Thursday 14 August 2014. Almost to Thomasboro

Pulled Rhododendron out of the garage at 6:15 this morning, and it was plenty clear and light. The phone ap reported a temperature of 63 degrees F, but it felt warmer to me. Was glad to be comfortable in my bright chartreuse cycling shirt (maillot vert-jaune) with the pocket on the back just the right size for an iPhone.

Wanted to ride to Homer Lake while school was still out and maybe the cardinal flowers were in bloom. But was not sure whether the Washington Street crossing of Rte. 130 (the most direct route) was open, and opted to head north and try once again to ride all the way to Thomasboro.

Was in the mood to ride; knees, hips, shoulder all felt good, and did not feel the urge to pull out the camera very much. Did, however, get the familiar reference shot of sun and the courthouse tower.

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Passed Weaver Park without stopping, no strong colors enticed me away from the road.

Cut through the Beringer subdivision to High Cross Road, and stopped at the north side if the I-74 bridge to see if any possum bones (the ones whose progress I’ve been observing for a couple years now) were visible. Didn’t expect to see anything through the sweet clover, but there was a limb bone of some kind, and next to it a jaw. The process is still observable .

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The air, light, and surface of the road were perfect for riding, and I enjoyed it.

Along Brownfield Woods were pale jewelweed, Joe Pye weed, brown-eyed Susans, as well as lots and lots of giant ragweed. Found an American bellflower, which seemed to be getting toward the end of its bloom; there were not many examples.

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Next to this bellflower plant was a wingstem in bud with a curious dark insect with bright orange antennae and legs perched near its top.

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Not something you see every day. Need to look it up.

Which I later did, and it turned out to be a Mydas fly, Mydas tibialis. Was happy to be able to figure out what it was; brought back memories of my days as a biologist at the INHS.

Stopped for a shot of ironweed on the roadside.

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It’s a common species but so much nicer to look at than common ragweed!

Riding between the corn and bean fields, most of which were tidily mowed on their edges, alas, noticed also several tidy farm houses, one with a little prairie garden in front of it. Made me think of the word “prosperous” and the relationship between prosperity and order. It made me feel safe, like the dogs here might feel less threatened by cyclists. But made me think also there could be perhaps too much order, or too simple of an order, at least from the standpoint of nature. There is order in a prairie community, as of which one becomes painfully aware when it is disturbed by mowing or plowing, the imposition of a different kind of order: the story of humans in the natural world.

The even expanses of healthy crops under the mostly clear sky did make me think of the ocean, with gentle frozen waves.

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At about the ten-mile mark of the ride was starting to feel fatigue and the suggestion of complaint from my knees. But was confident of a second wind and rode on. The way seemed to be heading uphill for some time now, it would be downhill on the way back.

But decided, after following the eastward jog of 1600 E to 2500 N, or Flatville Road, which was the same latitude, as it were, of Thomasboro, it was ok to turn back. It was the closest I’ve come to it so far. I think it was the thought of crossing US 45 that kept me from wanting to keep going into town.

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Maybe another time.

On the way back was taken in by the different colored morning glories (somehow they were not so alluring on the way out) that decorated the outer corn and bean plants. They were blue

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shades of pink,

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and purple

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Not native plants by any stretch of the imagination, but I fell for them.

Noticed adult corn root worm beetles in some of the flowers.

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But they didn’t seem to have done much damage.

A little way down saw a large German shepherd in front of one of the tidy house, running, it seemed, in my direction. What to do? Fight? Flight? Freeze? With no hesitation chose flight, not looking to see whether there was a fence or human to call it off, figuring it would find me less of a threat if I ignored it a f just went on by. It didn’t come after me, and I didn’t look back. Realized I’m not used to riding all-out, whew! But caught my breath and was able to enjoy the way back.

Saw royal catchfly (!) in front of the house across from the end of Weaver Park.

20140814-105718.jpg Noticed a car pulling out of the driveway; the driver smiled and proudly pointed out the royal catchfly I was photographing. I smiled and replied, “Yes!”

Was pleased with this morning’s lovely 23 miles!

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