RAGBRAI 2019      

Pork Belly Update #7---Looking Up!

May 30, 2019

Dear Porkers,


I spent yesterday on the road, mostly meeting with capable caterers and enthusiastic food vendors. It rained for much of the day, but in the late afternoon near Atlantic, I pulled over to get a photo of this field with vivid green shoots in tidy rows. I'm not farm-savvy enough to know if that's beans or corn, but given the amount of rain we're getting (daily), it will be a tall, healthy crop by July.


Winterset is known as the setting for the novel and film, "The Bridges of Madison County." It also has the distinction of being the birthplace of Marion Morrison, aka John Wayne. We snapped some tourist pics while we were there, and we'll tuck them in below.


In this update, we'll remind you of a few Last Chances, but first, here's something, Porkers, as rare as hen's teeth...

Lovely Hotel, Smack-Dab in the Middle

of Our Council Bluffs Campsite

Well, newbies, take it from us. This never happens. For Friday and Saturday nights, 7/19 and 7/20, in Council Bluffs prior to the start of RAGBRAI, PBV has reserved large blocks of rooms at the Springhill Suites by Marriott, which is part of our campsite on those days. Please read all the way through this offer before responding.


We haven't had a hot RAGBRAI since 2012, and Lord help us, we keep wondering if this is the year when we'll be temperature-challenged. No pressure, but here's your chance for another night or two of air-conditioned comfort before the camping begins:


  • We have king rooms and double queens, and every room has a sleeper sofa. We'll fill up fast. Feel free to request a room type, but the room type can't be a deal-breaker for you.


  • PBV has negotiated a rate of $134.00 (including tax). Our riders can easily carry bags into and out of the hotel, so we have not added any transfer fee.


  • If you are on our Weeklong Support, or if you're spending the first half of RAGBRAI with us, we welcome you to reserve one night or both.


  • Will you arrive on Friday from Keokuk? We offer Friday departures on the East/West Shuttle from Keokuk to Council Bluffs at 1:00 and 3:00 pm (in addition to three departure times on Saturday morning). You have not yet had the chance to give us your preferred departure day and time. That happens later in June, but you can make a Friday night hotel reservation in Council Bluffs with the confidence that we will give you your Friday shuttle preference. (When we ask for your preference, please record it on your June Form in a timely way!)


  • Will you arrive on Friday from Omaha? If you're flying or driving into Omaha, we do not offer a shuttle to Council Bluffs on Friday, but you can Uber or take a cab. It's about 15 minutes from the Omaha airport to the Springhill Suites by Marriott. And of course, if you use our shuttle from the Omaha airport on Saturday, you're welcome to reserve a Saturday-night room.


  • At our Front Desk, we will offer check-in for Weeklong Support on Friday evening from about 6:00 to 8:30 pm. (And all day Saturday.)


  • We will have one or two food trucks on our site on Friday evening, (and more all day Saturday) just outside the Springhill Suites hotel. Their offerings are delicious! Details to come.


  • There are a couple restaurants and a casino within walking distance, and the hotel shuttle can take you to other restaurants and casinos.


  • It's a pleasant walk of 5 or 6 blocks to the Bike Expo and Festivities on Saturday.


  • There's a Bass Pro Shop (a camping mega-store) across the street from Springhill Suites. Rumor has it that a brewery will be opening across the street, too.


  • Do remember that on Sunday morning by 7:00 a.m., your bags must be either on the baggage trailer, or, if you're in one of our rental tents, in your tent. (That time is the same whether you stay in the hotel or camp on Saturday night. 7:00 sharp.)


  • p.s. we have a handful of rooms on Thursday, 7/18, too.

ABOVE: Sara will be helping you during RAGBRAI, and she's helping us a whole lot beforehand, too!


To check availability and reserve with Sara, please write to sara@pkbelly.com with your name, the night/s you want, the names of people sharing your room (1 to 3 occupants), and the room type you prefer. Do be patient, as she has other pressing responsibilities. She'll reply to emails in the order she receives them.


Here are the prices...

  • 1 person using room: $134.00
  • 2 people using room: $67.00 per person
  • 3 people using room: $45.00 per person


Sara will put the charges on your PBV application/s. Our cancellation policy applies to these services (hotel reservations).


And finally, we are dealing with our Council Bluffs hotel stays first, but we do have some rooms available on Tuesday and Wednesday nights during RAGBRAI as well. We'll be in touch about those opportunities later on.


BELOW: Dave and Mick, with the Duke in Winterset.

######### LAST CHANCES ##########

The Price Goes Up June 1---

Long-term Parking in Keokuk

We have promoted long-term parking in Keokuk twice at the price of $60 per vehicle. On June 1, that price goes up to $70. (It will go up again later, so do take care of business!) Below, you'll see how to do that...

