Fri, Mar 14, 2014 | by TJ JuskiewiczShare
The route zigzags northeast toward Tripoli (pronounced trih-PO-la, by the way) and then curves past the Sweet Marsh Wildlife Management Area, a refuge for deer, doves and various waterfowl.
It’s wet, sure, but riders who want to make a splash should pedal on to Sumner, which built a popular aquatic center a few years ago.
The route from Oelwein to unincorporated Otterville runs south along the Fairbank-Amish Boulevard in Buchanan County, home to some 800 of the state’s 7,000 Amish. Horse-drawn buggies and humongous gardens are signs of the Old Order settlement, which produces high-quality quilts, furniture and the sorts of baked goods that were invented before the discovery of cholesterol.
Riders will end the day in Independence, which last hosted the ride in 2007 and is best remembered for its five-story flour mill on the banks of the Wapsipincon River. The town of 6,000 proudly claims a historic opera house and an old kite-shaped horse track, which was joined in more recent years by the 3⁄8-mile oval Indepence Motor Speedway. The speedway hosts late-model and sprint-car races each week throughout the summer.