By Shelia Tomkins
Cyclists, cars, vans, buses, semis and their entourages arrived in Guttenberg this past weekend to park vehicles and catch buses to western Iowa to begin the week-long Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa on Sunday, July 20, at Rock Valley, a ride that will end this Saturday in Guttenberg.
The town buzzed with activity on Friday as hundreds of cars arrived to park in a designated area in south Guttenberg. Local volunteers were on hand during the day and evening to direct vehicles to parking spots, and returned with little sleep in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday to park those who were still coming in that morning.
Ingleside Park north of the school turned into a small city that evening, filled to capacity with colorful tents set up by overnight campers. The smell of burgers and brats wafted from the local Gridiron Club's food stand, and live music by Side Project provided a party atmosphere. Local volunteers in colorful t-shirts manned the beverage garden and answered questions at an information booth. Visitors had numerous choices for places to eat in Guttenberg, including a spaghetti supper at the school.
On Saturday morning, campers packed up their gear before loading onto charter buses for the trip to Rock Valley on the Missouri River. Semis, moving vans and other vehicles carrying bikes and gear joined the western caravan. Many local volunteers made positive comments on how litter-free the park was in the aftermath.
Many months of planning went into making the weekend run smoothly, and local committee members are terming it a big success. This week they will be assessing feedback to make sure next Saturday's finale goes as smoothly. The Press asked local RAGBRAI Co-Chair Nancy McClellan to summarize the challenges and successes of the past weekend, and this is her report.