RAGBRAI 2019      

Pork Belly Update #4---All Things Spring

April 11, 2019

Dear Porkers,


While we might not cover ALL things spring, we'll get to a lot of our April Happenings in this update, and we'll remind you of what's coming up!


For those of you familiar with Grant Wood's most famous painting, there's a little house in Eldon, Iowa where you can snap "American Gothic" pics. Well, we just had to stop during yesterday's scouting trip. No pitchfork, but we had our handy measuring wheel for sizing up campsites. The hardest thing was not smiling. Thanks to photographers George and Dave.

RIGHT: Mick and Dave posed quick, and then we all jumped back in the van to get some dinner. Yesterday was a very productive 17-hour scouting day on the east side of Iowa.

Our Winter Build

Dave, George, Bob, Mick, and Pete have been busy over the winter. Here's the fruit of their labor, our new coffee trailer, recently making a trial run at an early-morning outdoor event. The guys have built this one to serve you faster in the morning. During RAGBRAI, it will always be near the Front Desk trailer, Roll With It. You can see that our commercial coffee makers sit side by side at countertop level now, and we can brew six gallons every eight minutes. That second awning is for cream and sugar. During the last week of July, you'll be one of the bed-heads who come squinting out of the dark to pour your first steaming cup. It's a wonderful thing.

With one build under their belts, the guys are well into another trailer now, for another purpose. Stand by, please, for news on that one.


What else happens in the spring? Well, the e-mailbox fills up and our phones ring a lot. We see a real uptick in registrations for services. Talking to RAGBRAI riders on the phone---some of them excited RAGBRAI virgins trying to imagine their maiden voyage across Iowa---is a feel-good way to spend the day. First-timer or long-timer, we'll be happy to talk with you, too. Please don't hesitate to call or write if you have questions about your plans for this July. We hope you can join us!


Tammy, 712-328-0161 h, 808-375-8921 c, tammy@pkbelly.com

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

Our Season at a Glance

Sometimes it's helpful (and exciting) to know what's coming, Porkers. Take a look below. We do hope to have bike-shipping info out to you in April, so stand by for that!


May -- It Gets Real.

  • Keokuk's Long-Term Parking Applications Come Out! Woo-hoo!
  • RAGBRAI Sends Out Good News about Their Lottery! Woo-hoo-HOO!
  • Overnight Towns Activate Their Websites!
  • Pork Belly Ventures gets a whole second wave of registrations.
  • Pork Belly asks that balances be paid by May 15, but we can be flexible. No problem. Just let us know if you need a little more time.


June -- The Plot Thickens.

  • Official RAGBRAI Packets are mailed out to all ride participants.
  • Pork Belly Ventures begins to introduce RAGBRAI wristband buyers to sellers. This goes on all month.
  • RAGBRAI posts their official online transfer form (you'll complete it if you're buying a wristband)
  • Pork Belly publishes the June Letter--with answers to all your questions about traveling with PBV during RAGBRAI.
  • Pork Belly asks everyone to complete the June Form--you'll be able to give us your departure preferences on pre-RAGBRAI shuttles, your official RAGBRAI wristband number, information about your bike (if we're transporting it), and more.
  • Updates from Pork Belly Ventures will become more frequent.
  • We will publish our favorite update, Our Week in the Corn, with all of the campsite details, menus, entertainment, food vending, and more!


July -- Leading Up to Go Time

  • Pork Belly Ventures will publish bus assignments on all PBV Shuttles prior to RAGBRAI. If you're using any shuttle before RAGBRAI, you'll find your name on a bus!
  • Our updates will come fast and furious.
  • PBV Maps of the Overnight Towns are published, with rider routes to and from camp, and amenities nearby.
  • YOU travel to Iowa!

Another good thing that spring brings... SCOUTING! We love climbing aboard the corporate jet (a maroon minivan) and taking off to discover our Week in the Corn, town by town. We'll include our scouting photos in this update. Remember, it's only starting to green up around here!


ABOVE: Kay, the campground chairperson, boarded the corporate jet, and we drove around Burlington looking at campsites.


