Monday, March 23, 2020

Country Views: Hints Of Spring

Hints of green are out there if you look for them.
Saturday I had waited for the temperatures to get into the upper 30's, then I donned my biking gear, and then I left for Prairie Grove Park. It was a mostly overcast day, a cool Southeast breeze was in the air, and I needed to clear my head. Too much stress with all this other stuff going on regarding the virus, social distancing, and with everything shut down.

I took the Noble GX5 which I had set up again with the latest Lube-Off contender. That and I had a Specialized C-GR post installed for research regarding my seat post shoot-out which will be forthcoming. Otherwise the point was just to get out and get away.

I noted several people out and about either walking (most of them) or running, (more than a few). At least people are getting exercise during this weird time in history. Everybody looked to be doing their part, doing their activities solo. Once I got to the parking lot of the park I took off for my usual loop of about an hour and a half length. Normally it takes that long. I wasn't sure how I would roll, and there was that wind I mentioned, which I would be headed straight into right away. Fortunately the roads were about as good as they ever get.

The frost is all out now, and the roads weathered the Winter very well. I saw one mud hole, and most of the roads were two-tracked in with super fast, smooth dirt with the gravel pushed off to the side. I did come across a couple of places where the gravel was all the way across, but it is easy to see that the County hasn't been out with the dump trucks and graders yet. I imagine that will happen soon unless this weirdness we are all experiencing affects gravel in some way.

Fast roads out there. Get 'em while ya can. The maintainers will be out soon, I think. 
Time for a snack and to just let this all soak in.
I managed to slog it out South till I got to Quarry Road and heading West was a nice respite. I then went with the wind, sort of, until I reached Aker Road and there I decided to take a few moments, eat some jerky I had, and just "be". Nothing like some head-clearing time for these days. The little creek I was sat over on the bridge was gurgling and there was a grove full of little song birds not far off that were chirping away in the background. It was nice just to forget about everything for a few minutes......

But then I decided I was getting a bit chilled and that I should move on. So, back at it and back North again. It didn't take long with the increasing wind, which I felt was switching around to the South, to get back to my truck and the ride was all over.

Like I said...... These roads don't get any better than this.
Rye grass, used as a cover crop, gives a lift of color to the mostly brown landscape here.
I'm guessing I'll be getting in several of these types of rides in for the foreseeable future. Solo swings with all the gear I need to survive out there. Not much new to me, as I almost always travel that way, but if you find yourself getting out on "social distancing rides", please consider all the self-support stuff you'll need so you don't have to burden anyone else because you were without means to extract yourself from the area you are riding in.

Here we cyclists are still welcome, but as anxiety and fear grip many parts of the rural areas of this nation, we are going to find pockets where we are not welcome. Ignorance of facts, and fear of the unknown will make people hostile toward "outsiders", and this is already happening in several areas. Most notably out West in Colorado and Utah. I happen to know of some touring cyclists who have noted the turn in attitude toward wandering adventurers.

Stay vigilant my friends.


MuddyMatt said...

Tough times for everyone - hope you keep safe Mark. In the UK they starting restricting us last week (I'm now luckily about to work entirely from home but many are not).

Sadly, at the weekend we had panic buying and in particular a real struggle for people to restrict their movement and social plans. Cyclists have been just as bad with loads of large group rides etc. On the MTB side, a popular village and its store that is very well-supported by riders normally was totally rammed, just like a holiday weekend.

People are really struggling to get the social distancing mindset.

I think this week the penny will start to drop hard. This is not a short term thing, it's weeks and weeks and if we carry on as we have in the UK, it will be a terrible time. I fear we are heading for a lockdown.

Cycling - a great way to stay strong physically and mentally - is at risk of getting banned in the fallout if our riders can't work out how to do it responsibly.

Keep posting the rides Mark, it's great for us all to see even if it's only virtually!

Stay safe everyone.

Guitar Ted said...

@MuddyMatt - Hey, thanks for that comment. I am sorry to hear that people are not doing their fair share in helping keep a lid on this situation. Unfortunately there are those situations like that in the U.S. Unbelievably, it is happening in places like the West, where you'd think people would be searching for remote places, but I guess not.

High density population areas in the U.S. also are finding Social Distancing difficult here.

Yeah, I don't know how much longer we will be allowed out on our bicycles here. The worst is yet to come and we may end up here locked down as you seem to think you may end up there. We'll see......

In the meantime I will ride as much as I can. Thanks again for the comments. Stay Safe!

blooddoc23 said...

That's a great ride! Its been wet and cold here, but we have flowers now. When I ride I can completely forget, for a short time, all the stuff that's going on. Our riding is a great gift to us to be sure! Only cyclists get that. Keep the ride pics and descriptions coming!!


Guitar Ted said...

@blooddoc23 - Thanks! I will try my best to keep the ride pics going here.