#RAGBRAI · East Central Iowa · Grownup Getaways

Scouting RAGBRAI-Part 1 of 8: 24 Hours Inside Iowa River Landing

Our 24 hour home away from home. Monie and JayJay take on IRL! http://iowariverlanding.com/
Our 24 hour home away from home. Monie and JayJay take on IRL!
http://iowariverlanding.com/

Coralville, IA: Johnson County

The Register’s-Annual-Great-Bicycle-Ride-Across-Iowa (RAGBRAI) has spoken! The 2015 route has been announced and The Iowa Gallivant will be scouting all 8 overnight stops. We begin with the 7th overnight locale that’s conveniently close to our headquarters in Hills- Iowa River Landing in Coralville, one of Johnson County’s premiere destinations for dining, shopping, festivals, and lodging. And this July, the spandex nation of hardcore cyclists will descend on to Coralville before they make their final charge to the Mississippi. IRL (Iowa River Landing) provides entertaining opportunities for the whole family. But, on this day we say adios to 3/5’s of Team Goodvin and take advantage of a night out between JayJay and Monie. There will be no juice boxes, animal crackers, or teddy bears packed on this trip. Instead we prepare ourselves for a “spirit” filled, gastro-tour gallivant through IRL with a few pleasant diversions along the way. Here we go…..Bring it IRL!

The first stop of the day. The Antique Car Museum of Iowa and Johnson County Heritage Society Museum! http://www.jchsiowa.org/contact
The first stop of the day. The Antique Car Museum of Iowa and Johnson County Historical Society Museum!
http://www.jchsiowa.org/contact

We parked our car in the ramp near our hotel, where it didn’t move for 24 hours, and made our way to  the museum center of IRL, the Antique Car Museum of Iowa and the Johnson County Historical Society Museum. As you’ll see in this article, IRL is a great place for entertainment and strives to provide a great cultural experience with this Johnson County gem and a wide array of public art.

Becky, holds up one of the many shirts you can purchase at the museum. I'm hopping there's going to be summer line of
Becky, holds up one of the many shirts you can purchase at the museum. I’m hoping there’s going to be summer line of “Grease Lightning” apparel.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Antique-Car-Museum-of-Iowa/166112430067640

We love a great meal and a tall drink, but we are also history buffs above anything else. The IRL museums are loaded with a great variety of both vehicles and the history of this great area. They were a “must see” to start out our RAGBRAI scouting.

One of the longest rows of history at the Antique Car Museum of Iowa. Please don't ask questions about muffler belts, blinker fluid or flavored lug nuts.
One of the longest rows of history at the Antique Car Museum of Iowa. Please don’t ask questions about muffler belts, blinker fluid, or flavored lug nuts.
A replica of an old Shell station that the Joad family would have fonf familiar. At the Antique Car Museum of Iowa.
A replica of an old Shell station that the Joad family would have found familiar. At the Antique Car Museum of Iowa.

Local historical museums are some of my favorite places to visit when traveling anywhere. Not only do they supply a wealth of great artifacts and history of the local areas, but they also supply an ample amount of ideas for our future journeys across Iowa.

Hometown Dairy was once a trusted brand and steady employer for generations of Johnson County residents. At the Johnson County Historical Society Museum.  https://www.facebook.com/JohnsonCountyHistoricalSociety
Hometown Dairy was once a trusted brand and steady employer for generations of Johnson County residents. At the Johnson County Historical Society Museum.
https://www.facebook.com/JohnsonCountyHistoricalSociety
The Johnson County Historical Museum has information on every Johnson County town including the ghost towns of the area. These places have made it to our Iowa Gallivant to-do list.
The Johnson County Historical Museum has information on every Johnson County town including the ghost towns of the area. These places have made it to our Iowa Gallivant to-do list.

We’re hungry and extremely thirsty. Combing through old Cadillac’s and 19th century history will do that to a person. We break stride and head directly across the street to Vesta!

