Saturday, July 6, 2013

4th of July Ride

A quick decision was made to go on a bike ride over the extended 4th of July weekend.  I found a nice route to the two Boone County campgrounds that would keep the riding fairly short and enable us to do a loop from our home.  We didn't get packing until late Wednesday and had to do the final packing on Thursday. But with only 20 miles for the first day starting a little late didn't cause any issues.  Half way we stopped in Slater to eat lunch before continuing on to Madrid on the High Trestle Trail.  The night we spend at the Swede county park.

Swede Park, no worries about tent sites.

Our worries about having difficulties to find a open campsite was not justified.  The park had 10 tent spots that were nicely separated from the RVs and none were taken when we arrived.  Later that night only one other tent campers came.  Swede Park had a nice bathroom/shower facilities, great tasting water and some nice hiking trail in the woods to a prairie grass meadow.

Oskar walking along the prairie grass trail.

Heidi enjoying the flowers.

Oskar at the camp fire

The second day we rode back a short stretch to Madrid to get on the High Trestle Trail and cross the High Trestle bridge.  Being spoiled from the day before, we again ate lunch at a restaurant in Woodward and had another nice cold beer.

Heidi studying birds.

Family photo on the High Trestle bridge.

After Woodward we left the well traveled bike trail and headed north on rural highways. Although not having to cross the Des Moines river again, the road dipped down at Seven Oaks to the river and we had to ride up a steep hill. A killer moment for Melissa having to haul Heidi on the trail-a-bike up the hill in the afternoon heat.

Heidi and Mama riding on a rural Iowa highway.

Heidi playing with a cat while we rest after a monster hill.

Again at Don William county park there was no issue finding a tent spots. After setting up the tent we went to the near by beach and took a long refreshing swim in it.  The perfect way to end a day of 35 miles.

Impromptu game with shirts and tree nuts.
No need to buy toss games.

4th of July fun with sparklers.

For our way back we decided for the route through Boone.  Although part of that route is well known to us we decided for this instead of going north to E18 and having to battle the south wind for a long stretch later in the day.  In Boone we got to watch the Scenic Valley Railroad getting ready their trains for the day's rides.  The kids got a personal  tour of the caboose and a demonstration of the railroad switch.

Heidi and Oskar inside the caboose of the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad.

Demonstration of the railroad switch.

Heidi getting on after a short rest.

Finally just a quick update on the Garmin Oregon 450 handheld GPS.  In the past I've been using it with the display constantly on.  So regular batteries only lasted about eight hour, not quite a full day.  Because of this I often use the more expensive lithium batteries. I don't want to carry a whole bag of AA batteries with me when hiking.  This trip though I used the setting that turns off the display after one minute.  One set of regular (alkali) batteries lasted me for the whole trip, although the display light was disabled due to low battery power on the last day.  The cost though is that the display is mostly off and I wasn't able to take a quick glance to see how fast I was going without having to touch the screen.