Monday, September 18, 2023

Country Views: Barns For Jason Live

Escape Route: Moline Road
Well, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably are familiar with the "Barns For Jason" thing I do whenever I see a barn on a ride I have not documented before. Maybe those posts are fewer and further between these days, but that's because I've ridden every gravel and dirt road in Black Hawk County. So, I've imaged every barn on those roads. I usually have to travel by bicycle outside of Black Hawk County to get any "new" material. 

Anyway, that whole theme was named after Jason Boucher, formerly of Salsa Cycles/QBP and now the proprietor of Iceworm MFG. We used to have a "barn imaging" contest years ago, and, well.....I still carry that tradition on

So, the other day Jason got a hold of me, we tentatively planned for him to drive three+ hours to see me and ride bicycles. Now, you never know about things, so I was hopeful it would actually happen. It has been since 2018 that I have seen Jason, so it has been a while. 

Well, he made it despite being delayed by a serious accident near where he lived that blocked traffic. (He was not involved in it) He arrived at about 9:40am, and we got out to the gravel by around 10:00am. I had a route plan to show Jason some of the highlights of our area in the country, most of which are North of Waterloo.

I was honored to be able to turn pedals with Jason after so many years.

Jason brought a brand new custom flat bar gravel/light MTB design he had made by a local to the Twin Cities  Sacremento California area builder. Jason mentioned that hardly anyone had seen it yet, so I won't say a whole lot here, he may want to do that on his own. Suffice it to say that it was pretty darn cool.

Although the skies looked threatening during our entire ride, it was rather dry and windy from the West-Southwest.

The corn harvest has started in earnest. There was lots of traffic on the gravel this day.

The corn has completely dried out and the farmers are wasting no time in getting it out now. I suspect, barring any rain, that most fields will be cleared out in a week, week and a half. It will be a stark contrast to what it looks like out there now. 

Someone has decorated the windows at the Bennington School house.

A random maple has already turned color here on Schenk Road.

I routed the ride past many of the country highlights North of Waterloo. We went by the Big Rock, we passed by the Methodist church at the corner of Mt. Vernon Road and Sage Road, and we stopped at the Bennington School #4 to look around some. Then I took Jason over to Schenk Road because it has a bunch of cool barns off of it between Bennington and Marquise Roads. 

Corn harvesting on the Schmidt farm on Marquise Road

Coming into the old edges of the Big Wood on Marquise Road

Jason and I had a really great time together and we discussed a myriad of things over the course of about a two hour ride. It was really good to catch up with him and hear about what has been going on in his life over the past five years and more. 

Image by Jason Boucher. Look closely and you can see the driver waving back at me!

 It isn't often that I get to post an image of myself riding since, well......most often I am riding solo! But Jason is a huge camera nerd and, like myself, is not shy about whipping out his camera while riding to snap an image. Here he caught me as I was passing by a pick-up truck right after I waved at them. A friendly wave back can be seen if you look closely. 

This explains why my left knee is bent inward here. I do that to stabilize the bike if I take a hand off the handlebar to do something like wave to a passing motorist. You can see my right hand just about to return to the handle bar here. The gravel was kind of chunky and loose here, which cameras have a hard time depicting, but trust me- it was a bit tricky to wave!

Thanks for this image Jason! 

Another corn field almost finished up.

I think Jason found the old East Janesville Church a good place for some shots of his new bike.

There was wind on this ride, but it wasn't terrible. The weird thing was that we felt that the heat coming up off the road while the wind felt somewhat cooler. Maybe all that heat energy which got baked into the ground over that period of very hot weather was to blame? Maybe it was just the Sun's energy from that moment being reflected off the white rock road? 

A combine in a field East of Burton Avenue.
There is a semi-tractor trailer rig in that dust cloud.

Once again, we were having to have our heads on a swivel to make sure we weren't being overtaken by a vehicle and we were being passed going the other way by several vehicles along our route. This is a very unusual thing to have happen on these roads, unless it is planting or harvesting season. 

Jason got to see a lot of barns on this ride! There was not one here though!

"See here, Vulture! We aren't dead yet!

We made it back to Waterloo and Jason's car after a little over two hours. Then we went out to eat and we had a great conversation over some Mexican food. But then it was time to part ways. Jason dropped me off at my home and he made his way back to the Twin Cities. 

It was one of those dream-like rides that was so much fun and so much was packed into a short time that you feel like it didn't really happen. Much too short a time which only leaves one wanting more. I guess that's how it goes when the company is excellent and the roads are great. 

Until next time, Jason.....


Tomcat said...

Thank you for sharing this write-up, GT! What a fantastic day on the bike with a friend. I particularly enjoy the black and white photo of you waving to the driver of the oncoming truck.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tomcat - Thank you! I appreciate you and your taking the time to comment. It was a great day. And yes- Jason is a VERY talented photographer. I am very glad he took that image.