It's time for a Saturday afternoon pit stop at Vesta.  http://www.vestaiowa.com/
It’s time for a Saturday afternoon pit stop at Vesta.
http://www.vestaiowa.com/

One of our rules, when traveling for the Iowa Gallivant, is to seek delicious meals and satisfying beverages inspired by local producers. Vesta nailed it!

Iowa corn chowder with Iowa bacon and one of the best Reuben sandwiches ever! Made with Iowa raised Elk pastrami.   https://twitter.com/vestaiowa
Iowa corn chowder with Iowa bacon and one of the best Reuben sandwiches ever! Made with Iowa raised Elk pastrami.
https://twitter.com/vestaiowa
Beef Wellington bites with house made steak sauce! https://www.facebook.com/vestaiowa
Beef Wellington bites with house made steak sauce! https://www.facebook.com/vestaiowa
Local-Beer me! Vesta has a huge collection of cookbooks that their customers are welcomed to flip through. Thanks for the Big Grove Rabbit Rye! http://www.biggrovebrewery.com/
Local-Beer me! Vesta has a huge collection of cookbooks that their customers are welcomed to flip through. Thanks for the Big Grove Rabbit Rye! http://www.biggrovebrewery.com/
Callyn, Alexa, Lauren and the rest of the Vest crew will be ready for RAGBRAI!
Callyn, Alexa, Lauren and the rest of the Vesta crew will be ready for RAGBRAI!

The day is young and we have A LOT more to do at IRL. A short walk uphill from Vesta is a concentrated block of restaurants and shopping. We’ve started with a dose of red meats, hops, and barley, so it’s time for grapes, caffeine, and pastries. We venture on to the deeps of IRL…………

Our IRL tour led us to Wine Styles. Time for some much needed
Our IRL tour led us to Wine Styles. Time for some much needed “tastings”.
http://www.winestylescoralville.com/
Wine Styles has you covered with some of the best wine in the world from wall to wall. They make it easy for the aficionados and the up and coming enthusiasts of the area.  https://twitter.com/WineStyles_IRL
Wine Styles has you covered with some of the best wine in the world from wall to wall. They make it easy both for the aficionados and the up and coming enthusiasts of the area.
https://twitter.com/WineStyles_IRL
Owner Jeffery K. McGinness supplies IRL with a fine stock of wine, craft beers, cheese and supreme customer service. https://www.facebook.com/winestylesiowariverlanding
Owner, Jeffery K. McGinness supplies IRL with a fine stock of wine, craft beers, cheese and supreme customer service. https://www.facebook.com/winestylesiowariverlanding
Feel free to step up to the bar and request wine by the glass and sample some before purchasing. We had some Matetic Vineyards Sauvigon Blanc from Chile and Felino Malbec from Argentina.
Feel free to step up to the bar and request wine by the glass and sample some before purchasing. We had some Matetic Vineyards Sauvigon Blanc from Chile and Felino Malbec from Argentina.

Time to pace ourselves and the neighbors across the street have our stomachs and sweet tooth covered. Beer, wine and now…..cupcakes. Because arm wrestling challengers weren’t available, ok!

Scratch Cupcakery had us hovering in midair towards their desserts. Gimme!   http://www.scratchcupcakery.com/locations/coralville
Scratch Cupcakery had us hovering in mid-air towards their desserts. Gimme!
http://www.scratchcupcakery.com/locations/coralville
One Lemon Love and one Cherry Cobbler. And we didn't share! https://twitter.com/scratchbakery
One Lemon Love and one Cherry Cobbler. And we didn’t share! https://twitter.com/scratchbakery
Scratch Cupcakery has many varieties. Ellen and Emma are bringing out a whole sheet pan of Wedding Day cupcakes! The RAGBRAI crowd will need these for the homestretch.   https://www.facebook.com/scratchbakery
Scratch Cupcakery has many varieties. Ellen and Emma are bringing out a whole sheet pan of Wedding Day cupcakes!
The RAGBRAI crowd will need these for the homestretch.
https://www.facebook.com/scratchbakery

Time for the best energy boost that IRL has to offer. Right next to the sweet shop is a supplier of red-eyes, espresso shots, fine teas, and anybody’s favorite coffee drinks. Time to recharge at Waterstreet Coffee Bar!

