THE JUNE LETTER
OF PORK BELLY VENTURES June 13, 2021
We want you to have almost everything in one document, and that’s why we created The June Letter, which is your RAGBRAI travel guidebook for Pork Belly Ventures. It’s a reference document, so please take a moment and decide how you will save this letter, where you'll keep it for the future.
Reading this letter—or reading those parts that are relevant to you—is the BEST way to avoid making mistakes like missing the bus or missing out on services we provide. We’ve made a concerted effort to condense the instructions and reduce it to bullet points wherever we can.
Nobody needs to read every section of this long letter. If you're not on the East/West Shuttle, for instance, skip the entire section. The June Letter is mostly chronological, except for later sections.
Besides reading your June Letter, how can you stay informed? Make sure to open our updates during July and scan the topics to determine whether they are relevant to your RAGBRAI experience. If you don’t have the Pork Belly App, get it today.
Keep this letter for reference. Re-read as needed.
Table of Contents
Top Priorities Right Now
East/West Shuttle, Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24
Finding Us in LeMars, July 24
Omaha to LeMars, July 24
Des Moines to LeMars, July 24
The Week with PBV
Our Half Hog Shuttles, July 27
The Last Day of RAGBRAI, July 31
Shipping Bikes to/from RAGBRAI
Between Now and RAGBRAI
Protecting Your Bike for Truck Transport
Soon, your June Letter will be posted in plain text at www.pkbelly.com under "June Letter." TOP PRIORITIES RIGHT NOW
Login to Complete Your June Form Right Away
There is NO TAB at pkbelly.com that says JUNE FORM.
You must login. Do not click “Edit” unless you need to add services.
Look for the green tab across from your name, labelled June Form.
Another way in... At the top of your PBV email confirmation, find a link: “Click to
Continue the Application.” Use this link to bypass the login process.
On the June Form, provide your wristband number and bike info, and then click on the
town (Omaha, Clinton, or Des Moines) where you’ll be meeting our shuttle. A specific list of questions related to your particular shuttle will appear. Answer those and save changes.
If you don’t have a wristband number, type “coming soon,” and come back to enter it later. This is your responsibility.
Do not email your June Form info, but if you absolutely can’t login, call Tammy at 712- 328-0161 or 808-375-8921 c.
Should you have an accident or should RAGBRAI take possession of your bike for any reason, Pork Belly Ventures cannot provide any assistance in retrieving your bike without your six-digit RAGBRAI wristband number (on the June Form).
If you are riding a partial week, you may enter the words “day passes” in the field for your official RAGBRAI wristband number. Wear your wristbands to check-in with PBV. We’ll check your day passes before providing you with the PBV bracelet.
Extra Night (7/23 in LeMars) in Your Rental Tent On the June Form, you may select an extra night in your rental tent (Friday 7/23) in LeMars, not in Clinton. The price is $40. (This option is for those who are using the Friday E/W Shuttle or who are being dropped off in LeMars. None of our other shuttles from Omaha or Des Moines run on Friday.)
Thanks to 85% of our riders who have completed their June Forms.
Pork Belly Ventures cannot provide support for anyone who is not registered for
RAGBRAI wants us to be able to retrieve the registration numbers of our riders—help us, please, by completing the June Form.
Note that you must be wearing your RAGBRAI wristband when you check-in for PBV Weeklong Support in LeMars.
Last Chance to Make Sure Group Names Are Identical
Apologies to those who do it right every time! Here’s a last reminder. We’ve had occasions where people check in for our support and learn that their tents are not together. On the Saturday when RAGBRAI is beginning, it will be too late to fix that situation. If you want to be on the same coach with your group members, or if you want your rental tents to be near each other, you must have identical group names on your applications.
Dave often asks me to mention that if one person types “Team George” in the group-name field, and another types “George’s Team,” we won’t catch that. It will not sort properly. These folks will not be assigned to the same coach or next to each other in Tent City. So make sure to use identical group names on your applications, please. This is the last time we’ll make this plea.
Payment Is Due Now
We asked for balances by May 15th, and we have sent reminders.
We are cancelling applications on which only the deposit has been paid.
When you login in to complete your June Form, please check to see if there’s a balance
due. If so, please send payment right away.
You may pay balances by credit card.
It’s too late to mail a check.
Availability of Services
Our Weeklong Support and Partial-Week Support are sold out, and it’s no longer worth asking about the waiting lists. (If you haven’t joined us for 2021, we hope you can join us next year!)
We are sold out on Rental Tents, and the waiting list is just too long.
You can still sign up for all shuttles of PBV. And if you do, please complete the June Form immediately.
Basic Shuttle Info:
EAST/WEST SHUTTLE, Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24
From end town to start town, Clinton to LeMars, on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, 7/23 and 7/24
5.5 hour trip
Departures at 1:00 and 3:00 on Friday, 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 am on Saturday
We'll use very comfortable coaches, restroom-equipped and air-conditioned. Your bags
will go into the compartments under the bus and your bike will be loaded on a trailer. [See section on Protecting Your Bike for Truck Transport, and see "Bike Transport" below.]
Location in Clinton
In Clinton, Pork Belly Ventures will be located at Clinton Park, at the intersection of 3rd Avenue South and South 4th Street.
Prince of Peace School is across the street at 312 S. 4th Street, Clinton, Iowa. 52732.
We will publish a map in July.
We will load bicycles and board the coaches in Clinton Park (hours below).
The VIP Parking and the Primary Parking in Clinton are a short distance away (6-8
blocks). We sent one map earlier (Update #8), and we will publish our Clinton map in
July to help you.
On Saturday, July 31, we will be located in the same location, Clinton Park, next to this
address: 312 S. 4th Street, Clinton, Iowa. 52732. See later sections of this letter for details about the last day of RAGBRAI.
Groups on Coaches
If two members of the same group request different departure days/times, we will grant each person’s request, and you will not ride across the state together.
If you wish to be together on a bus with others who share your common group name, talk to each other about your departure time before completing your June Forms.
The June Form is our essential tool for making bus assignments on our bus-departure- management software at the website. Several of our team do bus assignments for our shuttles. Don’t assume that all of us know who is with whom. Your group name tells us who should be riding with whom.
In short, we need June Forms from everyone in your group and identical group names on all applications.
We’ll publish rosters later on, so you can to which bus you’re assigned.
If you don’t have your group’s name on your application, please don’t assume we can
take apart our bus assignments to move you. This affects other people.
Hours in Clinton
PBV Bike loading in Clinton Park on Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
PBV Bike loading in Clinton Park on Saturday: 6:00 to 8:30 a.m.
Clinton’s VIP Parking Lot Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Clinton’s VIP Parking Lot Saturday: 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Clinton’s Primary Parking Lot Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Clinton’s Primary Parking Lot Saturday: 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Clinton’s Shuttle Friday: noon to 10:00 p.m.
Clinton’s Shuttle Saturday: 6:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Prince of Peace Hot Breakfast Saturday: 6:00 to 8:30 a.m. if you paid for it.
What To Do Upon Your Arrival in Clinton
Find us in Clinton Park and unload your bike and baggage.
Depending on your chosen departure time, you may wish to park your vehicle right away and shuttle back to us at Clinton Park.
Regardless of what departure you have chosen, Friday or Saturday, you may certainly load bikes on Friday.
Expect a little congestion at Clinton Park, more so on Saturday morning than on Friday.
Expect a little congestion at both long-term parking areas.
There is a railroad track between VIP Parking and Clinton Park—you could get caught or your Clinton shuttle bus could get caught for a little while.
Needless to say, do not rush into town at 8:15 AM Saturday and expect to find us, get your bike loaded, park your vehicle, shuttle back, manage your baggage, and board your bus by 9:00.
Budget your time. Arrive early. Allow for delays. Give yourself a smooth start to your week.
Have You Signed Up for Long-Term Parking in Clinton?
In several updates, we have published info about Clinton and Long-term Parking. The price of parking goes up every month. Here is the parking link again.
Convenient Extras Available for You in Clinton
Our terrific partner, Prince of Peace Catholic School, is just across the street from Clinton Park, our staging area for the East/West Shuttle.
For those planning to shuttle on Friday, you may select a box lunch prepared by the good folks at Prince of Peace Catholic School.
For those planning to shuttle on Saturday morning, you may select air-conditioned indoor sleeping at the school (in classrooms, only $15 donation), and a hot and generous sit-down breakfast at the school (or get it to go in a clamshell), and/or a box brunch to take on board the coach.
These services are available to be reserved on the Pork Belly Ventures application form, under Clinton Services. (Click the Edit button next to your name.)
It’s best to purchase in advance. If you didn’t buy in advance, however, you may check with the volunteers of Prince of Peace to see if they have extra.
By taking these services, you will support a very good cause, the students of Prince of Peace Catholic School.
Our Clinton Schedule and Crew
Crew Chiefs Rob Boes and George Dougherty will handle this shuttle, along with Bob
Christiansen, Bart Dvorak, Martina Werner, Mary Spurlock, and several other Pork
The crew will load bikes on Friday (hours above) and supervise the departures of several Friday buses at 1:00 and 3:00 PM.
