Pork Belly Update #12

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July 1, 2023

Dear Friends,


As much as any other, this update requires your immediate attention. Many of you know how quickly the indoor sleeping sold out on some nights. Here, we will share options with limited time to order or limited space available, or both. So please be attentive to these topics and timelines, as you read through topics in this update...


  • Your ONE CHANCE to order the PBV Optional Dinner on Thursday night of RAGBRAI (time sensitive).


  • ABOVE RIGHT: 2018 American Idol Maddie Poppe will perform (again) for Pork Belly Ventures on Thursday night of RAGBRAI!      


  • Limited options to shorten your 82-mile Thursday, (limited space available).


  • Limited options to shorten your 80-mile Friday, (limited space available).


  • Are You A Yoga Instructor? We need you!


  • Des Moines Hotel Availability, 7/21 and 7/29


  • Omaha Hotel Availability and Recommendations, 7/21 and 7/29


  • Hotel Availability during RAGBRAI, only 7/28


  • Indoor Sleeping, Availability Remaining



Thursday's Optional Dinner:

Barbeque in Tama-Toledo!


Order Now.

Normally, all of our optional dinners can be ordered upon check-in in Sioux City. We've never had an exception until now!

For Thursday evening in Tama/Toledo, we have scored one of the best barbecue guys in Iowa! Bobby Torres will be smoking on site, but he needs our catering number in advance, so he can order and smoke the pork. You will ride 80 miles on this day, and for your entertainment during dinner, we will have Maddie Poppe on stage. Maddie grew up in Clarksville, Iowa, and she has been playing for Pork Belly Ventures since her high school days. Maddie was the 2018 American Idol, and her voice has only become more miraculous over the many years we have known her and her family.


ABOVE RIGHT and BELOW: Maddie Poppe's performance

for Pork Belly Ventures during RAGBRAI 2022.

This may have been our biggest audience in PBV history!

Here's Bobby's BBQ Menu:

  • Smoked pulled pork sandwich on a bakery bun
  • Optional slaw and pickled red onion on your sandwich
  • Smoked mac-and-cheese
  • Smoked beans
  • Side of cole slaw
  • Cookie for dessert!
  • $15 pp
  • and Maddie Poppe on stage!


**We are sorry that we cannot provide a meatless alternative nor a gluten-free alternative to this optional meal (there are limits in some small towns, especially during RAGBRAI L). We will have a vendor in camp. (Please stand by for Our Week in the Corn to learn more about all of our vendors throughout the week, and their offerings.) There will be many other vendors in town. But remember, please, that this is our smallest overnight town (population 2400), hosting perhaps 25,000 guests.


If you select (accept) this dinner, we will make a note on your check-in form. You can settle up then for this $15 dinner, and any others you select at check-in. We consider this a binding agreement--as Bobby will place his food order based on your response. Here is your link to the Thursday Optional Dinner questionnaire:


Order Thursday Night BBQ!


When you complete your questionnaire,

it's easy to start again and complete it

for another person.



For context, please note:

  • We offer included dinners on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights.
  • We offer optional dinners on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. (This topic concerns your Thursday night optional dinner in camp.)
  • All of our menus will be published in early-to-mid-July.
  • Thursday is the only night we will serve a pork entree.
  • You can select other optional meals at check-in in Sioux City.
  • You can pay for all optional meals you select (including this Thursday meal) at check-in in Sioux City.


Shorten Your Day

On Thursday and Friday of RAGBRAI L

After the RAGBRAI L Pre-Ride, we learned a little more about this year's 500-mile route. Like any other year, some days will be a bit more of a challenge. We know you've been training like crazy, and good for you! We support you in your goal of riding every mile!


In case it's useful, though, and with RAGBRAI's blessing, we are offering some options to shorten your cycling days on Thursday and Friday, two of your 80+-mile days.


At first, these options will be restricted to those using the weeklong or partial-week support of Pork Belly Ventures. In a couple weeks, if we still have availability, we will "un-restrict" the early-finish options and welcome folks outside our charter to shorten their day/s as well.


Here are the options, selectable now at pkbelly.com. You must add these to your application, so you may login and select these options. Payment is due right away, and our normal cancellation policy applies.

Thursday, July 27

Early-Finish Option. You can save yourself about 25 of 82 miles. Meet our crew in Grinnell, specific location to be announced, and present your bike for loading. This stop comes before some significant climbs of the day. Departures at 1:30 and 3:30 PM. $44. (We have hired a separate coach to provide this option. Hence, the higher price for a seat and bike transport.)


Full-Day Sag. You can simply take Thursday off. Our full-day SAG requires you to present your bike for loading on Wednesday in Des Moines. This coach departs our Des Moines campsite at 7:00 AM and goes directly to our Tama/Toledo campsite. If the 7:00 AM departure fills, we will assess the demand for a second run in the mid-morning, departure time TBA. $30. (This coach is with us all week long.)


Friday, July 28

Early-Finish Option. You can save yourself about 25 of 80 miles. Meet our crew in Amana, specific location to be announced, and present your bike for loading. This stop comes before some significant climbs of the day. Departures at 1:30 and 3:30 PM. $44. (We have hired a separate coach to provide this option. Hence, the higher price for a seat and bike transport.)


