|Escape Route: Bike path near old John Deere downtown plant. |
And before I continue, I have to acknowledge those of you who commented yesterday. I have an awesome audience here and I am indebted to you all. Thank you for the uplifting words of encouragement.
Now, onward to the ride. I just had a deep inward motivation yesterday to get out of here. So, while it was chilly and overcast, I made it out of the house before 9:00am and I decided to head North and see at least one of the rural churches on Burton Avenue. I ended up wearing my knickers, a wool jersey over a base layer, and my new PCL windbreaker I just got which conveniently has three back storage pockets like a jersey would have.
I rode my pink BMC MCD as I think this is the bike I am taking to Emporia in a couple of weeks for the GCHoF ride we're supposed to do on Wednesday, May 31st at 11:00am. It's got those nice Pirelli Cinturato M tires on it I just reviewed which should work well in the Flint Hills.
|Another year, another crop emerges from the ground. |
|This farm on Burton Avenue almost always has a slew of metal dinosaurs, and now this magnificent Sunflower. |
The wind was stiffer than I thought it might be out of the Northeast. I just geared down and spun away up the rollers heading out of town on Burton Avenue. There isn't much respite from those hills but for a flattish stretch before you get to Dunkerton Road where there is a farm that features a lot of hand-crafted metal animals and other objects. I always love seeing what is new out there, and this year there were two cool new things. A metal Sunflower and something that made me laugh when I saw it. The image is below.....
|This owl was a surprise and made me laugh out loud when I saw it. |
You have to respect this persons creativeness and motivation to tack a metal owl on a metal branch to the side of a utility pole about 20 feet in the air. I mean, that's some dedication there. I love it!
This isn't far out of Waterloo, so if you are a local, it is worth your time to go see this place. I think it is amazing and fun. The amount of sculpture work in this person's yard is just astounding. And the yard is the size of most city parks.
|This field up near Mt. Vernon Road was burnt to promote native prairie plant growth. |
|The local self-serve honey dispensary is not stocked quite yet. |
I was pleased to see the field I normally find full of wild flowers every year was burned to promote native prairie plant and flower species. Controlled burns are a great way to help return the land to how it was before European settlement disturbed the ecosystem here.
I noted that our local honey seller on Burton Avenue hasn't stocked the self-serve box there yet. I have to grab some when it does get stocked because I've always been curious how this honey tastes. They say eating locally produced honey from where you live helps with allergies.
|A large glacial erratic just off the corner of C-57 and Burton. That beige form just to the right is another large erratic in the midst of that field. |
|More crops poking out of the earth. |
The roads were fantastic! What with all the recent heavy rains and farm traffic, the roads have been smoothed out tremendously. "Hero gravel" conditions were the order of the day and I was soaking it all in as much as I could. Once planting season is well and truly over, the maintainers will be back with loads of fresh crushed rock which will put the rumble back into the gravel roads.
|St. John's Church, established 1883|
|For a minute there it looked like the skies might clear up.|
I reached St. John's church and had a decision to make. If I went right, I'd be into a pretty stiff wind for quite a while and if I went left, I would have a tailwind all the way back to Cedar Falls. I then could work the bike trails back east to Waterloo and stay sheltered from the wind for the most part. I chose the latter.
|Barns For Jason: Here's one I haven't seen in a long, long time up on Leversee Road. |
|Coming back with the wind on Leversee Road|
Since I don't often go this way, things looked fresh to my eyes. Turning onto Leversee Road, that feeling was magnified. Back when I pursued "The Quest" in 2020, where I decided to ride every gravel and dirt road in Black Hawk County I had never been on before, I did not have Leversee's Northerly section on my menu because I'd been on it way back when I first started riding gravel in the area. I stayed off that section as well due to reports of vicious dogs for many years, but I'd heard they were long gone now. Anyway, when I used to ride up that way it was pre-Barns For Jason" days! So, I saw a barn I knew I'd never used for that and well, there you go!
Then I made it back to Cedar Falls, traversed the bike trails back toward home, and made it back before noon. A great remedy for the past week or so, and hopefully an emergent trend for the Summer.