Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Another Visit to Bittersweet Rd and The Trestle with Craig

On the Bittersweet Rd again!

North of Granger

In a world that throws feces at everyone in the form of political adverts from both parties owned and ran by the 1%, who is left to fight for all that is good in the human race and to get smashed for less than a Jackson?  It is I in the Further Bicycling Adventures of Che and Craig.

We were supposed to ride south to places Craig has never rolled two wheels.  But his Keen sandal messed up his foot and he wisely chose not to do a 120 miler on a road bike.  Just as well since the Hy Vee triathlon had denied the public use of Water Works and Gray's Lake trails.  We would have needed them about mile 115 when we would be exhausted and not in the mood to share the trail with skinny bike nazis that urinate in their pants to save time.  Roads in Afghanistan are smoother than Des Moines' own George Flagg Rd, the likely street the securitrons would have forced us to use.  North to the Trestle!

I could tell Craig was excited because he sent me 2 Google Maps routes for the journey.  We decided to make it a loop, add some gravel and leave Sunday afternoon.  Bittersweet Rd to the HTT.  Then gravel to Big Creek to the NST on Monday for the ride back to DSM.  I like the late start.  This reduces drinking time and allows me to do things such as attend Church with my family, eat and nap.  I would be able to be home early Monday afternoon and cook up a mess of beef ribs for my family and have Joe, my son, over for the feast.  40 miles exactly from home to our campsite on the Trestle.  41.5 miles for the return trip including a parade and gravel roads.

Sunday rolled around and I felt like shit.  I did not drink much on Saturday eve but something was wrong.  Caffeine after Mass did not help.  I made myself an Italian sandwich or two, ate them and went back to bed.  The texts rolled in.  The 2pm redevous at the carwash on Grand changed to 230 then 245.  Awesome.  More time to rest and pack.  Packing began in earnest about 130 pm.  I took a tent, my Thermorest, sleeping bag, one change of clothing plus "off bike" shirt, a long sleeve shirt or two in case it got cold, a rain jacket in case Issac visited, a chair and a cooler of New Belgium Ranger tall boys.  Yes, 6.5% hoppy beer to make us happy.  Finally the food crisper could be used for produce again.

Getting to the redevous would be difficult due to said triathlon.  And I needed to hit the ATM.  Ingersoll was the answer.  Forget the safety of the trail and choose the safety of the bike lanes!  Got to appreciate the foresight and bravery of the council people that approved the reduction in car lanes and the addition of bike lanes on Ingersoll.  Brave people that made our fair city that much better.

I beat Craig to our spot.  First time ever.  We then took the Walnut Creek/Windsor Heights Trail to Urbandale and had our first rest stop on the "bridge to nowhere."  After a crisp cool refreshing 12oz beverage we rolled through U-Dale's trails through Walker Johnson Park and up Douglas, crossed the freeway and took a right on 128th.  Probably should have took the last right before I-35/80 and gone through the soulless industrial/commercial zone instead.


Video of the last biker we saw before hitting gravel.  He asked if we needed help.  We probably do need help.

North out of Granger to where the pavement ends.  This route has been described before.  Steve Fuller's suggestion to go north here.  We past Craig's cows but many have gone to market.  We take our next break at the corner of Wendover and Bittersweet.  Busch Light and photos.  Just a comment about this gravel road.  Dusty, busier than usual, my third trip, and the washboard ruts are getting much worse.  Hopefully the county will regrade these roads.

Once again...

Just when I want to scream WHERE THE FUCK IS THE TRAIL, I CANNOT TAKE THIS RUTTED ROAD UNLESS I RIDE THE MOONLANDER OR A DUAL SUSPENSION TOURING BIKE the trail emerges and we break out the Rangers at U Ave and relax and talk to bikers headed to and fro the Trestle.  We have an hour to kill before sunset.  Some of the best Trestle photos occur when the lights first come on.  Killing time we share beer with 2 30 year old ISU grads, one on a Walmart fixie albeit wheel flipped for single speed.  A man who suffers from a spinal injury and now rides a hand cranked trike also enjoyed a Busch Light.  The trail was busy and we got some looks and lots of conversation.  Time to roll east.

So far my favorite of the night shots

Running out of ideas for Trestle photos.

The bridge was crowded.  Youth groups and families, bikers with their buddies.  We were able to find a quiet spot on the Trestle and take photos and help others with group photos.  Soon a government ATV rolls through.  Rumor had it that the DNR and other cops were called because someone complained that a bike stereo was too loud.  Then again I think that someone with that group told me.

Let the sun roll in

Labor Day is a High Holiday in Madrid.  Basically it is a 3 to 4 day drunk with their only parade of the year.  We head to Ground Zero and enjoy the fireworks along the way.  Funding for fireworks is supplemented can redemption donations at the grocery store.  We take the newly paved turn off to downtown and park our bikes at Baldy's Chill n Grill.

We order Busch Lights and the barkeep, out of the kindness of her heart,  gives us drink tickets to the beer garden across the street.  Last year I was given free drink tickets.  Love this town!  Before finishing our first drink and after we donated our empties to Baldy's fellow bikers enter the establishment.  Scott and Julie, Tasha and Walter, Jane, Lori Edwards.  Outside the Quad rolls up.  Holy Crap, the possibility of trouble!  I must restrain myself.  This is the place to be on Labor Day weekend.  I wish Mary was here.  Apparently, everyone and the Quad are riding in the parade under the flag of the Flat Tire Lounge.  Why not join them?  Meet at the Flat Tire at 930am.  Before going to find a place to sleep, everyone is at Swede Point, Craig and I ride on the Quad to the GitnGo for ice and beer.  They turned off the lights before we rolled back downtown.


