You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleaures forevermore. (ESV) Psalm 16:11)
VIEWS OF A FARM BOY
TALES FROM TRAILS
Today, October 23, 2018, was a perfect fall day in Iowa. It was also a perfect day for a bike ride. Problem is my narrow tire road bike isn't real compatible with the debris on the trail after the leaves fall--and besides, I had cleaned it up for the winter. Problem solved--I don't do off-road rides anymore but I still have my mountain bike. I pumped up my tires, put food, water and tools in my backpack and I am ready to go on an adventure. Tag along with me and I will tell you some tales from the trails.
My View for the Month: I do not go on Ragbrai anymore, but I am still a bike guy. I am big on lifetime sports and I am so thankful I can still ride my bike. I think we are so fortunate to have so many great recreation trails right here in Central Iowa. I am glad I took this loop trail for my last ride of the season. I am also very thankful for those of you who allow me to share with you some of my Iowa adventures.
Left: Fittingly, my first stop was in Windsor Heights. We lived here for 30 years. This is where we raised our family, so it is an important part of my life. Windsor Heights is locked-in geographically. It is surrounded by Des Moines and the western suburbs, so it has no place to expand. That probably is the very reason it was (and probably still is) such a tight knit community. I still consider so many of these people my friends today.
Right: This is a scene from my old stomping grounds--the Clive Greenbelt. When we lived in Windsor Heights, I biked and hiked the Clive Greenbelt Trail hundreds of times. So today, I parked my bike and took a little stroll along the trail for old times sake.
Left: This beautiful pagoda is located by the Des Moines River adjacent to the trail. It is part of the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens. Robert Ray was the much respected governor of Iowa from 1969-1983. He died this year at age 94. Among his many achievements was to establish a humanitarian resettlement program for Tai Dam refugees from Southeast Asia. Gov. Ray did this the right way by following the rules that led to legal citizenship for so many people. This is meaningful to me because I worked with several pharmacists who today are here in Iowa as a result of this program. They are good people and I still value their friendship.
Right: Old Railway Bridge south of Douglas Avenue--now part of the trail leading to Beaverdale.
The Fifth Street Bridge (aka Green Bridge) was built in 1898 as a link between southside Des Moines and downtown. It was introduced as a horse and wagon bridge, but later it welcomed vehicle traffic. As years went by, safety concerns developed and the bridge was closed in the early 90's. It sat there unused and was scheduled for demolition when a private fundraiser came up with two million dollars. This was the catalyst for the city and other groups to pitch in to save this iconic structure. Complete with a new coat of green paint, the Green Bridge was opened for pedestrians and bikers in 1916. It is now a very important part of the Meredith Trail between Grays Lake and downtown Des Moines.
Left: Next the trail ride allowed me to enjoy some beautiful fall scenery. I rode through a corner of West Des Moines, then to Des Moines past Frisbie Park to the Waterworks Park Bridge. This bridge, built in 1914, has a vertical plank surface that rocks your bones. Now here is the bad part--there is talk of replacing this historic structure. I just don't like that kind of change!
Right: This Grays Lake trail is usually packed with pedestrians and you can see why. It is a great two mile trip around the lake with this bonus--a great view of downtown Des Moines as seen from the trail bridge.
Left: The Union Railway Bridge (aka Red Bridge) was built in 1891. It was converted to a pedestrian-bike bridge in 2006 as part of the Principal Riverwalk trail system.
Right: The view north from the lookout area of the Red Bridge. The Court Avenue bridge is closed for renovation. The other bridges linking downtown Des Moines and the East Village are also scheduled for renovation or replacement.
Left: I visit the Iowa State Capitol Complex quite often, so this was a necessary sidetrip for my fall bike outing.
Right: Back on the trail--a short stop at the sculpture by the Des Moines Botanical Center.
I will soon be home and as you can see by the shadows, it is getting late in the day. It has been a great ride and a beautiful day, but I think maybe the most colorful fall leaves (above) were just a few blocks from our home.