RIGHT and BELOW: Here is our scouting crew and the Indianola volunteers, gathered around a map of campsites.


Recognize anybody? Yes, at the center of these photos is our own Casey, one of our PBV bike mechanics who is helping to host RAGBRAI and PBV in her home town of Indianola. We're so grateful for your help, Casey!

Pork Availability

All services are available, including all shuttles.


The Rental Tent Service continues to outpace all other services... always very popular. You can still sign up for the tent service, weeklong support, and shuttles. We'll continue to update you about Pork Availability in future updates.


BELOW: Our host church in Keokuk smells like brownies much of the time, because the ladies love to bake. They were cutting up all kinds of delicious treats when we visited.

All Things Keokuk--Coming Soon

We can't tell you much yet, but suffice it to say that our end town of Keokuk has their act together. We were very impressed with their planning, to say nothing of the beauty of their community on the wide Wide WIDE Mississippi.


BELOW: Hard to get a good photo from a moving vehicle, but I hope this shows you how wide the river is at Keokuk. George said it made him think of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, who said "Architects cannot teach nature anything."

ABOVE: Our guys, in stride with Tom, the tall guy in the middle. Tom is our gracious and well-organized host in Keokuk.


We know that a lot of you are eager for information about Keokuk--about long-term parking, indoor sleeping on Friday July 19th, and more. We're working on that now. The site we've been offered is downright excellent for operating our pre-RAGBRAI shuttles and loading bikes right where you'll be parking your vehicles, AND for having comfortable and convenient indoor sleeping and delicious food on site. Yes, we will be located at a lovely host church with warm and hospitable volunteers, and a huge parking area. We're preparing a whole lot of good news for those using our East/West Shuttle and for everyone who will finish RAGBRAI in Keokuk. So hang on... we'll give you the scoop as soon as possible!

Our corporate jet pales in comparison to the Keokuk Limo. Kirk drove us all over to see the river, the dip site, and the rider route.

RAGBRAI Registration Closed

Oops. The deadline was April 1, but there's more than one way to skin a cat. Keep reading...


Day Passes Available Until June 1

We don't recommend that weeklong riders incur the extra expense of buying seven day passes. Below, we explain how to get the less expensive weeklong pass on the aftermarket. If you're a partial-week rider, though, do go to RAGBRAI.com and get your day passes now. It will save you trouble and inconvenience in July. As you know, Pork Belly Ventures requires that you have your RAGBRAI wristbands on your wrist before we will check you in for our weeklong or partial-week support. Partial-Week Riders, get your day passes while the getting is good.


You Can Still Get a Weeklong RAGBRAI Pass

If you missed the April 1 deadline, and if you know you can ride RAGBRAI after all, please write to tammy@pkbelly.com and let me know you'd like to purchase the rider wristband from someone who has to cancel. It's easy. Sara or I will introduce you to a seller, who will mail you their packet. You will mail the seller a check. And you, the buyer, can complete RAGBRAI's online transfer form for this purpose. When this simple process is complete, it will be as though you'd signed up before April 1--completely legit!


BELOW: Keokuk is quite a bit south of us, and the trees are budding out--way ahead of us here in Council Bluffs.

Daily Rider Route Maps--The Rest of the Story

In Mid-March, the Register released the daily rider routes. We published three last time, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Here are the remaining four 2019 Rider Route maps.

ABOVE and BELOW: This year's route is unusual in that we actually reach our first Mississippi River town on Friday afternoon. From Burlington, we head south on Saturday morning to the southernmost town in Iowa, Keokuk, also on the wide Mississippi. (pronounced KEE-uh-kuk, not KAY-oh-kook)

Check out all seven rider routes, Sunday to Saturday, right here:

RAGBRAI Route Maps

Where PBV Will Be,

Volume 2

We started a new series of updates this year, telling the story of all of the rides we support, not just RAGBRAI.


Last time, we published Where PBV Will Be, Volume 1, with descriptions and photos of five awesome 2019 rides we'll support in Missouri, Georgia, Nebraska, and Minnesota. We include explanations of the varying services we can offer on each of these cycling events.


