April 25, 2019
This update will be important for everyone who ends
his/her Week in the Corn with Pork Belly Ventures,
but it is especially important for those
who use our East/West Shuttle prior to RAGBRAI.
Here, you'll find
instructions for reserving Long-Term Parking in Keokuk
(the end town) and for reserving other services there.
Dear Porkers,

We've said it before. It takes a lot of good people to host RAGBRAI, and we are very proud to say that our hosts in Keokuk are some of the biggest-hearted people we have ever met. We'll tell you the story of how First Christian Church has helped the kids and parents pictured here -- and many others.

Fortunately for us, FCC chose Pork Belly Ventures, inviting us to stage our East/West Shuttle at their spacious and comfortable church building in Keokuk on July 19 and 20.

RIGHT: "You would be surprised how many kids don't have a bed," Pastor David Turner told us during our April 10 visit. Here we'll tell you the story of the church's ministry of building beds and giving them to families in need. According to our new friend Tom Hakes, the number of beds given away in nineteen months time is approaching 260. The photos in this update capture the moments when many kids happily received their beds--sometimes their first bed ever.
Our hosts at First Christian Church can offer the following services on site:

Keokuk Services

  • Long-term Parking at $60 per vehicle
  • Comfortable indoor sleeping for a $15 donation (per person)
  • A Box Lunch for your bus ride on Friday, July 19th, $7
  • A Hot Breakfast on site on the morning of Saturday, July 20th, $7
  • A Box Brunch for your bus ride on Saturday, July 20th, $7

(All menus included below)
Ahhhh... Convenience!
Some of you can recall times when the end town arrangements have been... well, a little challenging. It's tricky to drop off bikes and baggage, drive your car to a distant site, and then catch a shuttle back to PBV to board your coach. It can be done, but it's complicated.

Well, this year it's simple. First Christian Church has a huge parking lot, with hundreds of stalls for long-term parking, exclusive to those using our E/W Shuttle. They have additional outdoor space for bike-loading, bus staging, and more.

Good Sleep on Friday Night--Right on Site!
Inside the church, there is virtually unlimited indoor sleeping space, in room after room after room. There is ample space for everyone who would like to make a $15 donation for the privilege of rolling out your bedroll in a nice air-conditioned space, much of it carpeted, right at the long-term parking site. Throughout the building, there are nearly 40 toilets and several showers. Church volunteers will also shuttle our riders to and from the YMCA to access those showers (until 9:00 pm). Talk about a simple plan for Saturday morning... 1) wake up and smell the coffee, the sausage, and french toast; 2) enjoy your hot breakfast, and 3) step outside to board your coach!
Please Note: We at Pork Belly Ventures always show our gratitude to our indoor-sleeping hosts by cleaning up after ourselves. Please remember that the only appropriate beverage in your sleeping area is a bottle of water with a lid. Please remove your own trash from the sleeping area too.

BELOW: During our visit, we caught the ladies
of First Christian baking treats.
They're very good at breakfast too!
Here's What's Cooking!
The ladies of First Christian are big on cooking and baking. They have planned the following generous meals for you.

Each meal is $7.

A Box Lunch for your bus ride on Friday, July 19th
Ham and Cheese Sandwich, chips, carrot and celery sticks, an apple, a homemade cookie or brownie, and a can of soda or bottle of water.

A Hot Breakfast on site on the morning of Saturday, July 20th
Egg casserole, sausage links, French toast, and banana, with coffee and milk or orange juice. Breakfast will be served from 6:00 to 8:30 am.

