"Would ride the Bondurant trail to the Greencastle Tavern in Mingo this coming Friday evening.. want to give a shout to all my friends if anyone would like to join. The Bar has bike nights on Friday and drink specials, bartender said its cool to camp out overnight, there's a park half a block away.. weather is gonna be GREAT for riding and camping this week! Plus this is a great trail to ride! Thought if anyone wants to meet at the trail head east of Bondurant around 630 or so.. take our time getting to Mingo with plenty of SAFTY MEETINGS along the way. Would love to kick up some dust with my fellow bike riding friends! Esp since all your livers are still pickled from RAGBRAI! Let me know what u all think! Would love some good company!"--Mel Allsion's post on FaceBook
Looking for adventure I rounded up the posse and headed to Mingo, Iowa, to crash Mel Allison'd Friday Fun Between the Legs ride. Destination:Greencastle Tavern, formerly Ozzy's. I successfully recruited Colin, Donnie and Joe. Mary was supposed to go, joining us later but she was caught up in the Great Johnston Bike Lift and ran out of time and mood.
The IP was Mullets as it is the best location to gather up for the trip out east. Mullets also had food available since the 19 miles from there to the Greencastle is pretty barren unless one goes off route. All four of us ate and downed a few glasses of water. It would be a long ride.
|If the pannier is dripping then the beer is cold. Altoona trailhead, Gay Lea Wilson Trail|
The ride from Mullets was 30 miles. It involved two trails which cut down street/highway riding. The first 5 miles would be a mix of Maury and Scott Ave to get to the Gay Lea Wilson Trail. Industrial and ugly but it is the best route to the trailhead in Pleasant Hill. When MLK expansion is complete/rideable a side path will take us there.
The Gay Lea Wilson Trail is nice albeit short but takes us safely to and through Altoona. Other trail users were present including runners and families on bikes. Always good to see trails in use. We diverted and stopped at the Kum&Go a few blocks from the Altoona Trailhead. After gather supplies, ATM, food for breakfast, water and Gatorade we rolled back toward the trail on 1st Ave and took a right on 1st St and took that road out of town. Turned at the cemetery at the NE 80th intersection and rode that over I-80 and into Bondurant without crossing 330. Stayed on 80th until we hit NE 88th, double infinity. The Chichaqua Nature Trail trailhead is just to the left of this intersection.
We had our last break at the trailhead. 19 miles ridden. Donnie started just south of Cumming so he had an extra 14 miles. Late as usual, I spotted Brad Daggett's truck. They are here. 630 was the meet time. It was now approaching 9 pm or so and already dark. Two bikes emerged from the darkness and told us that the bar in Mingo was dead. Some of us expressed a desire for beer and our "new friend" offered up his last two Bud Lights.
The 11 miles to Mingo on the trail were nice. Weird seeing frogs on the trail at night. One of the bridges jumped out and attacked Colin but he maintained uprightness and rolled on. A break on the Skunk River bridge had us listening to owls and staring at stars.
It was a most glorious sight turning the corner and spotting seeing 9 bicycles parked along the Greencastle Tavern! Stretch, Melanie, Mike B, Brad were among my friends that were there. Judging by the beer cans on the patio they enjoyed themselves in our absence. The four of us quickly caught up.
|The prized 6 pack with ice that I never needed. Purchased 18, confiscated 1 and returned home with 12. Must be the Jesus Cooler.|
At some point we crawled away from the tables and found places to sleep. Colin, Donnie and I chose the park shelter just off the trail. FYI picnic tables to sleep on and electrical outlets for electronic devices. Joe slept on a landing of the red co-op building across from the pub. Brad shared that spot, too. Stretch camped at the grain bins just off the trail where Melanie pitched her tent. I think she was the only one to set up a tent. Janice pulled a trailer and provided coffee for us in the morning. We needed it. HangOver City.
Slowly we woke up. Some local on a Trek cruiser with an extreme need for a new chain (can you say 3 inches of stretch?) pulled up and quizzed us. Our freedom must frighten people. The inevitable, "did you do the Ragbrai" question popped up. Kinda felt good to say "no, but we rode across South Dakota in June, ragbrai with only 100 people." An elderly couple on a recumbent tandem trike rolled by on the trail at least 6 times and left blood in the kybo. Their top speed, 4 mph. So the ride back was a bit slow at first. Some of us had a hard time overtaking the 'bent tandem trike. I dropped my water bottle but Mel was kind and picked it up. Colin rode off the trail at one point and had his knee abrased. First stop was on the Skunk River bridge. Hair of the Dog.
I had about 4 sips and placed the beer in a bottle cage only to dump it out on the GLW Trail. I needed a blood transfusion and a gallon of Gatorade. Instead got 2 slices of pizza and a quart of Mnt Dew at the Casey's in Bondurant. Once again, quizzed about trail conditions and Ragbrai. many locals are upset with the poor job on resurfacing the trail between Mingo and Ira. Having traversed over it on carbon road bike and loaded tandem twice this year I can say it ain't that bad. It is not dusty. And it is 100% safer than before. It all came down to $$ and the State did not match funds. That's the problem, we use but do not pay directly for upkeep and M&R on these trails. Hopefully when the High Trestle Trail connector links up and the MLK Trail gets closer to Scott Ave trailhead of the GLW Trail more awareness and M&R will happen for the Chichaqua. Just keep the hordes of stick bike Lance wannabes off the trail.
This was a fun ride and near epic adventure. I hope to ride and stay at Mingo again sometime this year. Give me a shout. It is a flat ride there and back. 30 miles does not take too long to cover. Thank you Mel for creating this event.