|Most fields have been harvested. Some have been plowed already!|
I guess I should have figured it out when I ran across a "Pit Bull Awareness Parade" when I was rolling through the downtown area. Yes.........really. It was a parade of dogs and their owners. They were really sweet dogs, by the way, and well behaved, even though the normal hustle and bustle of traffic had not been stopped for this parade, which was coming right down the sidewalk at me. As I say though, it was no big deal, and I found it rather amusing, actually. Little did I realize then these would be the nicest dogs I'd meet on this ride, by far.
A little further up the street and I saw the barricades come down with their flashing red lights and dinging bells. Bah! A train! I waited long enough to see that they were building a train in the yard, which meant a lot of back-and-forth with the cars. So, I bailed out and went over to the West to avoid the delay of my riding any further. It wasn't long before I was back on track and hitting the gravel on Moline Road.
|Here are some of the many plowed over fields I saw during my ride.|
|The skies cleared, it got a tad warmer, but that wind never went away.|
Along about this time, I spied a big, furry, yellowish dog, and he spied me. Oh yeah......he's coming. Now this was a "true farm dog", not the well coifed, inside most of the time, pampered dogs. No......this mutt was big, gnarly, and had been out in the elements, likely its entire life, and wasn't playing games. I was going against the wind, the dog had a great angle of attack, so I stopped. I straddled the bike, and the big, gnarly brute was showing his teeth and barking his fool head off.
So, I started talking to it, not showing any fear, (and really, I wasn't scared at all), and the dog showed a chink in the armor. It would take a while, but this dog would eventually give over. I could see it. Then the owner came out. He started yelling at "Gunnar", and the dog got all stubborn and decided he was going to "protect and serve". The owner had to come right out on the road and grab the dog's collar, but not before the mutt nipped at my calf. No harm-no foul, but that was as close as I wanted to come to getting bit. I think the owner's agitation at the dog was misinterpreted by the dog as anger at me, but whatever. The owner apologized profusely, and I went on my merry way.
|The gravel roads were primo-fast! The recent rains and traffic had beaten them into a smooth state.|
The ride South was going quite nicely, and I had decided that I would swing my route over toward Cedar Falls so I could pick up all the Trans Iowa v12 registrations I was sure were sitting there on my bench. (I was right. There were about 30!) So, I decided to go all the way to Mount Vernon Road, turn right, and then a couple miles to a left and into Cedar Falls via pavement. I knew that at the corner with Mount Vernon Road, the house there had some black labs that liked to give chase. I was wondering if they'd be out sunning themselves on this pleasant, albeit windy, Fall day. I had the "stealth advantage" of coming with the wind, so they wouldn't see me until I was "right there". I knew all this may be true, so I was ready.
It's an uphill grind to that corner, so I was giving it all I had, in case the dogs were there. Well......of course they were there! I was level with them when I saw them on my right. I knew that having to make a right turn there gave the dogs an advantage, since that would play into their hands- er...paws- giving them a better angle of attack. So I took that corner as hot as I dared, and came out only a couple of feet ahead of the single black lab still giving chase. Into the wind, but downhill now, so I stomped on the pedals and drew away far enough the dog stopped. He stood there in the road until I was out of sight!
|Not every animal I saw running was a dog. This deer sprinted across the road in front of me, here seen in the corn stubble.|
Dog sprints, animal induced intervals......whatever you want to call them. They were definitely making me work a bit harder this day than is usual. That's okay though. For as many miles as I ride out on gravel, I don't usually have many dog encounters at all. This ride was quite the unusual one, to say the least.