#RAGBRAI · West Central Iowa

Scouting RAGBRAI-2019: Council Bluffs & Pottawattamie’s Path-Part 2 of 2

The river banks, parks, and culture of Council Bluffs is awaiting RAGBRAI and the thousands that will love the first night on 2019’s route!

Council Bluffs, Minden, & Walnut, IA: Pottawattamie County

Part one of our Council Bluffs scouting mission showed us some of the greats when it comes to this area. This is why we needed part two to keep this adventure going and show you even more. Get ready for more of your carbalicious, caffeinated, and all around day one RAGBRAI needs here in Pottawattamie County!

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!


You just got afternoon and evening plans settled!

Near the casinos of Council Bluffs is a new restaurant that was made for RAGBRAI. A full bar, great menu with plenty of selections, a large outdoor patio, and beach volleyball to get your muscles stretched for the ride ahead. Better see what’s getting served up at The Porch!


The patio life is the good life and it’s made better with a big bowl of the house specialties of mac and cheese creations. You can even build your own mac-tastic bowl of cheesy goodness with The Porch’s list of ingredients ready to be piled on.

The Mexican Mac is ready for you to attack!

There’s plenty of Council Bluffs carb-quests all over town. We found another one that the locals guided us to, and they had the saucy menu that the cyclists can get down on before heading east. Let’s get our steak fix in, too!


I bet you got these classics figured out! Lansky’s weighted the pasta bowls with spaghetti and meatballs, riiiiiich Alfredo sauce, and pesto-penne. Feel that fuel coming in? And here’s a little fact about that Philly steak sandwich that’s not little at all. That, my friends, is the “small” sized Philly. Yes, Lansky’s is known for their steak sandwiches, and I think the average RAGBRAI’er can move up to the large.


The Council Bluffs residents told us not to leave without giving the Great Wall Express a shot. We did and we made the plunge right into their lo-mein noodles. Didn’t even wait to get to the hotel room either! Just peddle right up and deliver your meal to the nearest meeting point.

*Our stay at the Courtyard by Marriott was complimentary. Our views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Let’s get back to gallivanting!



The Balanced Breakfast Sandwich at the Bistro was our kind of style when it comes to the good morning call. Served hot and on our table very quickly after ordering it.


You could use a big’ole breakfast sandwich before knocking out miles and miles of the Pottawattamie path ahead. Our lodging partner was the new Courtyard by Marriott, and the had the Bistro humming. We went with the Balanced Breakfast Sandwich with egg whites, turkey, green chiles, and melted cheese all on a toasted English muffin. There’s also some fresh fruit and Starbucks coffee I know many of you crave. Not only is there plenty of open seating, but they also have some cozy tables tucked away where you can enjoy your own TV shows. My command of the remote shall never yield!

The staff was very busy with breakfast orders coming in at a fast pace and yet never lost that friendliness in their attitudes. Our coffees, sandwiches, and beginning of our day came through with flying colors from the talented crew here at the Courtyard by Marriott.



Macrons are best enjoyed four at a time!
Paleo bites that packed with energy boosting nuts to give day one of RAGBRAI

Stay Sweet, Nicola’s has fresh baked goodies to fit many dietary needs and anyone who just plain wants to have terrific baked goods and seriously great coffee. As you can see, they have the Paleo party ready to go and they also rock out gluten free goodies and plenty more to go with coffee, tea, or frozen drinks to show July who’s in charge around here.


The Mrs and I got a chance at a grownup getaway and we headed to the winery and RAGBRAI is riding there too!


Minden is on the route and so is this Breezy Hills Vineyard with their award winning wines. Time to get swirling and sampling!


Breezy Hills Vineyards has premium wines for the folks who like sweets, drys, reds, whites…..you can guess what to do here. Try a few for yourself! The Edelweiss and Brianna were some of our favorite varietals and they make it incredibly easy to purchase a bottle(s) to enjoy at home. Have fun in their tasting room, the patio, the green grass on their lawn, or a little jaunt through the rows and rows of grapes. I see you looking at that frozen wine up there. Imagine a few cups of that refreshing icy masterpiece on your way to Atlantic!



It’s another jerky stop and Iowa’s meat experts make some of the best in the world. The Minden Meat Market has a great variety to get that beefy protein you must have to keep those RAGBRAI muscles moving. You got a crew chief? Get them to pick up some quality sausages, steaks, burgers, and more from these folks in Minden. This is one of the best ways to buy local and support Iowans along the trek to Keokuk.


You are going to be treated to one of the greatest towns in the country when it comes rustic, rusted, vintage, and rare. The Antique City of Walnut and the oodles of shops are ready to ship your picks on RAGBRAI!


Are you kidding me! This was our first trip to Walnut and IT WILL NOT BE OUR LAST! If you need a break from the hot blacktops then take it here. Keep the local USPS employees busy and get your “once in a lifetime while you’re in Iowa” finds delivered to your home. Walnut keeps the imagination going strong and could get you a little giddy when you return home to see that precious antique waiting for its new owner.


The place we hit up was in the old opera house and it was simply called RUST. This store gave me the opportunity to make a very special purchase for my wife. You’ll need to stay tuned to The Iowa Gallivant and see how I presented a Denmark-inspired piece of jewelry at one of Iowa’s most unique cities.

Cool Down


Walnut’s Banana Split is the obvious choice for that cooling sensation we all need. They make a wicked Green River soda and there’s a twisted side of the soft-serve that will be working double time for the riders. We highly recommend the fizzy delights here to get that sugary treat and cool beverage all at the same time.

Hold on! Back to Council Bluffs! There’s a bucket list item needing to be scratched off!


That’s right. I’ve been wanting to see the Black Angel of Council Bluffs for many years and there was no way I was leaving without doing so. If you want to get prepped for Southern Iowa hills then this is a good way to tone-up. A long steep hill to the cemetery awaits and you will see the beauty of this memorial.

That wraps up our RAGBRAI coverage, but we still have a lot to show you through other avenues on The Iowa Gallivant. Keep you eyes open for more of our travels in the exciting Council Bluffs area!

Thank you to Mark Eckman of Unleash Council Bluffs for hosting us during this fantastic trip to Western Iowa. We had a great time and I can’t wait to post more stories on our visit here!
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!

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