A Box Brunch for
your bus ride on Saturday, July 20th
World-famous creme horn from Stan's Pastry Shop in Keokuk, yogurt, apple, milk, orange juice, ham and cheese sandwich.
Dinner in Keokuk
The volunteers of First Christian Church are being careful not to promise too much--they will need all hands on deck to provide the meals and services we've listed. If you're staying overnight in Keokuk on Friday, July 19th, please enjoy the restaurants in town!
Something NEW...
Sign Up for
with Pork Belly Ventures
This is a first. At FCC's request, we're handling the reservations for our host church, and your payments simply flow right through PBV to First Christian Church. For long-term parking, for indoor sleeping, for any of the meal options, we have put this selection of Keokuk Services on our application. You can reserve Keokuk Long-Term Parking, Keokuk Indoor Sleeping, and any of the meals above. Login to your Pork Belly Ventures application (or create a new one), add the desired services/meals to your application, and make your payment by check in the mail (payable to PBV, 412 Forest Glen Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503) or pay by credit card. Remember that you'll incur a fee for the convenience of using your card--so mailing a check is better!

On the home page at pkbelly.com, the LOGIN tab is in the upper righthand corner. Click on LOGIN and enter your username and password. When you have accessed your application, you can click the blue EDIT button across from your name, and then select additional services offered in Keokuk. See the NEW category of services, entitled "Keokuk Services for Those on E/W Shuttle."

If you don't currently have an application with Pork Belly Ventures, you can click LOGIN, enter a new username and new password and tick the box that says your credentials are new to our system. From the list of bike rides, select RAGBRAI. Then you can fill in the blanks and select your services, including our new menu of Keokuk Services.
"You would be surprised how many kids
don't have a bed."
--Pastor David Turner
It's hard to believe that the bed ministry began in October of 2017. A month ago, the number of beds given to kids was 253! For a little place like Keokuk, that's a lot of little heads on pillows.
What's It All For?
Of course, all these services are for you, Porkers. But RAGBRAI will come and go. The bed ministry and other good work of FCC will continue, in part, because of our stay.

When we visited FCC early this month, we saw their bed-building operation quite by accident. It's such a simple thing, giving a child a place to lay her head at night. "When we began our bed ministry in October 2017," Tom Hakes said, "we were able to purchase 170 beds from a local boarding school that had closed. We sent out a flyer through the grade schools and were flooded with requests. All those beds were gone within a few weeks."

ABOVE RIGHT: On April 10th, Pete took in the bed-building operation of First Christian Church.

LEFT: Tom Hakes, who heads up the bed ministry of First Christian Church. That's our crew chief, Mick, beside him.

BELOW LEFT: Pete and Pastor Dave of FCC

Since then, Tom, Pastor Dave, and other volunteers at the church have made it their mission to build and give beds to kids who need them. And not just beds, but mattresses, mattress covers, sheets, and bedspreads. "We have publicized our ministry through local schools," Tom said, "the local Head Start agency, the low-income housing authority, other local churches, and area social service agencies."

You can see the results in the faces of grateful kids and parents. When you sign up for indoor sleeping or for any of the meals, you can feel good about what your payment/donation will accomplish for kids in need.

"Too many children end up sleeping on couches and even floors. This can affect their happiness and their health."
--Sleep in Heavenly Peace Charity
If You're Using Our Shuttle, Sign Up with Us.
(Don't Sign Up for Faraway Parking.)
There are other parking areas in Keokuk, but if you're using our shuttle, please don't make the mistake of purchasing parking a long ways off from our excellent site! You may get other invitations, but this year, anyone using our E/W Shuttle will sign up for end-town parking and other services right on your PBV application.
Hours for Long-Term Parking
At FCC, you'll visit the parking check-in table and claim your parking pass (which hangs from your rear-view mirror).

On Friday, volunteers will be available for check-in and parking assistance from 10:00 a.m. until dark.

On Saturday morning, volunteers will will be available for check-in and parking assistance from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m.
A Reminder:
Our East/West Shuttle Departure Days and Times
We offer five different departures on the East/West Shuttle.
  • Two departure times on Friday afternoon, 7/19--at about 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
  • Three morning departure times on Saturday morning, 7/20--at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 a.m.

Remember that you can't select your preferred departure date and time just yet. That will happen in June. Don't be concerned about getting your preferred departure. When we ask for your preference in June, please respond in a timely way, and you'll be fine!
Hours for Bike Loading in Keokuk
On Friday morning, our crew will begin loading bikes in the mid-morning and continue until about 7:00 p.m. Whether you're shuttling to Council Bluffs on Friday or on Saturday morning, you're welcome to get the bikes loaded on Friday. At about 7:00 p.m., our crew will knock off for dinner and sleep.