The crew will return to Clinton Park at 6:00 AM to continue bike loading and supervise the boarding of our Saturday buses departing at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 (several buses at each departure time).
One Bike Per Person on E/W Shuttle
As we plan for truck space, we assume one bike per person.
If a member of your group is using a different PBV shuttle, then you can bring his/her
bike to be transported on the E/W Shuttle, but we need to know about it now.
We don’t charge anything for transporting your fellow Weeklong Porkers’ bikes, so long
as they are using one of our other shuttles.
If the owner of the extra bike is not using another PBV shuttle prior to RAGBRAI, we
charge $25 for transporting more than one bike per person.
If you will have more than one bike per person for loading in Clinton on the 23rd or 24th,
you must write to Sara@pkbelly.com. This will help us make a plan for adequate truck space.
Sleeping Options in Clinton on Friday, 7/23, Prior to RAGBRAI
Hotels in Clinton or the surrounding area. You can Google hotels in the area and make your reservation. PBV does not make hotel recommendations on the east side of the state.
Indoor Sleeping, explained in PBV Update #13, is only $15 (a donation to Prince of Peace Catholic School.) The school has many small spaces and classrooms throughout the building. If you select Indoor Sleeping and the Hot Breakfast on your PBV application, you will wake up and smell the coffee, sausage, egg casserole, pancakes, and more. These convenient amenities can be selected on your PBV application!
For those who prefer to tent-camp, you may set up tents in Clinton Park. Tent-campers should take their vehicles to long-term parking on Friday night and leave the Clinton Park area clear for bike loading and the arrivals/departures of coaches on Saturday morning. (Ask a crew member where to park, or park very briefly in the parking lot at Clinton Park. Thank you.)
No Rental Tents in Clinton Though PBV rental tents are available in LeMars on Friday night (for an additional $40), they are not available in Clinton.
On both Friday night and Saturday morning, we'll provide handlebar tags and markers. Please label your bike with your name before handing it over.
Please don't leave your bike unattended: wait patiently with it until one of our crew can take it from you.
Please don't climb into a truck or trailer, just hand your bike up.
See section at the end of this letter on Protecting Your Bike for Truck Transport.
If you have CARBON WHEELS, it’s your responsibility to let our loaders know at the time they are loading bike. We don’t hang carbon wheels.
Bus-Boarding Details, and Departing the Bus in LeMars
All buses will stage about 30 minutes prior to departure.
Please stand back and let the earlier departures get loaded and boarded. When they roll, move on up and get ready to place your bags in the compartments under the coach.
It’s your job to place your bags in the compartments under your bus.
Be available to board your coach about 15 minutes before departure.
The buses are not likely to stop on the way to LeMars, so it’s a good idea to have food and drink on the bus.
Our coaches are restroom-equipped and very comfortable.
On arrival in LeMars, when you step off the bus, remember to pull your bags out of the bus compartments.
Our LeMars crew will direct you to the bike trucks, so you can claim your bike as it's being unloaded.
They will also direct you to check-in at our Front Desk.
Arriving in LeMars on Friday Night
Those who take the 1:00 and 3:00 Friday shuttles from Clinton will arrive in our LeMars campsite at about 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. respectively.
You can check-in for PBV Weeklong Support on Friday night.
Our crew will direct folks to their rental tents.
Some of you will set up your own tents after check-in.
We’ll have a great food vendor in Pork Camp on Friday night—likely to be delicious broasted chicken and sides.
Around 10:00 p.m., our crew will go to bed and rest up for a busy Saturday.
On Friday night, there won’t be much in the way of services until morning.
Our showers will be up and running Saturday morning.
If you took our option of a Friday night hotel stay, ask for our hotel shuttle at the Front Desk, as you’re checking in.
Dave will be brewing coffee on Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. (For the rest of the week, he brews coffee from about 5:00 to 7:00 a.m.)
LeMars Saturday, Festivities and Bike Expo
On Saturday, the huge RAGBRAI Bike Expo will be about six blocks from our campsite. It’s walkable, and you’ll see the location of festivities on our map of LeMars, coming in July.
Arriving in LeMars on Saturday:
We will check you in for our Weeklong Support as quickly as we can, but remember that you don’t necessarily have to get in line for check-in first thing.
We’ll have a food vendor in camp offering pulled pork sandwiches and sides. There’ll be music on stage for a few hours in the afternoon, and a lot of fun stuff going on.
Please don’t leave camp without checking in and doing your chores; however, you're free to go set up your tent, claim your bike, eat a bite, and wait to check in at our Front Desk until the line has gotten shorter.
To non-Porkers on the E/W Shuttle
Thanks very much for using our shuttle, and we wish you a great RAGBRAI.
We will take you from Clinton directly to our LeMars campsite (Cleveland Park, at the corner of 6th Ave SE and 2nd Street SE)
You should unload your baggage there and claim your bike.
The general RAGBRAI camping area is six or seven blocks from Cleveland Park at the fairgrounds.
Some folks on the shuttle are with a different charter—not PBV—for the week. We don’t know where every charter is camping in LeMars. Do your research now and find out precisely where your charter will be camping.
We'll have a couple of four-wheelers and a pickup truck, and we'll try to give folks some assistance getting your bags to your weeklong charter or to the RAGBRAI general camping area. Your patience will be appreciated, as our crew is very busy while the buses and bike trailers from Clinton are arriving.
Also, to avoid the wait, ask if your weeklong charter can come and pick up your luggage.
In July, we'll send you a host-town map of LeMars, noting our campsite, in case your weeklong group can transport you to their site.
FINDING US IN LEMARS, Friday or Saturday, 7/23 and 7/24
If you are driving to our campsite in LeMars, we will be camping in Cleveland Park at the corner of 6th Ave SE and 2nd Street SE.
Pete Phillips and about half of the Pork Crew will be waiting for you in there.
We will publish a map of LeMars in July, showing our location in relation to the Expo and festivities. It’s a matter of about six blocks.
Friends and family who drop off Porkers, please make note of this request. Because we’ll have around 20 buses arriving throughout the day and needing space to unload and get out again, those arriving by private vehicles (dropped off by friends and family) must park a little away (across the street perhaps), unload your things, and walk over. Come to our front desk for check-in.
Friends and family are more than welcome to buy lunch from our food vendor and hang out in Pork Camp to see what this corny bike event is like. All we ask is that you park well away from the operation of PBV.
Long-term parking in LeMars is at the LeMars Community High School,
OMAHA to LeMars, Saturday 7/24
Basic Shuttle Info:
Loading and departing from the Candlewood Suites hotel parking lot at the Omaha airport to LeMars, on Saturday, 7/24
Departures throughout the day on Saturday, beginning at 7:30 or 8:00, with the last departure at 4:00 p.m. We will build our departure schedule around the preferences we receive from riders on their June Forms.
No departures after 4:00 p.m.
We'll use very comfortable coaches, restroom-equipped and air-conditioned. Your bags will go into the compartments under the bus and your bike will be loaded on a trailer. [See section on Protecting Your Bike for Truck Transport, and see "Bike Transport" below.]
Omaha Airport Crew at Candlewood Suites Hotel
Tammy and Mike Pavich, Sara Tangeman, and about a dozen other Pork Crew members will handle our most popular airport shuttle.
Omaha Airport Hotels
In Omaha on Saturday night, 7/24, you will be camping with PBV in LeMars.
If you need a room near the Omaha airport on Friday, 7/23, or Saturday, 7/31, these are the Pork Belly Ventures designated airport hotels which are right next door to each other, literally across a parking lot. Please note that by July 1, unclaimed rooms in our block will be released and our rate may no longer apply.
Best Western Plus, 2510 Abbott Plaza, Carter Lake, IA 51510 402-505-4900
• FULL, but there could be cancellations.
SW, LeMars. PBV does not shuttle back to LeMars at the end of RAGBRAI, but we include this address in case it’s useful: 921 3rd Ave
Mention our name to reserve your king or double queen room for $129.
Hot breakfast served here (Candlewood guests will walk over for breakfast)
Candlewood Suites, 2601 Abbott Plaza, Omaha, NE 68110 402-342-2500
FULL, but there could be cancellations.
Mention our name to reserve your king or double queen room for $129.
Breakfast served next door, but great little convenience store in the lobby with CHEAP
Shuttle departs from this hotel parking lot.
Be considerate of the staff and respect the furniture and linens that belong to the hotel. If you need to work on your bike, the managers have said they can give you rags. Please don't use their bath towels. Do any bike work outside, not on their carpet, please. We don't mean to insult you with these reminders, but it has happened.
Wherever you stay in Omaha, it’s your responsibility to get to Candlewood Suites for your shuttle. At the end of RAGBRAI, our coaches drop off at Candlewood Suites.
Near Omaha Hotels
Large convenience store (with beer/wine/spirits)
Subway sandwich shop
Perkins Restaurant (with breakfast all day and other options).
No need for an advance reservation for parking.
