|The moon has to compete with the Trestle's light!|
Long rides were not an option. We needed time to rest and get things done before more shit hits the fan. Mary and I also felt a desire to spend quality time with our children, whom normally patiently wait at home for us to return from bicycling adventures. Why not take them with us?
Quin would be working at Mullets. Joe was celebrating his friend's HS graduation elsewhere. Timmy went to a friend's house. But our two daughters would be available. Dora is always home on a Saturday evening. Katie happened to be home most likely because her boyfriend had to work. Mary and I talked it up with them. Ride to the Trestle under the light of the moon. They have seen the photos but never have been there. Photos cannot do it justice, one must be there.
For once we had a vehicle available to deploy us near our destination. Removal of the two backseats allowed us to fit 4 bicycles inside without having to dismantle them. We could have carried a 5th bike if necessary.
|The Raleigh, once an abandoned 10 speed now reborn as a fun commuter and town bike.|
Originally I was going to take my newly restored and modified Raleigh Grand Prix mixte but I let Katie ride that one. She was a bit disappointed that her Trek 830 was left at home. Such is life, I wanted to see if the work I did on it was quality and what I needed to finish.
Dora took her "pink" bike, a Magna purchased for $5. No rear brakes but the front are good. It sat on the deck for a year or so until last week I replaced the tubes and got the beast rolling again. She liked the thumb shifters although the front derailleur was not functioning. Her quality bike is a Trek 220 with Gripshift. But she wanted to ride the pink bike instead. New to her and different.
Mary took her road bike and me the faithful and trustworthy Red Phoenix. Mary's bike would make its third visit to The Bridge, last week being its second. My red bike, despite being my workhorse and most ridden bike for the past 4 years, would make its maiden pilgrimage to The Bridge.
|3 of the steeds we rode. Mary's Trek is missing.|
We left early enough so that the girls could be there on The Bridge before sunset. Let them see the spacious Des Moines river valley in the light of the sun 13 stories about the water. We would stay and enjoy the moonlight under the blue hue of the bridge's lights. After all, once you have been under those lights you really don't ever want to be there during daylight hours. Maybe that is me. I cannot get enough. However, if we have a real winter I'd like to be there to see the snowy landscape in the daytime.
The trailhead in Madrid at the Flat Tire Lounge would be our drop zone. We considered Slater but 7 miles of flat with farmland on either side is dull. It would add 14 miles to two people who have not ridden much or great distances this year. Keep it short and enjoyable.
That was the plan and we kept it, mostly. Joe Hildreth called and invited us to ride with him and his brother and someone named Tom who would be on Tour de Kota with us. I related our plan and he said that we'd meet on The Bridge. It was good to have an opportunity to see them. Mary and missed the "information" meeting in Cumming due to my mother's health disaster and later because of rain. He wanted to meet Friday but we were in Ottumwa. We leave in two weeks and these missed opportunities only accent the other attempts we have tried. Busy schedules, busy lives. Besides, their company is always good.
Parking at the trailhead was ample by the time we got there. Quickly we unloaded and rolling westward. The downhill is deceptive. I feared there would be grumbling on the return. There was none. We got to The Bridge in no time.
|Group shot by a stranger. One rule of photography is to get close, then closer still. And watch for evening shadows.|
Photo time! Always bring a camera when on this trail. I used my phone's camera and my new camcorder. Someone was kind and offered to take our photo. This was appreciated.
|Self portrait. Katie shadowed out. Shadow of camera on Mary. Dora has a great smile.|
No kidding, but it seemed just when we got there Dora had to answer nature's call. She rode to the shelter and overlook but there was kybo. I think there is one at the parking lot east of the trestle. She said she could hold it. But as time wore on we realized that it would be sometime before the sun went down and the lights came on. We rolled west again.
Destination Woodward. Many bicycles rolling east on this section. At times I swear there would be hundreds of bikes on The Bridge but people tend not to loiter as long as I do. I knew there would be restrooms at the trailhead. Two birds with one stone, Dora and others could rest their bladders and we would take some time off the clock for sunset and darkness.
