During one of my Tuesday overnights in Des Moines, I brought my bike along with me since rain was not in the forecast and went for a ride on the Great Western Trail after work. (Des Moines is just filled with biking trails and really should be a city on any biker’s list to visit!) My friend and I decided to meet at a trail head off Park Avenue.
As you can see in the picture, there is a gravel road that runs along side the trail, so once I waited for a lot of bikers crossing at the intersection (they were coming from Water Works Park), I turned left and started driving down this gravel road and began wondering if the road would run out before I could find a parking place! I waited to take the picture above until after my ride was over so there are gaps where when I first got to the trail there were no gaps at all!
We planned to ride 8 miles of the trail to Cummings, IA, but I think the entire trail goes some 33 miles. Also, this trail is extremely busy — at least on the portion we were on — so the two pictures above are rare times when there were no bikers, joggers, or walkers around. It was beautifully shaded most of the time too. I do not ride fast at all, personally preferring to look around and enjoy the scenery, so I was constantly having to concentrate on going straight as the speed demons zipped by me, although they did shout out warnings as they were passing. Everyone is very friendly, and there is definitely a party feel all along the trail.
The shot above was taken from the trail looking at the Cummings Tap which was having an event for the bikers. The party was just getting started so we got off our bikes and joined in. There was even free water which I was excited about (although most people seemed interested in ice-cold beer)! The white tent had all sorts of different meats and toppings for tacos. I bought one and had chinese chicken as my meat, and then look below to see all the toppings I had on it. It was delicious!
After having a bite to eat and some ice water, my friend went on and I turned around and headed back to my car, enjoying the bird songs in between the radios and stereos of the passing bikers. I even got to watch a deer for a while coming down to take a drink before it was scared away. A beautiful ending to a pleasant evening in Des Moines.