Another Day, Another Sunrise

Some of you know that I set my alarm for 4:30 AM every day so that I can get in 20-25 miles before work.  In my previous role, I could sneak out during lunch and since the company was on Eastern Standard Time, I could also knock off at 4:00 PM for a second ride.  These days, I ride early because if I don’t there’s a good chance I won’t ride at all.

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June 17, 2019.  155th Street just up the hill from the Raccoon River Valley Trail, Greene County IA.

It was tough at first.  I started with this firm in early October and the days were already getting shorter.  I ended up riding in the dark for almost four months.  It was bitter cold many mornings, but as I grew accustomed to my new schedule I discovered that I actually liked it.  For one thing, there’s less traffic on the road.  That’s good.  Wildlife is also very active early, even in the dead of winter, and so I really developed a sense of who my natural neighbors are.  These were blessings.

There were more.  As winter turned into spring and the days began to lengthen, I also started being entertained by the most dazzling sunrises imaginable.  We have pretty amazing sunrises here in Greene County.  They’re as good as any I’ve ever seen.   I suspect the long vistas have something to do with it.  Maybe all rural places have great sunrises.  I don’t really know, but I think I’d like to find out.  Just when you think you’ve seen the best one ever, Mother Nature raises her game and delivers a better one still.  I haven’t gotten tired of them  yet and I hope I never do.

Cycling at dawn has become a really special part of my day.  It gives me an opportunity to organize my thoughts before tackling work.  It allows me to wake up a little more naturally.  I still drink coffee, but I drink less than I used to.  After my morning ride, it’s herbal tea and fruit-infused water now.  Maybe someday soon I’ll stop drinking coffee completely.

But it’s the mind calming opportunity to put the day in order that is the biggest benefit of my morning ride.   I typically don’t really even think about it.  I just get on the bike and go and soon enough all the pieces of the puzzle just fall into place.   No apps are required.  No doctors.  No pills.  How do you put a value on something like this?

The sunrises are the icing on the cake.  That one above?  I didn’t have it all to myself.  There were two cows that had gotten loose along the road.  Cattle tend to be skittish when I approach, but these two were as calm as could be.  I think they were in the same place I was.

Here’s wishing you a great day.  Cycle on.

 

 

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Finally Tubeless

Happy Weekend!  I’m riding the SWIGG Ride (Southwest Iowa Gravel Grinder) in two weeks.  SWIGG is a free to enter, you are responsible for you 105-miler through the wilds of (wait for it…) southwest Iowa.  In spite of what you may have heard about Iowa, this part of the state is very hilly.  Check out the elevation profile.  It’s nasty…almost 7,000 feet of climbing in total.

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All of which is to say SWIGG is my kind of bicycle race.  When I was first planning for it earlier this year, I was actually toying with the idea of riding my Salsa Fargo because it has these oversized knobby MTB tires (29 x 2.25″) that feel really good on gravel, but all those hills make it a less than ideal choice.  The Fargo is designed to tour under load.  It isn’t a go-fast climber.

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40 psi and holding steady!  🙂

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The SWIGG rig in all its tubeless glory

So I decided to ride my Raleigh Tamland instead.  The Tamland is a gravel bike.  This is what it was designed to do.  The problem, if you can call it that, is that the Tamland came with skinnier (700c x 32mm) tires and I’ve never felt nearly as comfortable on gravel with it as I do the Fargo.  I eventually figured out that the obvious solution was to upsize the tires and if I was going to go through the hassle of doing that, I might as well set it up tubeless.

So that’s what I did.  I bought a set of Panaracer Gravel King SKs in 700c x 38mm and I did a tubeless setup for the very first time earlier this week.  It was about as easy as could be because (a) I took my time and (b) when the back tire failed to stay inflated I worked my way back through the steps until I isolated the problem.   When I put it all back together, it worked like a charm.

I’ve ridden the tubeless setup four times now over one hundred miles and I am all in.  I absolutely love it on gravel.   The beauty of tubeless is that you can run your tires at much lower pressure than you might otherwise without worrying about getting pinch flats.  It might not sound like a big deal, but when you are responsible for you and you are sixty miles from the van in the Iowa Outback, flat tires are a very big deal.  I can fix them, but it’s better to not have to worry about them to begin with.  Lower pressure also translates into a better ride and more grip on the loose stuff.  The difference isn’t really noticeable to me on pavement, but get out on the rocks and it is night and day better.

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Park Tool’s VC-1 is a tiny little thing.  

