Thursday, April 27, 2023

Country Views: Looped

Escape Route: MLK Bike Path
Late April weather can be all over the place, but this year April has been shying away from the warmer side of things. We had a dose of Winter over the weekend and Monday I was too busy to get out, so Tuesday had to be the next chance which fit into a nice, Sunny window of weather. 

I was kind of happy that it was on the cool side though, because I just got my Pirate Cycling League 15th Anniversary wind jacket. So, at least the weather stayed cool enough long enough into April that I had a chance to use it. 

This ride would head Northeast as that was the direction that the wind was coming from. While the weatherpeople were saying the wind would be a mere breeze, it was in fact a pretty stiff wind. The flags were standing straight out, and that made the going a bit tougher. But wind isn't an unknown around here, so I was fine riding into it. Besides, the tailwind back home would be nice!

A county maintainer made much of my ride a bit more, shall we say, "interesting"?

I rode out straight into the teeth of the wind on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard which just so happens to run at a diagonal out of town to the Northeast. That gets you out to the industrial area where Tyson's meat packing plant dominates the landscape. There are semi-tractor trailer rigs all over out there. A side benefit of this is that the county made the road shoulders as wide as a lane of traffic to accommodate these rigs as they often pile up out along the road waiting to get in to load and unload cargo. A gravel bike then can navigate this easily and not be in the roadway where traffic can be speeding by at 60mph at times. 

This brings me to Newell and a right turn to the East to get me outta that craziness and out into the country. On this ride I immediately came across a county maintainer who had scraped a big pile of gravel, dirt, and grass in a long pile right down the center of the gravel road. 

Nice doggie! This one stayed in the yard, at least.

This John Deere was pulling a huge disc rig, although with all the dust you cannot really see it.

The maintainer had been down both sides of the roadway and due to that, Newell was covered in a loose layer of dust and gravel. Good thing then that I rode the pink MCD with those 700 X 45mm Pirelli Cinturato M tires on it. Those things just made the road ride like it was perfectly normal. 

Some fields are really green with this cover crop, which I believe is rye grass.

But most fields were either brown or being worked up for planting. That's Pilot Grove Road in the distance.

The navigational plan was to head to Poyner Creek bridge, have a rest for a minute, then come back to Pilot Grove Road, head North, and then back West on Big Rock Road. In my head, the distance from Newell to Big Rock was two miles. In reality, it is three miles. 

The dust was kicked up pretty badly by the UPS truck up the road here.

Looking back at Pilot Grove Road. This is where I made a wrong turn.

So, I ended up turning on East Donald Street instead and I thought I was on Airline Highway. If I had been on Airline I was going to go a mile West, turn on what would have been Ordway Road, went one more mile North, and then left on Big Rock. Instead, I ended up in Dewar, Iowa!

I knew I was off-track when things weren't looking familiar, like this barn.

Going back the way I came out!

Once I saw Dewar, I knew that all ways out of town ahead were pavement. So, I opted for the left turn, which would take me right back to Newell and gravel back into town again. So, that worked out and I got a nice two hour ride in from the house. 

Not the loop I had in mind, but it was nice to see East Donald Street's gravel section again after two years. I may have to add that into the regular rotation of routes I do from now on.

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