Therefore you also must be ready for the Son of Man is coming in an hour you do not expect..  (ESV) (Matthew 24:44)


Each year I feature a bicycle story. This year was an abbreviated bike season for me. My first ride for 2019 was not until August and I rode a shorter distance each time. My routine ride, this year, was from the Raccoon River Valley Trailhead, starting in Waukee and turning around a couple of miles north of Minburn. However, the above map shows the 70 plus mile loop which I have ridden many times in past years. This year, I rode a slower pace and a shorter distance. This encouraged me to look around and smell the roses (or look at the wild flowers) and enjoy my 30 mile ride.


I start my routine bike ride at this beautiful 32 column, 350 ft. long pergola located at the Raccoon River Valley Trailhead in Waukee, Iowa. This trail (like many Iowa recreation trails) was built on an abandoned railroad right of way. I don't see a train--but the rails are still there, Just hop on your bike and look up--they're high in the sky.  

A lesson learned: When you are going 20 miles an hour--you are looking for a destination. When you are going 14 miles an hour you are looking at the beauty along the way.

Left: Energy--Iowa style. Right: Next stop--Minburn. We are not done yet! We will go 3 more miles and turn around.

Left: A beautiful day for a bike ride. Middle: Birds need a home, too. Right: Heading home--I see light at the end of the tunnel.

Back to DallasCenter. My last stop of the day--taking a break on Kent's bench. Sometimes, I walk across the street for ice cream or a hot dog (above right) but most times I just take a water break--actually it's more like a memory break on the bench. Kent McMullen and I were friends and bike buddies for many years. He was also a pharmacy manager at Dahl's Foods, so we both had every Thursday off. During summer months we rode to Jefferson and back for a total of 100 miles. Back then, we rode mostly on the highways. That was fun and fast, but we switched to trail rides in later years. Kent and I went on Ragbrai a number of times and we also did group rides with Mike Seifert, Rich Brinkman and others. Sometimes we had cold weather, rain, head winds and even a few storms--but we never had a bad ride. I ride mostly alone now, so it is a "happy moment" to sit on Kent's bench and think about memories from the past.


Next stop,Dallas Center. Another town and another pergola. I think I see a theme going on here. The picture above was taken last fall when this piece of art was under construction.

Left: Huge grain elevator system at Dallas Center. Right: Hog raising facility (my bike trail friend, Bernie, calls it a pig parlor) between Waukee and Dallas Center. Hog barns, such as this, stir up a little stink In Iowa because no one wants this "in my back yard." However, our Iowa hog farmer makes a real effort to be a good neighbor and the swine industry is a very important component of Iowa agriculture.

Dallas County Freedom Rock is painted but landscaping not completed. We will revisit this later.

A few stops at Minburn on a beautiful day.

Today I showed you some examples of fun things to see and do along the Raccoon River Valley Trail. But the beauty of the bike path goes way beyond the boundaries of the trail. Whether you look right or left, you can enjoy the beauty of Iowa corn and soybeans. They are the real trademark of Iowa agriculture.


My View for the Month: As you know, I am a big proponent of lifetime sports. I hope this encourages you to enjoy some of the great Iowa recreation trails. You can run, walk, or bring your bike, skateboard, etc. Just no motorized vehicles please. Throughout the years, I have ridden my bike on most of the Central Iowa trails. I got a late start this season, so I will do most of my rides on the Raccoon River Valley Trail just a few miles from our home. I am a person of routine, so I will probably stick to the same route I shared with you today. That is 30 miles, 15 OUT--15 BACK.

15 OUT--15 BACK