Lovin' Iowa: 3 Separate Rides Converging on Des Moines

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Cycle America/N, Jun 5, 2003.

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  1. Here is some funny most, excellent writing from Peter Borgen who left yesterday with Jeff Longtin
    for Des Moines. If you want to see who he and Jeff are, you can find their bios at:
    http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios . There is also a picture of them
    with St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly at our ride schedule: http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide
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    This is Peter writing, and I'll try to be brief, cause I'm exhausted. We started the day at 11:30
    with a meeting with St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, who talked with us for about 20 minutes about who we
    are and what we're doing (both as individuals, and NBG as a group) and the importance of fitness in
    general and biking in particular to the well being of the community, and then he read his
    proclamation for us and declared today, Tuesday June 6th, 2003 to be National Bicycle Greenway Day
    in the city of St.Paul. We then took some pictures, with him in his suit and us in our biking
    getups. If all went according to plan, you should have them by now as someone in his office was
    going to email them right away.

    We then set off on our adventure. We stopped off at the library where I work (almost directly on our
    path out of town) for a couple of quick pictures, but you'll have to wait for those as they were
    taken on my conventional camera. Then we left town via Robert street, aka highway
    3. It's a fairly heavily traveled street with lots of big box businesses, fast food, dollar stores
    and pawn shops. We stuck to the rather dilapidated sidewalk until we cleared the inner burbs and
    quite suddenly the road changed to a two lane with wonderfully accommodating broad shoulders and
    considerably less traffic. It wound through stunningly (and literally) pastoral scenes of small
    family farms, hobby farms and the like. There were also occasional colonies of cookie cutter
    homes and a few McMansions, but they don't bear further mention except as relates to sprawl and
    the dislocation and/or destruction of what came before. But that's another discussion entirely.

    Generally the weather was good and all our equipment held up, though Jeff won't let us leave town
    tomorrow until my chain is properly greased. I guess the soaring arias of my chain squeaking aren't
    all that soothing to his ears. I can work with that. While all of our town to town travel was on the
    shoulders of motorways, I was quite pleased that many of the towns we passed through had bikeways
    along our route. Let's hope over time these get longer and more ubiquitous until they become the
    rule rather than the exception, and we actually achieve a national greenway.

    Peace and safe rides to all, Peter

    And now for some blatant ideational plagiarism from our friend Denise: The numbers:
    - mileage: approximately 60
    - top speed: no idea; neither of us has a bike computer
    - birds sited: 3 hawks of at least two different types, 1 heron, lots and lots of ducks, and
    innumerable species of small birds, most of which I can't identify
    - doe, a deer, a female deer: 1
    - fa, a long, long way to go: yes
    - trees with their entire trunk covered with toilet seats: 1, and I swear I'm not making this up. I
    got the picture to prove it, but you'll have to wait in that one too. Obviously some people have
    lots of time on their hands. - words by which I've exceeded my previous protestations of brevity:
    many, and then some.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Here is Jeff and Peter's ride today:

    Peter's notes here: We rode from Owatonna, MN to Nora Springs, Iowa today and it was an absolutely
    beautiful ride through farm country. We only took one significant wrong turn, but it was okay
    because I'd lost my sunglasses, so we had to backtrack anyway. The good news is that we found both
    the road we meant to be on and my glasses. Without further ado, I give you the numbers, and then I
    sleep for many hours:
    - miles traveled: 80, as near as we can approximate
    - number at our send off rally in Owatonna: 9 or 10, plus random coffee shop customers
    - number who rode along to escort us out of town: 4, including the mayor
    - time spent fiddling, adjusting, lubing my chain and gawking at bikes in Jeff's shop just south of
    Owatonna: about an hour (for the record- he was right about my chain- it doesn't make pretty
    screeching sounds anymore, but it works much better.)
    - animals sighted: * horses: lots
    * cows: herds and herds
    * dogs: minimum one per farm, usually more, almost all barking
    * chipmunks: 2 seen, the rest far too wise to be seen
    * deer: 2 plus one fawn.
    * birds: 3 hawks, 2 pheasants, 1 heron, 2 geese with their 7 fuzzy goslings, and many, many of the
    smaller birds I don't know so well.
    - Nice old farmers who stopped to help us navigate: 2, in one truck which they shut off while we
    chatted. * Minnesota jokes they made: only a couple. *time spent: around fifteen minutes. - number
    of yards decorated with bowling ball motif: 1, and of course I got a picture
    - cost of a small town steak dinner: $6.95

