Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Country Views: Memorial Day Ride

Escape Route: West 2nd Street
The recent rains relented and on Memorial Day it was supposed to be clear and decent, as far as weather was concerned, at least until early afternoon. So, I figured that after feeding the cats I should hop into some clothes for cycling and head out for the countryside. 

It was very Sunny with little to no clouds in the sky. But it was cool and there was a Northwest breeze. I ended up wearing a long sleeved wool jersey and my wind vest. I think it was in the mid-50's when I left. And I left at 7:30am! Pretty early for me. 

I grabbed the Raleigh Tamland Two for this ride as I needed to wrap up my look at the Top Shelf Bar and get some more time with the Velo Orange Burrito Supreme Bag. Plus I used the Camp Snap camera on the ride. (Images will appear in another post) So, a little business to attend to on this ride as well.

I chose to ride in Eastern Black Hawk County despite the fact that this would require me to ride into a headwind on the way back into town. I was tired of riding North of Waterloo. So I went out on the Martin Luther King Jr. bike trail and hopped over to Newell to get to gravel.

"Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun, but mama, that's where the fun is."

Headin' East on Newell Road.

Now we've had so much rain our rivers and streams are out of their banks. Quite the turnaround from a month ago when every small stream was dry and lakes and ponds were dangerously low. There was water standing in fields and yards of farmsteads everywhere out East of Waterloo. 

Standing water in this field may hurt crops if this field was planted before the rains.

Crops have emerged in many fields and they are turning the fields green.

Along with all the rain, the gravel roads have firmed up and cleaned up to the point that everything is fast and smooth rolling. I was using Donnelly USH tires, a tire way ahead of its time, by the way, and I was flying Eastward. No chunky gravel to slow me down! I was loving this difference from what we had to ride on for the past two years. 

Flags were standing out at nearly every farmstead I passed by.

A stop at New Barclay Cemetery

I decided to roll on Eastward to New Barclay Cemetery to see what, if anything, they may have going on for Memorial Day. I figured on then riding South and then back West on Young Road. But first, a moment of silence to honor those who gave their all for this country.....

After snapping off a few images, I stood still to take some time to reflect on the matter of Memorial Day. The wind gently lifted the US flags and I could hear them flapping in the breeze. The pine trees, standing like sentinels, whispered as the air moved through their needles. A lone mourning dove softly cooed. 

I stood frozen for a moment. I won't hide that a tear rolled down my cheek. 

Then it was time to move along.

ah.....Maybe I should get a move-on!

Those clouds and the slightly stronger winds said, "Rain is coming soon!"

I suddenly noted that there were clouds on the Western horizon. It wasn't supposed to rain until afternoon, but this looked like rain was coming sooner than that. I figured I'd best be heading back to Waterloo. The wind seemed to pick up too. Not good signs here for me! 

Looks like almost two inches there.

I had to find a spot for a nature break. I saw a line of taller trees along what looked like an old fenceline ahead which was far away from any surrounding farms. I decided to hop off there and do what I had to do. 

I noted what looked to be a rain gauge on a fence post. I decided to check it out before I left that spot. I had heard from some rural residents that they had seen five inches in a 24 hour period earlier last week. This gauge had nearly two inches of rain water standing in it. I don't know if it is checked regularly, but I assume so, since if it had not been checked regularly it would be overflowing with just the rain we've had in the past week. 

Some fields haven't been planted at all. It may be getting too late now....

By the time I got just South of Raymond, it didn't look promising!

I ended up zig-zagging my way back toward Waterloo instead of riding straight to Young Road and facing a six to seven mile slog into a stiff Northwest wind. This helped keep my legs fresher and my mind more positive. Plus I got on some roads I haven't been on in a while because of my angular approach. 

Another planting rig. It's almost time for these to be put away for the year.

The Cedar River looking quite full once again.

By the time I got to the Eastern fringes of Waterloo I could feel occasional drops of rain in the wind. Then it was a full-on sprinkle. By this time I was within a mile from the house and it was 10:30am in the morning. I ended up with just over three hours out and a nice ride before the rains came back. 

Ironically about an hour later we had bright Sunshine again. But clouds ended up coming back and we had showers throughout the remainder of the day. It was nice to know that I had gotten a ride in during the nicest part of the day. 

The next ride? Hopefully in Kansas. Stay tuned....

1 comment:

Ari said...

Nice riding out in the country. Wish I wasn't that far away, I'd join you.