This route was scouted by: Pat and Gabrielle Coughlin, Team Cow
Jasper, Marion and Mahaska Counties
Length: 70 miles
Paved Roads Climb: 2,500 feet
Parking and Restrooms: Rock Creek State Park Marina (outhouse); modern restrooms available in the campground just up the road
You might not see tulips, but this ride brings Holland to you.
Starting at Rock Creek State Park (about 3 miles southwest of Kellogg) head east from the marina on the bike trail that runs along County Road F-27. Although the road heads south on T-38, you have the option of taking a 2.5-mile dogleg east into Grinnell on the Grinnell Area Recreation Trail. This adds 5 miles to your route, well worth it if you need a coffee or a bike shop. Find Bikes to You and its neighbor, Saint’s Rest coffee shop, on the main square.
The most difficult mile is along busy Hwy 6 at the intersection of T-38 and Hwy 6. There is a paved shoulder but it has rumble strips. At the top of a long hill, turn south on T-38 again, toward Sully.
Continue south to Pella, a college town steeped with Dutch tradition, windmills and other attractions. This is approximately the halfway point. Many riders dine at Smokey Row on the town square and seek out Dutch letters – flaky S-shape pastries filled with almond paste – at one of the many bakeries. Iowa Bike & Fitness is just north of Smokey Row and another Casey’s is conveniently located on the way out of town.
Fill your water bottles before leaving Pella on T-14; there are no services in tiny Galesburg and Killduff. Your next rest and refuel will be at the Best Burger Cafe RV Park and Truck Stop at the intersection of Interstate 80 and T-22.
It is only about 12 miles back to Rock Creek on Hwy 224 and F-27, but save some energy. This last section is loaded with some awesome rollers that your quads will remember.
We started bicycling in 2002 primarily for the purpose of losing weight and to have a healthy activity to do together. We started riding a tandem the following year and absolutely fell in love with. Each year since we got more and more serious about biking. We ride year-round on the bike trails and county roads around Des Moines and central Iowa in general and we commute a couple days per week as our schedules and the weather permits. We enjoy traveling around the state and even out of state to do organized group rides. Some of our favorites include the Midwest Tandem Rally, Texas Hell Week, Tour De Palm Springs, and of course RAGBRAI. We did our first RAGBRAI together on the tandem in 2003 then started our own RAGBRAI team, Team Cow, in 2004 and we have not missed a RAGBRAI since. One of our goals is to go bicycling in another county, perhaps Ireland or Italy.