We completed (almost) the other half of the Fairfield Loop Trail heading south to two pretty old 1910 barns and very rural landscape past pastures and farmsteads during our last day in Fairfield, Iowa. Would have been perfect if not for the gravel surface which I find nerve wracking, especially going downhill where at least once we came upon an even thicker pile of gravel, poorly marked with a sun-faded orange flag. It could have been a disaster if we’d been riding fast. The trail to the north also had irritating speed bumps. (A friend in Des Moines just broke her collarbone riding through a small patch of gravel on an otherwise-paved trail here.)
We ended up taking a “short cut” of sorts through a very wooded trail in Jefferson County Park, riding on red pine needles atop packed earth and hoping we didn’t run into a deer or contract Lyme Diseast. It’s as close as I want to get to mountain biking.
For lunch we split a delicious lamb kebab, hummus and falafal at Istanbul Grill, the first Turkish restaurant I have found in Iowa (although the food seemed more middle eastern than the Turkish food I remember when I was there in, um, 1982.) We stopped again at Everybody’s Whole Foods but no movie star sightings this time!
We also drove east to the old river town of Burlington, which has gorgeous restored brick homes atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi. We made the obligatory drive down Snake Alley, the crazy curves street that rivals San Francisco’s Lombard Street. we just missed a nutty road race where cyclists bike up the narrow bricked Snake Alley. Yikes!
This morning at breakfast we learned a little more about Maharishi U from several other guests at our inn. One man had just earned his PHD, I think in management, (whatever the Marharishi version is of that) and another man, a police officer outside Chicago who is involved in community policing was in town for a TM course. Apparently people apply TM to their study of traditional academic subjects and to their everyday careers, as well as other aspects of their lives. (Just fyi: the student center at Maharishi U had some really nice clothes but I discovered after my purchases that they all smell heavily of incense.)