30 Days of Biking - Week One

Holy smokes! This is my 6th year of pledging to ride my bike every…single…day in the ever unpredictable month of April. As the 4,860th person to sign up at 30 Days of Biking I felt a bit tardy to the party. But better late than never right?

Day One - Art installation along Clive Greenbelt Trail. “Trail & Woods Behind My Neighborhood” by Maria Cervantes

Day One - Art installation along Clive Greenbelt Trail. “Trail & Woods Behind My Neighborhood” by Maria Cervantes

Day Two - Lunch break in Waukee.

Day Two - Lunch break in Waukee.

Day Three - The Simpson Barn in Johnston

Day Three - The Simpson Barn in Johnston

Day Four - Waukee’s new Fox Creek Park

Day Four - Waukee’s new Fox Creek Park

Day Five - Country Club Glen Park in Clive

Day Five - Country Club Glen Park in Clive

Day Six - The historical Burr Oak on the campus of Iowa State University. It dwarfs most things. Especially my bicycle.

Day Six - The historical Burr Oak on the campus of Iowa State University. It dwarfs most things. Especially my bicycle.

Day Seven - First library ride of 2019.

Day Seven - First library ride of 2019.

The challenge is off to a good start. With a decent amount of riding my creaky legs are getting ready for more rides this summer.

Happy Riding!

Brenton Arboretum

This outing ended up being pretty funny. I was looking to be outside in the quiet but the crusty coating on the snow made for some pretty loud snowshoeing. CRUNCH!!! CRUNCH!!! CRUNCH!!!! I couldn’t help but laugh. Wildlife out in the cold heard me coming and headed for cover. In order to hear birdsong I had to stop walking. I didn’t get the quiet I was looking for but I’ll find it once the snow’s gone. Hopefully soon!


The  Brenton Arboretum can be found in an unsuspecting location in between farm fields south of Dallas Center. With seven different grass trails and the gravel drive, there are lots of options for getting around the museum of trees.  It is also less than 3 miles from the Raccoon River Valley Trail via gravel roads.

The arboretum was created by the Brenton family using land purchased in 1853 for $1.25 an acre. Over 2,000 trees are included in the collection.  Each are labeled with its botanical name.  Maps of the park and the location of trees are listed on maps available in the kiosk just inside the park.  A playscape and pavilion provide great spots for spending time with the family out in nature.  Lots of events take place throughout the year.  For all the details check out the Brenton Arboretum website.  


Kuehn Conservation Area

While the Iron Giant patiently waits out winter in the garage, I’ve explored local trails on snow shoes. A recent outing was somewhere new for me, Kuehn Conservation Area. It’s located north of Earlham and is a popular spot for school field trips. The park has prairie and forest along with a nature center and places to tent camp.

I snowshoed around the prairie trail and a segment of forest that leads down to the Raccoon River. It was super quiet and I had the park to myself. Perfect!

The underestimated fallen leaf: food for the forest floor.

The underestimated fallen leaf: food for the forest floor.

Kuhen is part of the Iowa’s Makoke Trail. This is a series of birding locations in Central Iowa. I didn’t spot too many birds other than Blue Jays, Juncos, and Chickadees. On the northeast side of the park there is a blind available for birding. I plan on checking that out on my next visit.

“Bird” or “Owl” in the language of the Ioway

“Bird” or “Owl” in the language of the Ioway

Branches of the mighty Oak. Did you know Oak trees support over 500 species of insects (bird food)!!??! That’s mighty for sure!

Branches of the mighty Oak. Did you know Oak trees support over 500 species of insects (bird food)!!??! That’s mighty for sure!

The snow was pretty deep so I took it slow…just like my bike riding!

The snow was pretty deep so I took it slow…just like my bike riding!

There were so many tracks in the snow. Some of them unfamiliar.

Weasel tracks?

Weasel tracks?

Thank goodness for my snowshoes. They’ve helped me to get outside this winter and have been a fun remedy for cabin fever.

Check out this post by Des Moines Outdoor Fun to see what Kuehn Conservation Area looks like in the snow-free months.

30 Days of Biking - Week Three

The final days of this year's pledge were my favorite.  Spring showed up and rides got way more enjoyable.  The highlight was being serenaded by birds out on the RRVT.

Day 27 was a bust due to my poor planning.  " Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!"

The most amazing aspect of this year was none of my rides involved ice cream.  I KNEW I was forgetting something!! 

Happy Riding

 

 

 

30 Days of Biking - Week Two

This is where I REALLY could complain about the weather. But I'm not going to. It's not because I have a sunny disposition or want to convey that biking every day is always this fantastic thing. It's because I'm tired.  Tired of talking about the weather. Tired of complaining about the snow, the wind, the overcast, the cold, the snow....

Day 15 was spent indoors griping and moaning about the weather.  Sunny(ier) days were for longer rides and time spent outdoors. Because you never know about the Iowa weather. But, I'm not going to complain....