Anyone staying at our hotels or using our shuttles may use Stewart Airport Parking for about $5.50 per day for outdoor parking day and about $6.50 per day for sheltered parking. The owner of Stewart Airport Parking may offer a special deal for us—please inquire at the front desk of your hotel.
You may drive straight to the Candlewood Suites or Best Western Plus and make arrangements at their front desks for your car to be valet parked at the Stewart lot nearby—valet parking is free.
When you return to Omaha at week’s end, Stewart vans will take you to the nearby lot, and you can drive your car back to your hotel for loading.
Note: Stewart’s Airport parking is ALSO the company that operates our airport shuttle, transporting our arrivals at the Omaha airport to either hotel, Best Western Plus or Candlewood Suites. Look for Stewarts’ Airport Parking vans at the airport, and see our instructions below.
If you fly into Omaha on Friday (7/23)
Walk out of the airport from baggage claim using Door #2, and cross to the commercial lane.
Board the next Stewarts van and tell them you're bound for Best Western Plus or Candlewood Suites, wherever you have a Friday night reservation. It's a short ride, and it's free.
Sleep well tonight!
By about 7:30 Saturday morning, we'll be set up outside on the north side of Candlewood Suites (the back parking lot).
About 30 minutes before your scheduled shuttle departure time, come out and check in for your coach.
For Dinner: We suggest a trip to Omaha's Old Market for dinner on Friday night. It's a fun place with great food, drink, and music. Our longtime favorite restaurant is Nicola's- Italian/Greek, very fresh, lovely outdoor patio. But we also like Upstream Brewery an awful lot. Have heard good things about Hiro Sushi and Japanese Cuisine. A lot of people love M’s Pub—a charming Old Market institution, rebuilt after a devastating fire, and exactly the same! Usually, the Dubliner will have some great Irish music and Guinness on tap, but remember to get some sleep Friday night! For fine dining, you can try V Mertz in the Passageway. Check out pop-up chefs at the old Flat Iron Grill location, on the register of historic places. Have a great evening in Omaha’s Old Market.)
If you're flying into Omaha on Saturday (7/24)
Our crew, wearing Pork Belly shirts and carrying pig signs, will meet you at baggage claim.
They will direct you to walk out of the airport using Door #2, cross to the commercial lane, and catch the first Stewart van. Tell the driver you're bound for Candlewood Suites. The drivers will probably carry you around back to us.
Our check-in desk and all trucks and coaches will be on the north side (the back parking lot) of the Candlewood Suites hotel. Shuttles from the airport on Saturday will probably bring you right around back to our area, but if for some reason they drop you out front, walk straight in the front door, through the lobby, and out the back door to check in for your departure.
When you've checked in with us for your bus, you can hang out in the hotel lobby (a/c and vending machines) until your departure.
There's a big convenience store across the street from Candlewood, and also a Subway sandwich shop and a Perkins Restaurant if you have a longer wait.
Summoning the Stewarts Airport Shuttle on Friday or Saturday
The Stewarts Shuttle is likely to be circling all day on both Friday and Saturday, from the airport to the hotels.
You should exit Door #2 at the airport (in the middle—not at the north end or south end) and cross over to the Commercial Lane. The Stewarts van will be waiting or it will come along shortly.
You can also call the hotel phone numbers and ask them to send the shuttle: Candlewood: 402-342-2500
Best Western Plus: 402-505-4900
If you're driving into Omaha on Friday or Saturday (7/23 or 7/24)
If you arrive on Friday, park at your hotel and simply unload for your hotel stay. Decide whether to park your vehicle on Friday evening or Saturday morning well before your scheduled departure.
At either hotel, you will be able to have your vehicle valet parked for free. Go to the desk of the hotel with your vehicle keys, complete a form, and they’ll take your car to Stewarts Airport Parking.
If you arrive on Saturday, please park at the front of the hotel or briefly (while you unload quickly) at the back of the hotel. We need the back parking for large coaches and bike trucks. When you have unloaded, you can check in for your departure, arrange to valet park the car, and if you have time, get food or drink to take on board your coach.
There's a big convenience store across the street from Candlewood, and also a Subway sandwich shop and a Perkins Restaurant if you have a longer wait.
GIVE US A COURTESY CALL OR TEXT.
If your plans change on Saturday, if your flight is delayed, if you encounter delays while driving to Omaha, CALL or TEXT ME.
Candlewood front desk is 402/342-2500 and my (Tammy's) cell phone number is 808/375-8921.
We don’t promise to have seats for you on the next departure, but we can begin to think about reassigning you where we have open seats.
If you don't show, the crew will be looking for you in the terminal or we’ll be wondering whether you’re still coming.
If you arrive later than our last departure at 4:00, it’s unlikely that we can provide a later departure. We have contracts for coaches during a certain window. We urge you to hedge your bets and plan an early arrival in Omaha.
(For much of the week, I will be unable to answer calls or texts, but I’ll be very attentive on Saturday. If I don’t answer, please text or call back.)
Groups on Coaches
If two members of the same group request different departure days/times, we will grant each person’s request, and you will not ride to LeMars together.
If you wish to be together on a bus with others who share your common group name, talk to each other about your departure time before completing your June Forms.
The June Form is our essential tool for making bus assignments on our bus-departure- management software at the website.
Several of our team do bus assignments for our shuttles. Don’t assume that all of us know who is with whom.
In short, we need June Forms from everyone in your group and identical group names on all applications.
We’ll publish rosters later on, so you’ll know to which bus you’re assigned.
If you don’t have your group’s name on your application, please don’t assume we can take apart our bus assignments to move you. This affects other people.
Creating/Publishing the Departure Schedule
I will construct the departure schedule around the arrival information and preferences you have given us on your June Form.
Our first departure may be at about 8:00, and then we’ll have a bus departing every hour or two until 4:00 p.m. when our last bus will roll.
Your flight would probably need to arrive by 3:00 for you to make our 4:00 coach.
As usual, I'll send out a schedule and bus rosters for the entire day and try to minimize anyone having to wait around.
We'll have bike trucks apart from the buses.
We will have adequate space for both boxed and unboxed bikes.
It’s possible that you may have a little time in LeMars to set up your tent, check in, etc, before the bike truck rolls into camp.
[See Section entitled Protecting Your Bike for Truck Transport at the end of this letter.]
LAST WARNING ABOUT ARRIVING EARLY
If you’re scheduled to arrive Omaha in the late afternoon, you may want to give some thought to a plan B—what if your flight is delayed or a bag is lost? There are lots of Uber drivers in Omaha, and also cabs—but LeMars is two hours north. Hate to beat this dead horse once more, but arrive as early as you can for a smooth beginning.
DES MOINES TO COUNCIL BLUFFS, Saturday 7/24
Basic Shuttle Info:
Departs from the AmericInn hotel parking lot near the Des Moines Airport at 1920 Hackley Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315.
About 3.5 hours on the coach
Saturday morning, 7/24, 8:00 bike loading, 9:15 departure
FYI, we will have two coaches, and there are about 10 seats left.
Crew Usually two or three crew members will handle this shuttle.
One Departure Time
This shuttle is simple and smaller than our others. We’ll have two coaches departing at the same time, 9:15 a.m.
Folks on this shuttle may fly or drive to Des Moines. Many live in the Des Moines area.
The bike truck/s stage at 8:00 a.m.
As always, arrive early enough to give us your bike for loading and park your vehicle
before boarding your coach on time.
The AmericInn Hotel’s Park-and-Fly rate is around $20 for the week. If you’re not
staying at least one night at the hotel, you will need to check with them about parking. They may suggest other nearby options for you.
Des Moines Hotel Rooms and Parking
You out-of-state folks may need rooms on Friday, 7/23, or on Saturday, 7/31. If you wish to make a reservation at the AmericInn, call 515-285-5180 and ask about Pork Belly Ventures room block. (Unused rooms may have been released, and we’re not sure if our rate of $97.00 still applies, but no harm in asking.)
The hotel offers guests weeklong parking. Check with them.
If you are not a guest of the hotel, please use another nearby parking option.
Return on Saturday, July 31 At the end of the week, we'll have two buses designated for our passengers bound for Des Moines. We drop off at the airport AmericInn parking lot, 1920 Hackley Ave. More about the return to Des Moines under The Last Day of RAGBRAI (keep reading).
THE WEEK WITH PBV
What Does PBV Expect of Porkers?
Our most important expectation is that you be courteous to our hard-working crew.
We have promised to give you extras, comforts, conveniences, and luxuries, and yet you just won't always be 100% comfortable when you’re living outdoors for seven days. Prepare yourself mentally for some physical hardship. You have signed on for a week of biking and camping in the elements. Prepare to cope with it, deal with it, roll with it.
Things can feel like they are going wrong sometimes. Take a breath and ask us for help. We can find a lost bag in a matter of minutes, so let us know if something seems to be missing. RAGBRAI is defined as an event where 10,000 people slow down, smell the roses, and stand in line for just about everything. We'll do our best to keep things moving, but in the morning, unless you rise before the sun, you will wait in line for the kybo.
Each rider with PBV gets two bags, and you should be able to lift each of them above your head and count to three.
