Saturday, June 1, 2013

In Which Wires Shadow The Ride

What with one thing and another—including office cleaning and moving office plants home due to an upcoming extended trip—I didn't get on my bike Friday until a bit after 5 p.m.

I wasn't sure where to ride. Rains lately have led to high water that has closed trails—in fact, here is a look at the low bridge of the Boyson Trail from a Friday afternoon walk Audrey and I took:
Water on the trail.
I decided that my evening ride would be north, since there aren't any water barriers to the trail headed north, so off I went. One thing about bike trails, they often use old rail lines, which mean they are also utility routes, and new, tall transmission lines have been installed just this spring along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail headed north:
Heading north, the trail paralleled by power.
I noticed that these new tall metal towers are identified by a number near the top of each pole, but the number is not unique to each pole, nor are they sequential. What does “24” mean, and why is “20” or “18” also common numbers?
What do the numbers mean?
Whatever. I continued on north until the 10-mile marker, then checked my time. I did not want to be miles north of Cedar Rapids when darkness came—I’m willing to ride in town with bike lights, but don’t really want to try the dark countryside. At 10 miles north, I decided it was time to turn back. I was aided in my decision by the interesting looking sky, which had a smear of clouds on the horizon that suggested possibilities … fortunately, the foreshadowing was false and the weather stayed dry.
A late afternoon Iowa cloudscape. Note the dead tree to the left. Still evidence of last year's drought amid the plethora of green this wet spring.
I met a retired MMU professor unexpectedly in Lafayette, and we chatted a bit about the recent leadership changes on campus. Then, I continued south and was once again distracted by wires. Why, at this road, do the new tall metal towers suddenly end? Are more in our future?
Where the high wire ends, looking south.
As the twilight set in, I was headed south in Robins. I paused to turn on my lights and also snap this photo of how new and old power poles mingled in this tiny town.
It's getting dark and the power poles are co-mingled, old and new.
I’m happy to report that I was home before it was full dark, although it was darkening. The sunset was pretty, as you can see. I didn’t ride off into it, as a hero of the Old West would, because I was headed east and I had to look back at Council Street by the Northeast Post Office in order to see the sunset. It was a pretty sunset, bisected by wires. Well, it would be. A testament to man’s ability to generate electricity, I suppose.
The sunset I did not ride off into. Because I'm not a cowboy. But I'm nearly as macho as one because I ride a  mighty steed. Then again, the steed is named "Francis," which might cut the macho factor a bit ...
Y’all enjoy yourself now. I’m not sure I’ll be doing much biking for a bit, with the trip and all, so ride some RAGBRAI prep miles for me, and don’t let the wires get too distracting.

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