Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Getting Late (A Photo Journey)

So I went for a ride last weekend.  Not too unusual for me really.  This time though was a little different.  The weather is getting pretty cool and I left before the sun found it's way into the valleys so I bundled up a little.  Long, thermal riding pants and a couple extra layers of shirt under the windbreaker.  I wasn't really in a hurry so I figured I'd go uphill first to get above the low fog and warm up along the way.  I picked out a road I haven't been on in a while with about a 2 mile climb to reach the top.  The sunshine was waiting when I popped out from between the ridges and the cold misty stuff fell behind.

I remembered doing this same hill on my old Raleigh Record one day when it was about 90 degrees after I got home from work.  Why I took on a climb like that when I was already shot escapes me.  I think I stood up most of the way but never stopped until I made it.  Seems like it was a lot tougher going on the steel 10 speed but maybe it was only the heat.  Anyway, since I wasn't out to overachieve on this fall day, I dropped into creeper-low and just spun until the familiar right-hand curve announced that the climb was done.  The view was worth it.

I'm usually glad when I remember to stuff a camera in my bag on one of these little forays and this trip was no exception.  As they say, sometimes you can see forever if you just look.

My travels led over the next ridge line and after a screaming downhill that reminded me that the ambient temperature was still only in the 40's, I stopped to regain the feeling in my fingers at a small lake shore campground and recreation area known as Park Station.  It's a booming place in the summer with a man made beach, ball diamonds and all the other normal warm weather goodies but now, sneaking up on November, it was mostly deserted.  I like places like this when it's so still.  There's something about that quiet that's good for my soul...

I think this guy probably would understand...

As is the usual way with these things, after I left the lake, I just kept pointing the front wheel wherever the notion led me and changed my mind about a destination maybe ten times per minute until I finally ended up on another back road semi-headed toward home.  The sun was up high but still cool and teasing me to peel a layer or two but unzipping the windbreaker was enough to convince me otherwise.  I still had to climb back over a ridge line to get looped around so it was middle-ring and spin once again.  Going slower on a long, steady uphill and without the wind to drown out everything, I caught the sound of a big red-tail hollering at me from about a mile above and turkeys arguing with the crows two hedges away.  I knew who was doing laundry on a Sunday when I'd get a sniff of dryer sheets from houses I passed.  For some, it was trash or leaf burning day and then the smell of an angry skunk somewhere followed me for miles.  I wound up at a crossroads on top of a hill that I've only seen once in my travels.  You'd think I'd have seen them all a couple of times by now but...not quite yet.  The downhill sign is not kidding.

The layers were too much after the climb but I knew the descent would be cold again so I grabbed a Clif and a stretch before the drop back down to the valleys and home.  As I remembered, the drop off the hill was steep and twisty but I didn't know the local highway guys had sprinkled the corners with loose stone.  A couple of tense moments later, I made it down intact and headed out on the last leg for the Wayward Home.  I had to take one more look over my shoulder and catch one more shot.

I know the season is winding down and soon it'll be snow and salt again which takes the Trek off the road till spring but I'll take what I can and see what I can see while there's still a little sun.  I'm already wishing for May.


Trailer Park Cyclist said...

That's a fine Autumn Ride and the pictures make me wish I was there. I just came in from a don't -know-where-I'm-going-till-I-get-there ride myself. Those are my favorite. TJ

Wayward said...

I have to be careful with those 'destination unknown' things or I wind up with dead legs, no money and out of daylight 50 miles from home. They're usually the best rides though! Thanks TJ!