From Update #5:

"We're handling the reservations for our host church, and your payments simply flow right through PBV to First Christian Church. For long-term parking, for indoor sleeping, for any of the meal options, we have put this selection of Keokuk Services on our application. You can reserve Keokuk Long-Term Parking, Keokuk Indoor Sleeping, and any of the meals above. Login to your Pork Belly Ventures application (or create a new one), add the desired services/meals to your application, and make your payment by check in the mail (payable to PBV, 412 Forest Glen Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503) or pay by credit card. Remember that you'll incur a fee for the convenience of using your card--so mailing a check is better!



On the home page at pkbelly.com, the LOGIN tab is in the upper righthand corner. Click on LOGIN and enter your username and password. When you have accessed your application, you can click the blue EDIT button across from your name, and then select additional services offered in Keokuk. See the NEW category of services, entitled "Keokuk Services for Those on E/W Shuttle."


For the entire Update #5, describing our arrangements in Keokuk, please click here:

 All About Keokuk and the E/W Shuttle



  • You can sleep in air-conditioned comfort at our Keokuk host church.
  • You can wake up, shower, smell the coffee and french toast, eat a hot breakfast, and board your shuttle at our host church in Keokuk. (The full generous breakfast menu is in Update #5 above.)
  • You can order delicious meals to take on your coach from our host church (brunch or lunch, described in Update #5 above).
  • Click on the link above for details!


Going, Going...PBV Tent Service Almost Gone

Many people have unpaid tents on their applications. We're way oversold right now if we count those unpaid tents. So, you guessed it, if you really want the tent service, you need to pay for your tent. Before we start the waiting list, we will go through applications and remove all unpaid tent services.


The next time we write to you on this subject, we will have started the tent service waiting list.



Deadline for Day Passes from RAGBRAI

It's our understanding that RAGBRAI suspends the sale of day passes on June 2. June 1 is your last day to buy them ahead of time. It's far more convenient to have your wristbands ON YOUR WRIST when you come to our Front Desk to check in with PBV. It's a bit of a hassle to have to go find the RAGBRAI booth during RAGBRAI and buy the day passes BEFORE you can check in for our partial-week support. Partial-week riders, take care of this now. You'll be glad you did!

ABOVE: That's John Wayne Drive running past the pretty Winterset courthouse.

Pork Availability

We think that our Weeklong Support is running a little ahead of normal, which means that it will probably sell out sometime in June or early July. It's not sold out yet, so if you'd like to join us, or if you have friends who haven't yet signed up, they are most welcome to do so!


All Shuttles of PBV--Wide Open.

Balances Due to PBV

We're now two weeks past our soft deadline for paying balances, and now we need to put a little urgency into this message.


If you truly need to make an arrangement to wait a little longer to pay your balance, by all means, write to us and let us know what's convenient for you. If we don't hear from you, we'll plan on receiving your balance very soon.


Clean Out Is Coming!

The time will come soon when we need real numbers for planning. Usually we try to reach out to people who have paid only the deposit and nothing more before we cancel their applications. We don't promise that we'll have time to do that, but we hope we will.

RAGBRAI Registrations:

We're Making Introductions

Starting today, Sara has begun introducing RAGBRAI wristband buyers to sellers. This is a win-win arrangement for all involved. If you're on our list, hang on until Sara gets to your intro. If you need a wristband or have one to sell, please write to tammy@pkbelly.com.

ABOVE: This is the humble house where John Wayne was born. It's not a crime scene. We think they gave the deck a coat of paint in anticipation of your arrival.

Looking Up!

Take a gander at the new art installation in Council Bluffs. Our local arts organization said this about it: "Tom Friedman’s sculpture, Looking Up (2015), is a 33-foot-tall stainless steel quasi-human figure that gazes up to the heavens, inviting others to do the same and 'think happy thoughts.' It was most recently on the lakefront in Chicago, as well as Park Avenue in New York. The sculpture will be on display through May 2020."


ABOVE: this photo credit goes to our friend and Porker Sam, who parked his bike between the two big toes! I like his photo best.


This tall, happy fellow is located near our beautiful pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River. By all means, check him out and think happy thoughts as you start your RAGBRAI adventure!

In June and July, we will be on your screens more often, Porkers. Be prepared to hang onto our updates if you can't read them right away. At least scan the topics when you get a moment. Like this one, many updates will offer you some kind of comfort or amenity. Others will offer important information. All of them are arranged topic-by-topic so that you can scan for what you need.


One more thing! Best wishes to at least three Porkers who are riding Dirty Kanza this weekend. To Frank, and to Paul, and to Pete--be safe, and good luck!


See you next time, and thanks for planning to pass the corn with Pork Belly Ventures!


All our best,


Tammy and Pete


P.S. We always promise to publish our cancellation policy several times during our season, so that there are no surprises about the cancellation deadline (June 15th), the scoop on refunds, or what it means to have our Cancellation Protection. For all of the above information, please click right here...


PBV Cancellation Policy and More