#RAGBRAI · Grownup Getaways · North Central Iowa

Scouting RAGBRAI 2015-Part 6 of 8: The Eldora Corps of Tubers

The Iowa River Valley as seen from beautiful Eldora, IA. JayJay and Monie take on its banks, scenery and watery path through the heart of Hardin County.
The Iowa River Valley as seen from beautiful Eldora, IA. JayJay and Monie take on its banks, scenery, and watery path through the heart of Hardin County.

Eldora, IA: Hardin County (Our 20th County!)

What do people do when they get done after riding a bike for 50+ miles? The Iowa Gallivant has some ideas for that question. RAGBRAI’s (Registers-Annual-Great-Bike-Ride-Across-Iowa) overnight #4 has many options that we all love to do when we’ve been working out all day. A comfortable place to sit and drink a cold beverage(s)….A guaranteed cool place to rest your derriere….A place that offers live music and respectful sleeping conditions with an atmosphere that’s loyal to your party needs…It’s in Hardin County and you can find all of these in one convenient campground. Set up your tent and bring coldy’s and just park “it” in a soft inner-tube, because Team Goodvin brings you an amphibious exploration of Eldora, IA!

The Hardin County Courthouse sits in the center of Eldora's business district. One of Iowa's best preserved and iconic buildings of it's kind.
The Hardin County Courthouse sits in the center of Eldora’s business district. One of Iowa’s best preserved and iconic buildings of its kind.

We arrived to Eldora at 8am. We did a quick recon of of the town and bought our supplies for the day at one of local grocery stores. We then made our way to Rock-N-Row Adventures. This would be a camping trip for us and it was proving to be a perfect day for such an effort. We setup our tent, got the beers on ice, and stocked our campsite. Next it was time we meet the RNR family of Sondra and Tracy, the owners of the campsite and the captains of our float down the Iowa.

Honor first with everything in life. Especially when your'e picking up firewood!
Honor first with everything in life. Especially when you’re picking up firewood!
An early morning birds-eye view of our 24 hour home at Rock-N-Row Eldora, IA. http://www.rock-n-row-adventures.com/Rock-n-Row_site/Rock-n-Row_Adventures_iowa_River_Tubing_%26_Camping_Eldora_Music_Venue_1.html
An early morning birds-eye view of our 24-hour home at Rock-N-Row Eldora, IA.
http://www.rock-n-row-adventures.com/Rock-n-Row_site/Rock-n-Row_Adventures_iowa_River_Tubing_%26_Camping_Eldora_Music_Venue_1.html

Before we took off to explore the Iowa River, we had to first explore Eldora! Our trusty guides for the morning were Eldora’s Executive Director of Economic Development, Deb Crosser, and Michaela Kendall, who’s chipping in to showcase her home town for her Iowa State University summer internship.

Michaela on the left and Deb on the right.  They know how to bring out the best in Eldora, IA and have great time doing it!
Michaela on the left and Deb on the right. They know how to bring out the best in Eldora, IA, and have great time doing it!

Deb picked us up at our campsite and away we went to see her beloved Eldora. Our first stop was at one of Iowa’s most historic soda jerks. A mid-morning rendezvous at the Ahoy Fountain!

AHOY! (Said like Bill Murray in What about Bob...Great movie) Right on the main drag and ready to blend all of it's sweat creations for the RAGBRAI brigade.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ahoy-Fountain/109513695752738?fref=ts
AHOY! (Said like Bill Murray in What about Bob…Great movie) Right on the main drag and ready to blend all of it’s sweat creations for the RAGBRAI brigade.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ahoy-Fountain/109513695752738?fref=ts
Shari bringing us the breakfast of Champions. Chocolate and Strawberry malts!
Shari bringing us the breakfast of Champions. Chocolate and Strawberry malts!

