Thursday, September 29, 2016

Country Views: Harvest Time Starts

The harvesters are starting to hit the fields now
I got out on a proper gravel ride, the first in quite a while due to recent rains, and the first since the weather broke last weekend. The wind was rushing out of the Northwest and going up Moline Road was, uh........interesting. But before I get to that, I wanted to tell the story from the beginning, because it seemed that I was destined to not make it out of town at all.

It all started with me going around in a circuitous fashion to avoid various construction projects downtown. Once that gauntlet had been dispensed with, I found that I was blockaded by the train being "built" out in the Waterloo rail road yard which often times will block several streets going North/South. I decided to head West and see if I could find an end around, but the train arriving from the West was blocking off every crossing, so I had to wait for it to clear an intersection before I could free myself from being stuck in the grasp of Waterloo. Once across those dratted tracks, I thought freedom from the city was only a mile away, but not so fast!

Waiting on the train.
More evidence of harvest activity.
I found myself on the nice pathway alongside Highway 63 North which ends at Allen Hospital. That's where I wanted to turn right and cross the highway. I did all the legal stuff, I pushed the talking cross walk button and waited for the command and the light. When it came on, I proceeded to roll out, but something made me look left anyway, and boy! I was sure glad that I did!

A lady in a car was trying to turn right and she was going to go even though I had been standing over my bicycle to her right for several minutes before the light changed. Anyway, I stopped and glared at her and she stopped halfway out into my crossing. I went around her and pointed at the crosswalk sign. I didn't say a word, but hopefully those at that busy intersection all learned a lesson.

Sheesh! Was I even supposed to go on this ride? You know, I often wonder when I get so much push back from random things when I am headed out on a ride. Maybe I'm superstitious, or maybe I am "tuned in", but whatever it is, I still felt that riding was okay. I was just super wary after all of that non-sense!

The good news is that despite having to travel on busy Donald Street, I wasn't "pushed back" upon from making forward progress and I eventually made the hard left on to Moline Road and out of harms way. Mostly. I suppose I could still get KO'ed by a farm vehicle, but the chances are low. (Says the guy who got hit by a drunk driver while walking his bike alongside a remote gravel road!)

There still are some flowers out there. Lots of these late season bloomers- Asters- which are really beautiful.
I apologize for the slight out of focus here, but clovers are always a constant in the country. Here's a late season bloomer I saw.
I first saw that a field had been partially harvested going up Moline Road. That was a bit of a surprise, given the copious amounts of rain we received last week. Maybe it was just a test for moisture content or something. But then I heard a harvester, and after that, I saw one. Hmm..... They did say the harvest would kick off early this year, and I was traveling up on some higher ground out this way, which would help with drying.

More Asters.
More clovers.
Since the weekend, the weather has broken into Fall at full song. Blustery winds out of the North and cooler, very dry air is streaming in where once we had humidity so thick it hung like a haze in the air last weekend. The temperatures which had been in the 80's have been replaced by 50's and that wind made it feel cold.

Earlier in the week I rode to work on the Big Dummy and thought my finger tips were frozen by the time I got to the shop. So, yesterday I wore some thin wool gloves. I dug out my wind shell, and put on knickers and long wool socks.  I was certainly glad I did that. I wasn't over dressed at all. The wind was pretty brisk and without any direct Sunlight, things weren't warming up much out there.

I suppose we'd better get used to it. It is Fall, after all, and nearly October. I actually welcome the change in weather as I was getting a bit tired of being "swampy" feeling all the time and I just think it was high time for a change in season. I suppose when you are a born and raised Mid-Westerner, that is what you are accustomed to having happen anyway.

The other thing that happens now is that people like me become the "freaks of society". I am one of "Those" individuals that keep riding bicycles despite the weather and what it brings. Maybe that's the thinking behind that lady in the car back in town. Maybe. Still, it is no excuse, and I need to be doubly vigilant now because of that mentality.

I gotta roll back by here in a couple of weeks. I bet that Maple tree will be spectacular by then.

Barns For Jason
It is that time of year when the Green fades away. The Yellows, Golds, Browns, and the Reds and Oranges of the trees in Fall take hold for a brief time. Then it all goes dun for the Winter. The bleak, starkness of Iowa's countryside in Winter is a sharp contrast to Fall. Better get out there and enjoy this changing of the season!


Andy said...

Oh how I love the fall! I'm so excited for all the colors, the festivals, the cozy sweaters and warm drinks (with a zip of whiskey for added "warmth"), football and food. YES! It is breif, but that cozy feeling hangs on until Christmas. Then the drudgery of 2-3 months of snow a bitter cold temps begins.

I am also a winter bike commuter. I've missed less than 20 days in the last 3 years I've been doing this, and mostly due to circumstances other than weather. Now I'm cornered, I'm starting a new job that begins at 4 am, I have no car, hitching a ride with my wife is now out of the question, and the bus service in IC, IA doesn't start until 6am. With so many years under my belt, I should feel like a veteran, but not having a backup option strains my confidence a little bit.

Stay safe out there and enjoy it!

Doug said...

Keep us updated on how it goes with the Lezyne. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on it's usability. I have yet to own a "Garmin" device for the same reasons you mentioned. I mostly want it to work without me having to think about it or wait for the technology. I used to tell people I was going to write a book about how technology does not make our lives easier. But, I am slowly adopting the technology myself. I bought my first smartphone this year.