Gracie@pkbelly.com.
Availability of PBV Services
  • Weeklong Support: A Hare's Breadth Away from FULL.
  • Partial-Week Support: AVAILABLE
  • Rental Tent Service: If you've signed up for our support, email Pete@pkbelly.com to be put on the rental tent waiting list! (Or heck, bring your own tent and save $495!)
  • All Shuttles before RAGBRAI: AVAILABLE
  • All Shuttles after RAGBRAI: AVAILABLE
BELOW: For those on our Weeklong Support for RAGBRAI, plan to fall in love with the Burney Sisters, three musical savants, ages 16, 13, and 11. Three-part harmony. Instrumental perfection. Incredible covers with the Burney Sisters flavor.
Answers to All Questions
in the
Pork Belly Ventures
We know that questions are piling up in your minds, especially you first-timers! The June Letter is our Pork Belly Ventures Travel Guidebook. It is designed to answer virtually all of your questions about schedules, directions, shuttles, hours of operation, and much more.
We're aiming for around the 13th--sometime that week--for sending out the JUNE LETTER. In order to allow us time to refine that letter for you, kindly hang on to questions that are not urgent.
But, if you have an urgent question, ask away: tammy@pkbelly.com
On second thought, a phone call is worth a thousand emails. Call me at 712-328-0161 or 808-375-8921--or call Pete at 402-681-2613. We'll whip through any urgent questions in no time.
Incidentally, Massage.
In the June Letter, you will find our hotline to massage appointments during RAGBRAI. Stand by!
By June, our brains become cluttered--it's a mess in here. So we need our website to handle the collection of final information from each rider. We use a document that we call The JUNE FORM. On it, we'll be asking you for these things:
  • Your official RAGBRAI wristband number
  • Your preferred departure times on our shuttles
  • For E/W Shuttle folks, your preferred day and departure time
  • The type of bike we will transport for you on our shuttles.
  • You will access your June Form by logging into your account at pkbelly.com--but not yet. We'll activate the June Form soon--and we'll invite you to complete it!
When you record these things, we can create orderly reports and serve you better! So hang on for the June Letter and the June Form--Coming Soon.
(Don't email your preferred departure time, please. Cluttered brain.)
More Coming on Clinton!
You folks who are using our East/West Shuttle before RAGBRAI, stand by for good news! We're working on ....
  • Friday box lunches to take on board the coach
  • Indoor sleeping on Friday night right next to our shuttle staging area
  • A generous sit-down breakfast right at the indoor sleeping location on Saturday morning
  • A lovely box brunch to take on board the coach on Saturday morning
  • And a wonderful partnership between Pork Belly Ventures and Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton!
Watch for these opportunities soon. You can help the school kids AND enjoy some creature comforts in Clinton!
Let's Make Sure You're with
Your Pals!
It's almost time to create the tent grid, and it's almost time to assign folks to buses on all of our shuttles. How can you be sure that Pork Belly Ventures will keep you together with your friends? We need that common group name on all of your applications.
Case in point: One rider typed "Team Nitwit" into the group-name field, and the other typed "Nitwit Team." We may or may not catch that on our alphabetical group-name report. One Nitwit could be assigned to Coach A, while the other is assigned to Coach C.
If one rider typed his "FabNewBike" group name into the group-name field and his friend left the group-name field blank, well, we're in the dark over here. There could be 50 rental tents between these friends.
So help us help youplease, by making sure that all your pals have put your exact group name in the group-name field. (The only good thing about 2020 was not having to pester nice people about their group names!)
Coming at You Faster Now!
Oh, how much we have to tell you! We'll dole it out gradually, but our updates are going to come faster in June and July. Got a folder for them?
Remember, please, that the only folks who need Omaha hotel rooms on Friday, July 23, and/or Saturday, July 31, are those who are flying or driving into or out of Omaha. Folks using our E/W Shuttle or our Des Moines shuttles would not need these hotel reservations.
This afternoon, I met with our Omaha hotel managers about our blocks of rooms at Candlewood Suites and Best Western Plus. You may need a reservation if you're using our Omaha Shuttles. On about July 1, the hotels will put our unclaimed rooms back into their inventory, so don't wait! Book your rooms now, using the LOCAL phone numbers below--and be sure to drop our name, Pork Belly Ventures!
Here's some re-tread from our RAGBRAI Invitation Letter:
WORD TO THE WISE TRAVELER: Arrive early in Omaha. Arriving on Friday is great! The airlines cannot mess up your Saturday with delayed flights or mis-routed baggage, if you fly in on Friday--AND there is a lot of fun to be had in LeMars on Saturday at the big bike expo and other start-town festivities! If you can't arrive Friday, arrive as early as you can on Saturday, and remember--last coach leaves Omaha at 4:00 p.m.
Here are PBV's designated Omaha airport hotels.
Our two side-by-side hotels at the Omaha airport are the Best Western Plus and the Candlewood Suites. These properties are owned by the same company and run by an excellent team of managers. They are very nice.
Pork Belly Ventures has room blocks at both hotels. There are advantages to both hotels, but walk half a block and you get all amenities, no matter where you stay.