We weaved in and out of the area while Deb and Michaela showed us how Eldora is equipped, ready and prepped for RAGBRAI. It’s the smallest overnight town on this year’s route, but Eldora is stocked with restaurants ranging from sandwiches, Chinese food, pizza, steaks and bars to go along with the familiar vendors that will be all along the route. Their grocery stores were humming with activity with RAGBRAI on the minds of their employees. The local theater will even be playing the movie American Graffiti in honor of it’s 1973 theme when RAGBRAI made it’s inaugural tour across Iowa. This town is officially stoked for the spokes! (2016 RAGBRAI hosts can reach me for official use of that last line of writing/marketing magic)

Just down the street from the courthouse  is a place called Wolf Creek that makes some folk art that we think the visiting bike riders will enjoy.
Just down the street from the courthouse is a place called Wolf Creek that makes some folk art that we think the visiting bike riders will enjoy.
Get these little wooden treasures while supplies last, RAGBRAI!
Get these little wooden bicycle treasures while supplies last, RAGBRAI! 641-858-2332

Deb did her homework and knew that we gravitated to local history. Every town has a story to tell and Eldora is no different. Eldora also has a unique bit of history that can only be found their. Our next stop is a must see for anyone searching for this certain niche of history, Eldora’s CCC/POW camp.

Eldora's was one of the many hubs of the Civilian Conservation Corps that supplied much needed jobs to young men during the great depression. When WWII broke out, the local CCC hall was used as a POW camp. Today it serves as museum and historic time capsule of those two periods.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Civilian-Conservation-CorpsPOW-Rec-Hall/161200084074566
Eldora’s was one of the many hubs of the Civilian Conservation Corps that supplied much needed jobs to young men during the great depression. When WWII broke out, the local CCC hall was used as a POW camp. Today it serves as a museum and historic time capsule of those two periods.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Civilian-Conservation-CorpsPOW-Rec-Hall/161200084074566
Becky Rose stands in front of her favorite exhibit at the Eldora CCC/POW camp. Becky is the site tour guide and presenter to all the guests and history buffs that visit.
Becky Rose stands in front of her favorite exhibit at the Eldora CCC/POW camp. Becky is the site tour guide and presenter to all the guests and history buffs that visit.
Hundreds of artifacts can be seen throughout the old Rec Hall. One my favorites was the story of a young German soldier captured on D-Day. He would later recall it as being the best day of his life. Confinement meant freedom from the horrors of war. He and all the other POW's, from Germany and Italy, worked at the local hemp farms and fields that surrounded Eldora. Many of the POW's thought fondly of their captors and enjoyed working for the local farms.
Hundreds of artifacts can be seen throughout the old Rec Hall. One of my favorites was the story of a young German soldier captured on D-Day. He would later recall it as being the best day of his life. Confinement, to him, meant freedom from the horrors of war and he was confident that the Americans would treat him with dignity. He and all the other POW’s, from Germany and Italy, worked at the local hemp farms and fields that surrounded Eldora. Many of the POW’s thought fondly of their captors and enjoyed working for the local farmers.

The morning was gone and the afternoon set in. That meant only one thing. Tubing time! Deb dropped us off at Rock-N-Row and we huddled with some fellow tubers we knew very well. Joining us on the river was Brent, Tracy, and Addison Spurrier, some of our family members driving in from Corning, IA for a little Iowa Gallivant action. Here we go!

Brent sensing a primo photo op and nailing the picture of the day!  http://www.rock-n-row-adventures.com/Rock-n-Row_site/Rock-n-Row_Adventures_iowa_River_Tubing_%26_Camping_Eldora_Music_Venue_1.html
Brent sensing a primo photo op and nailing the picture of the day!
http://www.rock-n-row-adventures.com/Rock-n-Row_site/Rock-n-Row_Adventures_iowa_River_Tubing_%26_Camping_Eldora_Music_Venue_1.html

Sondra, our camp-boss, promptly gathered all of us scheduled for the 1pm float and guided us into the old school bus that served as their shuttle to the launch in the nearby town of Steamboat Rock. Just minutes after showing up our rear-ends were in the water and we were officially floating down the mighty Iowa River. Beer, music, laughter, and one hell of a fun time were seen and experienced all day on the water and on the banks.

Here's one for the family photo album. The five of us together on the finest Hardin County cruise we could ask for. https://www.facebook.com/RocknRowAdventuresIowaRiverTubing?fref=ts
Here’s one for the family photo album. The five of us together on the finest Hardin County cruise we could ask for.
https://www.facebook.com/RocknRowAdventuresIowaRiverTubing?fref=ts
The bachelorette party of the century was floating with us for half of the day.
The bachelorette party of the century was floating with us for half of the day. The entire wedding party and future bride to be were all accounted for later that day upon completion of their float. And that’s a good thing.

