Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday South East Des Moines Exploration Ride


Meh, muddy on the other side.  But from here we did see the work being done in completing the trail.  Just a matter of time.

The direction we have not ridden in has been the south east.  Carlisle, Summerset Trail, Indianola our gateway to southern Iowa.  Yesterday we rode south to Martensdale so something different was in order for today.  Carlisle with a possible extension to the Summerset Winery since my son and I shared a bottle of their Marshall Foch last night.  I am in need of another since the Malbec that followed was not up to par.  Besides that the hill or two and the fast county roads are wonderful to ride.  Mary and set out on our road bikes.  As for the weather, rain forecasted but it was south of Des Moines and moving east.  Although dark to the south it was not a threat.  Just looked bad, dark grey clouds and all.  The humidity was almost off the charts.  Gotta keep moving for the breeze to evaporate the sweat.

About two miles into it she announces that the bridge on Evergreen Ave is closed for construction. Crap!  We'll have to see.  Closed roads have rarely been a deterrent for us.  I was hoping that the entire road would be closed for repavement because it is rough.  And that rough stretch is a bummer because my bike likes to get up over 20 mph on that road on our way out.  "Worse comes to worse we'll cut through Easter Lake Park."

What sort of man reads Penthouse?  One in a dumpster!

Worse did come to worse because of the 445 am rain.  A long stretch of road lacked pavement and the clay/dirt roadbed was littered with puddles.  Not a place for delicate road bikes.  Fatbikes yes but not our nice bikes.  Plan B: the Trails of Easter Lake.  We rode them earlier this year and could see the new sections underdevelopment.  Surely we can get to the other side.

GeoCouch score.

Distraction.  Someone illegally dumped an upholstered chair in the dumpster.  Time for a GeoCouch photo.  So I gave my phone to Mary and I climbed on top for the photo shoot.  Other treasures were in here too.  A Penthouse from 1994, a VHS head cleaner and two Easter baskets.  Unfortunately, the rain ruined the magazine and every page was either an advert or an article.  I did find the centerfold by the end of the photo session but the gel lens photography was ruined by the early morning rain. So one last photo of me holding two Easter baskets with the porn in one and the VHS cleaner in the other.  A local was walking on the trail and asked me how I was going to get the chair home.  Time to laugh.  he then told us about all the garbage they drug out of the lake when they recently drained it.  Bad.  Three cars!  He then told us that he worked for DSM public schools and when they cleaned the parks up from fornicators they started doing it on school grounds! You can stop people from shafting in the parks but cannot stop people from shafting!   Time to roll.  The humidity was horrid and we were sweating.


Back on the trail we rode until Mary announced that we missed the turn.  Somehow we missed the covered bridge, or so we thought, and ended up at the dog park at Ewing Park which was incredibly ironic or an instance of karma.  Earlier this week one of my co-workers told the tale of her pregnant adult daughter and her grandchildren calling to say that they were lost in Ewing Park.  For some reason during their hike they got off the path and horribly lost.  So lost that they were on their hands and knees crawling through brush.  One kid eventually made it out and dialed 911.  At 1030 pm my co-worker received a phone call from the Des Moines Police Department saying that her daughter and grandchildren were found and safe.  Of course the rest of us at work found this to be a funny story, how does one get lost at Ewing Park?  So now Mary and I were wondering where or if we missed a turn.  We doubled back and saw that there was no turn.  Turn around again and roll into Ewing Park proper as we saw a trail there.

This path led us to the back side of the disc golf course or Harry Piper Pkwy.  On the way there we passed the soap box derby track which I intend to take a bicycle down sometime in the future.  Also the BMX track is out here as well probably explaining why we saw about 5 BMXers in full kit flying down the derby track.  We climbed out and were on Indianola Ave near Firestation #10.  If we followed the avenue we'd meet up with Highway 5.  There we could take the wide shoulder to Avon Lake and then get to Carlisle.  "Let's take Payton Ave (SE 60th).  Just explore, reaching Carlisle does not matter"  Mary suggested.  The road was paved and we had never been on it.  Why not?

It is a lovely road to ride a bicycle on.  Not much traffic, smooth and a great hill.  With the right wind and some effort possibly a 40 mph+ hill.  In fact the hill was so good that when I saw the bike trail I did not slow down for it.  I zoomed past knowing that I was going to turn around despite a strong desire to zoom up the other side and take a peak.  So I used my left hand to make some sort of signal to Mary that it was time to perform the Crazy Ivan and turn back to the trail.  The view from the top of the hill would have to wait.  Suddenly this ride is begetting more rides out here.

Lilly pond in the Three Lakes development.

We've seen this trail from Highway 5 before from cars.  Basically a residential trail for the new housing developments out here.  Possibly part of an eventual trail link up from Des Moines to Carlisle.  This would be our first exploration of the trail.  It crosses Army Post Rd/Highway 5 but traffic was light.  After a small pond there was a white stone fence that looked like a great stop to enjoy an adult beverage on.  I wonder what friends I could drag out here for this?  Then it winds in to the Three Lakes neighborhood.  For some reason that does not show up on Google Maps but it leads to E Pine Ave/SE 72nd St.  E Pine leads to SE 45th which gave us the option of going south to where it dead ends thanks to the 65/69 Bypass or north to Highway 5/Army Post Rd where we could either continue north to go home or turn east and head into Avon Lake and and continue to Carlisle.  We have never been on this side of SE 45th but always use the other side to go to and fro Carlisle and have often stared at at the south part and wondered if it lead anywhere.  But now my stomach was grumbling since one PowerBar and nothing but coffee does not last long.  Rancho Alegre would be our next stop.


Now instead of riding up to Evergreen Ave as SOP we headed back into Easter Lake hoping to complete the loop we began or at least get to Indianola Ave.  We followed the trail and found the covered bridge and then found where the trail ends.  Nope, trail is not connected yet.  Time to do some hills in the park and enjoy the speed bumps.  And they were real nice speed bumps, perhaps the best ever, so smooth I don't know why they placed warning signs about them.  Now the climb up Easter Lake Drive.  This is a narrow road without a shoulder.  Unfortunately, the city in its wisdom never widened the road to accommodate all the housing developments that have recently flooded this area.  No one honked, swore or threatened up but it is not my favorite road to bike on and I cannot wait until the trail around Easter Lake is completed so I can never visit this road again.


When we reached Indianola Ave we had a bike lane all the way to the intersection across from the restaurant we were going to.  Rancho Alegre has the best chips in salsa in town and the big burrito meal is great.  Not a hug burrito but a 12" tortilla with steak, cilantro ect inside that you hold in your hand and spoon in mole or verde salsa in between bites.  And the beans and rice are great too.  Do yourself a favor and eat there sometime.  Closed on Tuesdays, we've made that mistake before.

Well it was a 23 mile ride on a cloudy and very humid day.  Got to check out our neglected backyard and saw many opportunities for future rides.  Trails, smooth country roads and hills and parks.  what was not to love?

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