Ramble Round Two

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Three of my friends who participated in last Saturday’s event decided to come back up to this general vicinity for subsequent 50-ish mile gravel ride, and I was invited. This time I was the guest and was taken to a few roads I had not yet seen. The route stitched together portions of the original Ramble route, this year’s route, and some new (to me) gravel roads farther northwest. It was a chillier start than last week, the wind was about the same, and there was about a 50% increase in the amount of climbing.

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We made a brief stop at the Rosston General Store and found, to our delight, that it is still open. In fact, it appears to have taken on some new responsibilities as the Village Post Office. That’s a good sign for our future prospects as refueling stop.

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Just like last week, we encountered a loose cow. Last week the escapee just stood by the side of the road munching grass as we rolled by. This week’s adventurer ran along the fenceline in front of us for a quarter mile until it found an open gate and jumped over the cattle “guard” to access someone’s pasture.

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The turnaround point, and highest point on the route, was Forestburg. We can add another excellent local grill and grocery to our small town rest stop list.

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The last stop was the Greenwood Grocery and Grill. I am thankful that my friends decided that they needed to come back to Greenwood for one of their burgers. Two weeks, two rides with friends, and the inventory for small town country stores is looking good for the future. Lucky me.

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Delightful Destination

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I suppose if there was anything akin to a destination, the Greenwood Grocery might have been it. It represented the first major break in riding and the point at which the amount of headwind was significantly reduced.  Others might correct me and point out that this ride comprised a loop of sorts, and so the destination was more accurately my driveway starting point.  But maybe, for a ride like the Fourth Annual Fall Finale Forty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble, everyone had their own ultimate goal in mind.

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This year’s edition of the Ramble had a few characteristics that set it apart from prior events.  The weather was warmer and windier than normal.  We had our first out-of-state participant.  It might have been the largest crowd.  I’m pathetic at keeping records, but one count had us at 26 riders this year.  We had our first two-flat-tires-at-the-same-location-at-the-same-time coincidence.  It was the longest Ramble so far at almost 50 miles.  We had our first involvement of Ramble riders helping to resolve an apparent domestic dispute situation, and our first fat tire bike (a Pugsley) participant.

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Other than a few of those more unusual things, it was basically a typical Ramble.  That means we had a several folks out riding rural north Texas paved and gravel roads, laughing, chatting, and spreading out in a long chain self-paced pedaling to whatever they intended as their destination.  This year, the first 18+ miles were almost always into a blustery headwind.  That meant that before we reached the Greenwood Grocery, the long chain was splintered into pieces.

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But everyone made it to the Grocery.  The day turned out just fine.  Down in the Greenwood valley, the wind was light, the sun was warm, and I think if I didn’t remember how much farther we had to go, we might have all found a soft pile of leaves somewhere and taken a nap.  It was a lazy time.  But I forced myself to my host duties and slowly pedaled out of town.

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I didn’t get as many photos of the route after the Greenwood stop as intended.  Maybe I was distracted by the fantastic weather, or trying to visit with folks one-on-one at different points along that broken chain of riders, or wondering how some of the folks farther behind were doing.  I understand those assisting with the domestic dispute were delayed to the point of taking a short-cut back to the start and missed some of the route.  Hopefully, their good deed was just as satisfying.  I believe some of the others probably have better photo documentation.  Hopefully, they will leave a comment and link to their work for us to enjoy.

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In the end, I reached my destination.  I had in my mind all along to enjoy the day with friends who seem to enjoy some of the same things I do.  I always enjoy riding my routes, but being able to do it with friends, and seeing their smiles lifts it to a higher level.

Thank you all for coming.  I hope you won’t wait a year before coming back again.

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New Pasture

I guess I ran into the fence line here, so it’s time to make other arrangements. It’s inconvenient that this occurs as I’m trying to get a post up about this year’s Ramble, but it’s not like climbing those steep gravel pitches into a headwind with only one gear and dust in my eyes. Since last Saturday, I think some of you now have a fond appreciation for my refreshing prairie headwinds.

Future posts to Pondero can be found here

https://pawndero.wordpress.com/

I hope to see you on the other side of the fence…

-Pondero

Let’s Ramble

Let’s ramble!

I won’t mislead you. I’m a little nervous about this year’s event. Preparations have been a little more challenging this year. The unreliability of the Rosston General Store as a refreshment stop, and the infiltration of the oil and gas industry on some of our more “pristine” areas prompted a route change. I ended up with two alternate routes in hopes of minimizing a long headwind finish. Then I persuaded “GravelDoc” to make the trip down from Missouri to join the ride. Finally, if everyone that sent me a note actually comes, we will have our biggest Ramble ever. So, yes, I’m nervous. Expectations might be higher than ever. I hope my guests enjoy themselves.

The current weather forecast for Saturday indicates cool temperatures, only a slight chance for rain, and WSW wind.  If this holds, we’ll take the Greenwood Loop route. That should make for a pleasant stop at the Greenwood Grocery and Grill. If the wind shifts to the north, we’ll likely head for Gainesville.

It’s almost Saturday.  So pack those bags with snacks, cameras, and a relaxed perspective, come up to my little place on the north Texas prairie, and join your friends in a pleasant rural ramble.

Melancholy, Meditation, and Medicine

A little before sunset, I set out for a couple of  hours. Sometimes I ride when I don’t know what else to do. When life becomes difficult, I find that the rhythm of turning cranks and removing other sources of outside stimulus helps the meditation process. I have learned that pedaling can often be good medicine.

I lost my father-in-law yesterday. His three children lost their father. His wife lost a husband, and many people lost a wonderful friend. I share in the collective grief, and I hurt for all of them. But in addition to that, I have my own sense of loss. I remember meeting him the first time my wife (before we were married) brought me home to meet her parents.  I can only imagine what he must have thought of such an immature kid with his eldest daughter. But he always treated me like I was special.

He was truly like a second dad for me.  He was always patient, warm, hospitable, and in spite of my profound clumsiness, included me in his activities. I’ve spent many hours in his shop with him helping him build airplanes. It would have been more efficient for him to do things himself, but he took the time to teach me how to do things so I could be a part of his world.  He made me feel like I was useful to him, and when we talked about more serious matters, he made me feel like I was making good decisions. Is there anything better for a man than this kind of affirmation?

I can only hope he knows how much I appreciate the gift of his daughter, that I’ve done my best to take good care of her, and that I loved him dearly.

So I rode tonight with my one gear a good deal of time into a 20+mph headwind. But when your heart hurts this much, you can’t feel your legs.