To see WPBVWB1, please click here:




We have a little delay on WPBVWB2, but we'll publish it as soon as we can collect all the fun photos and correct info for you. Stay tuned for the second half of our season, including beautiful rides in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas.

In this cluster of scouting photos, you'll see the guys figuring out where to place our trailers and equipment, nice tall shade trees, and a swimming pool. In two or three places, we are likely to be right near a pool, and this is one of them.

We've been out to seven of our eight overnight towns. Suddenly our Week in the Corn is taking shape. We can visualize where we'll be camping, place all the pieces of the Pork Infrastructure on each site, and we can work with our hosts on catering, food vending, indoor sleeping, and other fun stuff.


RIGHT: In Atlantic, this farm-animal totem pole is located on our campsite, and the chainsaw artist who is creating it will do a little demonstration of his art for all of us on Sunday afternoon. Next to the goat, a rooster will soon appear. (Why didn't we move that plastic thing out of the shot? Sorry.)


BELOW: The chainsaw sculptor has more work to do on the horse and the cow. Each animal is oriented toward the corresponding building at the Cass County Fairgrounds.

BELOW: Pete and our host, John Becker, on a chilly morning at the Cass County Fairgrounds. Since we last worked with John, he has a whole lot of new ideas, and Atlantic is going to be an awesome stay.

TWO Reasons to Use the FREE Pork Belly App



  1. Pork Belly Ventures Host Town Maps! We produce maps of each overnight town, showing Pork Camp in relation to the festivities and amenities around us, plus the rider routes to and from camp. Get our maps on the App!
  2. "What's Waiting for You in Pork Camp" Every day of RAGBRAI, PBV will send a daily notice at about noon--What's Waiting for You in Pork Camp, including what our food vendor is cooking up, what's for dinner, who's on stage tonight, and more.


Our app is extremely robust, and it connects you with a wealth of information about Pork Belly Ventures and RAGBRAI. It's your portal for receiving our updates, getting oriented to Pork Camp, and knowing all the latest news. Go right to your App Store and get our App today.

We Promised.

At Pork Belly Ventures, we don't like fine print. We promised to publish our cancellation policy a few times prior to the refund deadline of June 15th. Here we go...


PBV Cancellation Policy

Before June 15th, you can still cancel part or all of your PBV services and receive a 90% refund on the amount of services reserved. You can drop services or cancel entirely by email, and we'll process your refund quickly. We'll also try to find you a buyer for your official RAGBRAI wristband. On or after June 15th, we make no refunds. More on Cancellation below. 


PBV Cancellation Protection

Pork Belly Ventures offers Cancellation Protection for an additional five percent (5%). Cancellation Protection extends your refund deadline from June 15th to Wednesday, July 18th at 10:00 p.m. July 18th is the Wednesday before RAGBRAI. The additional 5% for protection is due at the time of registration. Our Cancellation Protection is explained more fully at pkbelly.com. More on Cancellation Protection below. 


Non-Refundable Fees

The first ten percent (10%) must be paid by credit card, and is non-refundable as stated in our cancellation policy.


The five-percent (5%) charge for our optional cancellation protection extends the 90% refund deadline from June 15 to July 18th. It is non-refundable. 

That's Pam above--she's helped us in Fairfield before, and we're lucky to be working with her again. Bob and Mick sorted out vehicle placement. (That's our corporate jet behind them, the red minivan.) In Fairfield, we'll camp in a sweet park near the main campground. More to come on our amenities in Fairfield.


Best Supported Rides

in the Country

According to

Outside Magazine

We recently learned that PBV supports two of the nine rides listed by Outside Magazine as the Best Supported Rides in the Country. One is RAGBRAI. No surprise there. Click on the link below to learn the other PBV-supported ride. You'll be surprised!



At the end of a scouting trip, it often happens that we're driving back home to western Iowa as the sun goes down. Between us, we got some nice prairie sunset photos to share with you. Come July, you'll be seeing the sun go down on Pork Camp.

That's it for this time, Porkers. Please stay tuned for more Pork News as it happens, and until next time, we remain,


Your friends,


Tammy and Pete