Just blocks away from home, this is my go-to trail. While I've yet to ride all of the available 89 miles of trail (maybe someday!) The Raccoon River Valley trail is a great trail for long rides. 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 trail provides a variety of scenery ranging from open farmland to wooded areas flanking rivers and creeks. Riders 18 and up are required to a user fee of $2 a day or $10 for a year. Strong boxes are located at trailheads for purchasing trail permits.
After a previous ride on the Raccoon I had stopped for a post-ride treat at Al Dente. Read about that here. Months later I found myself continuing to crave another delicious latte. Time for a coffee ride!
This spring day turned out to be a rarity. Clear skies AND calm winds. The mysterious headwinds weren't even out between Waukee and Ortonville! I stopped to take yet another picture of the Iron Giant. This time it included a lion, which is ironic as years ago this spot was once home to a circus business and real lions.
The trail between Ortonville and Adel had minimal tree debris from the previous days winds and rain. There were some serious pot hole type dips in the asphalt. Hopefully those will get filled in soon.
Reaching Adel I noticed a new fixstation installed at the rest area at Kinnick Drive. How cool would it be if every trail town on the Raccoon had one of these available?
Just a block off the trail on the town square I found Al Dente and ordered my latte. If you ride the RRVT and like espresso beverages, make plans to stop for a cup. Al Dente is an example of how there is more than beer and burgers to be found along the bike trail.
Since it was so pleasant out I found a comfortable bench out in the sun across the street on the courthouse lawn. Modeled after a castle southwest of Paris, France, the courthouse has lots to take in. There is the red tiled roof, the turret shaped corners, the Goddess of Justice holding the scale of justice, the bell tower, and the large Roman numeraled clocks. It's staggering to consider how this amazing work of art was once in danger of being torn down. Thankfully the community voted to restore and remodel the aging building.
The courthouse isn't the only noteworthy element on the square. There is a veteran memorial, a time capsuel and small gardens. Several benches around the square provide relaxing spots to take a break from a busy day or a bike ride.
After finishing my treat it was time to head back home. Along the way I stopped and used a bit of chalk to leave other riders a note. Maybe you've seen it.