Folks who bring their own tents, please get your bags to our Stupidity trailers by 7:00 AM. We can’t hold the baggage trailer.
Folks who rent our tents, please be out of your rental tent (and out of the rental tent area) by 7:00 a.m. Please don’t make us come and ask you to leave Tent City in the morning. We have five hours to strike camp, move the whole operation down the road to the next site, and set up for your arrival. Please don’t delay the crew by standing in Tent City putting on your helmet. Move out of the tent area before 7:00 a.m. Then put on your helmet. It’s just common sense, we know, and we’re sure you’ll be lovely and cooperative, but we speak from a few troublesome experiences. We have rented you a tent with this mutual understanding.
Pick up your own trash. I, Tammy, am a proud member of our morning trash crew, and about five of us will circulate each morning with huge trash bags, taking your rubbish as you break camp. But it's not okay to leave a pile of trash where you took down your tent. If you miss us when we sweep your area, do your part and place your trash in a receptacle.
Be quiet after 10:00 pm and before 5:00 a.m. Never wake a napping PBV crew member. They work hard for about 18 hours per day, and if they're sleeping, it's because they need rest. Find someone who is awake to help you with a problem. Except for true health emergencies, most problems that occur between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. can wait.
Before RAGBRAI, read your updates and do what they say. Some updates are optional reading just for fun, but some (like this one) are critical, so be an attentive reader and know what you're doing.
NO PERSONAL VEHICLES Every charter makes an annual promise to RAGBRAI: We promise not to support anyone who has his/her own personal vehicle on RAGBRAI. Regardless of whether someone has a RAGBRAI vehicle pass, we and all charters are forbidden to provide support to people who have a personal vehicle on the ride. You have to choose one or the other: having your own car OR availing yourself of our support. Please keep your word to us on this matter.
The Check-In Process for Weeklong Porkers
Check-in takes place at our Front Desk in LeMars on Saturday, July 24, from about 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.--- and on Friday evening, July 23, 6-8 p.m.
We'll send you a whole separate update about check-in.
Please be prepared to show identification at the Front Desk on Saturday. One person cannot check in for a whole group. Each individual must check in.
You must show your RAGBRAI wristband before you can put on a Pork Belly bracelet or receive your baggage tags. Pork Belly Ventures does not provide services to RAGBRAI bandits. You must be a registered RAGBRAI rider.
To receive our services---to have us carry your baggage, to partake of beverages and meals, to use our massage therapists, to have our mechanics help you with your bike, to drink your morning cup of coffee, and much more---you must be wearing a Pork Bracelet. At check-in we will distribute special souvenir Pork Cups for Pork beverages. Please keep track of your Pork Cup, as we will issue only one per Porker.
Upon check-in, you will receive your cool new Pork team shirt. We hope you like it.
As you check in, you will have the opportunity to purchase PBV extras, like optional evening meals, a beverage punch card, and our mid-week laundry service. You'll need cash for these items, as we don't accept checks once the ride begins.
With very few exceptions, you should already have paid in full for other extras you have reserved, like an optional hotel stay, indoor sleeping, and perhaps other special services.
Rental Tent Baggage Tags If you are using one of our rental tents, you will get two PBV baggage tags at check-in with your tent number in bold numbers on both sides of each tag. Attach the tags securely to your two bags immediately. Place your bags inside your tent on Saturday. We will handle your bags throughout the week.
Baggage Tags for PBV Campers Using Their Own Tents If you are in the majority of Porkers who are setting up your own tent in each Pork Campsite, you will be given two business-card-sized tags at check-in with a space for your name and cell phone number. Complete the information on the tags, and then attach these durable tags to your bags. In case your bag is lost (if you do a home stay, a hotel stay, or accidentally place your bags on the truck of a neighboring charter), it will be apparent to the finder that you are with our charter. The finder can call you immediately.
Your Own Baggage Tags It's always a good idea to put your contact info on all of your bags. Make a point of putting tags with your name, address, and cell phone number on them. Suffice it to say that if the bag is somehow in the wrong spot before our tags get attached or after our tags have been removed, your own identifying tag will allow people to contact you without rifling through the contents of your bag.
Trucks Roll Daily at 7:00 Sharp For those who set up their own tents, your two bags must be on our Stupidity Trailer by 7:00 a.m., when our first caravan rambles on to the next host town. For those renting tents from us, you must leave your two bags packed up inside your tent and be out by 7:00, because those tents are coming down. We don't wait. In five short hours, we have a lot of work to do. We'll be sending an update especially for Tent-Renters in this month.
Pork Maps and Other Ways to Find Us Daily
One of the unsung heroes of PBV is Pork Cartographer, Bob Rebach. Bob is hard at work on our Host Town Maps.
Our maps have to be approved by each town, and sometimes that causes us to be delayed in getting them to you, but as early as we can in July, we will publish all eight final host- town maps in PDF format.
You can download them, print, and laminate if you like. These maps will show you where our campsites are in relation to the bike routes into and out of town and other attractions in the host town. They will also give you the daily ride statistics.
PBV Locations Card
You’ll receive this card at check-in, with all Pork locations listed on it, complete with addresses.
Please carry this laminated card on your person or zip-tie it to your bike. Glance at before you ride into town.
If you’re looking for us in Fort Dodge, you can ask a local person, “Where is the Middle School?” Don’t search. Refer to your Pork Locations card. Ask a local whether you’re headed in the right direction. And follow our signs.
PBV Route Signs
As ever, we will post our signs in each host town to direct you from the biking route to our campsites.
When you ride into each host town, follow the official RAGBRAI campground signs until you start seeing PBV signs on your right hand side.
We'll post on telephone poles, stop signs, any handy place we can find, arrows pointing the way to camp.
Lots of Porkers also keep an eye out for our big red-and-white striped canopies or for the big group of look-alike tents in Tent City.
(We shared a photo of our sign in the email update that included this letter.)
YOUR BEST BET FOR FINDING PORK CAMP
Use the PBV daily host town map and/or the locations on your laminated card.
WATCH FOR OUR SIGNS.
As you bike into town, it's so simple to ask a local volunteer, "Where is Rock Run Elementary School, please? Am I headed in the right direction?"
Pork Belly Host Town Maps are now a feature of the Pork Belly App for smartphones, available to Android and iPhone users in App stores. Our App Developer Katy Fletcher has spent a lot of time working on the map feature so that regardless of cell-service availability, you'll have our maps. More on the Free PBV Smartphone App at the end of this letter.
A word about claiming other people’s baggage: It’s so nice of you to grab their stuff, but do they know you’re doing it? When someone else claims bags, the owner of the bags may engage our crew in a futile search for their “lost” belongings. Please be sure that your friends and family know that you’re helping them by claiming their bags.
Our Half-Hog Shuttles You’ll find this section next, after The Week with PBV. Pork Sites In our upcoming letter to everyone, “Our Week in the Corn,” we’ll provide campground descriptions. For now, here are the addresses.
2019 PBV Campsite Locations
Cleveland Park, 3rd St., SE and 8th Ave, SE
United Bank of Iowa, 400 Morningside Dr.
Middle School, 800 N. 32nd St.
Rock Run Elementary School, 710 North St
Waterworks Park, 1132 Josephine St.
Middle School, 410 Old Dubuque Rd
Westbrook Park, 11th Street and Westbrook Drive.
Clinton Park or Prince of Peace School, 3rd Ave. S. & S. 4th St.
We’re planning great menus every night, and soon we’ll reveal all of the live music we’ve booked. It’s shaping up to be a wonderful week.
We will offer a vegetarian alternative entrée for all included dinners. It looks like we will offer a vegetarian entrée for the optional meals, too.
Food Vendors in Camp
We are arranging for breakfast vendors to offer Grab-and-Go breakfast items beside our coffee trailer every morning from 4:30 to at least 7:00 AM. The most common items will be yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, muffins or donuts, bananas, and chocolate milk. Possibly instant oatmeal and/or cheese sticks. In one or two cases, we may have hot breakfast items, too—not sure yet.
We are arranging for lunch vendors to set up in camp, so you’ll find something to eat when you ride in hungry from the road.
The cost of breakfast and lunch is not included in your Weeklong Support, but it is very convenient to have these options available right at your home base. In some cases, our vendors will have sandwiches, salads, sweets and snacks. When possible they will continue vending through dinner and into the evening.
First Thing: Check the Boards and the COB!
When you ride into camp, make a habit of checking our Announcement Boards and the Campground Orientation Board (the COB) at the Front Desk for what's happening in camp tonight or tomorrow night.
We have created the Campground Orientation Board (the COB), a large diagram/map of our campsite with moveable magnetic pieces, to show you where to find all of our equipment each day: showers, kybos, vending, phone-charging, massage, catering, bike mechanics and everything else that PBV offers in camp.
No need to stand in line to ask where things are!
By all means, come to the Front Desk for a cold drink or to ask questions. But to find what you need in camp, you can go straight to our COB. Snap a photo of it!
