Friday, July 05, 2019

Country Views: 4th of July Ride

Fireworks in the ditch. The lilies haven't been this nice in years.
Note: Since it is a holiday week, and news was scarce, I am giving y'all a "Country Views" post instead. 

I went out for my traditional 4th of July ride yesterday and it was a traditionally hot a humid day, just like most 4th of July days of yore. There was a spot of rain early, but the skies cleared up and it turned out to be a glorious ride in the country Southwest of Waterloo.

I was going through some stuff earlier this week when I found a scrap of paper with some hastily written cues on it. I studied them for a bit and realized that it was part of last year's proposed Geezer Ride that never happened. I figured I'd give that a go and see where it took me. The cues didn't pick up until well South of town, so that is where I headed to start out with.

The day was, as I stated, hot, but still 10 degrees cooler than it was last weekend. The winds were light and out of the South, so I would get the tailwind push back home. That was also good. The roads were better than they have been, but I ran into weird soft spots, deep gravel all over, and parts of roads still torn up from recent wet weather. It was tough sledding out there and little to no easy parts at all.

There is a large glacial erratic in the field there. Pretty common feature in Iowa. Some of these get painted up as "Freedom Rocks" now days.
While this section of road may look innocuous to the naked eye, it was terrible to ride on. Lots of deep, loose soil and rock.
I looked and the cues picked up at the corner of 110th and T Avenue in Tama County. So I rode down there and encountered a lot of deep, fresh gravel. I ran into a spot or two where the road was actually wet, probably from the rains in the morning or the evening before. Most stuff was dry, but there wasn't hardly any dust to speak of. These road conditions and rolling against a wind meant I had to take it easy and spin a lot so I wouldn't wear myself out too soon on the hills.

The recent hot, humid weather kicked corn growth into high gear. While it didn't look like it would get knee high a week ago, it blew right past that mark in the last few days.
Barns For Jason
The cues picked up for me and I was to go toward and through Buckingham. This little spot in the road has a grain bin or two, but otherwise it is nearly not a town at all. A few houses are gathered here, and that's about it. The route took me down some pavement to get by Buckingham, and when I rode on that, it felt like cheating after all the rough, deep gravel.

A couple miles from Buckingham on 110th here.
A gravel road runs away over undulating contours of the land filled with green.
Everywhere you look now it is green land with blue sky above. The landscape is dotted with clumps of trees and the shining roofs of farm outbuildings and barns which are typically shiny tin or steel now days. White puffy clouds floated above and provided an occasional shaded part of road to cool off on. Soon the corn will tassel and this sea of green will get broken up. An occasional oat field will turn golden brown, and the weeds in the ditches will start maturing and turning browner. But as for now, this is high Summer and the greenest things get here.

110th West of Highway 63 is Level B Maintenance for three straight miles. I rode a mile of it.
Barns for Jason. Matchy-match with the Morton outbuilding here. Nice!
Well, for whatever reason the cues quit making sense right after I passed Buckingham, so I just went off memory. I've ridden down this way several times so I know the roads. I ended coming back to 110th in Tama County and decided I would ride a mile of Level B Maintenance road to see how wet/muddy it might be. I only ran across a couple marginal places, but otherwise it looked fine.

Barns for Jason. And a bonus cool silo!
This flag flies constantly on a place a mile East of Hudson.
I kept heading North, and about this time I was starting to not have fun. My lower back hurt, the shoes I had on weren't agreeing with me 100%, and I was tired. I took a break not long after taking the flag image above, and I searched my top tube bag for anything to eat. Lucky for me I had a gel in there, so I sucked that down and most of the rest of my water with it. Then I made the last few miles back to the truck pretty easily.

I have a lot of work left to do to be able to even ride my own GTDRI coming at the end of the month. Hopefully I can make these rides more consistently.

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