Joe called on this part of our trip. They were at the Flat Tire and would roll west to meet us. A paceline from the opposite direction came flying down the trail. One guy said "eyes up" as they passed. I was hugging the right and working my phone. If that comment was made to me then he can fook off. I have thousands and thousands of miles ridden in my biking career. I can hold the straightest damn line for miles on end. I an an experten at riding parallel to the white line on a highway for hours. If I chose to look at my phone while riding, you are safe. However, I have seen pacelines crash and burn and bust bones and bounce heads and spill blood many, too many times. If anyone was being a danger to others, they were. Trails are not for race training. Then again he may have been warning those in front of him is the draftline. I was ahead of my group who were most likely riding side by side. I can get crowded out here.
Coming in to town we could see the new campground north of the trail in Woodward. Conveniently located right off the trail. I have reservations about using this facility since 10 homes were removed to make way for it. But the trailer park was in foreclosure. I hope those families and people found new homes. I'd hate to benefit from their loss. Enough opinionating.
We had Woodward's trailhead to ourselves. That is a luxury on a bicycle ride. Mary was getting anxious for the lights. She has little patience for sitting around on rides. Other people and groups came to our location. I always take an interest in seeing who is out and about. All sorts of bikes. Lots of jerseys. I wore a cotton t-shirt from the Flat Tire, cotton shorts and underwear. it was not a long ride nor a training ride.
Eventually a blinking light belonging to Joe appeared. After a greeting and the arrival of Donnie and Tom, Joe suggested we go into town for food. We ate before leaving, they did not. Mister C's was our next stop. The menu was limited. Donnie purchased breaded and fried beef things that looked like potato wedges. Dora ordered onion rings. Joe bought us two rounds of beer, Busch Light as I suggested. Katie, although of age, had a Coke and Dora enjoyed that cola as well.
There was a group of older riders there as well as a few locals. The riders were in their 60s, a few in their 70s. All rode bikes to that location and all were riding back to where they started. Joe said something that I had been telling others for sometime lately but not him. "When you stop moving you die." I though of my mother, who is the same age as our tavern companions, laying it the hospital bed unable to sit up let alone walk, telling us that she was fine. No Mom, you having been killing your self for decades. This time your inactivity nearly got the job done.
|Joe and Tom in Mr. C's.|
Donnie ordered two rounds of shots, Fireball as I shouted, and 5 of us did them. Joe, Mary and Dora abstained. The barkeep sat at our table and poured them into plastic cups. Well, if one is going to expose their children to the bicycling subculture, might as well do it right. Time to go.
|Customer service with a smile. Barkeep sat down with us for the Fireball. Said she had bad eyes. Bet she saw us throwing tip money her way. A very pleasant experience.|
The ride back to The Bridge was mostly a downhill coast. Dora almost started to complain about the darkness and how long this 2.5 miles was taking when The Bridge in all its lighted night glory appeared along the bend. At that moment she realized why we were there. there were two recumbents rolling our way, one with a train whistle. Never know what one will find on a trail. We rode to the center and enjoyed the sights and the blue glow of those magnificent neon tubes. Photos and talking. My daughters had a great time.
I busted out my moscato and shared. I had it in an aluminum water bottle obtained at the Funhaters Ride two years ago. It will hold almost an entire bottle. Photos and video recording. The moon was almost full but very bright in the cloudless sky. I bet the super moon would have been awe inspiring from here.
|Vessel for the moscato. Donnie and Joe related how they bumbled into The Saddle the night before and "freaked out". They laughed when I whipped this out.|
Alas, we had to leave. I know that Mary and I will be back next month. We plan to skip Webster City during Ragbrai so we can bask under the blue lights. Where else would one rather be on a bicycle at night? Then I noticed that cars pulled over on highway 210. They too wanted to enjoy the view. Probably jealous that could not get closer. But I envied them as well. I bet it looks glorious from their viewpoint. Another time, another ride.