Your choice:
Best Western Plus, 402-505-4900:
  • Mention our name to reserve your king or double queen room for $130.
  • Hot breakfast served here (Candlewood guests will walk over for breakfast)
  • Swimming pool located here (Candlewood guests have access, too)
  • Hospitality areas available to our guests before and after RAGBRAI.
  • Triple-sheeting is the standard at this hotel.
  • Across the street from a large convenience store, Subway sandwich shop, and Perkins Restaurant.
  • Reasonable weeklong airport parking and valet service (about $5 per day)
  • Free airport shuttle and Old Market shuttle, a great place for shopping, music, and dining on the Friday before RAGBRAI.
Candlewood Suites, 402-342-2500:
  • Mention our name to reserve your king or double queen room for $130.
  • The hotel is recently renovated.
  • North side of Candlewood is where we operate the shuttle on Saturday, the site of our bus loading and unloading (Best Western Plus guests walk over.)
  • The site of free laundry (Best Western Plus guests can do laundry here too.)
  • Hospitality areas available to our guests before and after RAGBRAI.
  • Triple-sheeting is the standard at this hotel.
  • Across the street from a large convenience store, Subway sandwich shop, and Perkins Restaurant.
  • Reasonable weeklong airport parking and valet service (about $5 per day)
  • Free airport shuttle and Old Market shuttle, a great place for shopping, music, and dining on the Friday before RAGBRAI.
  • Breakfast served next door; great convenience shop in the lobby.
Our Refund Deadline Is Coming Right Up!
There's no fine print with PBV. Don't let this deadline get by you! "Cancellation" is one of the top tabs at our website, but here's a quick explanation...
You can get a 90% refund if you cancel entirely by email or cancel any services by email before June 15th. After June 15th (unless you have cancellation protection), we make no refund. The complete cancellation policy of PBV is below, along with our description of Cancellation Protection (which you have to take at the time of registration)...
It's tough to get a handle on numbers this year.
If you have an application with no payment, we will be cancelling it soon.
If you have an application with only a 10% deposit, and if we have not heard from you since our May 15 full payment deadline, we'll need to cancel those applications soon too, in an effort to see real numbers.
Some of you folks may have gotten an email asking if you still intend to spend RAGBRAI with us. This year in particular, it's hard to tell who may have paid a deposit in 2020 and just forgotten about it (and who is NOT planning on us), versus those who inadvertently missed the May 15 deadline for their final payment for our 2021 services. So if you haven't paid in full, please login in and do that, so that we know you're planning on us. And thank you for joining us!
(There's still time to mail a check and avoid the convenience fee. Write to us if you plan to mail a check, please.)
Needless to say, if you have signed up in 2020 or 2021, but have decided not to ride RAGBRAI with us, please write to Pete@pkbelly.com. We really need to know.
Be Sure to Write to
Our PKBELLY.COM Email Addresses!
Hey, folks, please lose our old cox.net email addresses. And save these: tammy@pkbelly.com and pete@pkbelly.com. We're trying to pull emails out of the SPAM folders, but we're probably not getting to them all!
And speaking of that--I, Tammy, am not keeping up with email. We pride ourselves on trying, but this time of year, we can get behind and never really catch up! So I will keep trying. And we hope you will read your JUNE LETTER for the answers to virtually all of your questions. (You'll be able to skip whole sections of the letter--sections that don't apply to you.) It's arranged chronologically, taking you straight through the week!
Hang on, while we wrap up your June Letter and get it out to you!
If you know a cyclist who also leads yoga classes, here's what we need. Pork Belly Ventures has long offered a simple yoga class at about 5:00 each day in Pork Camp (Sunday to Friday). The class can be a little later on longer cycling days. It's free to all Porkers (class size is usually 25 or fewer). This is a light class, about an hour, for stretching and loosening up muscles after a long day's ride. We don't need a lot of fancy asanas. Just a basic class and a patient, kind teacher with a history of practice and training, preferably certification. For the help with this part of our charter, we would work out a trade deal for services. If you ARE someone who's interested, or if you KNOW someone, please reach out to tammy@pkbelly.com.
That's it for our RAGBRAI topics, friends. Read on to learn about three brand new signature PBV Trail Rides. Birds & Bees was a blast in May, and we'd love to have you join us in South Dakota or Missouri! Hit the trail with us!
FOLLOW Pork Belly Ventures, PLEASE!
of Birds
& Bees!
Ninety-six riders plunged into the gorgeous green tunnel called the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, May 21 to 24. Extra mileage was available, but most of our riders rode their 22 miles a day and enjoyed our wonderful overnight hosts in Malvern and Shenandoah, Iowa. With delicious food, great music, and good company, we all started off our 2021 cycling season with a big dose of Mother Nature and small-town Americana.
Click on the image below,
and see what all the BUZZ is about!
ABOVE: Kathy Murphy used Birds & Bees to train for
a "self-contained" ride
(that's her bike and gear near Council Bluffs).
RIGHT: Pete's rooster tail after riding the Taco Ride, the day before Birds & Bees began.
BELOW: As Taco Riders came in from the Wabash, we snapped their "bragging rights" photos before they headed inside for supper.
