As I mentioned at the end of the last post, we had made our way to Camp Crescent on Black Hawk Lake in Lake View, Iowa. Our first night was fine. Although the camp site was small, there were no other campers in the sites behind us and on either side, so we didn’t notice the smallness of our space. We set up the Mouse House, known to humans as the canopy tent room.
We had an oil change earlier in the trip and they had recommended we buy a couple of tires. Our stop in Iowa was the first opportunity we had to do that. So, on the way to our camp, we stopped at a Goodyear dealer in Carroll, Iowa to set up an appointment for the following day. Carroll was not an accidental choice. As it is 23 miles south of Camp Crescent on Central Iowa’s Sauk Rail Trail, a ride I had already planned for the trip.
So, the following morning, I started out on the trail by bike and planned to meet Bill for lunch, drop the truck off at Goodyear and for both of us to bike the remaining Sauk Trail and the loop around Swan Lake, south of Carroll.
The first part of the ride, riding solo from Lake View to Carroll, was through a combination of Iowa corn and soybean fields, small towns and a large wetland area.
I did have one particularly poignant moment. In addition to being the rail trail, most of the way was also signed “Sauk Bluebird Trail,” and they have bluebird house placed every hundred feet or so for miles along the trail. This made me think fondly of Kenny Jacobs, Bill’s Father, who meticulously cared for and recorded bluebird house activities at numerous places in Southeastern Wisconsin. This and the ride through the wetland area had me remembering Bill’s parents, Mary Lee and Kenny, for most of the ride. Mary Lee and Kenny were dedicated to the protection of wetlands and both would have enjoyed walking this trail for the natural beauty and for the bluebird houses, along the way. Although, I am fairly certain Kenny, would have felt the need to tend to the houses, as some of them needed that attention.
After meeting up with Bill in Carroll, we finished the ride, adding another 12 miles to my ride. You may see the Strava post on the ride by clicking here:
Returning to Carroll, we had time remaining before heading back to Goodyear, so I thought an Iced Latte was a good idea. But, luckily, we arrived at the coffee shop just after closing. I said luckily because, a couple blocks before, I had noticed an open craft brewery and I suggested we return there and check it out.
The Carroll Brewing Company, took and old early 20th century power house and turned it into a state of the art modern brwery with accompanying taproom.
After reviewing the tap offerings with the barman Nick, who I later learned is actually the Brewmaster, I selected the Kölsch, intrigued at finding this Cologne (Köln), Germany styled beer here in America’s heartland. It was perfect, light and refreshing, a perfect beer after a long sweaty ride in the Midwest humidity. When I told Nick how much we were enjoying the Kölsch, he said “that’s great, we just released it today!” I felt particularly lucky to have been one of the first to try their new offering. Bill and I returned the next day and I tried a flight of the offered brews and we bought 4 six packs to share with our friends and family later in the trip in Wisconsin.
After returning to Camp Crescent, the scene had changed entirely. Campers packed in like sardines in a can, kids running amok, dogs off of leashes. I was very uncomfortable. The slideout of the trailer next to us almost touched out tentroom, and space between us was a walkway for kids coming and going. Social distancing seemed to be a foreign concept, so we thought it better to cut our stay there short, but found finding alternative on a summer Saturday challenging. We decided to stay Saturday night, but leave early Sunday. We kept to ourselves, enjoyed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and went to bed early.
But we did get out on bikes for a nice ride around Black Hawk Lake and out on the Sauk Trail again.
Strava Link Here: https://strava.app.link/24c0PprT98
Well, I think that is enough for now. I will cover Royalton, MN and our arrival in Wisconsin in the next post, which I will do tomorrow, since we have great internet here.