|Brian Terhark readies himself to depart from the Traer convenience store stop.|
But before that you can see two, very unique structures on the East side of P Avenue, if you are attentive. They are round barns made from ceramic tiles. You can see one North of 63 on P Avenue and one South of 63. I pointed them out while we were riding and someone asked me why I thought this type of barn was built. I really didn't know, so I have taken the liberty to find out and report here.
Apparently, Iowa was one state where the production of clay tiles to drain farm wetlands was strongest. This led to ways to utilize the hollow clay tile in more ways. Apparently, state universities like Iowa State and the University of Illinois were doing agricultural research into the efficiencies of round barns over that of traditional rectangular shaped barns. The theory was that a round barn was stronger, saved on construction costs by a sizeable amount, and did not cause issues with lower storage capacities. This, along with the marketing efforts in the early 20th Century, led to a proliferation of round barns and silos made from hollow clay tile bricks. So, there's a possible answer!
|Level B road perfection! This was as fun as I was expecting.|
|The skies began to clear off a little as we pushed South and Westward.|
|Dangling off the back, but not too far........yet.|
|Some big hills on 270th in Tama County|
One other thing that was odd was that the skies, which at one point seemed close to clearing off, had went all grey again. The roads actually looked as though they had just received some rain, as the gravel was sticky or mushy in spots. It was all rather odd as it hadn't actually rained in a few days, but the humidity was rather high. Thankfully the temperatures were not equally as high!
This all led us up to the Level B Road at the West end of 270th in Tama County. We all gathered at the crossroads with D Avenue, and took a rest there. I looked at the ground suspiciously, and it looked like it had rained here recently. This made me think that the ground further up the road would actually be muddy. That could be the makings for some surprises up on the B Road's dirt! I still held out hope that things would be okay. This was the Level B that MG drove me through during Trans Iowa, so I was hoping it would be in similar shape. I told the guys what to expect, and I then followed Tony in as we attempted to ride this monster.
|Josh takes a picture of our favorite sign.|
|Yes- This is a road in Iowa!|
|We had some clean up work to do once we emerged on the other side.|
|Scraping mud is a gravel grinder tradition. We all knew the drill!|
Well, here we were. Eight cyclists busily scraping and chatting while a local or two went slowly by, no doubt marveling at the sight. A couple actually stopped to say a few words, but as I said in the previous report, everyone was very friendly and kind. One gentleman, who thought we were all crazy, professed his love of cycling on Iowa's various bicycle trails and he listed off several that he and his wife ride regularly. If you do not think cycling brings in tourism, think again. Even rural Iowans are looking for good places to ride.
Meanwhile, as we are trying to clean off the bikes and chat with the friendly locals, a herd of sleek, reddish colored cattle began to beller and moan in their extremely loud cow voices to the extent that it was drowning out our conversations. The herd had gathered up to the fence line closest to us in hopes that we had feed, I guess, and when we showed no signs of giving over, they let their displeasure be known.
|When Josh tried to video the moaning herd, they went silent! I guess that was the key to peace in the field!|
Josh tried to capture the cacophony of cows, but they went silent, as if on cue, when he pulled his phone up to video the scene. We tried to cajole them into mooing again, but to no avail. It was time to move on up the road toward our lunch time stop at Gladbrook. That was straight up C Avenue, and we looked to make excellent time in getting there.
Next: The Wheels Start To Come Off