Waterstreet Coffee Bar is becoming one of the areas most popular places to stop for Joe. And they're going to have plenty of fuel awaiting the RAGBRAI loyals. http://waterstreetcoffeebar.com/
Waterstreet Coffee Bar is becoming one of the areas most popular places to stop for Joe. And they’re going to have plenty of fuel awaiting the RAGBRAI loyals.
http://waterstreetcoffeebar.com/
Chai time at Waterstreet Coffee Bar! https://twitter.com/waterstreetcb
Chai time at Waterstreet Coffee Bar!
https://twitter.com/waterstreetcb
Owner Jenny Henningsen getting a photo opp with her employee, Noel who made me a killer Ice Coffee with a much needed shot of espresso. https://www.facebook.com/waterstreetcoffeebar
Owner Jenny Henningsen getting a photo op with her employee, Noel, who made me a killer Ice Coffee with a much needed shot of espresso.
https://www.facebook.com/waterstreetcoffeebar

It’s late in the afternoon and that means it’s time to check into our hotel room for the night. Who needs to drive home when you have the Coraville Marriott anchoring IRL! The Marriott staff was welcoming, helpful, and ready to direct us to their favorite spots and delicious meals.

The Coralville Marriott is one of the areas best hotels and has a staff to back it up!  http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-photos/cidic-coralville-marriott-hotel-and-conference-center/
The Coralville Marriott is one of the areas best hotels and has a staff to back it up!
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-photos/cidic-coralville-marriott-hotel-and-conference-center/
I'm checking into the Marriott like a big boy! Alex and Ryan were willing to put up with me as we checked in. Alex directed us to the artwork and attractions surrounding their proud hotel. https://twitter.com/mhcoralville
I’m checking into the Marriott like a big boy!
Alex and Ryan were willing to put up with me as we checked in. Alex directed us to the artwork and attractions surrounding their proud hotel.
https://twitter.com/mhcoralville
The view of the snowy river walk from our top floor room at the Coralville Marriott.
The view of the snowy river walk from our top floor room at the Coralville Marriott.

Did we mention how kick-ass the Marriott staff was? Well, they are! About 10 seconds after reaching our room, we heard a knock on our door. Welcoming us into the IRL was Natasha and delivery from room service.

Natasha, from the Coralville Marriott, busting in with some fresh fruit, cheese, crackers and a bottle of Meridian Merlot.
Fresh fruit, cheese, crackers and a bottle of Meridian Merlot from the Coralville Marriott.

Unpacked, clothes changed, and plans made to meet some companions that will join our IRL adventure. Ryan, from the front desk, prepares the Marriott shuttle and zips us up to 30hop. Home to a huge variety of craft beers from Iowa and abroad. The 30hop dinner bell is calling the Iowa Gallivant!

30hop was jamming on a February Friday night, so you know they'll muscle up for RAGBRAI in July. http://30hop.com/
30hop was jamming on a February Friday night, so you know they’ll muscle up for RAGBRAI in July.
http://30hop.com/
Seated, served drinks and ready for 30hop's good times! Chad and Ann joined us for the night. The tasty cold beverages before us are the Iowa brews of Toppling Goliath, Exile Gigi and Peach Tree Fatale. http://www.tgbrews.com/site/ http://exilebrewing.com/beer/gigi/ http://www.peacetreebrewing.com/our-beer/
Seated, served drinks and ready for 30hop’s good times with Chad and Ann. The tasty cold beverages before us are the Iowa brews of Toppling Goliath, Exile Gigi and Peach Tree Fatale.
http://www.tgbrews.com/site/
http://exilebrewing.com/beer/gigi/
http://www.peacetreebrewing.com/our-beer/
30hop provided us with some great dishes! Below are the brussel sprouts with walnuts ans sausage. Above are the amazing sweet potato fries!  https://twitter.com/30hop
30hop provided us with some great dishes! Below are the brussel sprouts with walnuts and sausage. Above are the amazing sweet potato fries!
https://twitter.com/30hop
Chicken Lollies at 30hop. Meat on a stick! https://www.facebook.com/30hop
Chicken Lollies at 30hop. Meat on a stick!
https://www.facebook.com/30hop

