I wrote about the bike trail from Marshalltown to Grimes Conservation area last year (link here), but the trail now has an added segment. This year they have connected up the Marshalltown bike trail to the one that runs along Highway 330 to Melbourne, Iowa. The entire trail has absolutely no shade and is rolling prairie land so when my son said he wanted to roller-blade while I rode my bike Saturday, I suggested trying this trail since it is newly paved and it was cool outside with passing puffy clouds.
We packed my bike and drove to Grimes Farm which is off Highway 30 one or two exits west of Marshalltown. There are brown signs with “Conservation Area” on them pointing the way. So we started from there and went five miles out to Highway 330. I was wondering how I got in such bad shape because all the way out there I was really struggling after just a measly 3 miles. This is really hilly, by the way, so don’t’ go if you want flat. Anyway, my goal was to go all the way to Melbourne, but when we hit 330 and the five-mile mark, I’d had enough and was worried about how long it would take me to struggle my way back to the car. Much to our surprise, we couldn’t believe how easy it was and we were back at our car in what seemed like minutes. Come to find out, it’s all uphill, even when it didn’t look uphill! It seemed like we coasted almost all of the five miles back except for a few hills here and there. We laughed all the way back, and I got to enjoy the scenery a lot more!It was about 1:30 when we finished so it had heated up quite a bit by the time we made it back so all in all we were happy with the workout. It was a lot of fun having my son along to talk to and the trail doesn’t have a ton of traffic on it compared to going towards Marshalltown so you can ride side by side and chat most of the way. One of my stops was to take the picture below of this beautiful thistle. I was reminded that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder because when I exclaimed to my son, “Look at that thistle!” (meaning how beautiful), my son replied, “Yeah, looks painful!”
Also in the picture, you can see the fence which goes along the trail on one side most of the way. I found myself only looking one way to enjoy the rolling farmland and prairie because of that fence. In addition, I want to mention there is a lot of car noise from the highway. I could still hear the birds, but this trail is not for someone who wants to be wholly immersed in nature.