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I prefer carrying a pump to cartridges.  Low pressure fills are easier to deal with and you’ll never run out of air.

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The Airshot is easy to use, easy to store and easy on your wallet…at least compared to a compressor.

If you think you might want to give tubeless a try, consider the following.  Your rims and tires have to be tubeless ready.  They’ll be labeled as such if they are.  If either the rims or the tires are not tubeless ready, it simply will not work.  You’ll also need special valves and sealant.    Multiple companies offer this stuff, so check with  your LBS and see what they recommend.  For what it’s worth, I used Stan’s No Tubes.  If you already have tubeless ready rims and tires, the sealant and valves will set you back less than $50.

On the tool front, you’ll need a valve stem removal tool like the Park Tool VC-1.  You can do the original setup without one, but you’ll have to remove the stem from time to time to add more sealant.  Get the tool upfront and it won’t be a hassle when you have to do it.  I also recommend getting a syringe specifically designed for tire sealant.  It will have the right size hose to fit a Presta valve and you won’t end up making a mess.

Last, but not least, you may need a little help seating the tire bead.  Some people can do it with a good floor pump, but most of us require an assist.  You can use an air compressor if you have one.  If you don’t, I recommend getting an Airshot.  It has all the right attachments.  Simply hook your floor pump up to it, pump it up to 120 psi, attach it to the Presta value (with the stem removed), open the valve on the bottle and the bead seats beautifully every time.

That’s really all there is to it.  If you decide that you want to tackle this, I highly recommend checking out the videos on Stan’s YouTube channel before giving it a go on your own.  They saved me a ton of time, particularly with regard to how to assure that the sealant coats the entire inside of the tire.   I’ll follow up with additional thoughts after SWIGG.  In the meantime, have a GREAT weekend and enjoy the ride!

 

Drifting Through the Driftless

I’ve wanted to visit the Driftless Region since I first heard of it shortly after moving to Iowa, but it’s so far away from our home in Jefferson that we’d put it off again and again.  This weekend it was finally time, so off we went to the north and east.  The idea was to ride bikes, of course, but also to see some new places.

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For those of you who don’t know, the Driftless is a large swath of NE Iowa, SE Minnesota, NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin that was bypassed by the great Ice Age glaciers.  I can’t tell you why this happened, just that it did. Those glaciers scrubbed the land and when they receded, they left behind a form of sediment called “drift.”   There’s no drift in the Driftless, thus the name.  Those who know this region well are pretty much universal in their praise of the place.  This is one of the most beautiful corners of America made even better by the fact that almost no one knows it’s here.  That means it’s unspoiled.   That makes it pretty close to paradise, at least to me.

But I’m not going to call it paradise.  The Eagles sang about this very thing on Hotel California.  Call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye.  Nope…not happening.  The last thing we need is another nice little corner of America to be “discovered.” There are enough fudge shops in Wisconsin Dells.  If you want candy and water parks, go there.  Ride the ducks.  The Driftless is not paradise. It’s just Iowa…at least this little corner of it.

It is, however, a fun place to explore by bike.  Take Decorah, for example.  I’ve heard it called Iowa’s mountain town and I think that’s as good of a description as any.  It reminded me a lot of Asheville North Carolina.  There’s Toppling Goliath, one of the best breweries on the planet.  There’s a real, honest to goodness main street full of real honest to goodness stores that real stuff.  They’ve taken out some motor vehicle parking spots and turned them into bike corrals.  They were mostly full.   There’s also a bookstore called Dragonfly with an extensive section of Scandinavian fiction.  There’s an incredibly clever store called Cardboard Robot.  I can’t begin to describe it.  We met someone there who worked for Surly Bikes for 17 years before coming here.  Yeah, it’s that kind of place.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.   Our first stop was Mason City, Iowa, the largest town on Interstate 35 between Ames and the Twin Cities at approximately 28,000 people.   Later, we stayed at the most delightful B&B in Calmar (around 1,000 people, more or less) and passed through Waverly (10,000) on the way back to Jefferson.  I wanted to share a little of what I liked about each of these unique places.

Mason City

We stopped in Mason City for two reasons.  One, we have driven past here many times between our time in Minnesota and Colorado but had never stopped and have always wondered what we were missing.  We heard that Mason City was the inspiration for “The Music Man.” Meredith Wilson, the play’s creator, was from here.  Frank Lloyd Wright built houses and the Historic Park Inn Hotel here.  If you’ve ever wanted to sleep in a building designed by Wright, this is your place.    Two, I also wanted to ride the Trolley Trail that runs seven miles west to Clear Lake.

