Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 8/19/2021 1:04:19 PM:
Two of us did Norfolk-Valentine-Norfolk a couple of weeks ago. At that time the trail from Norfolk-O'Neill was in pretty decent shape, with the exception of a couple of hundred yards of really thick, loose rock just as we approached the east side of Inman. As always, it's a crapshoot once you get west of O'Neill. For the most part the trail itself is solid but maintenance such as spraying and mowing is sadly lacking in many spots. Esp. near Atkinson and Ainsworth. We were riding on a lot of vegetation, and there were a lot of goat heads in that vegetation. Most of them hadn't really dried out yet so weren't as dangerous, but we picked dozens out of our tires from O'Neill on. As you ride the trail through the town of Bassett we found plenty of them within the city limits. It seems to be a ground-hugging plant that produces yellow flowers when it's producing goat heads. We each had Tuffy strips and tube sealer in our tubes and got through our 400 miles w/o flats. The section from Long Pine to Valentine was pretty good and is always the best part of the ride. I'm doing the Katy Trail out and back in a couple of weeks and we'll see how they compare. The Cowboy Trail is always an adventure!