    Peace and safe journeys, Peter

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As Peter & Jeff got their ride started, and as the brothers Reser also bear down on Des Moines with
    a broken Pocket Mailer, they tell me they are still having a blast, the indomitable and truly mighty
    Jim Muellner made his 350+ mile trip to Des Moines 2 days ahead of schedule! Not bad for a senior
    citizen on a three wheeled bike! This guy is amazing:

    Hi You Gorgeous People:

    There is always a nice feeling when you reach another goal. When I saw the bike path close to my
    route I headed for it. The formal name is Chickaqua Valley trail. It starts on the east in a small
    town called Baxter, Iowa. And in it is Granny's Diner. The Best in Baxter according to yours truly.
    The town does have a few other stores.

    Baxter is about 30 miles outside of Des Moines so it's a nice place to rest, before finishing off
    your day. According to more than few locals, the trail I was looking forward to riding was supposed
    to be mainly down hill. But it's not. And the down hill that wasn't a down hill lasted for 20 miles.

    While in route, I saw some unique hats on the trail customers. One, for example, looked like a hat
    made from that oiled fabric Wyoming raincoats are made from. You could tell it was not from Wyoming
    though, it had that tractor oil look to it. Some young fellas rub the bill of their hats on the
    cement to give it that worn look. This fella had the original.

    There must have been a few farmers there as they had that stern look and wore hats that said Auction
    Sales. They said yup a lot. When I asked them about the trail they all knew it was downhill into
    town so I knew they had never ridden it.

    The birds and cotton wood trees filled my morning. Wood thrush, bluejays, bluebirds, gold finches,
    cardinals, butcherbirds, orioles and lots of red-winged black birds. Saw some black and white birds,
    black and white upper wing, black heads, white strip across the lower wing and body, also some white
    on the back of the body. Anyone want to venture a guess? What I think is the butcherbird is grey,
    with a black tail and a white ring along the ends of the tail feathers. Is that its correct name?

    The last section into town is on Hwy 65 and then to Hwy 6 again. I sure am not fond of concrete
    roadway once it starts deteriorating. The breaks are always so sharp, whereas asphalt has sort of a
    softened edge to it.

    The toughest part of the ride is going under or over an expressway. Once a driver gets within sight
    of a freeway their mind set changes and they speed up. They seem to forget they are not yet on the
    freeway. Also, there usually are no bike routes thru these areas that a biker can follow, it is each
    man for themselves. Anyon have any suggestions?

    The day is beautiful, life is great and I am ready for a break.

    I want to compliment the drivers here in Iowa, they all give a bike lots of room without complaint.
    Your reporter right here entering Des Moines. Jim

    ------------------------------
    Local access to PocketMail mobile e-mail now available in Europe, North America & Australia
    http://www.pocketmail.com

    If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Jim, Jeff, Peter and our other NBG relay
    riders as they move forward in the National Mayors' Ride at
    <http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide>, point to their blog at
    <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php>. All of this excitement will
    al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest
    <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Festival>.

    btw: If you want to become a rider, we N E E D you!! Go to
    <http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/getstarted.php>, to find out how!! btw2: We
    have pictures from the various ride legs at
    http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/gallery/2003Mayors btw3: As per the note at the beginning, If
    you want to see who these cyclists are, go to
    <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios>.

    --
    MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o BikeRoute.com 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
    Greenway CEO

    Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru clinical death
    and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.
     
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