Iowa experienced heavy rain earlier in the week and caused the river to be up that day. Which meant the float only took us about 3 hours. Very good timing for most tubing standards. The watery path took us past cabins and marked access points so we knew where we were at all times. The scenery was picturesque and all the tubing participants were respectful with their trash so all could enjoy the views of this Historic National Water Trail. We tipped back on beers, booze, and got to meet locals and fellow travelers. The spirits with all of us were as high as the river.

The Rock-N-Row campsite came alive with jubilant campers fresh from their tubing on the river. The sandy volleyball court was a popular site for last few hours of daylight.
The Rock-N-Row campsite came alive with jubilant campers fresh from their tubing on the river. The sandy volleyball court was a popular site for last few hours of daylight.
The band started the evening........
The band started the evening……..
.........And ended it. Tubing, drinks and live music. Full day accomplished once again and we managed to fall asleep just fine.
………And ended it. Tubing, drinks, and live music. Full day accomplished once again and we managed to fall asleep just fine.
Our closing to an end at Rock-N-Row Adventures. Good night moon. Goodnight bass player jumping over the moon.....
Our night closing to an end at Rock-N-Row Adventures. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, bass player jumping over the moon…..

We woke up early the next day and took advantage of the scenic Eldora landscapes. The RAGBRAI early birds will soon appreciate this opportunity as well.

The sun breaking through the clouds on an early Eldora, IA morning.
The sun breaking through the clouds on an early Eldora, IA morning. This pasture was on HWY 175 near the town of Hubbard.
The morning stillness of Pine Lake.
The morning stillness of Pine Lake.
Clouds separating over the berry fields of Pine Lake Produce. Mom would want you to have your vitamins, RAGBRAI, so you may want to stop here. http://www.pinelakeproduce.com/
Clouds separating over the berry fields of Pine Lake Produce. Mom would want you to have your vitamins, RAGBRAI, so you may want to stop here.
http://www.pinelakeproduce.com/
The Iowa landscape will sure to have plenty of these throughout the ride. This particular windy friend to Eldora was one of the original to turbines to be erected in the state Iowa.
The Iowa landscape will sure to have plenty of these throughout the ride. This particular windy friend to Eldora was one of the original to turbines to be erected in the state Iowa.

Deb was ready to meat up again and show us even more of the Eldora area. Her energy was just what we needed after a long day down the Iowa River. Working her weekend to make sure ours was a blast. It was back to Steamboat Rock and what will be known during RAGBRAI as “Breakfast Town.” Our gallivanting has led us to many people that volunteer their time to make their communities that much better. The folks in Hardin County were no different!

Hot breakfast served by volunteer cooks every Sunday and during RAGBRAI at the Boathouse in Steamboat Rock, IA. http://steamboatrockiowa.com/www.steamboatrockiowa.com/Welcome.html
Hot breakfast served by volunteer cooks every Sunday and during RAGBRAI at the Boathouse in Steamboat Rock, IA.
http://steamboatrockiowa.com/www.steamboatrockiowa.com/Welcome.html
The kitchen whipped up French toast, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs and fresh coffee. A Sunday ritual that has relied on locals volunteers for many, many years. A great way to get a fine breakfast and really support the home team.
The kitchen whipped up French toast, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs and fresh coffee. A Sunday ritual that has relied on locals volunteers for many, many years. A great way to get a fine breakfast and really support the home team.

The scenic tour of Eldora wasn’t finished. After we refueled our stomachs at the Boathouse, Deb brought us to one of the most inspiring landscapes in the state of Iowa.

The Sac and Fox overlook is down a windy gravel road that cuts in between corn fields. You don't expect to see what the overlook provides by judging the path it takes to get there.
The Sac and Fox overlook is down a windy gravel road that cuts in between corn fields. You don’t expect to see what the overlook provides by judging the path it takes to get there.
Hardin County is proud of its heritage and is one of the leaders in conservation. The Eldora stop will provide some of the most stunning and important terrains on the entire route.
Hardin County is proud of its heritage and is one of the leaders in conservation. The Eldora stop will provide some of the most stunning and important terrains on the entire route.
Be on the lookout for wild asparagus. They're tasty when eaten raw and you can find them all over the Eldora area.
Be on the lookout for wild asparagus. They’re tasty when eaten raw and you can find them all over the Eldora area.

