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.
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.)
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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