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Along the Trolley Trail.  There’s electric, but I’m not sure there’s actually a trolley.

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These marked bike routes were everywhere in Mason City.  Connectivity was very good.

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Ahhh, coffee.  Sourced responsibly and roasted in the store.

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Mason City had its share of beautiful places, too.

I really liked downtown Mason City.  It felt very European to me.  We had coffee and treats at Beanzy’s and chatted up the owner who came here from Columbus Georgia a long time ago.  I asked her how long it took to get used to the winters.  Her response?  I’ll let you know if it ever happens.

Another thing that was somewhat European about Mason City was all the side paths and really nice signed bicycle routes.  They were everywhere, or so it seemed.   We ended up getting off of the Trolley Trail and just riding around the city.  Everywhere we went was connected.  You know how it is most place when you’re on a side path and it just suddenly ends with no warning?  That didn’t happen here.  Google Maps hasn’t caught on.   Perhaps it’s the unassuming nature of people in this part of the country.  They’ve never really learned the art of self promotion.  They don’t brag.  They just build.  Mason City is a lot more bicycle friendly than I would have expected.  I’d like to come back and explore some more in the future.

Decorah

Decorah is special, not only in Iowa but in all of the Midwest.   It just feels different here…in some ways night and day different.  It’s the kind of place where “play” is just as important as work to most folks and that leads to a healthy, happy vibe.  I could have spent days here.  I can see why people leave places like Chicago or the Twin Cities and settle into a life of relative anonymity here.  I find it very appealing.  I could do this.

Our first stop in Decorah was at Toppling Goliath, the large microbrewery on the east side of town.  Before coming here, I had avoided Toppling Goliath’s beers as they’re a bit more expensive than the average microbrew.  Then I started reading about how people come here from all over the world and how this little brewery is considered by beer advocates to be one of the best on the planet.   I won’t argue the point.  We had a flight that included two beers you’re not going to find on the shelf at your local market any time soon.  This is the good stuff.

As for the cycling, we rode the Trout Run Trail, which forms a loop around the town.  It’s mostly  flat even though Decorah is somewhat hilly.  It connects to a trout hatchery on the south side.  There’s no fence or anything around the pools.  You can walk right up and see the fish. I love trout.

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Downtown Decorah.  Note the bike parking on the street behind the white pickup.

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Oneota Community Food Cooperative, downtown

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We have eagles in Jefferson, too.  They’re not as rare out here as the sign would have you believe.

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Trout hatchery.  Lots of folks here looking at the fish.

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The local tourist attraction.  Seriously good beer.

Calmar

We came to Calmar to stay at the Lavender Fields Inn, a bed and breakfast in a fully restored Victorian farmhouse.  It was a good decision.  The proprietors, Barb and Jeff, were so much fun!  Our room was comfortable and Sunday morning breakfast was one of the best I’ve ever had!  If you come here, you might want to check out the Pivo Brewery, an easy one mile bike ride from Lavender Fields Inn along the trail and an adjacent side path.  There’s also delicious BBQ at Memphis Rae’s downtown…an easy walk.  Memphis will likely be there to greet you.  His pork ribs are incredible.  If you want some, it’s best to get there by 5:00 PM.  When they’re gone, they’re gone.

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Prairie Farmer Trail – Calmar Trailhead

Between all that good eating and hospitality,  I had a chance to ride the Prairie Farmer Trail from Calmar northwest to the town of Cresco.  It’s a 40 mile round trip through a sublime slice of rural Iowa.  The trail is paved asphalt, mostly flat and smooth.  I set forth at dawn on Sunday morning and had it all to myself, passing only a single solitary cyclist on what was a beautiful, mostly windless morning.  The surrounding countryside is just gorgeous, a mixture of forests and fields with some spectacular vistas of the somewhat hilly countryside.

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Straight and flat!

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Decisions, decisions…

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The delightful Lavender Fields Inn

Waverly

As it turns out, we saved the best for last, at least when it comes to cycling.  The Waverly Rail Trail is seriously good…much better than I expected.  It cuts right through the heart of downtown before heading south and east to Denver.  It’s wide, it’s smooth and with the exception of the main drag, it burrows under all the major streets.  If there’s anything at all to nitpick over, it’s the length…barely seven miles.  That will eventually change as the trail is connected to the Shell Rock and Rolling Prairie trails to the west.  When it all comes together,  it will be an 80 mile long trail spanning a good swath of Iowa from east to west.  For now,  it’s as good a local trail as I’ve found anywhere in Iowa.

