Lovin' Iowa: 3 Separate Rides Converging on Des Moines

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Cycle America/N

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

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

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

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

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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