Do you remember that old show called "In Search Of" starring Leonard Nimoy? Yeah, I used to watch that back in the day. Well, yesterday's adventure was something that reminded me of that show, only my adventure wasn't about the paranormal, odd cults, or witches. It was about finding a "B Maintenance" road I had heard about last week.
So, before I get started, I have to post this disclaimer:
This post presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The blogger's purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries we will examine.
Okay, so here's the deal. Last Thursday, "Doug-E-Fresh" comes in and tells me that he'd been on a B Maintenance road just south of Waterloo and east of HWY 63. Huh? Really? I have been all over those roads and had never seen it. He said the same. He'd never seen it before either, and had come up on it purely by accident. Doug-E had some trouble recalling the details, but I got enough out of him to know where to look. By Doug-E's description, the road was an epic B Road, and not just some dirt smoothie stretch of gravel. I had to find out if it was true.
Was Doug-E-Fresh really on this B Road, or was it a bad case of gravel dust inhalation? Maybe he knocked his head on a rock and had a vision? This needed to be either proven or dis-proven. Does the mysterious B Road actually exist?
So I set off through town and the trees were beautiful in the sun. The wind was gently blowing the leaves out and across my path. It was like a cycling version of a ticker tape parade. The sun was out and riding high up in the sky. It was a fine day to be out exploring.
He had said that on his excursion, the road was so wet and boggy he could barely traverse it. Supposedly it was not marked by the traditional "Enter At Your Own Risk" sign, but had a warning about being "impassable during high water", or something to that effect. Well, what did you know, but I saw the beginnings of the dirt sector as I crested a hill on Petrie. There off in the distance it was, just beyond what looked like to be a fair stand of pines on the south side of the road. Likely a farmstead. Maybe Doug-E had it right after all.
Doug-E had also said it was really wet when he rode this, but of course, it has been dry since, so the dirt was solid leading up the hill.
Did I say there were ruts? This road has some of the worst I've seen. Deep ruts that will catch your pedals if you are not careful. Up the hill again and down again. I decided to stop and enjoy the rustic solitude for a bit. Flowers- the last of the season that had survived the first few frosts, were adorning the sides of the road. My favorite color too. Purple. I took it in as I knew I would be waiting another six months before I would be able to enjoy wild flowers along the roads again.
The thing is, this isn't going to last. It is pretty apparent that zero maintenance has happened here for a long, long time. This is usually a sign that the next step is nigh; Decommissioned or "C" class status will be next, and it will happen sooner than later. Any locals that want a taste of this had better go check it out now. A gate or a plowed field will be all you'll find within a year or so, is what I am thinking.
And if that happens, it really will be a mystery road with no discovering it!
Trans Iowa 13: The Soggy Bottom Toys
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