Saturday, November 8, 2014

Riding to Stevie C's Dive Bar and the Fishing Bobber

Nothing like a good destination ride to end the work week.  Since Craig and I both work out in the Outer Rim of the Metro we took an opportunity to meet up and ride to one of our favorite establishments.  Stevie C's is located in Grimes, Iowa, and offers great pizza on homemade crust.  A little bit off the beaten path for people who live in Des Moines but anyone who can bike more than 20 miles on a round trip can go there.  Or drive, but that would be cheating.

We connected up just off the Clive Greenbelt trail.  Specifically, the trail access to Lake Shore Drive that ends up at the Casey's on Hickman Road.  I needed to stop there and pick up a pair of brown gloves since the ones I wore in the morning were a bit overkill for the current temperature.

After linking up we chose to go back to the Greenbelt and cross Hickman via the underpass on the trail and thus taking the Raccoon River Valley Trail.  We wanted to avoid 128th as much as possible.  One significant climb and traffic.  We'd play with cars once passing the hill.

Heading west on the Raccoon we took the first right into a residential neighborhood just east of Deerfield Senior Community.  Look for the very small sign that says "Raccoon Trail,"  it is white.  Take the second left and head to the house at the bottom of the decline.  The trail is there.  Be courteous as the trail goes between two homes.  When the trail levels out take the first right.  This is located just north of the retirement home.  And another right at the bridge.  The trail is lovely here.  Very picturesque in Spring and Autumn.  There is a back to back bench underneath some trees.  We used this as an opportunity to sit and enjoy nature.

Once rolling again we took another right, at the "library," and headed east to the switchback climb.  Great view here but be aware that people like to take family/senior pictures/Christmas photos here.  The trail leads to the east side of Douglas Pkwy.  Right is the only direction to turn and keep going that direction as it curves around to the Des Moines Christian School and eventually 128th.  This is where we got on the road and played with cars.

We seized a lane and rode north on 128th to the Meredith intersection or Chicken Coop intersection. When we crossed we veered to the right and got on the sidepath.  This road is now known as James Street and leads into Grimes.  This is also the road that the City of Grimes illegally and unconstitutionally declared off limits for bicycling.  Bikes are to use the sidepath.  Given the traffic and the shit condition of the road, high curbs and cracks (128th has horrid cracks at the seams like MLK does downtown DSM), we did not mind riding on the path but hate to be told we have to.  The most glaring issue, however, is what happens when the path ends in Grimes proper.  Trail users are expected to cross the road and get on the sideWALK on the other side.  I tend to go forward, ride on the grass of someone's lawn (really a crappy stretch fro years of being located 2 feet from the road) and re-enter the road some 10 meters later where it widens and curves a bit. Take this for 1/4 of a block and the first right into the mobile home court and the first left that curves out to the road that the school is on.   Turn left at the school and take this to the bar.  I usually park in back in the beer garden of Stevie C's.  This requires a left and a right to to the alley behind the building.  The gate is usually looked but they will open it for us.

Stevie C's is a typical sports/college/local dive bar littered with televisions on sports channels, college paraphernalia and all sorts of bumper stickers and signs.  Craig estimated that about 100 people came through while we we there but it never felt crowded and the service was excellent.  We chose to stay inside instead of the garden, too cold this time of year.

We had a large "garbage can" pizza.  Very good, loaded with toppings and on a freshly made crust.  Craig and I ate it all and then parted ways.  He was head to Ducktails to find Robb and I to Johnston to meet Mary and ride home with her.  South and east we went on our own ways in the dark.  I took 1st St or Ave and crossed Highway 141 which becomes NW 70th and forms the southern border of Camp Dodge.  Maybe a mile of this is a 2 lane road then It becomes a 4 lane with a sidepath on the south side of the road.  I took this to Merle Hay Rd and then turned right and headed south to meet Mary near my mother's apartment on 63rd.  We then took the Trestle to Trestle Trail to the Neal Smith Trail to downtown Des Moines and eventually home.

I wish Johnston would hurry up and finish the work on their interurban trail.  We took the back way to NW Johnston Dr to get on the T2T.  The trail closure north of here is a pain in the ass.  requires sidewalk action and riding on a road that can be busy.  Can Habitat for Humanity get this done over a weekend?

The highlight of this trip was our first visit to the "fishing bobber" art piece at the end of the Principal River Walk and Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge.  Been looking at this for a few weeks and finally it was open for people to visit.

Wonderful day on the bike.  This was probably my 4th visit to Stevie C's as construction on NW 62nd prevents me from riding to Johnston on that road.  Did not mind the ride to work when it was below freezing.  The wind was kind to us and we got home before the "fan" was turned back on high.  Missed that by at least an hour!

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