Sunday, October 26, 2014
On Friday I set off on a scooter ride in the warm autumn sunshine around noon. It was the kind of day where you don't know which jacket to wear, so you wear layers. I had on a mesh jacket underneath my hi viz Olympia vest. Before I'd ridden three miles I was pulling over in the park for my insulated liner. 60 degrees felt like 40 on the scoot.
Full-fingered gloves, jeans, wool socks, boots, a tee shirt, and a sweat shirt completed the ensemble. Oh, yeah, and my 3/4 HJC IS-33 helmet with the layered visors.
Layers are key here.
So I am off heading onto the one lane road that takes me down into the valley as it passes my donkey friends, my Guernsey cow buddies, and the rows and rows of dried up corn stalks leftover from that memorable night ride of a few weeks ago.
It's a brisk, but balmy feeling day. The sun filters through the trees and over the fields in that "autumn" kind of way. Many of the trees are bare of their leaves now, so I am off on a pilgrimage to find stunning oaks and maples and birches along the river and in the villages.
I've no particular route in mind, but I am jonesing to see the completed village main street in Batavia, our county seat, so I head over there. They have completed the beautification of the main road through town with brick roadways, stone medians, street lamps, and flower pots.
Sorry to say I did not take one picture of it and I don't know why, really. I just rolled through town and enjoyed the view.
While there I stopped and got gas at the little United Dairy Farmer mini-mart. Regular was $2.85 and I filled up for $3.49. Scootie only holds 1.6 gallons but she gets about 100 mpg, so I ought to be good for awhile. While there I bought a bottle of Fuji water and some Ritz peanut butter crackers. My scooting staples along with Reeses Peanut Butter cups for dessert.
I headed over to the cemetery to enjoy my snack in the sunshine and rest. This is where I saw the above glowing yellow tree with little dancing leaves raining down. It was nice just sitting in the sunshine and snacking out of my pet carrier.
I've taken to using my pet carrier lid as a mosaic of stickers. I started doing this with the C3. "Joe Cool" is my logo for some reason. Guess it's because I love Snoopy so much. I've got a few other cool stickers such as "Heck's Angels Twin Cities Scooter Club", "Bigfoot Research Team", "Cincinnati Reds Mr. Red", "Eastgate Harley-Davidson" (I have adopted their logo due to the local covered bridge shown on all their gear), and this and that. Oh and don't forget "Peace, Love, Dogs". Always.
I can't even remember all the stickers and I'm looking for more all the time.
Here was a funky looking pine tree that sort of mirrored my mood:
The sun was very bright and directly overhead, so it was tough to get great lighting. Plus I am still shooting on my 5 year old Canon pocket camera. Some day I hope to get a little better camera for my scooter riding. It can't be too bulky though and I don't want to fool with a bunch of lenses. I have enjoyed that sort of photographic challenge but now I am all about compact and simple for packing.
Anyway, they had started renovating this little "chapel crypt" in the spring and got it finished. They re-bricked it and painted all the rusty wrought iron grating a dark green. There is no indication as to whether someone or someones are buried there, so don't really know what it is for. I just like sitting by it when I visit the cemetery on my scooter.
I left the cemetery and I had no plan. Wow do I love that! I just started riding. I found myself scooting through the village, up and down the lanes, enjoying the pretty little houses and well-tended yards. There are a lot of older, smaller houses here that people have fixed up in the most clever ways imaginable. "Quaint" is what I would call it. And no, I did not take any photos of them. I just kept scooting.
I ended up on the south side of the village and decided to head out south on Rt. 222, which follows the east bank of the East Fork of the Little Miami River. This river flows into East Fork State Park (see previous blog entry) and hosts a lovely park on the west bank called Sycamore Park. That is where I saw Bigfoot in 2010. N0 kidding.
See, I told you I was a Bigfoot researcher! No kidding!
Anyway, here Rt 222 is called "Riverside Drive" for a little ways. I rode it out a few miles and then saw a sign for "Elk Run Golf Course", so I turned left onto that road.
Being an avid golfer myself, I thought it might be fun to check this course out. I also had a vague memory that this was a private club and that the course had been designed by Greg Norman. It wasn't long before I came to the entrance and turned left into it. Here is the little driving range near the cart shed.
Nobody was driving, but a few were walking to what looked like a club house far off in the distance. All on foot. They had parked their cars where I was, so I was not going to scoot up to the pro shop today and buy an Elks Run golf ball. With little to see past what I just showed you, I scooted out the entrance back onto the one lane paved road.
Right in front of me was a very old, very small pioneer cemetery. I looked around there a bit and no, did not take any pictures! I guess I am out of practice because I scooted a lot, looked a lot, and photographed only a little.
Here's one shot along this same back road after I left the golf course. The sun was blazing down so it's over-exposed, but it shows the "quilt" on the side of the barn. In the rural counties out here people set these on their barns as part of a "quilt barn route" commemorating this and that. I will try to do a blog post about it. It is quite interesting and I have to say I've never seen one here in Clermont County. Mostly in Adams and Brown. So I took a picture.
From here I found myself at a fork in the road and just as I stopped to ponder my options a motorcycle rider stopped opposite me.
I hollered out, "Hey, where do these roads go?" (GPS was not working out here and my map was not detailed enough for these roads, so don't mention it.)
He didn't have any trouble hearing me shouting as he was not wearing a helmet. I guess I WAS shouting because I had trouble hearing myself with a helmet on.
Anyway, he replied, "That one goes to Rt 32", and pointed to the one on the left.
So I took that one and it was a joy and a blast. Imagine gliding over a twisting, shaded, sun-dappled, single lane paved road out in the woods. Just the feeling of the scooter moving with your mind and the quiet feel of the handlebars under your palms.
Sweetly, smoothly, quietly catching the wave of the open woods as you fly along without a clue as to where you are or where you will wind up.
Eventually and all too soon I emerged into pure sunshine on a straight paved surface and the land leveled out to a smooth roll. I started passing small houses, then a water treatment plant, then a manufactured home community, and then "BLAM!", I am at the intersection of Greenbriar Road and Old SR 32, a bit east of Batavia.
Back in the busy-ness of cars again. I turn left and join them and ride along in their madness all the way back into the village.
It's getting cooler now and I am getting hungry for some real food that is waiting back home. My crockpot pot roast is going to be waiting in the kitchen when I arrive and thoughts of that lend pressure to my throttle twist.
As I enter back into the suburbs the rush hour crowd begins to stir and so I move along swiftly toward my destination, hustled along by their sense of urgency.
Later I fondly recall my comment to the motorcycle rider at the crossroads who asked, "Where ya headed?"
He responded, "It's a good day for it."
Yes, it was indeed.
Lazy and Cheap Crockpot Pot Roast
A pot roast
Bag of celery hearts
Bag of mini carrots
About 10 red skin potatoes
A medium yellow onion
Salt and pepper
Salad seasoning mix
2 bay leaves
2 cans of beef broth
This quantity is for a 5 quart crockpot. Use less for a smaller one.
Chop up what needs chopping up and lay the veggies in the crockpot, to the level where you have about 3 inches depth left from the top.
Sprinkle the rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper on the veggie layers. Place a bay leaf at either end.
Lay the pot roast on the veggies and then drown it with the 2 cans of beef broth. I use a salad seasoning mix and sprinkle it over the meat along with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours until the meat falls apart and the veggies are soft.