With my wife at Gray's Lake

On October 20th, while at work, I was talking to a colleague and I realized I was having trouble forming some words. I was not having difficulty thing the words, just saying them. After work I went to the ER and they diagnosed me with a stroke. After three days of observation, I was released. The only damage done seems to have been to my speech and I feel that it has returned to nearly 100%. The challenge now is to take care of my diabetes. I am supposed to watch my diet, take my meds and exercise regularly. So the weekend I was released, I swam 1000 yds and went on two 15 mile bike rides.

Jaylee (in her RAGBRAI shirt) at Gray's Lake

We went to Des Moines with my two youngest daughters and rode the Walnut Creek Trail from new the Wal-Mart to Grays Lake. It was a a warm late October day and I rode in a short sleeved jersey. The trail follows Walnut Creek through some wooded residential areas and and crosses under Grand Avenue. South of Grand it becomes a little more remote passing through some heavy woods, by a stable and through Waterworks Park.

From Waterworks park, the scenery becomes more industrial leading over to Gray’s Lake. On this ride, my daughter Jaylee rode on ahead with instructions to stop at the lake. Unfortunately, she missed the spur trail to the lake and kept on riding. If I had not picked up my big chainring and chased her down, she probably would have ended up in Altoona.

Josie and Pop

Gray’s Lake was recently named one of 10 Great Public Spaces for 2011 by the American Planning Association. I can still remember when Grays lake was an eyesore with the old Holiday Inn that was destroyed in the flood of ’93. The turn around was remarkable. The Lake has a handicapped accessible terrace and a paved trail. The trail includes a log curving bridge that is lit up at night. The trail and bridge are shared use and cyclist do need to be aware of strollers, wheel chairs, etc. You won’t get much of a workout riding at Gray’s Lake. Instead, get your workout riding to the lake and relax and enjoy the lake when you get there. We had a great time, the girls explored the dock and walked barefoot in the sand while Jan and I soaked up the October sun.

On the way back we nearly had a crisis. While crossing a bumpy wooden bridge over Walnut Creek, Pop fell off of Josie’s bike. (Pop is Josie’s stuffed hippo, they’ve been best friends for years 🙂 Pop was riding in a basket on Josies handlebars, unfortunately Pop does not have a seatbelt so she bounced out. I was afraid that Pop was going to fall into Walnut Creek, which at that point was wide and swift. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to swim after her. Fortunately, Pop managed to stay on the bridge. After getting Pop back into her basket we rode back to the Wal-Mart parking lot. On the way back the girls stopped to play at Colby Park and we picked them up in the van. It was a great ride and I am planning on taking care of myself so I can enjoy many more days like this one.


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