I recovered from that, of course, and Tony was right on time at 5:30am to pick me up so we could drive the hour and a half to get to North English and the Casey's that is there on the South side of the village. Some of you Trans Iowa vets will recognize that as being a convenience store stop from T.I.v5 and T.I.v10. It hasn't changed much over the years, I'll tell you that much! But first, I have to mention that Tony and I saw a wide variety of wildlife on the way down. We saw a enormous snapping turtle lumbering across the road, a coyote scampering across the road, several deer, and I believe a pheasant. Anyway, it wasn't a boring drive!
We arrived at Casey's and we got a few things to eat there as we awaited any other riders that may show up. First to arrive after us was Martin, the ride coordinator for this Geezer Ride. That's right, I didn't have to do anything to set up this route. It was all Martin's idea, and he was a bit anxious for us to see it to find out what we thought of it all. We chatted and then we saw a few other cars pull up. In all, we ended up with 8 riders on the fourth Geezer Ride. Not a lot, but there were a lot of gravel races that day, graduations, and of course, Mother's Day was the following day.
|The ride opened up with three miles of dirt road right off the bat.|
|The opening miles of gravel had gentle rollers and was hard packed making for easy riding.|
|This barn here, all that's left of Hinkletown, a 19th Century village, was a pretty area to ride through.|
We rode through a twisty section of road into a wooded area where a few houses sat on the edge of an area that used to be the bustling village of Hinkletown in the 1860's and 70's. The village slowly disappeared when the railroad built a line through several miles to the South, and the villagers all moved to the new town of Keota, which still exists to this day. That was a common theme in the late 1800's in Iowa. Many small villages either moved or became ghost towns based upon where the railroads built their lines.
We then made a turn North and then East again which slowly brought us into Amish/Mennonite country. The hills were a bit steeper, but the gravel started to become fresh and very chunky as well. It was tough to ride on, even with my Fargo Gen I, which I decided to bring instead of the single speed rig.
|We began to come across big Mennonnite churches, many dating from the late 1800's. This one is West Union Church dating from 1897|
|An abandoned school. Mennonites have newer schools they use now in this area.|
|Look closely by the pine trees. There is a buggy going down the road. The clattering of the iron treaded wheels could be heard from a long way off.|
|Typically the farms would have a white painted picket fence. The skies were stained with the smoke from Canadien wildfires all day.|
|This is an example of the telephone booths the Amish/Mennonite folks use which are powered by solar panels.|
|Taking a much needed break after enduring several miles of big, chunky gravel at our Easternmost point on the route.|
Part 2 tomorrow. Stay tuned.........