Yoga in Pork Camp Please watch for Our Week in the Corn, when we’ll tell you more about our yoga teacher for PBV during RAGBRAI. She will lead a group yoga session at 5:00 each day. Relax your mind and take advantage of the benefits of yoga. Stretch those tired muscles. Avoid injury. Check the COB, and watch our notifications via the Pork Belly App. We’ll let you know when and where yoga will be happening each day.
Entertainment on Stage Please watch updates, watch the daily announcement board of PBV (near our front desk), and watch our notifications via the Pork Belly App. We’ll let you know who is on stage each night. We’re planning entertainment on seven nights, starting on Saturday in LeMars.
You get two bag tags, so plan on two duffels per person total, with tent and sleeping bag enclosed inside. A bag is defined as the stuff that fits inside the zipped bag.
Don't strap a bunch of stuff to your bag—your stuff will come unstrapped. In fact, don’t strap anything to a bag. Zip things inside your bags.
Rule of thumb: If you can't lift your bag above your head and count to three, it's too heavy. Our driver/loader guys will handle those bags fourteen times. Please be nice and pack sensibly.
Those Rubbermaid tubs will not hold up to RAGBRAI, and we've seen the handles tear right off of suitcases. A soft no-nonsense canvas duffel bag is your best bet, one for camping gear and the other for clothing and toiletries. Remove any detachable straps.
Several Porkers have offered tips for packing—they suggest putting each day’s clothes into plastic bags (freezer bags or ziplock storage bags) inside your duffel. Dew on the grass can make your duffel damp, and packing clothing in ziplock bags keeps clean clothes nice and fresh.
The clever Porker will mark his/her bags somehow-with colorful tape or even paint to make them easy to spot in our pile. Can you imagine how many black duffels we’ll have? How many blue duffels? How many army-green duffels. Mark your bag.
It's fine to bring a camp stool or chair if you can get one into your duffel and still lift it over your head.
Chairs and Camp Stools
We'll have several hundred stackable chairs out under our canopies, and we'll spread blankets on the grass when there's music. You don't HAVE to bring your own chair or stool, but if you want to have your own seat when and where you want it, bring one.
PBV Suggested Packing List
You'll find our Suggested Packing List under Details at pkbelly.com.
No Good Stuff No fine jewelry, good luggage, good clothes, good anything. See "Charging Trailers" below regarding laptops and iPads, but do remember that Iowa is a warm and humid place in the summer, not the best habitat for your valuable electronics. RAGBRAI beats the crap out of stuff. If you like it, leave it home.
CPAP Users, if you wrote to me once, I have you on my list. We have asked anyone bringing a CPAP machine to let us know, and we have sent each person a separate letter on the subject. If you are bringing one and would like to read our letter about access to electricity, please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massage Therapists in Camp
PBV will have 10 talented massage therapists working in camp.
The massage tent is usually near the shade canopies and the band stage.
On Friday evening and all day Saturday in LeMars, you’ll find our massage therapists in a convenient location near check-in, ready to take your appointments for the following six days, Sunday to Friday.
If you would like to book appointments in advance (now), please write to Julie at email@example.com. She will want to know the days, the time of day, and the duration of the massage you request (15 minutes/30 minutes/60 minutes). Most of our therapists are women, but let her know if you have a preference, male or female.
Prime time does fill up—3:00 to 8:00 p.m. (Prime time is already getting full.) Booking ahead can get you the appointments you want.
Please be certain that you’ll remember and honor those appointments during your week in the corn.
Optional Tent Rental and Daily Set-Up
This service sold out in April, and the waiting list is long. We’re sorry.
From 1:00 PM to 7:00 AM, enjoy your rental tent from Pork Belly Ventures.
We'll publish an email update soon with all the info on tent rental, but here are two or three important points.
On July 6th at 5:00 p.m., we will print our tent report, sorted by group name, and begin making the tent grid. If members of a group do not have their group names on their applications by that time, we are not responsible for those members of the group being placed near each other in Tent City. We’ve published many reminders over the season, and now we need to get to work.
Here’s the agreement we make with tent-renters:
You may not enter Tent City until our crew is completely finished with their work. We aim for 1:00, but inclement weather and traffic problems can put us a little behind---not often, but it can happen. If you or your bike or your stuff get in the way of baggage delivery, you will slow down us down, and that's not allowed.
Secondly, Your tent mate should be named on your PBV application and on your tent address card. We must know the names of those who are using a tent. Just because the price for one or two occupants is the same, please don't assume that you can have a roommate without informing us. Before we draw up the tent grid with permanent tent assignments, before we print tent address cards, we must know who is using each tent and how many bags will be in that tent. Your tent mate should be named on your PBV application and on your tent address card. The address card includes the number of bags that belong in the tent. If you have trouble logging in to add your tent mate’s name, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, you will find out your Tent City address when you reach LeMars Check-In. Stay tuned for more on tent rental.
We will write separately to our PHAT Room occupants about the details of their stay.
Your Daily Shower
On all eight days, Saturday through Saturday, weeklong Porkers wearing a Pork Bracelet are entitled to one or more showers.
Our showers will be within our campsites in every host town. You may take one fresh towel from us (and pay for an extra towel if you like) and return it to us on your way out the door.
We provide liquid soap. The trailers are air-conditioned. You'll like this part of the Pork Infrastructure.
PBV will have more shower heads in camp than ever before!
Lines happen on RAGBRAI, and at busy times of the day you may wait a bit for a shower. In some spots, you might be able to sit under our shade canopy and watch till the line gets shorter. In some spots, you're better off jumping in and doing your waiting standing up.
Here's what you can do to help with the wait situation. DO NOT WASH YOUR CLOTHING IN THE SHOWER OR IN THE SINKS AT THE SHOWERS.
Our crew has installed laundry sinks at the back of one of our shower trailers. This is the perfect spot for rinsing out your garments.
Outside our shower trailers, we have sinks for brushing teeth, shaving, and so on, we also have mirrors, electrical outlets, and a hair-dryer or two to lend.
The PBV Sag Bus
A 56-passenger luxury motorcoach will carry any Pork Non-Riders and Pork Saggers from host town to host town, departing at 7:00 a.m.
When possible, the driver may make some kind of food stop on the way to our next Pork Camp. It's up to the bus driver to scope out what's available on the town-to-town route.
We can sometimes make two runs with the SAG bus if there's a surprising demand (this has happened a few times).
If you SAG, your baggage should still be transported by our baggage trailers, but you can bring a small shower bag on the SAG coach so you don’t need to wait for your bags to be unloaded when you get to camp.
If during the week you want to sag, go to our front desk and ask about it. Bikes are hung on the Pass the Corn trailer. Make every effort to get your bike loaded the night before you sag. The price is $25 per day, and the motor coach will be available to board before 7:00 am. It rolls at 7:00 am.
You CAN reserve spots on the SAG now if you're already sure that you won't ride on a given day. Write to email@example.com. We have already heard from riders about taking a day off the bike.
If for some reason you don’t make your decision to sag until morning, get your bike to Pass the Corn well before the 7:00 a.m. departure time. Our sag TRUCK makes only one trip, even if the sag BUS makes two. So get your bike loaded well before 7:00 a.m. (By morning, we may not have space on the coach.)
The rest of the day is yours for resting, recovering, getting a massage. Some of our therapists will be set up by 11:00 or noon.
Do remember that our crew will be engaged in morning chores until noon. At noon, we serve a crew lunch, and then crew members take turns at the showers. Most of our services, with the exception of showers, are not available until noon.
If you sag, take a small bag with your shower-necessaries on the coach with you, and claim your bike soon on arrival in our next campsite.
Ours is a morning sag only, from host town to host town. No midday pick-up.
Two Charging Trailers
The two charging trailers will always be plugged into a generator.
See the COB each day, near our front desk, for the location of the charging trailers.
Charging can happen for most of the hours of the day, except when we’re driving town to town.
Turn devices OFF while they are charging.
Bring Padlock for Charging. The little luggage kind of padlock will work or something slightly larger. Big heavy ones for personal storage units are too big to fit.
Be prepared to share your locking compartment with your companion. There are two outlets inside each locker.
If you remove your devices from the trailer, take your padlock too.
Please do not lock an empty compartment. You may use a compartment each day, but you can’t reserve a particular one for your use all week. Empty the compartment when you’re done charging, please.
There are places (not locking compartments) for charging larger things, too, like fans, lights, and the big CPAP batteries.
We debuted our first charging trailer a few years ago, a walk-in trailer with 720 electrical outlets inside little lockers. It's Pete's design, and we are grateful to Dave, Mick, and Bob for all their work on it too. A while back, the guys built a second charging trailer that has compartments large enough to hold tablets and laptops. Again, Dave, Mick, and Bob were the builders, and Bob was the carpenter who built the cabinets on the new charging trailer.
Every year, we thank our Dad, Jim Phillips, the electrician. Dad will be 89 on July 28th. For many years, he played a big role in building our charging towers, charging trailers, and wiring trailers for other electrical needs. Thank you, Dad.
Charging E-Bike Batteries
E-Bike Battery Charging is located at the front desk on the Roll With It trailer.
Please make sure your name is on your battery and charger.
A crew member will take your battery and charger to charge it in a secure spot in the front desk trailer, "Roll With It." Please don’t climb on board the trailer yourself.
