DIY RAGBRAI Any Time You’d Like
So here’s a secret about RAGBRAI: All those towns on the route are there year-round. You can visit them any time you’d like — in a car, with air-conditioning, while you’re wearing loose breathable clothing.
Who knew!? If you’d like to see the RAGBRAI sights, without all the sweaty hassle, there’s an app for that. Download the Iowa Culture app for free from the App Store or Google Play and find more than 3,500 cultural landmarks and photo ops in all 99 counties — including the eight cities that would have hosted RAGBRAI this week had the pandemic not shut down the party.
The same cities are slated to host the ride next summer, but why wait? Here’s a sampling from the app:
Le Mars: The Tonsfeldt Round Barn was built in 1918 to show off a prized Polled Hereford bull and a herd of cattle. It was relocated to the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in the 1980s and added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Storm Lake: The Living Heritage Tree Museum in Sunset Park is filled with trees grown from seedlings or cuttings associated with famous people or events. The Moon Tree, for example, descended from an American Sycamore that sprouted from a seed Apollo 12 astronauts took to the moon.
Fort Dodge: The Blanden Memorial Art Museum houses a notable collection of American and European painting and sculpture, Japanese screens and prints, and work by Iowa artists.
Iowa Falls: The Rock Run Creek Trail offers a 5-mile, paved path through town with good views of the woods and wildlife, especially from the elevated bridge.
Waterloo: A mural called “Keki Me Si Metose Neniwa (We the People)” has become an iconic landmark since artist Richard Thomas unveiled it in 2007. He moved to town from New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina, and painted the mural as a “family portrait” of his new home city, filled with folks from all over the world. The title comes from the Meskwaki phrase: “We are all one people.”
Anamosa: The National Motorcycle Museum has everything you’d expect — and then some. You can see more than 450 examples of almost anything on two wheels, dating back to the late 1800s.
Maquoketa: At the Old City Hall Gallery, check out artwork by Charles Morris and Rose Frantzen, who once painted individual portraits of 180 friends and neighbors for an exhibition that traveled to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Clinton: The Sawmill Museum celebrates the history of the local lumber industry, with literally cutting-edge exhibits and animatronic versions of the long-gone lumber barons. Be careful, though: The museum presents a “Lumberjill Show” on Aug. 8, featuring the AxeWomen of Maine.
— Michael Morain, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs