It has been decades since RAGBRAI peddled into one of Iowa’s greatest natural wonders. The diversity in every stop will show the entire fleet just how unique Iowa is in its communities. When the towering bluffs of Lansing get into sight, you’ll wonder why it has taken you so long to visit this area. I know that’s what we said over and over.
Once you hit your seat, after a refreshing night’s sleep in Waukon, you’ll be hit with endless Allamakee County scenery. So make sure those phones are charged and prepare yourself some amazing photo-ops. And take a look at that football field! That could be the best backdrop in all of Iowa for any stadium. Take a look at these pictures later. Let’s eat!
The Red Barn Bar & Grill is a little ways down from Main Street and a part of the Red Barn Resort & Campground. Right on one of the many streams through Allamakee and as you can see, full of some yummy and hearty food. Burgers with a little extra BBQ sauce (Nice work, Gigi!), Cheesy Philly steak sandwiches, and how about a taco salad covered in Doritos! It was good, but I missed licking the cheese dust from my fingers. I did anyway. We need to get checked into our houseboat before this gets any crazier. Houseboat! Whaaaaaaaa…..
S&S Rentals is right on the water! Where houseboats should be! This was a first for The Iowa Gallivant and we hope to be one of many times out on the water. S&S and the entire crew had a spectacular houseboat peacefully awaiting all of Team Goodvin and our jaws kept dropping with every new discovery on this huge boat. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a patio, upper deck, living room and kitchen. This wasn’t the end of our scenic mission. Not at all!
The captain of this S&S outfit was Sue Stirn and she gave us a tour of the Mississippi River that you can only find in the backwaters area of Lansing. Classic swimming, fishing holes, river critters, birds, and all those green views of the bluffs. Hungry again? I thought so.
RAGBRAI ain’t over yet! Lansing will have plenty of ice cream and pie. We know that you’ve had 7 constant days of an alarming sweet tooth but it’s late July. You know you’ll work it off before Thanksgiving. Right of of Main Street is Milty’s and they have the goods on the pie, along with a full bar. A slice of banana cream and a Jager, please. And just off of Main is the infamous The Skinny Dip. Those big ice cream cones can’t go with you. Sorry. Hey, how’s that beer tooth? There’s a place for that too! Let’s let JayJay slip away from the pack for a little while.
We know there’s going to be thirsty RAGBRAI’ers ready for one last pint, flight, pitcher, or keg(s) and the Safe House Saloon has got the cold ones flowing. Along with some great craft beers, the Safe House is known for amazing pizza and appetizers. And they don’t even get mad when you spill all those peanut shells on the floor. That’s the perfect ending to the first night in historic Lansing. Now for a historic night’s sleep with the tides of the Mississippi…
With sun setting in front of us, and moon rising behind, Monie and I spent much of the night on the upper deck of the houseboat. There’s are fewer things in this world better than that if any. The houseboat gently rocked us all asleep like one giant cradle. A cradle of RAGBRAI scouting love. That was nice. Thank you.
It’s breakfast time, RAGBRAI! It was back to Main Street with Nutmeg’s Cafe & Bakery doing all the morning cooking! Breakfast burritos, donuts, ham and cheese omelets, manhole cover sized pancakes, biscuits and gravy, waffle breakfast sandwiches, and a whole lot of hot coffee! It didn’t stop here. You’ll just need to keep an eye out for our Best Between Bread series and see what Lansing is bringing to the table. You full yet? Good! Now we shop!
You cannot leave Lansing until you’ve wandered into Horsfall’s Variety Store. Not one but two locations on Main Street and the answer is yes. Yes you can find whatever you’re looking for here. Where’s the hula-hoops? Right by the coffee mugs. Where’s the fly swatters? Next to the baking supplies. Where’s all the toy farm animals and little green army men? Above the spices, silly! Seriously, Horsfall’s know how to get people into their stores and keep’em there better than any Vegas casino can. With several purchases later, including a new pink river rat hat and yellow sunglasses, our time in Lansing had come to its conclusion.
We missed this town and area the moment we started heading south back to our home in Johnson County. The good times and hospitality showed by everyone outdid itself over and over. It took me nearly 39 years to make it to this part of Iowa and I am so excited that thousands will experience it for the first time, too, during RAGBRAI. I say we make plans to come back soon and often.
Be sure to read about our visits to Overnight #1 in Orange City, Overnight #2 in Spencer, Overnight #3 in Algona, Overnight #4 in Clear Lake, Overnight #5 in Charles City, Overnight #6 in Cresco, Overnight #7 in Waukon, Overnight #8 in Lansing and the bonus coverage of Allamakee County!
And now some huge thank yous…..