Time to take a walk down hill and get the evening warmed up. We take on another craft beer haven and mosey in to the Backpocket Brewing…..where there’s beer.

Coralville's premier brewery and an IRL staple. Ahhhhh...get a whiff of the barley!  http://www.backpocketbrewing.com/
Coralville’s premier brewery and an IRL staple. Ahhhhh…get a whiff of the barley!
http://www.backpocketbrewing.com/
Take a couple flights at Backpocket Brewing. A true board of education. https://twitter.com/backpocketbrew
Take a couple flights at Backpocket Brewing. A true board of education.
https://twitter.com/backpocketbrew
Backpocket Brewing is also known for some great food too. My favorite item is the spicy beer cheese dip with flatbread. RAGBRAI'ers will need the necessary carbs that get served on a plate and pint glass.  s://www.facebook.com/BackpocketBrewing
Backpocket Brewing is also known for some great food too. My favorite item is the spicy beer cheese dip with flatbread. RAGBRAI’ers will need the necessary carbs that get served on a plate and in the pint glass.
s://www.facebook.com/BackpocketBrewing

The night’s end is in sight. But, there will be no sleeping until we get some sushi. I think that’s a rule somewhere in the bylaws of the local board of tourism. And if it’s not, it should be. Lucky for Team Goodvin, IRL was way ahead of us. Konomi Grill, please.

A couple doors down from the KCJJ studios is Konomi and it's magic land of Japanese inspired delights. http://www.konomigrill.com/
A couple doors down from the KCJJ studios is Konomi and it’s magic land of Japanese inspired delights. http://www.konomigrill.com/
Why yes....yes we do have time for a photo. Alec and John were the evenings sushi chefs rolling up our late night craving.  https://twitter.com/konomi_grill
Why yes….yes we do have time for a photo. Alec and John were the evenings sushi chefs rolling up our late night craving.
https://twitter.com/konomi_grill
One Firecracker and an Eel Roll. And an inpatient hand.   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Konomi-Grill/235975986422717
One Firecracker and an Eel Roll. And an impatient hand.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Konomi-Grill/235975986422717

Belly…..full. Head…..swimming a little. The nice soft bed at the Marriott…..awaiting. IRL showed us a great day. We had 12 hours to go. Time to spend a good chuck of that time remaining snoring from the top floor. We still had some ground to cover in the morning. Until sunup IRL……….Hold on! We need a book. Good thing that the Marriott has the Iowa Writer’s Workshop Library on it’s first floor with plenty of books to check out during your stay.

The Coralville Marriott has it's own library full of literature from authors that have made their way through the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. One of the most prestigious collection literary talents in the world.
The Coralville Marriott has it’s own library full of literature from authors that have made their way through the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. One of the most prestigious collection literary talents in the world.

We’re up and ready to tackle our last few hours at IRL. And as they say, the breakfast buffet is the most important part of the day. The Coralville Marriott has a great place just for that request. Breakfast at the Edgewater Grille!

