#RAGBRAI · West Central Iowa

Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: Council Bluffs & The Pottawattamie Path of Parties-Part 1 of 2

Council Bluffs is back on the RAGBRAI scene, and they are hosting the kickoff once again!

Council Bluffs and Carter Lake: Pottawattamie County (Our 82nd County)

Can you believe that we are in our fifth summer of The Iowa Gallivant, and this is the first time we made the trip to this entertaining region? That’s why we took advantage of this gallivant and Unleash Council Bluffs was there to help us with the whole journey. Let’s start by going west to east. And I mean WAY west. Like,across the river to Nebraska….briefly.

We had the pleasure of being hosted by the great folks of Unleash Council Bluffs. They sponsored some of our meals and helped with arranging our accommodations. Like always with our travels, the views expressed are of our own. Let’s gallivant this town!

One of the most confusing ways to get to an Iowa town and worth the effort!

One thing is for sure about RAGBRAI’ers. No matter where they’re from, they love to support Iowans at every turn. Council Bluffs is obviously right on the Missouri River and that means the whole area will see this massive bicycle rally swooping in to have a great time. Great thing is, if you find yourself west of the river, you can still party in…Iowa. Carter Lake is the only town in the Hawkeye State that you MUST drive into another state to get to. Trust me on this. The town was detached from Pottawattamie County in the 1800s and is still classified as an Iowa city. The geography isn’t the only thing interesting about Carter Lake.



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Your first RAGBRAI taco stop is waiting in Carter Lake!

Jonesy’s Taco House has their crispy shells packed with our delicious beef choices, fresh veggies, shredded cheese, and plenty of their flavorful salsas. All of this welcoming you to Carter Lake! If there was ever an Iowa style taco this would be it and you know these are the perfect way to start, bring to, and end a party. Just watch how I preferred to enjoy my taco on lake time.


That roundabout trip to Carter Lake was for the bucket list, and the Council Bluffs excitement for RAGBRAI was the motor that got us there. Let’s keep moving east and see about getting to know your local BBQ buddies. It’s the host city’s turn to show you how the sweet and smoky side of this town can be enjoyed.


Those smiles say it all here at Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q. Juicy sausage fresh from the smoker. Ribs glistening with tangy sauce. Pulled pork generously portioned and taking over the bun. Then the trio of our favorite and classic sides we love with our ‘Q. Cheeeesy mac and cheese, baked beans, and creamy coleslaw. This is the way to carb-up and protein-up in one stop. But why stop here?

Get ready to locate some of the tastiest sandwich creations on the ride!
Meet the Chuckanator. The pork sandwich of a lifetime!
Spicy enough for’ya? The Pop it like it’s Hot Burger has the boom-boom coming.

The Buck Snort has their Council Bluffs location pumping out some of the most creative and down right righteous sandwiches on this year’s route. Quite possibly one of the greatest grilled pork tenderloin sandwiches of my life was consumed here, and I have the Chuckanator to thank for that. A very thick cut of pork meeting the char-broiler and topped with bacon, Swiss cheese, pickles, red onion, and Buck Snort sauce. Next up was the Pop it like it’s Hot Burger and it brought the heat. Breaded and fried jalapeno poppers on a beefy patty with bacon, American cheese, and their spicy boom-boom sauce. Happy tears are encouraged here.


These pancakes were actually bigger than my head!
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They’re getting famous for this one. Cinnamon roll French toast!
And they’re already famous for this freshly battered classic French toast.

Both the syrup and frosting were flowing at Legends Cafe for the constant breakfast lovers that we are. The griddle at Legend’s is filled with their pancakes that are large enough to train a Siberian Grizzly bear circus tricks, and they will have some of the richest French toast and crispiest edges you might find on the ride. Then there are the cinnamon rolls. Not just the normal ones. They take theirs, cut’em down the middle, French toast style them up, and serve’em hot with warm frosting to drizzle over the entire helping. That’s how you class up a breakfast!

Cool Down at the Union Pacific Museum


This may have a ring to it….RAGBRAI starting at mile zero. That’s where you would be if you started near the beginning of the line of the mighty Union Pacific Railroad in Council Bluffs! This free museum will have its doors open to anyone that wants to chill out from the hot day, and you might as well learn about how much this railroad company impacted the US. It’s local roots still run deep to this day and the long story of its power can be told by plenty of hands-on displays, artifacts, and photos all over the museum’s multiple levels.


I’m proud to say that this is just a sample of the pictures we took here because you’ll want to stay tuned for the full blog post we’re doing about this important and very interactive museum. The story of American history cannot be told without including the railroads. Council Bluffs was and is still today a huge player in transportation of our goods and serving as an artery to the economy. Mile zero is a landmark this town is truly proud of.

Rest Up

*Our stay at the Courtyard by Marriott-Council Bluffs was complementary. The views expressed are of our own. Now, let’s get back to gallivanting!


A day of Gallivanting can be fun and exhausting. I mean, look at the big burger I had to handle from above! Located at 2501 Bass Pro Drive is one of the newest hotels in an exciting area of town. Courtyard by Marriott-Council Bluffs is close to many of the casinos that light up the night in this entertainment packed district. The staff was ready to show us what they had in the arts of hospitality, and they came through time and time again. Our room was more than inviting and the quality of the beds were just the way we liked them. One quick dip in the pool, a near nap on the comfy dad chair, and then escaping into relaxville while surfing on the flat screen TV. Don’t think for a moment that this is the last you’ve seen of our stay here. No way! Much more to come so you’ll want keep your eyes open on The Iowa Gallivant. Or just book your stay now and see for yourself!

Are you ready for your first drenching of the ride? Get over to Bayliss Park and make it happen!

This is just the first taste of Overnight #1 and you know we’re coming back with more food, can’t miss shopping in Walnut, and all around fantastic moments to be had in the Council Bluffs area on part two!

Unleash CB
Thank you to Mark Eckman of Unleash Council Bluffs for arranging another rewarding scouting trip for us. We can’t wait for you all to see part two!
Be sure to like the Council Bluffs-RAGBRAI Facebook page to keep up on what Overnight #1 has to offer!
Be sure to like the RAGBRAI Facebook page to keep with all the info on this year’s route!

You need to click here and bone-up on our coverage of RAGBRAI-2019!


3 thoughts on “Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: Council Bluffs & The Pottawattamie Path of Parties-Part 1 of 2

  1. If you missed the Swamp Donkey at Buck Snort, you really missed out.

    Also, Legends (formerly Duncans) has been a CB staple forever. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can sit with others at a table.

    If you want Chinese, the Great Wall express is great. They have the best hot and sour soup I’ve ever had (is that sour kraut?).

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