Sunday, June 16, 2013

Two More Rides & a Dairy Brunch

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Wild roses cascading pink
Tall pines cool in their own shadows
Ice cream on a sticky day

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And the training continues ... only two more weeks until Bike MS. (This is my only excuse for the recent excess of cycling posts, also for my slackness in answering your comments and visiting your blogs.)

On Friday and Saturday I did back-to-back 45 mile rides, just to see if I could. (I could.)

Friday is beautifully sunny and mild - the kind of day that gives June a good name, and makes you glad to be alive and outdoors. To see blue sky overhead, green trees all around, and a (comparatively) smooth road stretching out before you...


...to see tractors in the fields, and tall grass waving in the wind - this is happiness for a Wisconsin cyclist.


In one pasture a cow is standing on top of the feed wagon, enjoying the fresh hay in the middle while others nibble from the sides.


Or perhaps it was giving a dinner speech? I don't think it appreciated being photographed, as it stuck its tongue out when I snapped the shutter:


I've been meaning for days to get some photos of these little beauties...


...so I made sure to take my break where they were thick along the roadside. These tiny pale pink asters rejoice in the name of Daisy Fleabane, and aren't nearly as large as they appear on screen - each blossom is only 1/2" - 3/4" wide.


And that's all she wrote for Friday's ride. A good strong 45 miles, and for the first time I didn't dread the distance. It's starting to feel normal. :)

Saturday's weather is less pleasant, being cloudy and very humid. But cloudy skies make for good flower photos, I tell myself.

The first model of the day is a lovely blue flag iris, which is one of several growing in the ditch just down the road from our egg supplier's house:


Across the road is this mystery blossom, which looks like some kind of wild sweet pea...


...but is probably just some stray alfalfa.

Around a few corners is a long stretch of road, overhung with trees and glorious with wild roses spilling down its banks:


They are a deeper pink this year than I've ever seen them, and breathtakingly lovely with the forest behind them.

Up on the high prairie, a field of soybeans stretches away in the straight rows dear to a farmer's heart:


I turn a corner and pass this picturesque gate (which always makes me think of "The Last Battle" by C.S. Lewis, and the gate through which all the characters pass at the end of the age):


Then down a curving hilly road, past the field where yesterday a cow stood on a feed wagon (the field is empty today), across a green, green valley, past tall pines standing dark and cool, up another hill, the sides of which are speckled purple with spiderwort, over the top, then down and up and around several corners to where I see what looks like a small Humvee in the middle of the road. It sinks down as I pass and I realise that this is what a Snapping Turtle REALLY looks like:


I am careful to keep a good distance between us as I don't want to get nipped. (Tallulah stays in my pocket and won't even stick her nose out for a peep.)

Miles later, a blackbird sits on a telephone wire under brooding eastern skies...


...while just down the road, looking hopefully westward to where the sky is lighter, sits a robin:


I pass a cheery stretch of Canada anemone, springing like stars from the verge:



Just down the road, the cow vetch is blooming thickly, climbing up the tall grass towards the sun:


Today I'm making a special stop at this farm along my route:


June is National Dairy Month, and here in Wisconsin, the Dairy State, it's celebrated with rural pomp and splendour. Farm breakfasts and dairy breakfasts are taking place all over the state, and I'm about to visit one.


After parking my bike, the first thing I see is, appropriately, a cow:


There are chickens to pet...


...bunnies to admire...


...horse-drawn wagon rides...



...and more cows, all spick-and-span in a tidy barn, with hay strategically placed to encourage photo ops:





Brunch is being served in a brand-new pole barn, put up especially for the occasion. I pay my money and am given a plate and a ticket for ice cream.

On the menu are: pizza, cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, milk, and ice cream. ("No veggies?" says Tallulah. "Not a one," I say. "It is a Dairy Brunch, after all.")


