I've got a favorite local back road route that I scoot when I just want to get in a "quickie refresher" ride at the end of my at-home work day.
In fact, I rode it Thursday afternoon...
It is a rather short ride that loops through the Amish farm community right outside my door. I've ridden it many times, and I know it like the back of my hand, so to speak.
At the end of my gravel driveway I take a right and scoot slowly (this is key, averaging 20-30 mph) up the road, passing my Amish neighbor's clean, white farm houses and brightly colored flowerbeds.
I might see someone out in their garden or pass Amish children on their scooters. Everyone is friendly and waves a greeting. They are used to the weird English woman on her scooter!
I pass fields where sheep are grazing, cows are swishing their tails or nursing their young, and peacocks are strutting along fence lines flashing their plummage. There are soybean fields and ponds interspered along the route, as well as wooden fencelines and stone walls.
I get up to the end of my road and hang a right again. Then I am on the main road through "Amish Country" where families have lumber yards, buckstove stores, antique shops, bakeries, saddlery shops, a bird feeder supply shop, and a furniture market.
There used to be a little grocery store, run by an elderly English man, but he passed away two winters ago. I used to scoot up to his store for ice cream and just to say hi. The store is closed now and no one lives in his house anymore. Occasionally I see his son (an older man himself) stopping by to check on the house. Meanwhile it just sits there as it has for over 70 years.
Sometimes on that road I will stop by the little community cemetary and just sit on the stone wall, watching the cars, buggies, scooters, and Amish ladies stroll by. People are always waving or chatting as they pass.
On Thursday I stopped at an Amish nursery (flowers!) and picked out some hanging baskets which I will go back later and purchase.
I've been known to carry along a paperback and stop at the little Presbyterian church along this road and sit in the picnic grove there and read or just relax with a cold drink.
Once I pass through this area I scoot along a 2 lane rural road of open farm land where a particularly beautiful hill top view of the valley awaits. Here I stop and simply drink in the view. I never tire of it!
Passing through there I come to our covered bridge, which has recently undergone a bit of restoration. It is fun to scoot along the old board platform and see the creek between the slats and hear the clackety clackety clack!
From there I turn down a one lane paved road which winds through more Amish farm land. Here there is a buggy maker and wheelwright shop. I'd love to stop sometime and see how the buggies are made by hand here. He is one of the last few Amish craftsman doing this service across the country.
Once I pass that shop I enter down into a little ravine where a bubbling creek passes under the road. Here is my favorite place in the county! I love to stop here, turn off the engine, and just sit and listen to the creek tumble down through the rocks on either side of the road. It is especially delightful to sit in that leafy canopy in autumn, covered by colors.
I then motor up the hill, out of the ravine, and enter onto a flat single lane road that will eventually take me to a 4 lane divided highlway or up a very steep hill and back among more Amish farms and businesses.
I usually take the steep hill and then I find myself back at the location of the little grocery store and cemetary.
From there it is 6 miles back to my place and I watch out for deer and bunnies who love to dart across my path as they make their way across fields and hedgerows.
And THAT is my "ride that refreshes"!
By the time I come back from this little ride I feel newly invigorated and the cobwebs of the day have been blown out of my mind and carried away in the wind that washes over me as I ride.
Sometimes that might be the only ride I get in for that day, but it is a a good one!
(I will add some photos later this week...)