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Trailhead in downtown Waverly

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This is a wide, beautiful trail.  There are even sections with a median!

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There are several major street crossings with wide culvert-like tunnels

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There are pretty views of the Cedar River as you leave town.

So that’s it…four towns, one very special corner of the state.  I’m glad we headed up here.  I’d like to explore this region more.  In many ways, these four communities were all unique and different.  That said, they had some things in common.  All were prosperous and well kept.  The people were kind and helpful and generally seemed glad we came to visit.  They love cycling, too.  Bikes were everywhere.  It was a good weekend…one of the best we’ve had in a long time.  I can’t wait to come back for a second helping.

Cycling in Ice Cream Town

We traveled to northwest Iowa yesterday so that Jan could buy some yoga gear she found on Facebook marketplace.  It was also an opportunity to explore some new territory.  The gear was in Sioux City and so we stopped there first before heading on to Vermillion South Dakota.  That was my idea.   We’d never been to Vermillion and I knew it was a smallish college town.  I wanted to see it and I’m glad we did.  It feels different than Iowa, even though it’s less than 20 miles from the state line as the crow flies.  Definitely has a much more “western”  feel to it.  Felt a little like Laramie to me.   

After Vermillion, we headed due east towards Le Mars.  This was our ultimate destination and I wasn’t sure we’d make it.  The Missouri is still significantly above flood stage at Sioux City, and it was a sure bet that the Big Sioux River that forms the border between South Dakota and Iowa would be, too.   It didn’t disappoint.  What normally is a relatively insignificant blink-and-you’ll-miss-it river had flooded the entire valley and was several miles wide.   In some spots it came right up to the edge of the road.  Between the Missouri and the Big Sioux, it was some of the most spectacular and devastating river flooding I’ve ever seen.  This year is definitely one for the ages.

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Big Sioux river valley. We’re about a mile from the river here.

In spite of it all, we eventually rolled into Le Mars, a community made famous by its largest local employer…Wells Blue Bunny.  Le Mars is a prosperous community of about 10,000 that calls itself the ice cream capital of the world.  Unlike a lot of towns in this part of the world, it has grown continuously since the end of World War II.  They’ve never experienced a decline in population.

Le Mars is a stone’s throw from Sioux City, and so I presume many people commute to jobs there.  Maybe not.  It appears that there’s plenty of work for people in town, too.  This is Iowa’s ice cream town.  It’s kind of a big deal, too.  You know how some communities place pianos or wildly painted cows all over town?  Here it’s ice cream cones.  They were everywhere and gave Le Mars an identity all its own.

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They were closed.   Shades of Wally World!

But ice cream would have to wait.  We came to Le Mars to check out the Le Mars Recreational Trail.  It’s a nine mile long trail that loops around the town from northeast to southwest.  Along the way, it connects homes to stores, offices, public buildings and more.  It’s a recreational resource that does double time as a nascent transportation corridor.  It offers local residents a way to get around by bicycle if that’s what they want to do.  I suspect that few currently do, but maybe that will change.  If you build it, they will come.

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Trail map.

We rolled into town from the west on Iowa State Highway 3 and parked at West Floyd Park on the banks of the Floyd River.  We had some concern that this river would also be flooded and there was plenty of river mud to contend with, but thankfully no flood waters here.  That said, there is a section of trail missing as it passes under Business Route 75 that limited us to the southern two-thirds of the trail.

All in all, the trail was about what I expected for this part of Iowa, which is to say a well thought out, quality experience.   The surface is mostly concrete.  It’s wide and smooth and absolutely delightful for cruising.  There were plenty of shelters along the route, which is good as the weather changes quickly out here and can be quite severe.

There were a few surprises as well.  There’s a section of trail towards the southern end that parallels a dirt road.  The trail portion is paved. I’ve never seen that before.  The tunnel that passes under US 75 near the southern trailhead was well lit and safe.

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Southern trailhead at Key Avenue.

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The trail parallels a dirt road near the southern terminus.  I thought this was really nice.

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The tunnel under US 75 was well lit.

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These shelters were a common sight along the trail and help offer cyclists some protection from bad weather.

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Connectivity to local businesses is very good.

