Monday, June 6, 2011

A Hot Hazy Ride

But first, the three great things:

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Honey locust trees breathing clouds of sweetness
Rockets shooting orchid and white from the ditch
Mysterious charm of a bend in the road

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We had thunderstorms this morning, which left the air a bit hazy. Between waiting for the weather to clear and breakfast to digest, it was 11:00 before I set out.

Five miles down the main highway, with noise of constant traffic, I turn onto one of my favourite roads.  The silence is immediate and such a relief.

Some country roads are rough, but this one is in wonderful shape - smooth and inviting.  Just after I snapped this picture, a cardinal flew across the road and into the dark pines on the left.  Of course the camera was turned off when that happened.

The air is full of sweetness right now - the honey locust is in bloom. Entire hillsides are covered with the blossoming trees:

Stands of them peek out from behind farmhouses and barns:

They drift like clouds on every horizon.

Plenty of wildflowers are also blooming, but Dame's rocket is the most predominant.  Ditches and roadsides everywhere are filled with these flowers.

They come in three colours:  Pink...


And my favourite, a bright orchid purple.

They've been designated an invasive species.  But they're awfully pretty.

One bad thing about taking pictures in the ditch on a hot day is that the stinging bugs all zoom in from nowhere for a free lunch.  I picked up a few bites getting these shots.

Turning on to a different road, one I haven't been down for years, I crossed over a stream and paused to take this picture:

There's a mysterious charm to a bend in the road.  Especially one that's overhung with trees.

It was getting really hot by this time, and I wasn't even to the halfway point.  I tucked the camera in my shorts (really need to get a jersey with pockets), determined to make progress before I melted.  I passed by lots of lovely photo opportunities of sandhill cranes and pine forests and tree-covered hilltops and lonely oaks, pausing only to snap this marsh...

And this red-winged blackbird sitting on a cattail.

It was time to head home.  When I reached the village outskirts the electronic thermometer read 90°.

Back at the house, Mr. M said, "Wow, your face is red.  Make sure you take some potassium right away.  I hope you drank enough water."  It's nice to be loved.

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  1. I loved seeing the photos of your ride, so different to here in many small ways. Such a long straight road in the first photo, ours seem to twist and turn all the time. I also liked seeing the different buildings and birdlife. I keep my camera in my bar bag, I'm not concerned about aerodynamics though and am quite happy to stop frequently for photo opportunities. Hope you've cooled down a little now.

  2. I should get a bar bag. (Aerodynamics aren't everything.) I have a little bag under and behind the saddle for my spare tire, and I can squeeze the camera case in there but it's a hassle to get it out. I'd love to be able to carry the camera somehow, but it's a tiny digital one and I'm paranoid about dropping it. Today's ride was a long one, with more climbing than I usually do, so I really enjoyed the stops. (I kept telling myself I was having an "Andamento-style" ride.)


  3. What a perfect ending to a wildflower journey! I enjoyed seeing your big, quiet corner of the world.

    What size would you wear in a jersey??? I may have the perfect one for you...

  4. Thanks, Snowcatcher! (what the heck should I call you? Do you prefer Deborah or Deb?)

    Gosh, I have no idea what jersey size. The only actual cycling garment I own apart from shorts is a Louis Garneau wind jacket from two seasons ago, and that's a large. (I don't have a big frame but there are a couple of largish projections on the front of it that have to be accommodated. Cycling garments don't seem to be very stretchy in the chestal area - although my sports bra does its best to minimize things.) Perhaps curvy would best describe the physique. So maybe a large? I've never even tried one on so I'm clueless.

    How nice of you!

  5. Well, it MIGHT fit. I picked up a gorgeous [surprise color/design] jersey on REI's clearance rack at last year's Elephant Rock. It says large, and it's beautiful. But it does not fit. Too small around said projections. (I typically wear a medium or large.) So it's been in the closet all this time, jealous because all the jerseys around it get used, and it just hangs. I was going to cut it up and put it in a quilt. If you want to rescue it from that fate, email me your snailmail, and it will be on the way. Has three pockets in the back!

    Oh, and Deb is fine. I hate the "ie" and "y" endings.


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