You should get the battery to us as soon as you get in from your ride to give your battery time to charge. Please know how long it takes your battery to charge, and come back and claim it from our crew when it’s done charging. We will need to make room for others to charge up.
Claim your battery by 9:00 PM for your ride the next day. Please, you must not disturb the Roll With It crew members who sleep on this trailer between 9:00 pm and 5:00 a.m. Also, the morning time can be quite busy and it may be difficult to get a crew member to retrieve your battery in the morning.
If your battery doesn’t detach from your e-bike, roll your bike up alongside Roll With It, our front-desk trailer. We’ll drop a cord down to charge you up.
Please do not use the phone-charging trailers for charging e-bike batteries.
CPAP Machines If you’re thinking of bringing a CPAP machine on RAGBRAI, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org right away. She will send you a letter describing what we can do for you, and what we cannot do for you.
Medications That Need Refrigeration
On the “Roll With It” Trailer (at our Front Desk), we have a small refrigerator for keeping meds cold.
Your medicine should be as small as it can be and clearly labeled with your name.
Give the meds to our crew. Don’t board the trailer yourself, please.
Bring or retrieve meds during these hours: 5:30 to 7:00 a.m. or between 1:00 and 8:00 p.m.
Other PBV Thingys (Equipment)
The Pump Thingy, an air compressor with a manifold and pressure regulator for inflating your bike tires, will always be right near the charging trailers. In the morning, one of our mechanics will man the pump, so you can just walk by with your valve stems unscrewed and get pumped up. Expect a pretty fast-moving line for this service.
Of course, the Shower Thingy or Water Thingy, a Formica table with five spigots and a mirror, will also be available to you afternoons and mornings.
Restrooms and Hand-Sanitizing
You’ll love our restroom trailer—a popular thingy, with twelve flushing porcelain fixtures, six toilet stalls and six urinals. Some people call it the Six-Pack and others call it the Royal Flush. It is lighted at night with bulbs that don’t attract insects. This trailer also features vent fans, hand-sanitizer in each stall, and the sinks up front. At times, a bank of kybos may be closer and more convenient for you, but much of the time, you’ll enjoy the use of this trailer.
Again this year, PBV is contracting for kybos during the week of RAGBRAI, about twenty-eight in each campsite. There may be other banks of kybos nearby, and there may also be fixed restroom facilities in a park.
Bob, Dave, and Mick have built hand-sanitizing stations to be placed near our kybos.
Nights Away from Camp Pork Belly Ventures has offered hotel stays and several inexpensive opportunities to sleep indoors. If you are renting our tent, you can leave things in that tent overnight, while you are away from camp. If you are using your own tent, then you may wish to load one of your duffel bags on our baggage truck before you go off to your overnight location with a single duffel. IMPORTANT: Just remember that you won’t have access to that bag when you return in the morning—it will be buried under a mountain of Pork Baggage. Make sure you have your bedroll, jammies, toothbrush, and tomorrow’s cycling stuff before we load that duffel.
Once We Load It, It’s Gone. To re-emphasize this point about baggage, please be sure that you have everything you need for the day’s ride BEFORE you hand over your bags for loading on the Stupidity trailer. In a matter of seconds, your bag will be buried under a world of other bags. Before you hand over that bag to our strong loader-guys, do a check of your body. Look at your feet. Wearing cyling shoes? Feel your head. Got those sunglasses. Check your pockets. Got that wallet? Once we load it, it’s gone.
Lost Property and How Not to Lose It
You are responsible for your property, handing it to our truck-loaders, locking up your bikes overnight (see below), and keeping track of your stuff.
Do things ever get lost? They do, but it’s usually temporary, and often it happens when somebody doesn't follow our instructions.
One of our semi-trailers is adorned with the words, "It's not so much the HEAT. It's the Stupidity." That's your trailer for baggage in the morning if you're bringing your own tent. Don't make the mistake of tossing your bags onto the truck of some neighboring charter. This leads to head-scratching in the afternoon.
In the morning on and around the Stupidity trailer, there will always be about eight strong crew members, and you'll get to know them. If there's any doubt, look for the word "Stupidity" and ask "Is this the Stupidity Trailer?"
Be sure the bag you drag into your tent is your own.
Please claim your bags daily. Don’t assume that someone will re-load your bags if you don’t claim them. They won’t.
For lost items, try our lost-and-found box at the Front Desk. There is usually a separate Tent City Lost and Found, for items left inside rental tents. You might check and see if something has been turned in at the front desk, too. It may not be necessary to say this, but please know that it's not acceptable to "go shopping" in the lost and found. We want things to get back to their rightful owners.
If you sag, claim your bike immediately on arrival in our next campsite.
If you leave the ride midweek, do not leave a doggone thing with us.
If you spend the night elsewhere, make sure any bags you’re leaving behind are placed on a truck (or left inside your rental tent) before you go off to spend the night in your hotel, host home, or whatever.
When you shower, check the hooks in your dressing area and the little shelves in the shower stall before you disembark from the shower trailer.
You are responsible for your property. We are not.
One cable lock will do for two or three bikes.
Overnight, lock your bike to something stationary, or lock a few bikes together. At the very least, lock the bike to itself, running your cable through the frame and wheels so the bike is not ride-able.
Don't take our word for it, but many people tell us it is not necessary to carry your bike lock during the day. We hear reports that you can lay your bike on the grass in a pass- through town, go eat some pancakes, and find the bike waiting for you when you come back.
If you have a super expensive, high-end bike, you obviously need to think further about this.
Pork Wear Be a Proud Porker and wear Pork Apparel from this year or previous years. Wear it anytime. And these are our special days:
Look-Like-Pete Sunday: Frank has asked us to bring back this special day from our early history. Pete used to wear plaid shorts and a visor. Every. Single. Day. Sunday is the day. Look like Pete at dinner on Sunday in Sac City.
Ugly Tie Thursday: On Thursday, many of our crew members will wear hideous polyester ties. Bow ties, the full Windsor knot, or whatever: but it must be ugly. The Thursday ugly-tie tradition has something to do with Tom McCoy. You’re welcome to bring an ugly tie of your own and wear it on Thursday.
Aloha Friday: Sad to say Aloha, but flowered shirts make everybody happy. Anything tropical qualifies: grass skirts, loud shorts, coconut bras, sarongs, pareaus. We'll wear Aloha Attire at our Farewell Supper on Friday in DeWitt. Join us!
Midweek Laundry Service
This is an extra for which you can sign up at check-in in Council Bluffs, and the price is $20.
We’ll give you a tall kitchen trash bag with your name on it.
On Tuesday evening, turn over your dirty duds.
We hire an auxiliary crew for this big job. They will dominate some large laudromats, handle hundreds of loads of astonishingly smelly clothes, fold it all, give it back clean and fragrant.
Please note that we'll wash everything on Cold, dry everything on Medium. The only special request we can handle is "Don't Dry Lycra," in which case your bike shorts and jerseys will be placed damp into a separate bag inside your clean laundry bag.
With so many loads to wash, we don't have time to go through your pockets. Your wallets, cash, chapstick, and ball-point pens will be placed in your clean bag in a little ziplock.
Save your clothes from grease and stains. Empty those pockets, and enjoy the happiness of clean, fresh, folded clothes on Wednesday afternoon.
Adaptive Sports Iowa
A few years back, we formed a partnership with the most inspiring team on RAGBRAI, Adaptive Sports Iowa. These guys and girls in blue are riding RAGBRAI in spite of challenges like visual impairment, loss of a limb, or brain injury. ASI provides athletes with volunteer co-pilots and some auxiliary services to enable them to participate in RAGBRAI and other athletic events.
On Tuesday evening in Iowa Falls, the entire Adaptive Sports Iowa team will be our guests for dinner. We have wonderful music on stage that night, and during a break, we’ll introduce the ASI team and ask them to say a few words about their mission and their RAGBRAI experience. We encourage you to reach out and meet a member, visit with him or her.
You will have the opportunity to make a donation to Adaptive Sports Iowa, but we are also excited about other results of our partnership. On the road, when you see these guys and girls in blue, give them a shout out from Pork Belly Ventures. And prepare to be encouraged and inspired by their strength and their gratitude. They are our heroes, and they’ll be yours, too.
Our Cell Phones
During RAGBRAI, we use our cell phones to make calls. We'll call caterers, city employees, our hosts, and our crew chiefs to make sure everything goes right in our campsites.
We cannot keep up with incoming calls and texts during RAGBRAI. Being focused on doing the job we've promised you means not being focused on our phones.
Please know in advance that we make no commitment to respond to phone calls or texts (or emails) during the week of RAGBRAI. Our inboxes will fill up and stay full.
OUR HALF-HOG SHUTTLES
Riding Half of RAGBRAI with PBV If you can't do the Whole Hog this year, meaning the full week of RAGBRAI, we have two Half Hog options to offer you. Partial-week riders need the RAGBRAI day passes (ride registration) for the days they will be cycling. (And although we are explaining how it works, please note that partial-week support, along with Weeklong Support, are full for RAGBRAI 2021. The exit and enter shuttles are available, though.)
