It's summer. Warm and green: 88 degrees. Go outside in shorts, t-shirt, and helmet. No jacket. Finally. Explore the bike trails.
But don't forget your Jane Austen book, because after V. S. Naipaul's denunciation of her Tuesday, it is necessary to read her again.
Yesterday we rode 36 miles on the T-Bone Trail, a railroad flatbed trail which extends from Atlantic to Audubon. It is one of the tamer, flatter trails in Iowa. Not up for a challenge? This is the trail for you. It runs through the valley of the Nishnabotna River. The scenery is typically rural and mildly pretty, cornfields and undramatic woods. The T-Bone Trail is named after T-Bone Days, a summer festival in Audubon (population: 2,332). The trail was built on a spur of the Rock Island Railroad from Atlantic to Audubon in 1878 to transport cattle to the stockyards in Chicago.
We rested on a bench outside the Red Barn diner in Exira and snapped a pic of this wooded avenue from a distance because we were too lazy to go back.
Here we are in the "true country." Birds, badgers, and chipmunks. It's like riding through your grandpa's farm.
The trail ends in a park outside of Audubon, where there is a giant statue of Albert the Bull. I sat here and contemplated it while my husband rode to a convenience store in search of Gatorade.
I read Emma, too. Just Albert the Bull, Jane Austen, and I.
On our way back we snapped photos of these ponies and goats.
I couldn't persuade my husband to go off the trail to visit the Nathaniel Hamlin Park. We saw the brick house and the sign from the trail and I was very keen on touring it. I looked it up later on the internet, however, and it says it is a historic farm, which is perhaps not my kind of thing. Nothing about Nathaniel Hamlin. And nothing about the house.
Oh, well, another time.