A visit to WindHarvest Farms

Jeff and Diane Edwards are entirely to blame for all the fun we are having on our tandem. They were the ones who talked us into signing up for the bicycle tour we are training for and who planted the idea in our heads of purchasing a tandem.

It was about time we biked out to see them.

We planned our visit to coincide with strawberry season. You see, the Edwardses are the proprietors of WindHarvest Farms.

I had visions of loading our pannier bag with a small haul of strawberries on which to feast on the ride home.

Alas, Mother Nature had other plans and unleashed a dreadful hailstorm on our friends’ place two days before our planned journey.

Photo swiped from the WindHarvest Farms Facebook page.

Photo swiped from the WindHarvest Farms Facebook page.

The strawberries were pounded into the ground. 😦

Jeff and Diane counted the storm as a mixed blessing, as the closing of their u-pick berry patch would enable them to put in some needed cycle training time.

They said we should come on out to visit them anyway. Diane said she would make us strawberry sundaes with some of the berries harvested before the storm.

So we journeyed out there.

I didn’t take many photos on the way out, since the route was the same for the first 29 miles as our Lyman-Henry loop before we headed another 8 miles north on the Henry Oil Road.

We paused for a break about 6 miles along that road, at a sign for our friends’ business:

break near whf sign

Here is a closeup of that sign:

whf sign

They made this sign last year. The “challenging seasonal conditions” last year meant drought. This year, hail. Maybe next year they won’t need the sign.

As we got closer to WindHarvest Farms, we could see roadside milkweed stripped to stalks. The roadside had thick drifts of cottonwood fluff mixed with torn leaves. I did not get a picture. Too depressing.

The remaining windborne cottonwood fluff stuck to the sheen of sweat and sunblock on my arms and legs and made me look like a sparsely-thatched Sasquatch. I did not get a picture of that, either. Too gross.

We arrived at the Edwardses and were treated to giant bowls of ice cream and strawberries topped by chocolate chip cookies. I did not get a picture of that, either. Gone too quickly.

As we’d headed west, we were pushed along by a gentle 10 mph easterly breeze.

While we chatted with Jeff and Diane, that breeze strengthened into a “fresh-to-strong breeze” on the Beaufort scale. It was not a very fun ride home.

I posted on Facebook afterwards:

Jeff & Katie and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad headwind.

Friend 1 reply:

We were out on a little family bike ride around town & it was horrible. I even thought, “I hope Jeff & Katie aren’t trying to ride miles & miles in this.” Sorry you were.

Friend 2 reply:

My mom says headwinds happen, even in Australia. At least your bike ride included ice cream…

Yes. Thank goodness for the ice cream. And the cookies. (We stopped at the Mitchell Subway for cookies, too.) And the boiled potatoes and cans of V-8 we consumed at the Morrill city park. (Provisioned at the suggestion of a friend, the V-8 and potatoes provided the starch and salt needed to overcome even Jeff’s pre-consumption V-8 objection, “that stuff makes me gag.” “Just pretend it’s potato soup, and it tastes OK.”)

That was officially my hardest-ever 68.97-mile bike ride.

We did get a few more photos of our ride as we were headed south, before bucking the wind head-on:

Jeff Edwards took this pic of Bugman and me taking off from WindHarvest Farms.

Jeff Edwards took this pic of Bugman and me taking off from WindHarvest Farms.

A view from the Henry Oil Road.

A view from the Henry Oil Road.

Our shadow on the road. Normally, we don't ride this late in the day. It's a good thing it was summer with long-lasting sunlight, as we didn't get home until 8:30 or so. An aside: it's not fun to bike on tarred road cracks parallel to your direction of travel.

Our shadow on the road. Normally, we don’t ride this late in the day. It’s a good thing it was summer with long-lasting sunlight, as we didn’t get home until 8:30 or so. An aside: it’s not fun to bike on tarred road cracks parallel to your direction of travel.

Some cattle lounging by the roadside.

Some cattle lounging by the roadside.

Summary of the ride, quoting from an old farmer Bugman and I met when we first visited the area: “It’d be paradise if not for the wind and the hail.”

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

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