That said, the trail follows the Floyd River and (as is often the case with “recreational” trails) is prone to flooding.  From West Floyd Park to Business Route 75, the trail was coated in river mud, clearly indicating a recent flood.  Thankfully, it was no problem for the wide-ish tires we brought with us.  There’s also a missing link where the trail passes beneath BR 75.  It appears that the flood might have taken it out, as you can clearly see the trail in the distance where it rises out of the floodplain.  Still, the ominous warning sign made passage here a moot point.  We turned around and called it a day.

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So close and yet so far away.

That’s not a bad thing.  We got in close to ten fun miles and didn’t even feel slightly guilty about heading over to Iowa BBQ Company for a meat-fest.  This is seriously good Texas-style BBQ, well worth a trip in its own right.  The brisket was melt in your mouth good.  The  jalapeño cheddar sausage was reminiscent of the sausage I used to enjoy at Riley’s BBQ in Blanco, deep in the heart of the Texas Hill County.  Would I would drive the 240 mile round trip again just to eat here?  You betcha I would.

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The Iowa BBQ Company alone is worth a trip to Le Mars, whether you come by car or bike.

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The mac and cheese came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint.

So all in all, it was a very good day.  On the drive back to Jefferson I found myself thinking about Le Mars and what they have here.  In a sense, there was nothing special about this trail, and yet if I lived here I’d park the car and use it to go just about everywhere.   Other towns in this region have similar trails.  Sioux Falls comes to mind.  When we visited South Dakota’s largest city last autumn, we discovered a similar trail that loops all the way around town.   I understand that Decorah, in the Driftless region of northeast Iowa, has a similar loop.  We plan to visit later this summer.  I never get tired of exploring communities like these and learning a little more about how they help residents integrate cycling as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Cycling The Empty Quarter

“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.”  -John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

I don’t think that there’s ever a bad time or place to be on a bicycle, but some places are naturally better than others.  Take the Upper Middle West, the region of the country I call home.   I personally think this is the best place for cycling anywhere.  That’s a big part of the reason we’re here.

Wedged inauspiciously between the Midwest and Colorado’s Front Range, this is flyover country.  It’s also “drive across” county.  Few people currently live here and those who do are leaving.  Those passing through often view this region as an annoyance…hundreds of empty miles separating home from where they’re heading.  Few linger.  Eighty on eighty…that’s their mantra.   The Rockies are out there just over the horizon and they can’t come soon enough.  Deliver us, oh Lord, from this empty wasteland.

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The Empty Quarter…Denver, Kansas City and Minneapolis St. Paul are on the periphery.  Jefferson (star) is on the eastern edge.

That’s precisely what makes it so great for those of us who live and cycle here.  When you look at these pictures, it’s hard to miss the absence of motor vehicles.  On any given day, I see a handful, no more.  Doesn’t much matter if I go a mile or 100 miles.  Doesn’t much matter if I’m rolling on smooth pavement or rough rocks.  If you’d rather not bicycle around people in cars or trucks, this is your place.

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Storm clouds on the big horizon, Greene County Iowa

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Montana may have the cred, but our skies hold their own.

It’s beautiful out here.  This is deliciously ironic since so many people don’t see it.  I can’t begin to describe it.  You have to come and experience it for yourself.  Part of it is the stillness.  I’ve written about it before.  I call it “blessed” and it is.  Another part of it is the wildlife.  I rousted a coyote out of a roadside ditch yesterday. The canine took off at full speed and ran and ran and ran. It was terrified of me.  The countryside was wide open and so I was able to observe. It’s one thing to hear somebody in a white coat explain how creatures in the natural world are fearful of man.  It’s another thing to see it with your own two eyes.

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High plains drifting, April 2016

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Near Sidney, Nebraska Panhandle.  Give me the slow road.

I’ve moved a lot in my life and I sometimes find myself worrying that Jefferson is going to grow. Local boosters want growth.  Me, not so much.   If they get their wish, I’ll have to move again.   The math is not in my favor.  There are seven billion of us sharing space and tomorrow there will be more.  We all have to go somewhere.

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Oh, yeah.   Let’s roll.

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Winter sunset, Happy Jack Road, Wyoming

And so I find myself exploring on Google Maps…looking west by northwest and learning about other places that might be worth living if it ever gets too crowded here.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not in any rush.  That said, some things are just too good to bend on.  This is one of them.  Cycling out here is pure joy.  I hope  you get to experience it someday, whether as a resident or visitor.