On our online application, you can choose "Partial Week Support" and simply click on the (consecutive) days you will be with PBV. It’s $65 per day.
We also offer Half Hog shuttles on Tuesday, a way to exit RAGBRAI early and a way to enter the ride late. We can offer you mid-week transportation to or from the Des Moines airport AmericInn Hotel. For those who fly or drive to Des Moines, we already offer transportation from Des Moines to the ride start on Saturday, July 24, and a return shuttle to Des Moines on Saturday, July 31. Here are two scenarios for you, including the pricing, if you're considering riding the first half or the last half of RAGBRAI 2021.
On Tuesday evening, 7/27, Pork Belly Ventures has a block of rooms reserved at the Des Moines AmericInn Hotel, just off of Fleur Drive. To take advantage of our $97 rate, call (515) 285-5180 and mention Pork Belly Ventures for a reservation. (We checked recently and this room block was full. But they might honor the rate anyway... worth a try.)
Option 1: First-Half-Hog Package (for those riding Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
You may choose among our shuttles to the start town, but if you're parking a car, you should park in Des Moines at our designated airport hotel and use our shuttle to the start ($140).
Our prorated weeklong support is $65 per day, and three days is $195.
To depart from our Tuesday overnight town of Iowa Falls on 7/27, you may take our midweek exit shuttle at 5:00 p.m., arriving at our designated Des Moines airport hotel at about 6:30 p.m. The exit shuttle is $52.
Option 2: Last-Half-Hog Package (for those riding Wednesday through Saturday)
To enter RAGBRAI on Tuesday afternoon, 7/27, you can take our shuttle from our designated Des Moines airport hotel to the overnight town of Iowa Falls, departing the hotel parking lot at about 3:00 p.m. and arriving at 4:30 p.m. This Half Hog shuttle is $51.
Remember to arrive early for bike-loading and/or for parking your vehicle.
Our prorated weeklong support is $65 per day, and four days is $260.
On arrival in camp, check in at our Front Desk for partial-week support.
You may choose among our shuttles at week’s end, but if you parked a vehicle in Des Moines, you would use our shuttle from Keokuk to the AmericInn Hotel at the Des Moines airport ($120).
Emergency Exits from RAGBRAI
The best opportunity for exiting RAGBRAI (whether or not you are with PBV for the week) is to take the Half Hog Exit Shuttle on Tuesday afternoon for $52. We realize you can’t plan your emergency! But if you’re aware of a problem early in the week, consider using our SAG for a day, and then using the Half Hog Shuttle Tuesday afternoon to the Des Moines airport.
We are committed to providing service for our weeklong riders throughout the week, and generally, we need our entire crew and fleet of vehicles to accomplish each day’s work.
But should you or one of your companions have an emergency during RAGBRAI, please speak to me, Tammy, about finding other resources to help you. Sometimes this involves contacting one of our non-profit friends in an overnight town. Riders can sometimes make a donation to a non-profit in exchange for a lift from a volunteer to the nearest airport, hotel, or car rental location.
We want to help, and we’ll do what we can to assist you.
Knocking on wood. Let’s hope it’s a RAGBRAI without these kinds of emergencies.
LAST DAY OF RAGBRAI
Location in Clinton
Your final day of cycling is only 32 miles, so a lot of the normal last-day concerns are not even relevant this year. Yay!
You will be routed past the site where you can dip your front tire in the Mississippi River and then FOLLOW OUR SIGNS, and ride on to us through the riverfront area and another six blocks.
We will provide a map of Clinton, showing our location and the two long-term parking areas.
Our bus staging and bike loading area is Clinton Park, 3rd Ave. S. & S. 4th St.
Showers will operate here, and our partners at Prince of Peace School (and possibly
another vendor) will be vending a delicious lunch and snacks, which you can take on
board your shuttle, if you like.
All of our shuttles will depart between 12:30 and 2:30 PM.
STILL, DON’T TARRY. PLAN THIS DAY.
You have 32 miles to ride today.
Barring inclement weather or mechanical trouble, this final day will be very doable, but bear in mind these things as you ride.
On the last day, everyone has a schedule to keep, so make your stops for hydration and food, and don’t get sidetracked at the stops along the route or at the river.
Get into camp in plenty of time for your chores—get the bike loaded where it belongs, shower, grab some food for the coach, load up your bags, and climb aboard.
SEE BELOW: “Chores You’ll Have To Do In Clinton.”
Shuttle Departure Times and Destinations
We operate three airport shuttles on the last day:
to the Quad Cities International Airport (an hour away on a good day), departing at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m., with one departure at an undetermined time in between 12:30 and 2:30. We drop everyone at the departures area of the Quad Cities airport. From here, you can go to car rentals, take a shuttle to your airport hotel, or go directly to the gates.
to the Des Moines International Airport (3 hours on a good day), two coaches departing at about 2:30 p.m. We drop everyone in the parking lot of the AmericInn Hotel, quite near the airport.
to the Omaha International Airport (5 hours on a good day), with several coaches departing as they fill between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. We drop everyone in the parking lot of the Candlewood Suites hotel (next door to the Best Western Plus) very near the Omaha airport.
For all post-RAGBRAI shuttles, baggage goes under your coach, and bikes are loaded on the appropriate trailer.
Chores You’ll Need to Do in Clinton on the Last Day
Some people simply need to ride directly to parking and load their bikes on their cars, then drive to us in Clinton Park for a shower, bite to eat, and their baggage.
Some folks need time to claim bike-shipping containers and pack up bikes for shipping or airline travel before catching one of our shuttles. Crew members will be on hand to help you find YOUR container. Don’t take someone else’s cardboard box, which may fit their bike perfectly. We will have some extra boxes, too.
Some need to load bikes, boxed up or not, on the appropriate trailer for transport with our shuttles to QC, Des Moines, or Omaha airport.
Most people will want a shower before taking off in their car or on a shuttle.
Plenty of folks will be hungry sometime during this process and will find something to eat with our Prince of Peace partners in Clinton Park.
Remember to allow time for your chores and be ready to board your coach about 20 minutes before departure.
Ask for help. Our crew will be all over the site, happy to help you find what you need
Process for Bus Departure Sign-up
By all means come to the front desk and let us know you have arrived and ask for direction. We’ll point out where things are and to which bike truck you should take your bike. Other crew members in camp can direct you, too.
For our Des Moines and Omaha buses, you’ll need to get your chores done (hand off bikes for shipping, get your shower, etc) before you can sign up for the next available shuttle departure.
You can only sign up for yourself. You may not sign up for your friends who are not yet in from the road.
A Suggested Order of Chores on the Last Day:
At our front desk, read the boards.
Take care of your bike first, in one way or another—keep reading.
At our front desk, claim your shipping label—then claim your shipping container and hand off your bike for shipping at the appropriate (signed) trailer.
OR see your bike tagged with your name and loaded on the appropriate trailer for your shuttle (trailers will be signed).
OR for if you pack your own bike for shipping, take your bike to our UPS shipping area in our staging area;
If you're so inclined, drop a tip in the special coffee can or pickle jar designated for crew appreciation.
Shower, eat, celebrate!
Sign in at our Front Desk for the next available departure.
Board your coach on time.
Our crew will be around to guide you, every step of the way.
If you’re running late for one of our shuttles, come straight to the front desk and ask us for help.
As you leave DeWitt on Saturday morning, remember that this to-do list is waiting for you in Clinton. Plan this day.
Shipping Bikes Home
If you have ordered your shipping label online at Sendmybike.com, we will have it for you in Clinton.
Don’t count on purchasing labels from sendmybike.com during the week. Internet connections are very unreliable.
A UPS trailer will stage in or near our Clinton campsite to receive boxed bikes and other parcels that are ready to ship on the day.
As ever, we will have your flattened bike boxes, extra cardboard bike boxes for the taking, and your hard-shell bike cases in camp at Clinton on the last day.
We'll have tape, extra cardboard boxes, and markers.
Here are the TWO OPTIONS FOR SHIPPING BIKES HOME:
The first option for shipping your bike home is to box it yourself in Clinton, affix your shipping label, and hand the package over to our crew to load onto a UPS trailer immediately. Our bike mechanics will have some tools that you may borrow. This option requires no additional payment and includes very little assistance from our bike mechanics, but it is a great option for those who are accustomed to working on their own bikes.
The second option for shipping your bike home allows you to turn your bike, your shipping container, and your return-shipping label over to our crew. These items will be transported safely to an air-conditioned shop, where our mechanics will package your bike for shipping. This option costs an additional $55 (or $65 for quicker shipping), payable in advance. You can select this option when you purchase your outbound shipping at sendmybike.com, or you can write to us and send payment for it between now and RAGBRAI. You can expect your parcel to enter the UPS system after RAGBRAI, by Friday, August 2 (unless you paid extra for quicker shipping).
Packing your bike for Airline Travel: anyone who needs assistance and must package his/her bike on the last day of RAGBRAI in Clinton for airline travel from Omaha, Des Moines, or Quad Cities airports, please write to email@example.com now and order this service. We need to know about it right away. The price is $65. Remember to avail yourself of this service well before 2:00 p.m.
