Thursday, November 11, 2021

Brown Season: The Special Guest, Big Trucks Ride

The Sun's wan light wasn't enough to keep us warm.
Late into the weekend that just passed I got a message on the innergoogles from a person I used to work with and is the son of another former coworker of mine. He was going to be in town to visit his parents and wondered if I was available for a gravel grind on Wednesday morning. I replied in the affirmative and so plans were laid, times were set, and I arrived at Prairie Grove Park at about 7:45am and got ready to ride. 

We've been blessed with several days of spectacular Fall weather here, but Wednesday was marking the end of that run. It would be windy, from the Southeast, and cool, and probably not very Sunny, as a big storm was winding up in the Plains and was going to pass by later on in the day. In fact, as the Sun was filtered through the beginnings of the storm, it reminded me a lot of Saturday afternoon of Trans Iowa v10. Hopefully it wouldn't turn into anything nearly as spectacularly bad while we were riding as it had that fateful evening many years ago.

Ben arrived not long after I got to the rendezvous spot and he pulled his orange Vaya out from the back of his SUV and got kitted up. I came up with a 30-ish mile route which would essentially tack into that Southeast wind and then we'd turn back West, hoping for a tailwind, straight back to Aker Road North, and back to the park.

My esteemed riding partner for this ride- Ben.

Holy Cow! A veritable rural traffic jam!

The winds were, well, worse than predicted. I know.....'fish stories' and all that, but they were worse than predicted, and getting stronger as we went. Flags were standing straight out on flag poles. It was windy! 

We plugged along and had some sporadic conversation. It wasn't easy to talk what with the roar of white noise generated by the wind in our ears as we went South, then East, then South some more. Eventually we ended up just West of La Porte City.

Fresh gravel wasn't helping our cause early on into the ride.

Headed South on Hammond Avenue here.

Oddly enough, we were running across a fair amount of traffic during the ride. I don't often go down into this area on a weekday, but even when I do, truck traffic isn't anywhere near what we experienced. Dump trucks, Ag trucks, and even a garbage truck rumbled by us. I guess rural folk need garbage pick-up service too, right? 

A construction truck and a dump truck here near the Miller Creek Bridge on Quarry Road.

I may not know much, but THAT doesn't look like a positive development.

Finally we were off the headwind portion and going back on Reinbeck Road. Once we turned though, we were seeing an ominous skyline. The eves of the storm were upon us! I had thoughts of getting hypothermia and struggling to get back to the truck. Fortunately, it looked far worse than it was in reality.

A tractor pulling a disc down Reinbeck Road ahead of us.

We chased this flock of birds down the power lines for a bit.

Well, it didn't take very long to come back with that powerful wind at our backs. I noted that the roads were better near La Porte City, but as we neared Waterloo, the gravel was fresh again and it was harder rolling once more as it had been to begin with. 

Everything has been harvested, the ditches are dead, and the leaves are coming off the trees = Brown Season.

And just to top things off, we met the County Maintainer just as we were finishing.

Ben said we had a hair over 30 miles in and we had done it all in two and a half hours. We must have made some good time coming back with the wind! I know we weren't all that fast going out. It was a good ride though. 

Brown Season can kind of be tough mentally. This was a typical November day- Grey, cold, windy, and cheerless. But the crunch of gravel and the turning of pedals doesn't change with the seasons. The effort we put in was good. Our time together was enjoyable. 

Thanks for coming down and riding with me Ben!


JimpanZ said...

Cold, windy, bleak November rides are rewarded with a good beer afterward. Iowa has some outstanding beers too.

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown - Or a hot bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich! ;>)