Every ride – whether close to home or abroad – is a journey of discovery if one’s eyes are open to the places and sounds and smells.
This morning I realized I had forgotten to purchase a couple of Christmas items. There are only two days until the holiday and rather than battle the crowds, I left the coziness of home and bed very early this morning. To my surprise, I emerged from the house to find remarkably warm temperatures. A short shopping trip and a rushed breakfast later, and I was out on the road to take full advantage of what was shaping up to be wonderful riding weather.
Almost immediately, I encountered this curious house: freshly painted and trimmed, it appears to nearly exactly match the green and cream of the owner’s vintage car. Coincidence? I wonder.
Rolling down the first long hill and into the town square I heard, then saw, the construction work taking place on a couple buildings. Emerging from under the more modern facade was a hand-painted sign, no doubt seeing the light of day for the first time in decades.
JRA outings have been infrequent this autumn as I nursed a belligerent knee back to health. Yesterday, in decidedly less friendly weather, I decided to test things by sprinting up several gravel roads as I left town and emerged on crumbling country roads. I am happy to report the prognosis is good! Contrary to this morning, my nose ran like a faucet and my fingers quickly grew stiff from the cold, damp wind.
Even with the wind, cold days are so lonely that every sound seems to be magnified.
But this December morning, the air is actually filled with bird song. That, and the smell of something rank. It turns out this lovely stopping point was not far from a landfill!
Before wandering onward, a train rumbled past, the racket briefly drowning out the birds and rustle of branches and dry leaves and dead stalks of corn.
The overcast morning very quickly turned to blue skies and sun. It wasn’t long before I found myself removing layers and in short sleeves. Like all my best rides, this one involved frequent stops to just look around, to see what has changed since the last time I traveled these roads, and to discover – or rediscover – the delightful sights and sounds, and occasionally even the less than delightful scents that make a place distinctly unique.