From Bloomington, Illinois, we crossed the mighty Mississippi River and drove west to Des Moines, Iowa. We actually stayed in Clive, a western suburb of the Des Moines metro area, as it was an easier cycle over to one of the two trails we wanted to ride in the area. According to Wikipedia, Clive is known for its outstanding Greenbelt Park and trail system running through the entire community. Perfect for us!
On our first full day in town, we drove 30 minutes north of the city to ride the High Trestle Trail, a new 25-mile trail completed in 2011 and already winning awards.
We parked in the small town of Woodward at the western end of the trail, the trailhead nearest to the High Trestle Bridge, which gives the trail its name. From there, we'd ride east through farms, fields, and tiny towns, eventually turning south to continue to the other end of the trail at Ankeny.
It wasn't the nicest of days, overcast and a bit on the cool side, but we only had two full days in the area and needed to take advantage as we had an even longer trail ride planned for the next day. So, for the first time ever in June, I wore arm warmers! Thankfully it wasn't cold enough for tights.
The trail was wide, smooth concrete, a real rarity among paved trails. This really helped us fly along and stay comfortable without the bone-jarring cracks and bumps of so many trails.
Just a couple of miles into the ride, we reached the highlight of the trail, the High Trestle Bridge. This bridge is a real work of art and engineering. I only wish we'd had a nicer day for better photos. Both the views and the bridge itself were amazing!
Here's the view from the bridge looking south...
...and looking north. There's no drought here!
Here are some "fun facts" about the High Trestle Bridge:
We discovered this cool mural under a bridge near the High Trestle Bridge.
Moving on, we pedaled through the small town of Madrid. I liked the name of this lounge...you can tell they cater to cyclists around here. If you are unfortunate enough to get a flat here, might as well stop in for a beverage or something to eat and stay awhile!
By now I had ditched the arm warmers as I had warmed up a bit. We continued rolling through flat farmland. The soil is so pretty and black here!
We stopped in a park in the small town of Slater, where Barry took a quick look at these locals playing baseball.
We finally reached the end of the trail and 25-mile point at Ankeny. Time to turn around and head back, this time with a kickin' tailwind that made for a really fast, fun return trip!
On the way back across the bridge, we stopped to look for birds but didn't see anything except swallows.
When we returned to Woodward after our ride and started driving away, we saw a mural celebrating the trail spray painted on the side of a building. Yep, this town is all about the trail and bicycles. We loved it!
That evening we treated ourselves to dinner at Mi Mexico, an excellent place right across from our hotel. Can you believe we both forgot our cameras? Afterwards, we stopped next door for a slice of pie to go from Baker's Square. These we enjoyed in our hotel room. A great reward for a fun fifty miler!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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