Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harvest Time Century

Are you hungry, Kitty?

Is your food bowl empty?

You'll have to talk to Tom.

I have many miles to go today...

... and no time for Kitties.

You see, I have a New Year's resolution...

I need to bike a century every month.

And it's time for a September Century.

It's been hard after The Big Ride.

Indiana is kinda boring

after you've scaled

the Teton Pass....

...and careened

down the Cascades.

All we've got is corn.

But I'm going for the miles today...

Heading up to Anderson.

It will take me more than 20 minutes.

I detour to check out

the new hospital

being built on Exit 10.

But the road is blocked

with 24 hour security.


I love getting pictures

of new construction.

The new Olio Road bridge over 69

is also blocked for cars.

But I discover it is now bikeable!

Scary dogs chase me...

OK. This guy - not so scary.

Name - Duke.

North through Pendleton...

Nice town...

Cute shops...

Always having festivals.

Pretty much all corn stubble

between Pendleton and Anderson.

Just last week

it was a tunnel

through sky high corn.

Not very exciting for someone

who has biked

through the Black Hills

of South Dakota.

But we do have wildlife...

Look! A woolly bear caterpillar!

If we see white ones it means we'll have a warm winter.

Dark ones mean a cold winter.

I've never seen cinnamon ones before.

What does that mean for this winter?

Anderson at last.

And I'm getting tired already.

Just 15 more miles till my turn around.

There's the famous Anderson casino

and race track.

My Dad used to love horse races.

But he always drove down to the big tracks in Kentucky.

I wonder if he ever visited the Hoosier Park.

Time for a snack at my scenic rest stop.

Gotta turn around.

Mom is coming to dinner tonight.

I can't be late.

No time

to stop at the Rummage Sale...

Not much time

to talk with Snowball...

I do take time

 to grab a picture

of the mountain of corn

piling up south of Anderson.

It glows like the noontime sun.

Why pour it on the ground

when there are

huge grain bins

right next door?

And look!

Across the street

they're cutting the corn right now!

I tromp onto the field to get good close-ups.

Wow! A jackpot of gold.

But here comes the farmer...

Will he be mad

that I'm out on his field

taking pictures?

No. In fact, he's very friendly.

Tells me they're harvesting earlier than ever before.

The corn is so dry

it can fall off the husks.

We're three inches low on rain this year...

...and that after such a wet June.

The trains aren't due

till October to carry the corn

to the ethanol plants up north.

The grain bins are full to the brim

So they have to dump

the corn on the ground.

- I've lived in Indiana all my life, I say.

But I've never been this close

to the harvest.

- You wanna ride the combine, he asks.

Gonna be late for dinner.

But how can I refuse?

This thing is HUGE.

I have to climb up a ladder to ride.

It's like driving a 2-story house around!

My driver is Shannon -

The farmer's daughter.

Purdue educated in Agriculture.

She shows me the computer grid...

...tells how many bushels of corn

each square foot yields.

...and help her track her driving.

Gotta line up the rockets

with the rows of corn soldiers.

She's quickly full.

So brother Jake pulls up

along her

to catch her overflow.

Done with that row

Shannon returns me to my tiny bike.

(See it by the light pole?)

....and she lumbers off

to finish more harvest

for the day.


Now there's an adventure

I would never have gotten

in the Black Hills.

Speaking of adventure...

the skies are getting dark


I'm late for dinner.

As I'm buzzing back past the harvested fields

I think about the summer ride.

We saw that half the country has been conquered by corn.

Is it wise to trust our lives to this one golden crop?

What if a virus hits like the potatoes of Ireland?

What about weird weather?

The odd cinnamon color of the woolly bears

could predict

stranger weather yet

than the super wet June

and the ultra dry August.

Rain starts to splatter.

Time for the rain jacket

to protect the camera

and the Droid in the rain bag.

Ten minutes of spitting rain and it's done.

Good for bikers.

Not so for farmers.

I'm gonna be late.

Wearing out these old legs trying to keep my speed up..

But wait! I know a short cut

through Olio road.

I can cross the constructing bridge!

Quick email to Tom.

I'm 15 away...

fifteen minutes, that is.

Finally Brixton.

Finally the driveway.

Finally the front door.

And here's Mom!

...wine in hand

...ready to sit down

at the table...


the backyard wildlife...


Tom's good dinner....

and hear the stories

of my harvest time adventure.


  1. What a beautiful tribute, Helen! LOVE IT!!

  2. What a great ride and commentary! Thanks for taking us on your adventure.