|Working wind mills, huge gardens, and friendly folk were seen at every farm we passed.|
Some of the Amish/Mennonite characteristics were informed by old, 19th Century ways, and were most evident in their dress, especially the women who all wore ankle length dresses, bonnets, and aprons if they were out working. We saw several women mowing, working gardens, or driving cars with children in them to and fro. We did go by one school where there was an end of year party going on for the kids. Each girl wore a brightly colored long dress and bonnet and seeing them against the green grass of Spring playing joyfully was a sight to behold. We had a rider, Landon Beachy, who grew up here, telling us about the various differences in Mennonite and Amish ways, so it was a lot of fun to see and learn about the culture of the area.
We finally made a turn Southward as we had reached our Easternmost point on the route. The road we turned on to was chip seal, very hilly, and wound around the area of Amish/Mennonite farms where we got to witness a man and a four horse team plowing a field. I'd never seen such a thing before, although my Grandfather had told me that was how all farming was done in the early 20th Century when he was a kid. I thought I had taken a time machine back to an earlier day for a moment while I watched the man turn the team to make another round. I quickly was reminded that I indeed was in the 21st Century when my Fargo hit a small depression and my attention was needed to pilot myself safely down the 30mph descent I was on!
|An example of the farm machinery used in this area. Note that there are no rubber tires.|
|A steep climb up to a site of a former Amish school which has since been converted to a single family dwelling.|
|An "outhouse". This is where you would go to "relieve yourself" 19th Century style.|
|The man in the cart stopped to have a word with us at this stop on our ride.|
|Barns For Jason|
|We had a water/restroom stop at the Iowa Mennonite School|
We got to a paved road and I decided to hold up so I could rearrange my cues and wait for Martin, who was bringing up the rear so we wouldn't drop anyone. He appeared after several minutes with the news that Steven had decided to pull out and take the pavement back to North English as the rough gravel was shaking him up too much. It was mighty rough and skinnier tires were not a good choice for the conditions on more than half of the route.
The paved road went down, crossed the English River, and then back up, up to Wellman, then we turned West again. Back to gravel, and now my stomach was telling me I needed to fuel up. Fortunately I had packed away several gel packets for the ride. They were getting me by, but the deficit was growing and I couldn't keep up. Later into the ride I actually got a head ache. My legs were tired and sore, but I managed to keep up okay.
|Barns For Jason|
|Northwest of Wellman. That long, grinding climb ahead was full of fresh laid gravel! We went that way, of course.|
|The other side of the Hinkletown barn|
The wind, which hadn't been an issue for the first half of the ride, switched from the North to the Northwest, so we had a quartering headwind all the way back from Wellman on almost all fresh gravel. That made the effort to pedal really hard, and with me in a bonked out state, it was really tough. I think the rest of the crew was feeling it as well since we made several stops in the last miles of the ride. Thanks to those Canadian wild fires, we never got full sunshine, which if we had gotten the full blast of the Sun, it would have been really rough. Still, it was an odd sky and it gave things kind of a dreary feeling due to the constant haze.
Eventually we rolled back into North English and the plan was to go to the EV Malt Shoppe for food and drink. I was starving, and Tony was too. He couldn't wait till we ordered food and so he hit up the Casey's for a bottle of whole milk. Then we rolled down to the Malt Shoppe where we met up with the rest of the riders.
|The site of the end of T.I.v6|
We bade the others farewell, and Tony and I were joined by Martin, who also decided to bag a metric century, on our final bit of riding out West of town on a road I knew from using it on a couple of Trans Iowa routes. It was hilly and it twisted and turned, so it was better than some boring old straight shot. We got out about four miles, turned around, and headed back into town where we said goodbye to Martin. Then Tony and I loaded up the truck and headed back North to our homes.
It was a great day on the bike and Tony and I thought the route was fantastic. Going through Amish/Mennonite areas was really interesting and a treat to have done. We saw some pretty cool stuff out there, and talking with the man in the cart was a highlight of the ride.
|Metric century. Bagged.|