Iowa’s Iconic High Trestle Bridge

One of my favorite places to cycle in central Iowa is over the iconic High Trestle Bridge north of Des Moines.  The bridge is the centerpiece of the appropriately named High Trestle Trail that runs from the Des Monies suburb of Ankeny to Woodward in northern Dallas County.  It’s part of the region’s extensive paved trail network.

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The gap between Perry and the bridge will soon be closed, but even now it’s an easy ride on mostly empty roads.

The High Trestle Bridge actually sealed the deal when we were thinking about moving here from Utah in 2017.  We had spent an exhausting day house hunting and were on our way back to the Hotel Pattee in Perry.  We saw a sign for the bridge along State Highway 141.  Jan asked me if I wanted  to check it out.  You betcha.

We got off the highway and drove through Woodward and headed back east towards Madrid on State Highway 210.  You know how it is when you’re looking for something for the first time and wondering if you’ll be able to see it from the road?  I needn’t have worried.  It was hard to miss. It wasn’t what I expected in central Iowa.  The bridge was high.  The river valley broad and wide.  It felt more Western than Midwestern.  I knew I wouldn’t be content with a photo from the side of the road.

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The High Trestle Bridge and Des Moines River valley from SH 210 east of Woodward

So we climbed out of the valley and found an access road that led to a trailhead where we parked and started walking back toward the bridge.  It was about a mile or so.  We ran into another couple…local residents.  If I remember correctly, he was a professor at ISU.  She worked for the county.  They were friendly and so we talked.  “You have to stay until the sun goes down” they told us.  “You have to see the lights.”

It was early spring…the first warmer stretch of weather after a long cold winter.  Nights like that almost make winter seem like a pretty reasonable deal in hindsight.  “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”  That’s Steinbeck from “Travels with Charley”… for my money the best “road” book ever written.   This was that.  It was a fair trade…winter for that night.  If you live in the middle of the country, you know what I’m talking about.

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So we stayed and we visited and while we did the bridge lit up and I fell in love with Iowa.  Done deal.  It was about a year later that I finally had the opportunity to cycle the bridge.  I left Jefferson on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, went overland from Perry to Woodward (they’re building a trail connection as I write) where I caught the High Trestle Trail.  I rode through a tunnel of trees and then the landscape opened up.  I was high above the Des Moines River and soaring.   I continued on to the city before circling back towards home on the south leg of the Raccoon River Valley Trail.  It was a 135 mile day, almost all of it on trails.  The bridge was the highlight.

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I’ve had the pleasure of riding across quite a few bicycle bridges since that evening that now seems so long ago.  This is still my favorite.  Shortly after it opened in 2011, the BBC featured the High Trestle Bridge in an article titled “Eight Amazing Footbridges.”  It’s the only bridge in the Western Hemisphere that made the cut.

So if you love to cycle and find yourself in central Iowa, it’s worth the time to find a bike and head north from Des Moines to check out the High Trestle Bridge.  It’s one of the things that makes cycling in this part of the world special.

Photo Dump 2.0

Since getting my old MacBook Pro back a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been going through some of my old cycling photos and marveling at the amazing places I’ve been on the bike.  I posted a photo dump when I first got the computer back and now I’m ready to post another.  I hope you enjoy them.

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After a winter of epic snowfall, the Ogden River was running high and fast in the spring of 2017.

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I didn’t have my bike when I visited Toronto in 2014.  Next time I will.  I love Canada’s largest city.

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I went to Memphis in 2015 for Bike League LCI training and caught this shot of the Mississippi River crossings from the river bottomlands near West Memphis, Arkansas.

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Approaching Park City on the Union Pacific Rail Trail.  This was a really fun day on the bike.

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That day started in Echo, 26 miles to the northeast.

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On top of the Colorado National Monument during the 2016 Tour of the Moon, Fruita Colorado.  This is one of my favorite places in the world.

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Rolling into downtown Pittsburgh on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, April 2016.  Pittsburgh is an amazing city for cyclists.

 

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I was halfway down Ogden’s epic Bobsled (the  only black diamond trail I’ve ever attempted) when I stopped to shoot this picture of the Weber State University football stadium.

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Crossing into Logan County Colorado from the Nebraska Panhandle. I love cycling out here on the high plains.

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Arches National Park.  I didn’t ride here but I have to come back and do so some day.

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I hiked around to the backside of Double Arch.  It was the only place in the park that wasn’t crowed with touristas.

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I rode the FrontRunner (commuter rail) to SLC from Ogden and rode through America’s first Dutch Junction at the corner of 200W and 300S in Salt Lake City before cycling all the way home.