|Escape Route: Park Avenue North, Waterloo.|
I decided to roll with the Standard Rando with the 650B wheels and tires. After futzing around with bags and making sure I had the right tube for 650B, in case of a tire failure, I managed somehow to get out the door by 8:30am. That was winning right there, considering how I felt.
So, I headed North on Park Avenue toward 4th Street and out to Moline Avenue to get on gravel. No real indications all through town that things would be anything other than what the weather people were saying it would be. But then, of course, I wasn't out in the open yet. Once I crested the first hill on Moline, I realized that this was not going to be the ride I thought it was going to be.
Yeah, the flags I saw were pretty much standing straight out. 5-10mph winds? Ha! I got home and saw that the current conditions at the time were 18mph winds with 33 mph gusts. Uh huh.....sounds about right. And that made for some hard riding. At least the roads weren't covered in fresh gravel.
|Field work has been getting done now with the warmer weather. Most fields had at least been worked up.|
|A 'Cat' and a 'Johnny Popper' sitting idle in a worked up field North of Waterloo.|
Woo! Single speed and heavy winds make for a tough go of it. Plus, with how I had been feeling of late it wasn't making for a whole lot of good times. Well, I figured that feeling not so hot, bucking a heavy wind, and single speed was better than not feeling so hot, not bucking a heavy wind, and sitting around at home. So, with that mildly positive thought, I managed to grind out to The Big Rock.
|The Big Rock looking South down Sage Road.|
|Looking North up Schenk Road.|
I rested up a bit and then headed East to Schenk Road and then back North again. The roads here were broken down, dusty, and you'd never know we had any rain lately at all. This blasting Northwest wind and super dry air we've had for a week has been doing its business.
Schenk tends flatter than not so it was a nice respite from the rollers I had been crawling up previously. My right knee wasn't quite too happy, but what was really the worst was just a deep level of fatigue. I ground up Schenk for a bit and then on to Gresham Road where I decided to make a left to get out of the wind for a little relief.
|Another stop to rest a bit.|
|The frost heaves caused some pretty significant damage on Gresham Road.|
I noticed frost heave damage up here, which surprised me a bit as I hadn't noted anything in Southern Black Hawk County, nor just North and East of Waterloo. However; I noted at least minor frost heave damage from this point all the way back around to Burton Avenue at least to Dunkerton Road.
|A controlled burn, (hopefully!) along the Southern edge of Marquise Road just West of Hwy 63.|
|Approaching East Janesville Church from the North on Burton Avenue. |
I jogged North on Moline then to catch Marquise Road, named after James Marquise who built a cabin in the early 1850's which this road eventually ran by. Then across HWY 63 and up the big hill to Burton Avenue and a much looked forward to respite from the gales I had been working against.
|Approaching St. Paul's Church from the North on Burton Avenue. |
|I chased that cloud of gravel dust in the middle of this image for about a half a mile.|
Burton Avenue has its fair share of rollers, especially up by the two old churches, but with this massive wind at my back, the hills were no problem, even though I was riding single speed. Then I noted a bit of a cloud of dust being driven by the wind down the road about a eighth of a mile ahead of me. I never could catch it, but that tells you how hard the wind was blowing, and how dry it is in reality in the country.
|Frost damage repaired with this "yellow limestone" gravel, which is unusual in this part of Iowa. |
|A big fertilizer rig getting reloaded here. |
As I got further South, I noted that some fresh gravel patches were laid down which were of the 'yellow gravel' type of crushed rock. This is an unusual color for gravel around here, but in Northeast Iowa, it is a common gravel type. We generally have the whitish/grey limestone around here.
The difference is that the yellow gravel tends to be softer, holds more moisture, (in my opinion), and seems to hold up better when wet. Our typical gravel isn't quite like that, but it is what is mined locally and why we have this type of gravel. I'm not sure why we have the yellow gravel here, but there it is....
Not long after I got by the fertilizer rig above, I got a call from Mrs. Guitar Ted and she told me that our vehicle had been vandalized. Apparently someone took a pot shot at our rear passenger window with a bee-bee gun. The window was shattered. So, my ride ended on a bit of a sour note.
But I was glad to have gotten out, despite all the tough wind, not-so-hot feelings, and the bad news at the end. A ride is good for the soul.....