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Monday, May 12, 2008

Free Range

A new route today. Same ride to Stoddard, taking the scenic highway along the Mississippi. Same quick stop at Kwik Trip for chocolate milk and a small cake donut. Then, instead of the usual loop around to Chaseburg on Highway 162, I took Dennis and Gordy's recommendation to climb up Proksch Coulee Road. And a wonderful suggestion it was.

It does not take long to get through Stoddard and out into the rural countryside. The road winds through a valley, past farms and homes. I ride along, enjoying the scenery and the fact that the substantial "breeze" that I pushed against on the ride to Stoddard was now at my back, more or less. After a mile or so, I come to the chicken farm that Dennis had told me about. They (the chickens) take the free range thing literally, the range including the roadway. I weave my way through the rust red roosters ranging the road and ride onward. Later on there is the farm with the herd of Scottish Highland cattle. How is it that the cattle you see in the fields, those cattle that you think maybe aren't so bright, are always able to give you this look that says, "What in the world are you doing here, on that thing?" Well, that's what I think they are thinking.

It is just past this farm that the road finally climbs up to the ridge above. A very pleasant ride up through a narrow, tree lined valley before popping up (figuratively - I do not ride up hills THAT quickly) into open fields. Now the wind is a little less accommodating as I make my way through the farmland to the church at the top of County K. And the drop down K towards Chaseburg was really dicey with the wind coming up the hill with almost the same velocity as I was going down. But, I made it and was soon on Wrobel Road going back up the hill and on to home.

Chickens, cattle and bicycle riders. Out enjoying a late afternoon in southwestern Wisconsin, each moving about in their own range, wondering what the other is thinking.

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