Saturday, May 07, 2011

The High Trestle Trail in Iowa

The High Trestle Bridge in Iowa
We missed the grand opening of the High Trestle Trail last week. Well, we missed it on purpose.  We don't like cycling in crowds, even if it means festively drinking beer and eating pie along the way.  The celebration in five towns along the 25-mile Iowa trail--Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid, and Woodward--coincided with the completion of a bike-pedestrian bridge across the Des Moines River.  The bridge is 13 stories high and half a mile long, decorated with artwork based on the area's coal mining history.  Two towers at each end sport gray ceramic stripes meant to evoke coal seams.  And overhead are rusty steel frames, which I hear symbolize the support cribs found in coal mines.

Today the trail was fairly crowded:  people who missed the grand opening want to cross the bridge.  We rode from Slater to Woodward and back--25 miles--and stopped in Madrid (pronounced Mad-rid, with the accent on "Mad"), a nice little town which now sells ice cream at The Filling Station as well as at the Git 'n' Go.  Someone is also refurbishing a quonset hut, soon to open as the  Flat Tire Lounge.  We know this will give the trail an edge:  Iowa bicyclists love drinking along the trails. 

My husband gave directions to a couple in a pickup truck trying to find the bridge.  I heard much muttering about 210, the highway, and there was much gesticulating, though my husband was guessing (we were on bicycles).   They never seemed to arrive, so we can only suppose they got lost.   

On the bridge bicyclists and pedestrians hung out together and chirped over the bridge rails.  There were placards about coal mining history, birding, and prairie fires, which I didn't read, but will read next time when the novelty has worn off.   

You might want to know what book I read on our break on the trail, because it's that time of year.  This is it, guys:  Margaret Drabble's The Needle's Eye. 

My copy is falling apart and I might have to invest in a new one. 

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

What a charming copy indeed. Most of mine are old Penguin paperbacks, soft and worn bindings, but not as lovely.