Saturday, February 27, 2016

41 Miles for Two Bottles of Wine

Our February Thaw brought us another warm Saturday and I seized the opportunity to put in quality miles on a fast bike.  Given recent flooding on the the trail(s) west of my home and the north trails an unknown quality I decided to head south east of here and enjoy some county road action.

BIKE:  LeMond Versailles, its maiden 2016 voyage

I put it out on FaceBook.  Despite a few bites no one joined me.  Even Mary bowed out of tis one due to illness.  Just me.  I hope to get others to join us sometime for this ride since it is pleasurable and rewarding.

First things first, breakfast.  Mary did join me for breakfast at the Village Bean.  I had a ham, egg and provolone sandwich on multigrain bread panini style and a large coffee.  Mary's sandwich was on an English muffin.  Nutrigrain bars came with them so I pocketed them in case I needed a bite while on the road.  Fueled and caffeinated I was ready to go.

I took my usual route:  Des Moines River Trail to SE 23rd, Evergreen to SE 34th and the lovel county road to SE 45th, highway 5 to Avon Lake and the back road to Carlisle.  Once in that town I took the Summerset Trail to Summerset Rd and climbed a steep hill on the 1.6 mile remainder to the winery.  21.6 miles one way.

The Des Moines River Trail was flood free.  There was evidence of flooding but the trail was dry.  Above the river and in the trees there were many bald eagles.  Two nests can be seen from this trail.  On my return the trail was busy with families riding bikes or eagle watching.  If you build it they will use it!

Evergreen Rd was fast on the way out.  Big ring action.  Unfortunately the road needs to be repaved.  Traffic was minimal.  On the return trip I fought a headwind and the bumps seemed much worse.

Finally I hit SE 34th and the twisting beautiful county road that winds down to river bottom at SE 45th.  Mostly residential and smooth.  I really wish they stretch was longer, 20 miles long, because it is so enjoyable.

A long climb and descent to highway 5.  Here where people may get nervous.  There's a half mile stretch of the highway to take until  the safety of Avon Lake is reached.

Carlisle is a mere 4 miles away.  The road leads to a Casey's if one needs provisions.  The trail also begins here.

I found the Summerset Trail in good shape after its winter slumber.  It was also being used by many users.  It is a connection from Carlisle to Indianola.  Banner State Park in midway between the two cities.

Summerset Rd is near the center of the trail.  There is a steep but short climb immediately after turning left off the trail.  If you get tired stop at the church for a photo op.  Sinners are welcome!

It was sunny but windy.  Heading south or west had me fighting the wind.  Yet it got to 68 F which was the warmest it has been all year.  I shed my jacket and gloves.

The winery is 1.6 miles from the trail.  After the church the road levels off.  Victory Rose Winery is on the right but does not appear to have a taste room.  Summerset does.  It also has a spacious backroom for events and a patio.  On Sundays they have live music outside.

I was able to find what I wanted right away.  Marshall Foch.  These grapes handle Iowa's short growing season and cold harsh winters.  I think this wine compares quite well with Napa Valley.  Because I cannot find this at my favorite grocery store I have to purchase it from the source.  Hence, this bike ride.  I purchased two bottles and a Blue Moon and sat outside.

Ron Mark, the owner, drove up and stopped by to chat.  He was concerned that the plants may bud early and then fall victim to a frost.  As I saddled up for the return trip Ron said, "it's all down hill from here."  Yes indeed.

But first was a headwind of about 20 mph to deal with.  And the downhill only got me to 33 mph.  This is a 40 mph hill if ever there was.

I was able to rocket on the trail and all northbound sections of my trip.  Western turns were slow because of the wind.

My route home varies.  After Avon Lake and the 1/2 mile stretch of highway 5 and the north turn on SE 45th I take the first left on Hart Rd.  This road takes me to the south east corner of Easter Lake where I turn north again and catch Evergreen Rd.  Hart Rd was littered with beer and soda bottles.  Occasionally pornography can be found in the ditches that mark this road.  Its proximity to the adult bookstore is the likely culprit.

41.75 miles.  Two bottles of vino carried home in a laptop bag.  Good ride and a good day.

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