Don't know what we had in mind for a campsite.  I suggest that we sleep on the Trestle proper but once there it did not seem like a good idea.  So we ride up the the shelter, which was empty, and set or pads on the picnic tables.  We have a roof and a view of the bridge.  I could not not finish the beverage I opened there and drift off to sleep.

Sunrise was beautiful.  I could not arse myself up to take photos of the reds but later got a wonderful shot of the sun winking at us between clouds.  If at the shelter DO NOT WALK INTO THE WOODS BEHIND THE SHELTER!  Yes, it is a restroom.  It is littered with junk some of it extremely gross such as a soiled pantyliner and piles of toilet paper.  A kybo would be nice here.  So would running water and electricity but all those conveniences are a mere 2.5 miles either direction on the trail.

We pack and leave as a family rolls up with a box of Casey's donuts.  Since our bikes are loaded we get the usual queries.  "How far you riding?"  "Are you going across the US?" ect.  Sorry, we rode up from Des Moines taking gravel roads.  Need room for beer and the tent I never set up.  We are riding in the parade and will take gravel roads home.  Craig snuck off quietly leaving me to play spokesperson.  Bastard!

The things we do for love.

We stop on the bridge for the last time this summer.  More photos.  Some jersey types call us Cheech and Chong.  Craig's too damn white for that comment.  Then I realize that one of the lenses of my sunglasses is missing.  I need a beverage to calm down.  Then I snapped the "heart" photo.  Had the camera been faster I would have captured the heron flying just off the surface of the river.  What a beautiful sight!

The ride back to Madrid is uneventful.  I find the missing lense in front of Baldy's.  At the Flat Tire I ate one of Radishes' breakfast burritos.  Scott and company give us Flat Tire bandannas for the parade.  Eventually our comrades arrive and we get back on the trail westward to find our spot in the parade.  The girls fill my pockets with candy and we are ready to roll through town and toss goodies at children, empty beers at adults that ask for beer.  I have a feeling I will not get home in time to slow cook the ribs.

One thing you can say about Catt is that he puts time and effort into the Quad.  Fresh powder coating along with other repairs and upgrades.  Catt, Scott, Tasha and Walter powering this machine for the parade.

Ape hangers!

Pre-parade warm up. The parade was fun.  Catt played some great parade tunes such as Funky Town and Donna Summer's Hot Stuff.  Children get lots of candy and no one lynches us.  Joe and Tammy Bridgeman and Melissa Berman on on the route with their children.  Craig and I stop for hugs and chat and lose the Quad.  We wind up at Elmo's, formerly known as Who's Lounge.
Craig and Joe Bridgeman
Joe and Tammy
Melissa LuLu demonstration her Popsicle opening skills.
The new owners have cleaned the place up and invested money into the kitchen.  They plan to have a carry out door for faster food service.  I hope they do well.  We get a tour while we wait out the rain before returning to the Flat Tire.
Bike racks at Elmo's.  Unfortunately, our mules are too heavy and fat for these.

Flat Tire was packed.  We get food again from Radish while waiting out the rain and then make our trip back to DSM.  I drink a few cups of water fearing that I have dehydrated myself again.  And then the headache began. 

First gravel road after the elevator to cut off Slater and Sheldahl.  Then a left on 158th to 100th.  Straight to Big Creek.  Turn toward the shooting range and the bike trail appears.  We also cut out Polk City.  Still debating whether this route actually saved us time, ride time, but Craig said it eliminated several drinking spots.  But the roads were rutted bad and I could feel my brain hitting my skull.  This slowed me down quite a bit until I hit pave.  But Big Creek/NST trail is bumpy too at first.  I need to drink a liter of water before bed and during the day.  Or it may have been the lack of caffeine.  Second time for this.  The 4 Aleve I swallowed took their sweet time to kick in.

We parted company at the marina.  Craig wanted a beer and some food.  20 solo miles on the NST in between rain.  At the prairie Lance (blonde hair and a soccer jersey) rolls up on an 80s Specialized Expedition touring bike sans bags.  Once again I explain that I am not riding from Alaska and we have a good conversation to the Visitor's Center.  He said that he left his bags of because of aerodynamics.  I replied that if I wanted to ride faster I would have taken my road bike.  At last we reached the VC, I wanted sugar and caffeine but the Pepsi machine was broken.  SOL again.  Water is what I really needed anyway.

The rest of the journey was safe and ordinary.  No speed records on descending the dam.  Too wet and too much tree debris.  I topped out at 31 mph.  I did see Kent C riding north.  The construction across from the Botanical Center is becoming clearer.  New trail.  They widened the portion under University bridge and I could see the new trail going south.  It is between the original trail and the river.  No issues riding through here unlike our last ride.

My phone made a notification noise as I reached my deck.  Yep, they wondered where I was.  "Turn the oven on to 350 and go to the store for milk and caffeine.  Gonna rain so I cannot grill the ribs."  Joe was home waiting for me.  He has not had one of my special meals for quite some time.  What a good way to end a long ride, family meal of beef ribs.  I wonder if it was from one of Craig's cows.

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