First Ride of 2015

The Trail

The Raccoon River Valley trail is one of Iowa’s premier trails.  With 89 miles to ride and 15 communities to visit, it provides lots of route options for cyclists in central Iowa.  Each trailside community has it’s own trailhead.  Most are renovated train stations as this bike trail was once a railway.Trailside towns are less than 10 miles apart and provide good options for where to start/stop a ride or to take a break. The Raccoon River Valley Trail provides a variety of scenery ranging from open farmland to tree-lined tunnels of the wooded areas flanking rivers and creeks.

Trail Map

Trail Information

The Ride

After a day of binging on college football, appetizers, and snacks it was time to pay penance.  I was not about to go to the gym for a workout!  It’s bound to be very busy for the next 2-3 months with everyone working on their yearly resolutions.  So, off to the Raccoon River Valley Trail I went with plans of riding to Perry with a light breeze at my back.  

Out on the trail it was pretty cold I contemplated making it a short out-and-back from Dallas Center but decided to forgo being a wimp and keep pedaling.    I warmed up in no time.  My new fleece balaclava  likely had something to do with it.  By the time I reached Perry my toes would be frozen while the rest of me would be a sweaty mess.  Really??  You’d think by now I’d figure out the right clothing recipe for winter riding!  

The trail was quiet and I enjoyed having it all to myself.  I made a quick stop in Dallas Center to document my visit with the camera.  With the RRVT so close to home it’s my go-to trail.  I lost count of all the rides I took on this awesome trail in 2014.  Maybe this year I’ll actually keep track...or not.

Reaching Minburn I noted the progress being made on the train depot project.  It’s looking pretty snazzy with it’s refurbished brick and newly painted green trim. 

While hunting is prohibited on the trail, public hunting areas flank portions of the trail.   Between the trees northeast of Minburn I saw flashes of hunter orange .  I was out of gun range (I think) but was wishing I had brought along my orange vest to put on so I would be more visible.   

The gravel crossings on this portion of the trail have all be paved.  Crossing one of them I saw something I’d never witnessed on a bike ride before. Chocolates sprinkled among the rocks.  Was someone driving the gravel roads scarfing down candy only to reach a breaking point and tossed what remained of the box out the window?  Whatever the story, a scavenging animal is now in for a treat!

Reaching downtown Perry I parked the Iron Giant outside one of my favorite stores, Ben Franklin.  Growing up we would frequent the store in Nevada, spending way too much time deliberating in the candy aisle.  Sprees? Sugar Babies? Kit-Kat? Bit-O-Honey?  Like my hometown, the Perry store has  huge candy selection along with aisles of fun items to browse.  The store even has a downstairs area filled with fabrics, yarn, and other sewing notions.  

After leaving Ben Franklin I headed across the street for a hot cup of coffee.  Perry Perk is a family owned coffee shop with a wide variety of hot and cold beverages and baked goods.  I chose a cup of their daily house blend and and found a nice spot next to the window to sip and relax. A cozy coffee shop along the bike trail is always a good thing!

Happy Riding!