A Fair Weather Tunnel

Waukee has a new tunnel along the Heart of the Warrior trail providing a safer crossing of Alice's Road.  Heads up though.  It's safer but weather permitting.  


Like the trail tunnels of West Des Moines, this one will prove to be problematic when it rains filling entry points with water and/or when snow has melted and then refroze. 

Approaching from the West I dismounted and very slowly shuffled my way across the ice.  Inside the tunnel was dry and the walls graffitied.  The Eastern side was patchy with snow, ice, and big puddles thanks to the water coming down the wall from overhead. 


It will be great to have this tunnel on dry days, but I'm bummed about it being suited for fair weather. 


Twelve Miles 'Til Tea Time

With a few extra hours in my day and weather uncharacteristic to February, I packed the handlebar bag and set out for Minburn.  It's one of the sleepier towns along the Raccoon River Valley trail with a handful of houses, a grain elevator (of course) and a tiny "downtown".  A bit of planning is required if choosing Minburn as a stopping point as trail amenities are scarce. 

The ride was as lovely as the weather.  Spring technically isn't here yet but hearing a Meadow Lark sing and seeing a turtle sunning itself in the warm sunshine indicated otherwise.  

The Iron Giant cruised along nicely.  I have been very happy with the change of handlebars I made late last year.  Recently I removed the pedal cages and so far have been pleased with that decision as well.  I suspect the next downsizing will involve the bike computer.  I find it unnecessary to be constantly reminded of my slow speeds.  The only useful information it does relay is how many miles until break time.  In this instance, it was twelve 'til tea.  

Yorkshire tea and Voortman Almond Krunch cookies were enjoyed at the Minburn town square. The trail mix ended up making the return trip home. 

Happy Riding!

Winter Riding Wimp

Rides have few and far between this winter.  A lack of snowfall has kept trails clean so my only excuse for ignoring my bike has been cold temperatures.  I've turned into a winter riding wimp!    

Maybe it was the sunshine and lack of wind.  It could it have been seeing cars parked at the trailhead.  Perhaps it was guilt for the lack of riding.  Regardless, I found myself bundled up and riding towards Dallas Center.

Noteworthy observations were a recently installed bench, a bald eagle resting in a tree, and additional stickers on the John Cisar memorial.  The most significant thing was me having ditched my library book, cozy blanket, and cup of tea for a cold winter ride.

Halfway to Dallas Center I turned the bike around.  Because it seems winter riding wimps are easily swayed by thoughts of books, blankets, and teacups. 

Happy Riding!




What About Bob?

The Trail

Click to enlarge map

Tucked between two Urbandale neighborhoods, is the Bob Layton Trail.  It's "tiny but mighty" and a good place to find hidden prairie while winding along Walnut Creek.    The trail is dedicated to a former Urbandale city manager and travels 2 miles north from where it meets the Raccoon River Valley Trail just south of Douglas.

The Ride

On a recent ride on the Clive Greenbelt  I decided to jump ship and check out the trails north of Hickman.  

I quickly was reminded it's not yet spring when finding portions of the Raccoon River Valley Trail not only under mud, snow and ice, but closed.  Taking a detour through residential streets I met back up with the trail where it was closed from the north.

Walnut Creek had escaped its banks just enough to create a treacherous mess.  I know this only because I always take a drone with me on bike rides and used it to determine the cause of the closure and take a picture rather than (carefully...quietly..quickly) riding past the gates on my bike in stealth mode.

After finding the Raccoon not quite open for business I wondered "What about Bob?".   That trail also closely winds along the creek bank.  Would it be in a similar state?

Thankfully the remaining portion of the ride was dry.   There were a couple of spots that called for an easier gear.  I got the heart rate up and maybe even burned off an extra calorie.

A new "fitness area" had been installed along the trail since my last ride through.  I stopped to only take a picture because getting in a few quick sets or reps will never....ever... be a reason for me to hit the breaks.  

Happy Riding!

Always A Reason for Stopping

There's always a reason (excuses??) to stop on my bike rides.  The most frequent cause for dismount is to take a picture of something spotted and deemed interesting.  Today's instigators: 

  • Didn't even leave the driveway before stopping to take a picture of the  newest addition to my handlebar bag.  Nothing says "I'm out here for fun" better than  a big clip-on daisy.  
  • A squirrel with a phobia lives along a tree-lined stretch of trail. It hates dirty paws and stashes corn in trees rather than burying nuts in dirt. 
  • Vindictive rabbits in Dallas Center have spent winter stripping bark from saplings.  
  • Yes, I stopped to take a picture of a weed.  It's likely a thistle of some variety, but I found its purple-red hue pretty on a gray day.

Sometimes I think I should go on rides and not stop.  Just ride.  Work on speed.  "Put the miles in". Get stronger.  But then I come to my senses.

Happy Riding!