There are actually a few other cyclists here - quite exciting for me as I rarely see other cyclists:


(I'm glad I'm not the only one wandering around in Lycra shorts and an odd-looking shirt with a zipper down the front.)

I eat a slice of pizza, but this is what I really came for...


...ice cream, from a locally famous maker with a charming name and logo:


The ice cream fully justifies its reputation - it's delicious. I offer a taste to Tallulah, but after a sniff she declines politely.


Refreshed by the starchy, high-fat snack, we wander out to look at more farm buildings.



A wagonload of sightseers takes off just behind us.


We head for this barn, a lovely specimen of its kind.


As we enter, barn swallows fly overhead and out the other side (too fast for a photo).


We stop to admire the young stock:



In the next room, the floor is intriguingly grooved:


A small boy says to his even smaller sister, "Be careful in here, because concrete can sweat, and I don't want you to slip." (What a sweet brother.)

Milking machines:


Another view of the patterned floor:


And a last photo of the sweetest calf:


"Well, Tallulah," I say, "we've miles yet to ride, and the day is getting on. Time for us to be going."

On our way out, we stop for a glimpse of these vintage tractors:



Then it's back on the bike to finish our ride.

Yellow hawkweed is abundant this year, and we stop some miles later for a few photos:



It's stickier than ever now, and we're looking forward to getting back to the cool house.

One very last shot - a favourite jumble of farm buildings (which came out slightly fuzzy, giving me an excuse to play with the photo editing features):


And a few miles later we're home.

Another good ride. It's a great confidence-booster to have comfortably ridden 45 miles two days in a row. But it does take up a lot of time and energy - I will be glad when the pressure to train is past.

A special thanks is due to my dear Mr. M, who has put hours of work into maintaining Iris during this busy riding season. He's glued up her tires and replaced her pedals, ordered and installed a new rear cluster, installed new brake pads, re-wrapped the handlebar tape, kept the chain lubed, and lovingly performed many other mechanical tasks that are beyond my comprehension. He keeps this old girl going (both of us old girls), and we are very grateful. :)

Combined miles from Friday and Saturday: 90
Miles this year: 832.5

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38 comments:

  1. So many pretty flowers. A dairy brunch sounds yummy.
    Way to go on the training!

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    1. Thanks Beth! There were also yoghurt and nachos with cheese sauce.... Lactose heaven (or hell depending on your point of view). :)

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  2. Will you keep making weekend rides after you make the big ride in a couple of weeks? Your photos are great.

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    1. Thanks Linda - yes, I'll keep riding. Just fewer miles! :)

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  3. It is so very good that you do all these rides. You see many beautiful things and also enjoy the weather and fresh air. Nothing can be more exciting than finding wild blossoms while walking. I also had a trip last weekend and will post my photos soon.
    Have a wonderful week ahead, Sue! all the best for Bike MS.

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    1. Thanks so much, Anna. I look forward to your photos. :)

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  4. What a wonderful cycle with all of natures beauty and some delicious interlude's of the dairy kind, you really are doing amazingly well with your cycling Sue, let the countdown begin xxx Penny

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    1. Thanks Penny - the countdown has already started in my head. :)

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  5. I love getting a glimpse of life in Wisconsin - so different from the countryside around me. Juliex

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    1. It's fun to show people a bit of the rural life. :)

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  6. You are coming along, wonderfully,with your training.

    And giving us a great ride, too.

    Love your photos... Especially the wild flowers... And how you get that Bouka effect... or however you say the up close is clear, and back behind is fuzzy. :-) Simply lovely photos.

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    1. I can't think what that word is either, but I know what you mean. It kind of happens by itself - I stick the camera right up to the thing I'm shooting and make sure it's focused on the close stuff, and not the background ... sometimes it takes a few tries, and I get plenty of shots with a clear background and a big fuzzy flower in the middle! But if the camera is properly focused on the near object, the background usually gets misty without me having to do anything special. :)

      And thanks as always Auntie!