ABOVE: Thanks to Pete for sharing this photo of sodden shoes at the door of Tobey Jack's! He snapped it early. Later, there were even more in that pile! Imagine our riders wandering around the bar in their wet socks. It was that kind of night.
RAGBRAI friends Andrea Parrott, Anne Lawrie, Murphology podcast host Kathy Murphy, and Ride Director Dieter Drake rode the Taco Ride, took off their shoes, and chowed down at Toby Jack's!
The return to Council Bluffs on Thursday night was a whole other story, with a long downhill cruise and clearing skies! Thank you to Evelyn for this nice photo of Mike!
Continuing Highlights
Birds & Bees
BELOW: Kerry, Traci, Steph, Tom, and Steve, ready to roll on Day 1.
BELOW: There's a kind of "speak-easy" in Silver City, Iowa, and many of our riders managed to find it. Here are Anne and Andrea of RAGBRAI, and their friend Leslie, getting fortified for the last eight miles to Malvern!
ABOVE, the RAGBRAI girls stopped for a pic at the Malvern Welcome Mat, directing riders to camp, just off the trail.
RIGHT: All afternoon, riders streamed into beautiful Boehner Pond. That's our hard-working crew member, Anna, taking a breather and welcoming riders.
BELOW, PHAT Trailers and tents lined the shore of Boehner Pond. A goose family below.
BELOW: At 4:30 on Friday, a crowd gathered around the RAGBRAI team, and this really turned into a great conversation among our riders, some of the early Wabash Trace volunteers, and Dieter, Anne, and Andrea of RAGBRAI. We all loved Malvern, Iowa!
BELOW: After supper in downtown Malvern,
marshmallows for dessert at sunset.
Here's our afternoon concert from The Burney Sisters. Oh boy. Ages 16, 13, and 11--these young musicians play over a dozen instruments, write their own music, and cover artists like the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel with their own unique style. We'll hear them on RAGBRAI, too!
ABOVE: On the Wabash Trace, this newborn fawn stumbled up to Birds & Bees rider Craig Saunders.
RIGHT: Greg and Kathryn had a quiet moment under the shelter at Boehner Pond on Sunday.
BELOW: Marcia, Bill, Frank, and Chris hanging at the Front Desk in Malvern! Thanks for the good company, guys!
We all took it easy on the Sunday afternoon at the pond....
Except for these three... Tom, Traci, and Ruth! They left Shen and rode south to the Missouri State Line. Then they turned around and rode all the way back to Malvern. That's about 65 miles on Sunday! Here they are, triumphant, on their arrival in Pork Camp!
At 6:30 pm, after dinner,
Billy McGuigan took the stage.
Billy introduced his band, an immensely talented group of friends--Brian Eckleberry on keyboard and harmonica, Darrin Pettit on sax, and Billy on guitar. These three musicians just blew our minds. With their good humor and all our favorite songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, they had everybody dancing by the end! And we'll hear them on RAGBRAI, too.
And then marshmallows.
Pat Rainey, the Official Pork Videographer of Pork Belly Ventures, uploaded his video of The Burney Sisters. Here it is on our FB Page!
Thank you, Pat!
(He'll be on RAGBRAI with us, too!)
If you like what you see of
Birds & Bees
on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail,
please consider joining us
on one of these PBV Summer Trail Rides!
Write or call us with questions!
The Black Hills Hundred is five fabulous days on the scenic, 100-mile Mickelson Trail of South Dakota. Through Ponderosa pine forests, we ride from Deadwood to Edgemont, staying in the fun tourist towns of Hill City and Custer---and we'll spend one night at a little resort out in the hills! On two afternoons, you will take excursions on a steam-engine train and luxury motor coach to see the Great Faces and Great Places of South Dakota. Combine a thrilling bike ride with visits to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State Park--PLUS all the amenities and comforts of Pork Belly Ventures. 
15 to 44 miles per day. Your longest day is all downhill! The June ride filled fast, and August is over half full. Rental tents and PHAT Rooms available in beautiful campsites! We still have space on the August Encore of the Black Hills Hundred, August 15th to 19th!
[The June Black Hills Hundred is full.]
The Missouri
Double Cross
On the famous Katy Trail, you can cross the state of Missouri once or double back and cross it twice! On this ride, we partner with our friends at Big BAM to provide all the amenities of Pork Belly Ventures, along with the warm hospitality of five little towns and the state capital! Rental tents and PHAT Rooms available!
From your saddle on the tree-sheltered Katy Trail, see amazing rock formations, wild goats, cool dark tunnels, and lovely views of the wide Missouri River. Cross once in five days; we'll offer shuttles to/from your car. Or do the whole Double Cross in 11 days, with a rest day in the middle in Defiance, surrounded by vineyards and wineries! Ride 36 to 51 mostly flat miles per day. August 29 to September 8.
E-Bike Charging is available on all of our rides.
This month will be a blur of rides, bikes, and the joy of being OUT THERE again. And then July... when we finally get to experience what we missed last year, and what we'll never take for granted again--RAGBRAI. Best week of the year.
Your friends,
Tammy and Pete