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New Year's Day 2015 Ride

Pretty cold out there, on a New Year’s Day! I was a little worried as we set off for Dallas and Taters restaurant, with lots of frozen puddles beside the road. I kept imagining leaving the turn at the bottom of the first descent off Skyline down Vitae Springs and finding black ice across the road above that culvert. I braked all the way down that looking for that scenario, wishing to avoid my wheels sliding out from under me, only to have Nate or Brad, or both, slide into me with their wheels pointed skywards! It was bare pavement, though the ice on either side wasn’t assuring in the least. A little later we saw one of winter’s wonderlands, a ditch bank with rows of crystalline columns of expanded moisture, looking more like a mass production of mankind than one of nature’s random acts of art.

Even weaving thru the gully, we only saw occasional plugs of ice in the broken pavement, again, much to my relief. And even going down Orville, there were no frozen rivulets crossing the road around a blind corner. Of course, we all relaxed our guard, and I was waiting for the unexpected patch of ice to take one of us down. Once on River Road South, we were open to the wind from the north, and while I was warm, Nate was unhappy with the compromise gloves he impulsively purchased at the shop, and Brad was complaining about his windproof socks not providing him with the protection booties, or even toe warmers, might have afforded him.

I hesitated on crossing the Independence bridge, hoping to get another shadow selfie against the guardrails with the swollen current below in the background. Only the strength of an uninhibited winter sun can provide the contrast of a shadow on a cold day as this.

We passed thru Independence with a large number of people out enjoying the sunshine despite the chill of the air. And later, we spied a couple of young girls "ice skating" on a large frozen puddle near the river. Looked like fun, though Brad and Nate thought it would be more fun if the ice broke beneath the two girls!

We followe Gun Club road past the Independence airport and Brad was trying to get us to ride the multi-use path that runs on the west side of Hwy. 99. Noisy and broken up, and having the responsibility of stopping at every driveway that bisected the path, I led them across the highway and made a right on Riddel road. Nate took off, and while I held his wheel for a short time, I found myself unable to keep it, finding it easier to go slower into the headwind alone than to battle to keep on his wheel. I doubt that even if Brad and I had taken turns breaking the wind, we would have overtaken him! The hawks were out in force, with the sunshine illuminating any movement of some wary rodent, and we distracted ourselves watching them wheel about and perch high atop power poles, and perhaps what we used to call telephone poles!

I'd ridden Clow Corner, or Monmouth Cut Off Rd., into Dallas last winter. It had enough traffic, with little or no shoulder, last time, that I couldn't enjoy the ride, so we proceeded north until we found Orr's Corner Rd, which follows the Rickreall Creek into Dallas. There was actually a shoulder on much of the road, and little traffic that allowed us to ride three abreast much of the time. The suburbs of Dallas came quickly, but we were surprised at how far out from Dallas they had spread, and it took a while to reach Dallas proper. It was only a short ride to Taters, and no one brought a lock. We found a booth near the door, and though I'd been slightly uncomfortable last year leaving my bike just outside the front door, but with the three bikes in a heap, I thought it would be more intimidating and less inviting. We still kept an eye on them, and noticed Brad eyeballing customers as they left. Not to say, I wouldn't have become alarmed if they'd made a beeline toward the bikes instead of turning the opposite direction to the parking lot, which my perspective allowed me to monitor.

Both Brad and I ordered the German sausage, hash browns, eggs and a biscuit, while Nate had a "Hobo" sandwich. Brad had fun with his sausage, but we won't go there! The interior of the restaurant is completely different from what the exterior portrays. Your offbeat statue greets you once you're inside the door, complete with a string of beads, and collections of old metal food containers adorn one wall, along with saying to improve your manners and lifestyle, while the exterior appears to be your typical hole-in-the-wall small town restaurant, though the restroom also joins in with the exterior's theme of "this-serves-a-purpose", not art, even is possibly tasteless!

We finished up, with Nate and Brad waiting patiently for me to clean my plate, and left to enjoy the tailwind to take us home by way of Kings Valley, Cooper Hollow and Monmouth Highway. I lagged behind to catch a picture of the jet plume that appeared to be vertical and suggested a crash on the outskirts of town. As a result, I caught a red light, which left them nearly out of sight, but they were nice enough to wait for me near the top of the hill leaving Dallas. I pointed out that we were nearly at the end of our ride as we passed Liberty Road of Dallas! We almost missed the left turn onto Cooper Hollow with the tailwind pushing us briskly along, but I reined them in and made the U-turn to take us off busy Kings Valley. A few cars & pickups, but not the nearly constant buzz of Kings Valley, Cooper Hollow made you feel as though you were in the country, not merely just a mile or two parallel to Kings Valley.

We spotted the occasional pothole of ice, but nothing that couldn't be avoided, but at the crest of the hill, there was a two-car long swath of water on the road that would have stopped us, if we'd noticed in time, and it had bee a couple degrees cooler! We passed the paved road headed east, McCaleb Rd. and again I wondered how long it was paved and where did it end. It might be a nice alternate to Monmouth Hwy. I looked it up when we returned home and it appears to turn to gravel before joining Mistletoe Rd., which ends in Monmouth. Nice gravel ride for the future! We soon joined up with Monmouth Hwy and began the long, gradual climb before descending over Fishback, and arriving back in Monmouth.

There was some talk of getting a burger, or even ice cream(!), at Burgerville at the 99 intersection, but really, there wasn't room for anything yet, after the meal at Taters!

We rode River Road south on the way back, greeted a rider headed the other direction as we came off Independence bridge, and I declined to ride up either Sawmill or Halls Ferry to access Riverdale and get off River Road, but did sweep off at the last railroad overpass to get on Riverdale. I don't care much for the non-shoulder of River Road between the overpass and Illahee. Nate and Brad continued on, and that was the last I saw of them, even though I entertained thoughts of seeing them down the road when I reached Roberts. I removed my balaclava and my lobster mitts as I prepared to climb Madronna, and glad I was, for I know there would have been some sweat involved otherwise.

Cold, but not uncomfortable, and sunny - a great New Year's day ride!

Rider shadow

three riders shadows


Riders in town