The Edgewater Grill is at the base of the Coralville Marriott. Open lunch through dinner offering Starbucks coffee and a full bar.
The Edgewater Grille is at the base of the Coralville Marriott. Open lunch through dinner offering Starbucks coffee and a full bar.
The breakfast buffet at the Edgewater Grille has a solid spread of choices along with omelet and waffle stations.  http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/cidic-coralville-marriott-hotel-and-conference-center/
The breakfast buffet at the Edgewater Grille has a solid spread of choices along with omelet and waffle stations.
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/cidic-coralville-marriott-hotel-and-conference-center/

After breakfast, we toured around the Marriott property and through IRL and enjoyed the great artwork by local artists. The perfect way to wrap up our afternoon on a much needed second day of 40 degree weather. It’s like having a 75 degree day in Phoenix. Nice but keep a coat close by.

A traditional Meskwaki Indian War Bonnet. On the second floor of the Coralville Marriott.
A traditional Meskwaki Indian War Bonnet. On the second floor of the Coralville Marriott.
One of the many works of art peppered throughout IRL. https://twitter.com/iariverlanding
One of the many works of art peppered throughout IRL.
https://twitter.com/iariverlanding
The famous chicken outside Von Maur. http://www.vonmaur.com/StorePage.aspx?ID=35
The famous chicken outside Von Maur.
http://www.vonmaur.com/StorePage.aspx?ID=35

The time has come to make our way back to Hills. RAGBRAI will be at IRL in July and the whole place is still buzzing about the recent announcement. Their preparations have begun, our scouting of overnight #7 has concluded, and we have had the IRL experience. Have fun in July and here’s to a great future ahead!

And now a few very special thank you’s from the entire Iowa Gallivant team……

To Laurie Haman and all the hard workers of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. They jumped on the opportunity to assist The Iowa Gallivant and guided us through the whole stay at IRL.  http://www.iowacitycoralville.org/ https://twitter.com/ICCCVB https://twitter.com/RAGBRAICVILLE https://twitter.com/ICCCVB
To Laurie Haman and all the hard workers of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. They jumped on the opportunity to assist The Iowa Gallivant and guided us through the whole stay at IRL.
http://www.iowacitycoralville.org/
https://twitter.com/ICCCVB
https://twitter.com/RAGBRAICVILLE
https://twitter.com/ICCCVB https://www.facebook.com/events/1541663959447278/
To Nick Westergaard and the team that's developing the unique experience that is IRL.  The future is looking bright and we can't wait to see what's next!  https://twitter.com/IARiverLanding https://www.facebook.com/IowaRiverLanding
To Nick Westergaard and the team that’s developing the unique experience that is IRL. The future is looking bright and we can’t wait to see what’s next!
https://twitter.com/IARiverLanding
https://www.facebook.com/IowaRiverLanding
To Zak Kimble and the Coralville Marriott that provided us the amazing room on what turned out to be a busy weekend for the hotel. The entire staff was as professional and helpful as we've ever encountered.  https://twitter.com/MHCoralville
To Zak Kimble and the Coralville Marriott that provided us the amazing room on what turned out to be a busy weekend for the hotel. The entire staff was as professional and as helpful as we’ve ever encountered.
https://twitter.com/MHCoralville

And to all the owners, workers, and employees that keep these great IRL businesses running for the locals and legions of tourists to come. See you all again very soon!

Please take time to visit…..

http://www.ragbraicoralville.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ragbraicville?fref=ts https://twitter.com/RAGBRAICVILLE
http://www.ragbraicoralville.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ragbraicville?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/RAGBRAICVILLE
http://ragbrai.com/ https://twitter.com/RAGBRAI_IOWA https://www.facebook.com/RAGBRAI
http://ragbrai.com/
https://twitter.com/RAGBRAI_IOWA
https://www.facebook.com/RAGBRAI

14 thoughts on “Scouting RAGBRAI-Part 1 of 8: 24 Hours Inside Iowa River Landing

  1. I LOVE your blog! I’m so envious. Grown-up fun, grown-up food! I’d forgotten what that’s like. You two deserve some time off! I can’t wait for the next installment. I’m actually going to Waterstreet this afternoon. Now I’m extra excited.

    Like

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