Full-Day SAG. You can simply take Friday off. Our full-day SAG requires you to present your bike for loading on Thursday in Tama/Toledo. This coach departs our Tama/Toledo campsite at 7:00 AM and goes directly to our Coralville campsite. If the 7:00 AM departure fills, we will assess the need for a second run in the mid-morning, departure time TBA. $30. (This coach is with us all week long.)

We're not quite finished with this planning. Obviously, you can expect more from us, specifically MAPS of Grinnell and Amana, showing the precise locations of our Early-Finish Shuttles. Please stay tuned.


To select and pay for any of these options,

please LOGIN to your account at pkbelly.com,

make your selections, and make payment.


We expect to fill our capacity very quickly.


BELOW: A bus can be fun, too. ????



  • 7/23, Sunday, Sioux City to Storm Lake, 77 miles (hilly)


  • 7/24, Monday, Storm Lake to Carroll, 62 miles


  • 7/25, Tuesday, Carroll to Ames, 83 miles


  • 7/26, Wednesday, Ames to Des Moines, 50 miles


  • 7/27, Thursday, Des Moines to Tama/Toledo, 82 miles


  • 7/28, Friday, Tama/Toledo to Coralville, 80 miles
  • 7/29, Saturday, Coralville to Davenport, 66 miles


We hope it helps to view the daily mileage as you consider these early-finish options.

ABOVE: Our dear Zebra Man doing his version of yoga.

Right on, Billy!

YOGA Instructor?

Hey, is there a certified yoga instructor in our midst? We hope to offer Pork Yoga each afternoon, late in the day. We will compensate a willing instructor with a significant refund for our services (please write to Tammy@pkbelly.com for details). Our instructor should be willing to lead a very accessible session each day in the late afternoon--nothing too tough, just a healthy stretch for riders who are so inclined. Hope to hear from you!

Some Availability Info,

in case it's helpful.


Here, we remind you of a few limited or expiring opportunities for accommodations, before, during, and after RAGBRAI.

Des Moines Hotel Availability

Are you using our Des Moines shuttles before or after RAGBRAI? For a few more days, there are still rooms available in our block at a Des Moines Airport hotel--7/21 and 7/29, before and after RAGBRAI.


AmericInn Hotel

Des Moines Airport


Omaha Airport Hotel Availability--

and Recommendations

Are you using our Omaha shuttles before or after RAGBRAI? Our designated hotels are full. You may find those phone numbers in our June Letter, and you can check to see if they have had cancelations. But we are offering these recommendations if you cannot get our designated hotels. They're not the absolute closest, but we feel comfortable recommending the Omaha Airport Country Inn and Suites, the Hampton Inn, and the Holiday Inn Express, all on the main drag to the airport, Abbott Drive.


Wherever you stay on Friday, 7/21 or Saturday 7/29, we will operate the shuttle at Candlewood Suites, and you'll have to manage your transportation to and from.

Hotel Availability during RAGBRAI

We have stopped offering hotel stays during RAGBRAI, and we're busy firming up all the details with our hotel managers. If you're using our hotel stays anytime during RAGBRAI, please stand by for our special update just for you! We'll try to explain absolutely everything.


The only hotel stay we can still offer is this one:


Coralville, Radisson Hotel,

We will shuttle you to/from, but it's less than a mile on a straight sidewalk from camp. You can check in and walk back to camp, if you like, for our Farewell Festivities.


1 person using room, incl transfer:       $253.00

2 people using room, incl transfer:       $152.00 per person

3 people using room, incl transfer:       $118.00 per person


Please write to sara@pkbelly.com.

Indoor Sleeping Availability

Anne has been very diligent in reserving space for our indoor sleepers. (Thank you, Anne, for your good work.). Monday and Tuesday have filled, and Anne has long waiting lists for those nights.


The Friday venue in Coralville (7/28) is not full. We still have a lot of space in the air-conditioned arena. We will serve our farewell dinner in this huge space, and we'll enjoy our entertainment there as well, so sleepers just need to be prepared to stash their stuff (we'll find a spot) and then roll out the bedroll when the festivities are over--like 8:30 or so.


Write to Anne@pkbelly.com

to reserve a spot.

$25 per person,

supports the Xtream Arena


NOTE: We collect $25 per person and keep none of it.

All proceeds of indoor sleeping go straight to our wonderful hosts!


BELOW: On the fairgrounds in Waverly, Iowa,

many years ago,

this venue was kind of rough--but air-conditioned!

Thank you for your prompt attention to these topics, friends. What is coming up? Everybody's favorite update, OUR WEEK IN THE CORN! Look for it after the holiday.

Happy July 4th to All! We wish you a few longer training rides in a row, and hopefully some memorable times with good food, family, and friends! Until next time, we remain,


Your friends,

Tammy and Pete  

Pork Belly Ventures LLC 

Tammy: 808-375-8921 c, tammy@pkbelly.com

Pete: 402-681-2613 c, pete@pkbelly.com