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  7. OOH my bottom hurts just "reading" the mileage you have logged! What beautiful country to ride and great photos. You 3 purple girls (Mrs M., T & Iris) are so lucky! Good work and thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Sue! It is very beautiful here, and this is the best time of year. I feel very lucky. :)

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  8. I love your visit to the farm, so much fun to see. Good for you on your long rides, you are getting in amazing shape and you are going to do great on the ride.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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    1. Thanks Mere - I do hope so. And I really appreciate your encouragement. :)

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  9. Another lovely bike ride with plenty of things to see and enjoy - especially the ice-cream at the end!

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    1. Ice cream makes everything worthwhile.... :)

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  10. Go, Mrs. M, Go! (and Tallulah too, of course). What great rides. Everything looks so summery!!!! (unlike here). What is wrong with Tallulah, anyway? I would have eaten that whole bowl of ice cream if the Goatmother had offered it to me. :)

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    1. What can I say? She's a finicky turtle. Probably watching her weight or something. Though you'd think she would sweat some of it off just riding around in my pocket, especially on the sticky days. :)

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  11. Your training reports from Wisconsin are impressive, Sue !!! Beautiful, interesting route, and some yummy treats you found on this last spin. Your photo of the wild turtle [not Miss T] reminded me I have not seen a turtle in the wild in a very long time. In NY when we lived on the West bank of the Hudson River, huge snapping turtles would climb the bank around June 12 every year in order to lay their eggs. Since I have lived in OR the last six years I have not seen any turtles. Do you suppose OR has any wild turtles? Remember I will be cheering you on to the finish line, Sue.
    xx, Gracie

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    1. Thanks so much, Gracie! I don't know about turtles in Oregon - if there are any I can't imagine them being fierce like snapping turtles, but more mellow and laid back. Sort of hippie turtles, if that makes sense. :)

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  12. What a delicious adventure...always makes me smile.

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  13. I so enjoyed all these beautiful photos and reading about your long scenic ride. What a gorgeous part of the country you're in! :)

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  14. Okay, that's it...I'm moving to Wisconsin! Save for ice cream for me, will ya?
    I'm glad you know to stay away from a snapping turtle! Man, that thing looks scary!

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    1. After reading up on them earlier this week - you can bet I stayed away! I had too many miles left to ride, for one thing.... :)

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  15. Where do I find the next festival??? i so want to go after this post. Hi Talu. Turtle. I have a pony mascot on my blog due to you! KBear is my pony' s name. Karen Karezybear knit him for me.
    Hubby has done the round the manure bicycle tour in WI many times.

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    1. I haven't heard of Round the Manure - sounds interesting! :)

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  16. Woohoo! I believe you are ready!

    I wonder what Tallulah would have thought had she seen the snapper. Brought back memories for me; I haven't seen a single one this year. Yet, I guess. Perhaps the day lies in wait...

    Congrats on the miles, and thanks for photographically taking me along on such a beautiful country ride.

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    1. Thanks Deb. I saw another snapper Sunday that unfortunately was no longer in one piece ... don't know what the car looks like. :/

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  17. Sometimes when I just simply want something good to read I head here. :-) Even if I've already read it.

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    1. Wow, Astri, that's really nice of you. Thanks! :)

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  18. I am in favor of any kind of brunch that comes with a ticket for ice cream. Back to back 45 mile rides! You are in awesome condition. I can do a 40 mile ride, but I don't think I'd be up for getting back on the horse the next day.

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    1. You should give it a shot - you might surprise yourself! Eat plenty of protein (along with some carbs), before, during, and after, is my motto. :)

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  19. So you're not only going to be among the fittest women in Wisconsin you're going to be the one with most cow stories too ;)

    Loved this post Sue :D

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    1. Thanks Annie - though I don't know about the fit part - I don't seem to have lost any weight yet. Too much ice cream, perhaps. :)

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