“Much as I resented having to grow up in Des Moines, it gave me a real appreciation for every place in the world that’s not Des Moines.” — Bill Bryson
It was a lazy morning. The crew contemplated a plan to combine the following two shorter mileage rides into one to allow for a recovery day. After much debate, I decided to stick to the program.
With less demand on the morning routine and no time constraints, a pair of moderate-length rides can be like a rest. Since I don’t feel like I need one and the tumultuous relationship I have with them, recovery days are frustrating.
Ideally, now would be a good time, and I do not deny it is a good idea. Practically, it will have to wait. Until then, I will enjoy the leisure time on my bike.
The route quickly found a bike path. When you’ve been battling semi-tractor trailers and the buffeting winds of barren country truck routes, a shaded, secluded, and sheltered trail is a sigh of relief.
A brief farewell wave to Liz Van Houweling as I passed her street and headed towards Des Moines. The opportunity to meet Liz, her husband Ryan, and their lovely family will be a remembered highlight.
The cyclist’s bliss didn’t last, and the end of the Racoon River Trail thrust me onto metro roads. The narrow to non-existent shoulders and intersections with infinite ouch options heightened my senses.
With one too many “raise the hair on the back of your neck” situations when the eyes in the back of my head were trying to tell me what I already knew, I took the free time to find a better way.
After a winding multi-mile detour, I exhaled on the Inter-Urban Trail. The path got me close to our overnight destination, but there was no way to avoid a bit more congested pedaling. The campsite is connected to one of Iowa’s most popular amusement parks and sandwiched between a casino and track.
I rolled in early despite the slow going and didn’t want to stay here longer than necessary. We checked in and then checked out, planning to return later in the day when things calmed down.
The first stop was Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines. The cool breeze off the water was relaxing for me, and the path surrounding it allowed Kristin to take a nice run among the other many active park-goers.
Once we took full advantage of the chance to unwind, we explored downtown Des Moines. The city is unapologetically and unsurprisingly beautiful and trendy.
Check out these beauties!
When faced with the daunting day-to-day task of a 60-day bike ride across the country, it’s hard to think of anything else. The sculpture park’s eclectic collection of abstract and modern forms was an appreciated detour in thought.
The final downtown Des Moines stop was the Exile Brewery, where the food, beer, and atmosphere were a fine way to top off a relaxation-filled day. I may have had two.
Coastal Cruiser West Coast IPA, Exile Brewing Co., Des Moines, IA
Citra Sky Hazy IPA, Exile Brewing Co., Des Moines, IA
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Thirty-Six—Karen Bath
Here is what Karen had to say—”I’m Chris’ first employee!”
When Karen walked through the door of my P.T. clinic inquiring about a job, we had only been open a few days. She told me about her experience, and I told her, “No, you’re overqualified, and I can’t pay you.”
She said, “Yes, and you pay me what you can.” Karen has become a member of our family, and Kristin and I will never be able to repay her loyalty, friendship, and hard work.
Karen was a retired Phys. Ed. teacher when we met. After a few years in the clinic, she took the bold step for any sixty-something living in the technology age and applied to become a P.T. assistant.
It’s a challenging program. Karen had to adjust and became an invaluable professional and an asset for us after graduation. I admired Karen then, and I remain proud of her to this day.
Amount Raised to Date—$8,007
Thank you, Karen!
Now off to Kellogg, IA!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!