Thriving Couples Blog

Counseling individuals, families and couples in the Des Moines and Ames area -

Call today 888-233-4334

Ames Counseling Office            Des Moines Counseling Office

Dating Ideas for Fall: Bicycling in Central Iowa

We took our last motorcycle trip of 2011 two weekends back and have a few pics to share.  As I’ve said in earlier blogs, we like to take little jaunt around Central Iowa for dinner or breakfast or to see some local sites or visit an antique shop or just to see what’s up.  Fall is a perfect time to enjoy the changing of the seasons and take in the unique scents of harvest.  I’m not a hunter, but I understand the draw to the outside whenever we take to the back roads.  Even if it’s a little chilly the golden corn and auburn leaves are compelling, something that is easily less appreciated in a car with the windows down.

While this blog is about our trip from Ames to Johnston to Woodword and back to Ames on our motorcycle, I’d like to share a great dating idea that crossed our paths.  We haven’t done it ourselves, yet, but it’s on our list.  Perhaps this blog and our pictures will get your creative juices flowing as you think about dates with your spouse next year.

Our trip took us from Ames on country roads past Big Creek and along the Des Moines River Greenbelt Trail (see here and look at Map #1).  From Big Creek you can bicycle all the way to Des Moines and beyond on other trails.  The road system follows the trail and is winding and pretty.  We putzed along on our motorcycle, taking the back roads to Texas Roadhouse for supper.  We got there around 4:30 before the rush.  We’re not so fond of going to franchise places for dinner dates, but we’ve enjoyed Texas Roadhouse.  Their steaks are really tender and they let us split one as neither of us can eat a whole steak.  Their rolls are fresh and hot and peanuts are free on the table when we arrive.  Mary Sue would go just for the loaded sweet potato!  They also let you order different size steaks which is a nice touch.  DO NOT TELL THEM IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY!  It is humiliating!  Nufsaid.

Splitting a small steak with tip was less than twenty bucks.  Really.  Mary Sue and I’ve have split food eating out since we were broke college students splitting a hot fudge sundae at the campus cafe up at Moorhead State (that goes back a ways!).

We took the Hiway 141 to Woodward in order to check out the High Trestle Trail and Bridge.  This is part of Central Iowa Trail Network for bicycling, walking and cross country skiing.  It’s a beautiful time to go for a walk, even on a brisk day.  If you are bold you can bring your bicycles and park by the Trailhead in Woodward.

The town of Woodward, Iowa developed a parking and staging area at the end of the High Trestel Trail.

They restored the old train depot so the public can use it for a rest and picnic area, complete with bathrooms and picnic tables.

This sign tells the distances from this point in Woodward. The High Trestle Bridge is 2.6 miles away.

Coal mining was instrumental in the early history of both Madrid and Woodward. The railraod played an important role in moving the coal. This little trolley is in homage to that heritage, as the coal mining era in Central Iowa which largely died by the 1930’s out due to other energy sources for home use.

For more info on coal mining in Iowa see an article by UNI here or Wikepedia

We took Highway 210 east across the Des Moines River from Woodward and were able to see the High Trestle Bridge from the highway.  The Bridge was completed just this year (2011) in April.

The Des Moines River is very low due to near draught conditions. The River Valley is very pretty through here.

My camera isn’t too fancy, but if you look close you can see people clustered looking at the sunset behind us. It looked like there were about 100 people on the bridge.You can see the wooden structures along the bridge, part of an artistic design that is supposed to replicate a coal mining shaft.

I found this picture from So the word is getting out about this unique bridge. You can see the rectangles on the bridge are spaced and angled in such a way to replicate looking down a mineshaft. Pretty clever.

Here’s a summary of the High Trestle Trail from Wikepedia:

High Trestle Trail is a rail trail running 25 miles (40 km) from Ankeny, Iowa, to Woodward, Iowa.  The recreation trail opened on April 30, 2011.  It is a paved recreational trail that runs through the counties of Polk, Story, Boone, and Dallas in Iowa.

An impressive 13-story high (130ft), nearly half mile long (2,530 ft) bridge provides scenic views of the Des Moines River Valley.  Completed in the spring of 2011, the bridge’s special lighting remains on until midnight.   The bridge is located near numerous mining shafts that were worked by many Italian immigrant families and others who settled nearby. Enhanced by artist David B. Dalhquist (Dahlquist Art Studios), the bridge art is an artistic representation of the view through a mine shaft.

The conservation board directors estimate that more than 3,000 people use this trail each week.

Put the High Trestle Trail on your list of fun things to do this winter or next spring when the weather warms up and you can bring out your bicycles.

By the time we’d gotten back home in Ames, we’d put on 80 miles on our old Vulcan.  It was a relaxing and beautiful trip.  It beat dinner and a movie any day.


To see a list of Dr. Bing’s blogs on other fun things to do in Central Iowa click here.  To see his list of things to do this fall click here.


Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

Need Individual Or Couples Counseling? Call 888-233-4334 or email

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bing in Ames, Iowa click here

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bing in Des Moines click here