We've had weird skies of late. At first it was from the wild fires out West, but now I think it is just dust from harvesting. The machines are out all over now and kicking up a mighty mess of dirt into the skies. The air has been really dry again, so how that plays into this atmospheric weirdness, I am not really sure, but it does make for very dusty conditions on the roads and in the fields.
The other thing contributing to the dusty conditions is the fact that Black Hawk County has made some hefty contributions to the gravel levels on the roads lately. It was super-chunky and made a big cloudy, dusty mess when cars or trucks went by. It was pretty rough going with a few notable exceptions. I rode a lot on the very margins of the gravel and grassy ditches.
|Some post-harvest fertilizing going on here. Note the chunky gravel. |
|Big semi-tractor rigs and Ag machinery was everywhere. |
|Barns For Jason #1: My camera battery bit the dust at this point in the ride. |
|For some reason, the iPhone has a heck of a time getting the Gravel Bus' color right. |
I really didn't have a lot of issues getting all the way down Hammond Avenue's gravel section. This is a street that starts in Waterloo and turns into gravel well South of town. So, it's maybe just about half paved, half gravel. Anyway, I've ridden the length of it now. I ended up having to go all the way down a mile and a half into Tama County to get to a connector gravel road which would transport me over to the gravel section of Kimball Avenue. Kimball has a LOT less gravel than Hammond, but it needed to be ridden.
|A car passed where I stopped to rest. You can see how much dust got kicked up. |
|Barns For Jason #2: Can you spot the horse?|
My route turned West at the point where I was just on the Northern border of Hickory Hills Park, which is a geological feature in the area called a paha. In fact, it is really called 'Casey's Paha', but no one around here calls it that. It is a land feature, pretty much unique to Iowa, that you can see for miles away, and it rises above the level of what already is pretty rolling terrain to form even steeper, taller hills. The area is also tree covered and this also makes it easier to spot amongst the landscape. You can see a hint of it behind the barn image above to the right.
| Barns For Jason #3|
| Geneseo Church. Can you spot the caretaker? |
Once I traversed the mile West it was back North on a mile and a half of Tama County V Avenue and then on to Kimball. Here I saw damage from the August 10th derecho which had flattened a lot of corn. The beans looked okay, but I'd say 80% of a couple of corn fields I saw were toast. I just saw a tiny sliver of what damage there is out there, most of which is a lot further South of me than Northern Tama County.
|The only standing corn here is light colored. The rest is laying flat due to the August 10th derecho.|
|Barns For Jason #4|
Kimball Avenue gravel doesn't last too long. After a few miles I had that nicked off the list and I was in Eagle Center, a small crossroads with a few buildings and homes there. From here I went one mile West on the pavement, (cheating!), and then turned back South on Ansborough and then back to Prairie Grove Park and the truck. I got in just shy of 30 miles in under three hours, so I was moving pretty well on the G-Bus.
|Barns For Jason #5- This one isn't long for the world either. |
|A combine harvester kicks up a cloud of dust while harvesting soybeans South of Waterloo, Iowa.|
This bit of road-bagging now clears up most of Southern Black Hawk County leaving only the far Southeastern corner for me to get around to. I have a bit to clear up around LaPorte City, and then the far Northeastern corner of the County has some buggers to get around to with no good way to do it other than a bunch of out and backs. I also have one more 'big-loop' ride left to do which will bag Nesbit Road for me and some odds and ends around Dunkerton.
Once I get those major pieces done there are like 'tiny bits' left here and there. Crumbs of roads, really. I should get all this mopped up yet this year. That's the goal anyway. Stay tuned........