Monday, May 19, 2008

New Slater Bike Lane is Smooth But What Ever Happened To Good Times?

There's a newly paved bike lane beginning just outside of Ames running through Slater, to Big Creek, Polk City and through Des Moines. We checked it out the other night and it's nice; a welcome change from fearing for your life as cars honk and sputter by. It is even wide enough that we were able to ride two abreast and it's clear; no glass, road kill or other treats. And in perhaps the biggest bonus of is smooth as a baby's butt.

We figured we'd ride to Polk City, have a beer, ride back. Naturally, this early in the season when the wind blows, a big ride can quickly be diverted to the closest tavern. Such was the case last week when we forayed out after work on what we'd hoped would be a cool 50 miler. The wind hurt, our legs hurt, and we were not really feeling like winning, as they say, so we decided the best thing to do was drink beer.

We stopped in Slater at what I thought was "Good Times Saloon." I'd spent nearly five miles talking about all the memories I had in this place from years past: previous bike rides, the infamous and now defunct "Sleishea" (Slater version of Veishea), stops on the former Wallaby's Employee Party excursions, and the Halverson crew...really, need I say more? That place always had, in my mind at least, always oozed good people and of course, Good Times.

Except this time it wasn't good times at all, it actually kind of sucked. Our problems began when "no cash Ali" produced nothing but a debit card and three bucks for the good will of the team. They take no cards. Thankfully, Scott had $25 in cash so we were good for awhile at least, until we had a bit of a mix up with the bartender in our funds, and he shorted us five bucks for one of our rounds, and hence our we were unable to buy our subsequent round. Granted, we could have been wrong, but when you come to a bar with $28 it is not so difficult to do the math. And really, we could have taken or left the beer, but this seemed to set the stage for the rest of the experience which we kept saying was just plain, weird. And later, when I ran into a friend of mine who is a Slater local, he echoed our sentiments by saying, "oh, that place is weird now."

Ahem. Yes, weird.

Perhaps Good Times vibe and love of bicycles left Slater when the bar was purchased a few years ago; as it is now called the Take Down...not something that brings to mind a positive visual as I roll in on two wheels. Perhaps we caught the fine folks there on an "off" night. Perhaps we smelled. I can speak for myself, I probably did. Regardless, everyone in there was less than friendly, less than willing to resolve our missing $5 complaint, and oh so willing to move their cars into the opened doorway to blast exhaust into the bar as part of a car show of some sort they had going on. It was very, um...loud. And exhaust like. Mmm. So we left.

Given that the Take Down will indeed become a stopping off point for many a cyclist from Ames venturing South on the new path, we hope that the new owners can take come pointers from the previous owners of the Good Times Saloon and bring happy back to our pit stop soon.

Until then, we want our five dollars….

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