The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy recently published a guidebook to all the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame trails and that has helped me discovery some trails that I want to ride! One of them, The Wabash Trace Nature Trail was right outside Council Bluffs, Iowa, just off I-80!
It was about 200 miles from Ft. Kearny to the trailhead. It was all flat Nebraska farm land! I wonder if part of why Nebraska wasn't quite so boring this time was because I broke it down better? Last time I did it all at once, just drove straight through. Nebraska does have some nice state parks so maybe next time I'll slow down even more!
I got to the trailhead at noon. It was very easy to find, even though I missed the exit I wanted because of construction! I was able to get off at the next exit and take a different route in. Go google maps! I did discover later that I could have stayed on 80 and avoided the whole I-29 and construction stuff!
There was a picnic table at the trailhead park so I ate lunch then got my bike all ready to go! Dad had looked up the trail online and read some negative reviews and I was concerned because it was the middle of the day and it was hot! Not as hot as Nebraska had been, but still 80s/90s. Well, I was in luck, the trail was almost entirely in the shade! How they got those trees to grow right over the train tracks I'll never know, but it was shady and cool with only a few spots of full sun!
The trail was also in excellent condition! Smooth crushed stone & hard packed dirt! Perfect for riding! So,e of the road crossings were dirt roads and had deep loose gravel, but it was short! There wasn't much scenery, just a green tunnel, but occasionally the trees would open up to rolling Iowa farm country
The trail also wasn't flat! I sort of expected it to be because most rail trails are, but Iowa isn't flat so why would the trail be? It was a perfect mix of up and down - the trail climbed for the first 5 miles, then went down for the second 5 miles. I turned around just as it was going up again! The climb was steady but gentle - enough to get a work out but not so much that I was hating life! And it was enough of a grade that the downhill was fun! I could coast a lot!
Right by the trailhead park there's an ice cream place, the Tasty Treet! They were a bit like a Dairy Queen with chocolate and vanilla soft serve and shakes and sundaes and stuff. The lady in front of me got a chocolate cone and it looked really good so I got the same...it was very tasty! And only cost a $1!
Back at the van I got a shower (love that I can just clean up wherever I am!) and then went over to a Hy-Vee grocery store. I'd never heard of Hy-Vee so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a great store! One of the best I've been in! I only needed 2 things but I spent awhile looking around.
Then it was back on 80 headed to Lake Anita State Park. I camped here three years ago on my way to Colorado and I'd been looking forward to coming back. It's a lovely campground, right on a small lake. When I was here before it was right before July 4th and the place was packed, tonight, not so much! Over half the sites were available. I drove around twice picking my site. One thing they do here, which is really annoying, is they put the picnic table right smack in the middle of the site, so in order to get into the site you have to park your vehicle, get out and drag the picnic table out of the way. Picnic tables are heavy and hard to move. But, I got it moved and backed into my site!
I used the convection over for dinner again tonight and it didn't set off the smoke alarm! YAY! After dinner I took my bike out to ride the 5 mile loop around the lake! It was a lovely ride! This lake is so nice! I stopped at the top of the hill where I had better signal for the phone (I'm seriously over having awesome signal during the day when I don't have time or interest in email/Facebook/etc and then having none in the campground, all summer it's been like that!).
I sat at the picnic table and blogged and chatted with my neighbor while the sun set! It's gotten nice and cool too!