On Saturday morning, they'll resume bike loading at about 6:00 a.m. Please don't be casual about arriving in time to load your bike and bags well before your departure time. Get an early start and allow plenty of time for parking (a little congestion is normal), claiming any meals you purchased, and boarding your coach.
Assigned Buses
In June, we'll ask for your preferred departure day and time, and we'll publish bus rosters for you in advance of RAGBRAI. You'll be able to check your bus assignments and those of your friends. Remember: Friends need a common group name on all applications. If you select the same departure and have a common group name, we'll get you assigned to the same coach!
Oh! You're NOT on the PBV East/West Shuttle?
At the end of RAGBRAI, ALL of Pork Belly Ventures will finish our week at First Christian Church in Keokuk--with showers operating in the FCC parking lot! More to come on the details of our last day of RAGBRAI in a future update.

Importantly, even if you're not using our East/West Shuttle prior to RAGBRAI, you will be able to support FCC when you roll into Keokuk at week's end! We will be loading bikes and boarding shuttles in their parking lot on Saturday, July 27th, at the end of RAGBRAI 2019. You will experience their hospitality, and you'll enjoy their delicious cooking. And you, too, will have a chance to support their wonderful cause.
About Other PBV Shuttles
For info on our Omaha and Des Moines Shuttles prior to RAGBRAI, see our update #1 here:

And we'll publish instructions and more detail about all our shuttles in our June Letter--coming about mid-June.
This Parking Area Is Not for Everyone...
If you're reading this update, but are not using the E/W Shuttle of Pork Belly Ventures, there will be more convenient places for you to park your vehicles at the same price, $60. Please keep an eye on https://keokukragbrai.com/. By May 1, you'll find an invitation to sign up for Long-Term Parking in other areas of Keokuk, more convenient for catching your shuttle!

Most of us take for granted a clean and safe place to lay our heads. On Friday, July 19th, First Christian is offering that gift to Pork Belly Ventures. After all, it's what they do. Thanks for reading, Porkers. We're testing SendMyBike.com -- Yahoo! We'll have a bike shipping update out to you soon, and more good news in the early days of May. Until then, we remain,
Your friends,

Tammy and Pete

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Our East/West Shuttle, end to start town, Keokuk to Council Bluffs
  • $160 per person
  • Approximately 5 hours across Iowa from the end-town to the start-town
  • Two departure times on Friday afternoon, 7/19--tentatively 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
  • Three morning departure times on Saturday morning, 7/20--tentatively 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 a.m.*
*We spread out the Saturday departure times a bit this year, with a full hour between departures. This is in response to requests from our riders.

If you plan to use our East/West Shuttle, give some thought to whether you'd like to travel across the state on Friday afternoon (extra night of camping in Council Bluffs) or on Saturday morning. Those who shuttle on Friday will get settled in camp on Friday night, will check in for Weeklong Support on Friday night, and will have a bit more time to spend at the huge RAGBRAI Bike Expo on Saturday. Those who shuttle on Saturday may enjoy the Friday Night hospitality of our hosts at First Christian Church in Keokuk, and they can check out the restaurants in town for dinner. 
Talk to your friends and think it over.  No need to tell us your departure preference now. In June, we'll be asking you which departure day and time you prefer on the East/West Shuttle.
The East/West Shuttle is a great option for those who drive to Iowa from points east (or from the south or north) and who want to park their vehicles at the end of the ride. Our shuttle carries you to the ride start, and you'll spend your week pedaling back to your car.

BELOW: Please note that Frank has protected his bike for truck transport. Even if you can't fully box the bike, you can protect it with foam tubing and other packing material. In our June Letter, we will put more complete suggestions for protecting your bike for transport on our shuttles.
Pork Belly Ventures LLC 
Tammy: 712.328.0161 h, 808-375-8921 c, tammypav@cox.net
Pete: 712-328-6836 h, 402-681-2613 c, petephillips@cox.net|