Eldora produced a truly entertaining and scenic experiences that is completely unique, to Hardin County, and ready for the masses to enjoy in July. Hardin county already pulls in over 350,000 annual visitors and is ready for this year’s RAGBRAI spike. We even had plenty of time to explore Pine Lake State Park. However, you’ll need to stay tuned as we update The Iowa Gallivant on that piece of Eldora splendor. Overnight #4 couldn’t be happier to have RAGBRAI back and we know that Eldora will captivate the thousands that will coast into it’s town limits and countryside. See you on The Iowa Gallivant again real soon, Eldora!

Don’t forget to read parts 1 through 5 of our Scouting RAGBRAI series!

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/02/09/scouting-ragbrai-part-1-of-8-24-hours-inside-iowa-river-landing/

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/03/31/scouting-ragbrai-part-2-of-8-crafting-our-way-through-downtown-davenport/

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/04/15/scouting-ragbrai-part-3-of-8-the-personalities-of-downtown-cedar-falls-from-an-old-ice-house-to-4-alarm-thai-food/

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/05/20/scouting-ragbrai-part-4-of-8-time-to-meet-the-fort-dodge-family/

https://theiowagallivant.com/2015/06/23/scouting-ragbrai-part-5-of-8-a-storm-lake-fathers-day-weekend/

And now for a few special thank you’s………

To Deb Crosser who took the time to plan our trip and toured us around her proud hometown. Deb, you really shined and you have helped us prepare for a great time and are very much apart of the growth of The Iowa Gallivant! http://eldoraiowa.com/
To Deb Crosser who took the time to plan our trip and toured us around her proud hometown. Deb, you really shined and you have helped us prepare for a great time and are very much apart of the growth of The Iowa Gallivant! 
http://eldoraiowa.com/
To Sondra and Tracy of Rock-N-Row Adventures. They provided us with a premium campsite and tour of the Iowa River. They're team was fun to work with and provided a very, very fun day tubing and at their campsite. Have a great summer Rock-N-Row! http://www.rock-n-row-adventures.com/Rock-n-Row_site/Rock-n-Row_Adventures_iowa_River_Tubing_%26_Camping_Eldora_Music_Venue_1.html
To Sondra and Tracy of Rock-N-Row Adventures. They provided us with a premium campsite and tour of the Iowa River. Their team was fun to work with and provided a very, very fun day of tubing and at their campsite. Have a great summer Rock-N-Row!
http://www.rock-n-row-adventures.com/Rock-n-Row_site/Rock-n-Row_Adventures_iowa_River_Tubing_%26_Camping_Eldora_Music_Venue_1.html

Please take time to visit…….

https://www.facebook.com/ragbraieldora?fref=ts https://twitter.com/RAGBRAIEldora http://ragbraieldora.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ragbraieldora?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/RAGBRAIEldora
http://ragbraieldora.com/
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
http://www.iowatourism.com/
http://www.iowatourism.com/
http://www.traveliowa.com/ https://www.facebook.com/IowaTourism?fref=ts https://twitter.com/Travel_Iowa
http://www.traveliowa.com/
https://www.facebook.com/IowaTourism?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/Travel_Iowa
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6 thoughts on “Scouting RAGBRAI 2015-Part 6 of 8: The Eldora Corps of Tubers

  1. Hey JJ,
    Are you healed up yet from the weekend of Tubing, Camping & Vodka? LOL! It was all systems GO for RNR, finally a Saturday with out rain, it was perfect! Lots of sun, smiles, pink cheeks, red noses & friends, Thanks for visiting our neck of the woods and sharing your Iowa River & Hardin County experience with the Cyber World. Stop by RNR next time you guys are in the area. Cheers! to The IOWA Gallivant .. see we do have More than Corn!
    Sincerely, Tracy, Sondra & Crew

    Like

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