Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A glimpse inside

I am continually wowed by the red carpet thrown out by each overnight town on RAGBRAI. Often, in fact, usually, an overnight town's population doubles when RAGBRAI arrives. The planning and coordination involved is incredible.

For a detailed example of what's going on in one of this year's overnights -- Jefferson -- I encourage you to check out Chuck Offenburger's column here. Chuck, a longtime columnist for the Des Moines Register and one of the RAGBRAI founders, spent some time at Coe a few years ago as a January Term instructor and wrote about it here.

He's a great guy, who'll you get a chance to meet Thursday in Tama/Toledo. Chuck and his wife, Carla, are also staying at the rural Toledo home of Stan and Charlotte Upah, parents of newly hired Coe PR coordinator Kristy Upah, who graduated from Coe in May.

This is going to be a fun stop. Not only will the Upahs feed us dinner, there's a volleyball court, ping pong table and weight room available. They also have a hot tub, but I believe RAGBRAI rules declare them off limits to anyone who isn't a team captain.

Located three-miles east of town, we should also enjoy a peaceful night's sleep -- after avenging last year's kickball loss to Wartburg. That's right! Kickball is on! The Knights will meet us at the Upahs for a 7 p.m. game.

We'll open the week at the home of Kris Dyer Gochenour, a 1979 Coe graduate, in Missouri Valley. She and her veterinarian husband live on a large lot across the street from the fairgrounds and near railroad tracks with trains running 24/7. BRING EARPLUGS!

It will be interesting to swap flood stories with Kris, as her community was devastated just a few years ago.

In Harlan, we'll be sharing the yard of Jim Bruck with the Lizard Kings. Two of my favorite Kohawks are Lizard Kings. One of them, Rick Blackwell, is recovering from a recent biking accident. Jim, a 1977 Coe graduate, is a teacher and coach at the Harlan high school.

In Jefferson, where the Offenburgers hail, we're staying with attorney Dave Hoyt, a 1978 Coe grad. If you read Chuck's column, you're impressed with the planning in Jefferson. And that doesn't even include Dave, and many like him, who are opening their homes to riders. Dave is even providing dinner and Jefferson is where RAGBRAI officially bids adieu to Mr. Pork Chop, sadly. My guess is he'll get the itch around June and be back for 2009. But I'm a Packer fan, so I digress.

Ames will be an interesting stop, if only because we're staying with a fellow rider. Neurologist David Moore, a 1980 Coe grad, will host us in Ames while accompanying us from Missouri Valley to Tama/Toledo. Ames, home of the Iowa State Cyclones, is also the "big" concert venue, with local artists The Nadas opening for ... wait for it ... STYK! Oh well, tickets are only $5 and proceeds go to flood recovery. BRING EARPLUGS!

After Tama/Toledo, towns so nice they named them twice, we're on to North Liberty. There we'll be hosted by CJ and Jenn Marcy, 1993 and 1996 Coe grads respectively, at their lakeside home with in-ground swimming pool. Dinner tonight is pot-luck, so invite your family and friends.

After proudly flying the Coe colors through Mount Vernon on the way to Tipton, our final overnight town will be a treat. Bob Rickard, a 1958 Coe grad, is hosting us at his home overlooking the park that will be the focal point of RAGBRAI activity. Tipton is the official Coe gathering spot for RAGBRAI. Contact the Alumni Office to RSVP.

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