Monday, May 30, 2022

Country Views: My "Rule Of Three"

Escape Route: Pavement >>Gravel (In the distance)
Interestingly, there has been a format for events which has gained a bit of popularity recently which entails using multi-surface routes in a loop course. For instance, a course that has pavement, gravel, and single track in it. That was the recipe for the recent Arkansas event called "Rule of Three". there is going to be a similar event in Iowa soon called "Core 4", and we assume that event will have four surfaces on its course. 

People that have been around events for bicycles a long time will be quick to point out that multi-surface courses are nothing new and that major cycling events which feature several surfaces on their courses have existed for quite some time. However; as far as I know, none of those were promoted as having that as its main drawing point, like Rule of Three did, or as Core 4 is doing. Correct me if I am wrong, please. 

Marketing. It strikes again! 

Anyway, I did my own little version of a "Rule of Three" ride on Friday, a couple days ago now. I started out in town. (I do that a lot) And my original goal was to capture the decorations at local cemeteries. Only thing was that none of them had anything up as of Friday morning when I rode. Weird! I guess maybe it was the cold, rainy weather we experienced most of the week that postponed their efforts. (?) At any rate, my original mission was a dud.

A dandelion seed manufacturing facility just South of Waterloo. (I'm being sarcastic!)
An unusual steed for gravel grinding? Perhaps. The Ti Muk 2

I was riding my Ti Muk 2, because it was the best choice for places in Waterloo where there is no infrastructure in place for pedestrians or cyclists. Bumbling alongside busy traffic on the grassy strips between roads and properties where the City never really had a vision for how things grew. They just kind of happened over time, and the next thing ya know? No room for sidewalks or bike paths and the roads? Converted years ago from their original dirt pathways into narrow two lane blacktops which, at one time, were out in the country. 

Wasburn Road looking West

New calves and their mothers grazing some fresh, green Springtime grass.

In fact, a lot of the pavement I used on my ride, at one time a couple of hundred years ago now, was Native American footpath. Waterloo being one of- if not the only- place where the Red Cedar trees and Maples gave way to a clear, grassy prairie and led down to the rapids of the (Red) Cedar River where Waterloo was eventually founded. The Native Americans crossed there and then went on Northwestward to the Big Wood to hunt game and gather syrup from the forest in Summer.

This path I was on, to the Southwest of the prairie crossing, was a major pathway beaten into the ground by the Native Americans which went toward where Des Moines is now. Early European settlers here turned it into a road. It connected the towns of Waterloo and Eldora, and then points on Southwestward to Des Moines. That ended up becoming a State highway, and eventually was a part of Highway 63.  Highway 63 was eventually relocated along a different course, so what remains of the 'original' route is 4th Street out of Waterloo to Eldora Road, which is broken up into bits due to intrusions of farmland.

The storage bins make this enormous Ag sprayer look small.

On the same farm: This planter is going back into storage for the year after having done its job.

Since the cemeteries were behind on their decorating, I knew of a farm that would provide me with the proper patriotic look I was searching for. So, off to the gravel! I went South and West until I was about a mile from Hudson, Iowa and the particular farm I had in mind, which always flies an American flag from its mailbox which happens to be right on the road.

The county maintenance grader was out on this day.

A tattered and faded Old Glory flies over Holmes Road.

It was a really great day out. Lots of sunshine, big, blue skies, and yes- there was a stiff Northwest wind. I had to push against that a bit, but my new route plan had me in a place where the wind would not be much of a concern. 

Barns For Jason

Barns For Jason: As seen along Eldora Road

But to get to the wind break route, I had to actually use a bit of that former stretch of Highway 63 which was along that ancient Native American and Pioneer trail. It is called Eldora Road and it stays on the high ground between Waterloo and Hudson.

Out of the wind in the Leonard Katoski Green Belt.

The meadow/prairie grass preserve just North of the Ridgeway Avenue access to the Green Belt.

So, now into the Green Belt and out of the wind! Single tracking where I learned how to in the late 80's. The place has changed a lot over the years, but in many places it is exactly the same as it was. I hadn't been back here for a long time and, by the looks of things, neither has anyone else. The City has mown the strip of trail through there in their typical, brutal, wide, and crude style, but at least you can ride through without fear of getting into anything you'd rather not get into.

It wasn't the ride I thought I was going out for, but it was a great ride with pavement, gravel, and dirt all represented. A "Rule of Three" that worked for me!

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