For anyone who ships bikes to/from Iowa by some means other than sendmybike.com, we charge a $70 fee for providing the “ground game” at RAGBRAI. That’s $35 each way. At sendmybike.com, the appropriate option to select is “I’ll use my own label.”
Bike Shipping Outside PBV
For those who are shipping bikes with sendmybike.com but are not using the services of Pork Belly Ventures, shipping containers, staff, and services will be at Clinton Park, just six blocks from the Riverfront.
Tire Dipping in Clinton
Riders will finish the ride at the Clinton Riverfront Park, and you’ll be routed to the dip site. From there, those in VIP Parking will be near their vehicles. To claim bags and catch our shuttles, riders can follow our signs and ride to us from the dip site, by following our signs or using our map.
Bike Transport Bike Transport is included with all post-RAGBRAI shuttles. Ask at our Front Desk which truck is going to Quad Cities, to Des Moines, and to Omaha. You’ll take your bike to the appropriate truck and our crew will load it.
Lag Time for Bike Truck on Omaha Shuttle
All bags and bikes will be unloaded outside the Candlewood Suites hotel on the evening of the 31st . Claim all of your possessions that night. We will unload bikes on a field out behind the Best Western Plus hotel, also very close to Candlewood.
Bike trucks will depart Clinton when they are full. The departure and arrival times of bike trucks/trailers will not necessarily coincide with the departure and arrival times of our buses. Plan to watch for the arrival of bike trucks/trailers in the field behind Best Western Plus. We will unload safely, as fast as we can. Bikes must be claimed on Saturday night, the 31st.
Hotel Celebrations in Omaha
By the way, our hotel managers at Candlewood and Best Western Plus are okay with some congregating and celebrating in the hotels' hospitality areas on the night of our return. You can get beer at the convenience store right there, and then enjoy a little post-RAGBRAI celebration in air-conditioned comfort. But of course, we'll expect you to be good guests, keep the noise down, and clean up after yourselves.
If we're saying farewell in Clinton, remember to claim your bags before we clear out of town at 2:30 or shortly thereafter. Otherwise, your duffels will be placed in a likely area of the parking lot. (This is what RAGBRAI does with unclaimed baggage.) Before we depart town, we will call cell phone numbers on the baggage tags of bags left in our area. If you have any trouble finding them, check your phone messages, please.
BETWEEN NOW AND RAGBRAI
June Form Most people have done this, and thank you. Please login and complete your June Form. It must be completed for each rider. Instructions appear at the top of this letter.
June/July Contact with PBV It's a good idea to email both of us: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com going forward. We check email quite a bit, but we can get behind on phone messages. Tammy's home phone is 712/328-0161 and cell is 808- 375-8921. Pete is at 402-681- 2613 (cell).
Pork Belly Ventures Cancellation Policy Before June 15th, you could cancel part or all of your PBV services and receive a 90% refund. To date, we have included our written cancellation policy in four or five of our email updates. The entire policy is always posted at the top of our home page under "Cancellation." On or after the 15th of June, we make no refunds. See Cancellation Protection below.
Pork Belly Ventures Cancellation Protection If you took this option when you registered for our services, then you have extended your 90% refund period from June 15th through July 15th at 10:00 p.m. You can click on "Cancellation" at pkbelly.com to read more.
Cancel by Email from Now On If you cancel, please notify us by email so we can see the date and time that you notified us. Please don’t leave a phone message.
The Pork Belly Smartphone App Go to your app store and use search words "Pork Belly" to download our FREE app. The App has become one of the BEST ways of keeping current on RAGBRAI info, PBV information, and host-town info-- thanks to the diligent work of Katy Fletcher, our app developer. On the app, you can access all PBV email updates of the 2021 season. RAGBRAI announcements are at your fingertips. Rider route maps and PBV Host town maps are very popular features. And MOST OF ALL, daily notices during RAGBRAI, letting you know What’s Waiting for You in Pork Camp Today! The app is available to any RAGBRAI rider.
Questions Things are going very well, Porkers. Call with questions now, because we really want to help you, even late in the season. However, we will only get busier over the coming weeks. RAGBRAI itself is invigorating and wonderful, but as we often say, we'd rather dig a ditch than go through the weeks prior to RAGBRAI. Our To-Do lists are long, and it can become tough to respond to your questions. Read your June Letter first, and then call or email Tammy with any questions—sooner is better. We’ll do our best. (Questions about bike shipping should go to Pete.)
Full payment is due now, and thanks very much if you’ve taken care of it.
If you’ve overlooked our deadline, please get it handled.
Login from our hompage at pkbelly.com to check your balance due.
You can pay by credit card, or avoid the convenience fee to the credit-card people by sending your check to our mailing address: PBV LLC, 412 Forest Glen Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503.
It’s too late to mail a check.
For some people, massage is a very important part of RAGBRAI. It can be a game- changer after a long day on the bike. It’s a great way to get ready for sleep. And during a week of relative hardship, it’s a delicious way to fill an hour in camp.
You pay your therapist directly, $40 for 30 minutes, or $80 for an hour.
We have ten therapists on our team, and if you’d like to book appointments early, please write to Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Julie is managing the appointment book for our ten therapists. She has been taking appointments for about a week, and prime-time appointments are scarce now.
Do take these appointments seriously. Remember them, and keep your appointments with our therapists. If you’re sure you can do that, book away!
From here on in, it's getting more important that you receive and read some of these updates. Delete what does not apply to you.
If you realize that you're not getting our updates, write to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our distribution list. Spam filters make it tough sometimes.
Especially in July, updates will include the host town maps showing our campsite locations, bus assignments and departure times, and other important Pork info.
PREPARING/PROTECTING YOUR BIKE FOR TRUCK TRANSPORT
This info is available at our website, but we want the June Letter to be your complete guide to PBV. Here it is again.
NOTE: PORK BELLY VENTURES DOES NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGE TO BIKES THAT ARE NOT FULLY BOXED.
When transporting bikes on trucks, we've had only two mishaps in over 20 years--truck contents shifted and gouged the top tube of a beautiful, completely unprotected bike. Somehow, another nice bike got scratched in transit. Since then, we have recommended that all Porkers fully box bikes for truck transport. Keep reading.
ALSO NOTE: CARBON OR COMPOSITE WHEELS CAN BE DAMAGED BY HANGING AN UNBOXED BIKE FOR TRANSPORT. If you have carbon wheels, it's your responsibility to see that it’s loaded properly by doing these things:
Contact Dave Kennedy now at email@example.com and let him know about your wheels.
Prepare a large handlebar tag for your bike that says “DON’T HANG THIS BIKE.” Present the bike for loading with your tag on the bars.
Remind us again at the time of bike-loading so that we will load your bike without hanging it.
Hanging System and Other Methods for Transporting Bikes
If for some reason fully boxing isn't possible for you, then here are some suggestions.
At any hardware store, you can buy cheap pipe insulation to protect your frame's tubing.
Tape it on the main triangle---top tube, down tube, and seat tube, forks, and chainstays.
Cover your rear derailleur and other fragile components.
Remove the computer or other accessories from your handlebars and frame. Experience tells us that, in spite of our recommendation and because of limited car space, those of you on the East/West Shuttle will bring unboxed bikes to Clinton for transport on our trucks. Consequently, our semi trailers will be outfitted to transport bikes in various ways:
to hang unboxed bikes in rows--they're hung by a wheel, with the opposite wheel secured to D-rings in the truck floor by bungee cord
to wall off bikes with cardboard
to tie off bikes to the walls of the trailer
to carry boxed bikes and boxed tandems, unboxed tandems, trikes, recumbents, trailers, and whatever you plan to ride across Iowa!
Please take the above precautions to protect your frame and components. On your June Form, there's a place to note the type of bike we will be transporting for you, and whether it will be boxed or unboxed.
If you fly your bike to Omaha or to Des Moines, please do not take it out of the box until we've trucked it to LeMars.
If you drive your bike to Omaha, you may not have car space for carrying boxed bikes. In Omaha, we'll have buses and trucks (not always semis) departing throughout the day. Though these trucks will not be outfitted to hang unboxed bikes, our crew will carefully load both boxed and unboxed bikes. We urge you to take the above precautions, protecting your frame and components, if you plan to give us an unboxed bike.
For our return to Omaha at the end of RAGBRAI, we'll have a semi outfitted to hang unboxed bikes, and other trailers for boxed ones, tandems, and recumbents. Bottom line, we'll load your bike in whatever condition you like, but if it's not in a box, we assume no responsibility for damage.
Finally, if you take our advice and use pipe insulation or other packing material, plan to store it either in your hard shell bike case or in your duffel. We can't store it loose on our trucks. All bike boxes should be flattened for weeklong storage.
Thanks for hanging on to your June Letter, Porkers, and referring to it over the coming weeks. We will publish an update soon with All the Fun Stuff! We're really rolling downhill now, toward our Week in the Corn.
Until next time, we remain, Your friends,
Tammy and Pete