Hillsboro Pollen Ride


I’d been scheduled to attend an activity at Nashville yesterday that would’ve brought me into contact with a number of state legislators, but I called-up early yesterday to cancel my participation.  My hotel stay, parking, and two meals would’ve been paid for and my mileage reimbursed, but those staying overnight had to have roommates.  Mine would have suffocated me to put an end to the noise of my labored respiration, snorting, hawking, coughing, spitting.  Furthermore, I reckoned the elected officials didn’t deserve to have to shake hands with a guy who’s been wiping allergy snot on his suit-sleeve.  Since I already had the leave approved, I stayed home to take my car in for service.

My wife got to work on time, and I got our son ready for his day, then we walked over to the sitter’s house.  We jogged part of the way because it was pretty cool this morning and the movement helped warm him up.  Then, I went back to the house and called my independent Volvo garage to see if they could work Thursday in for service.

The tech gave me a time, and I decided I’d ride around Hillsboro instead of waiting around the yard while they worked on the car, which is what I normally do.  Let me explain my decision –

  1. It was a foregone conclusion that whatever I did yesterday, I was going to feel as if I had poison ivy inside my head and on my eyes
  2. Riding a bicycle in public is as close to invisibility as anyone gets because nobody really looks at a cyclist – they just notice the odd clothes he’s wearing, maybe whether he’s got a helmet on, and whether he’s slowing them down
  3. Or maybe they rate his appearance by thinking a) the guy’s wearing technical garb and riding a bike with curly handlebars – he’s probably a bicycle racer or something, or b) the guy’s dressed a little like a hobo – maybe he’s a dumb peckerwood who got his license revoked for DUI and has to ride a bike to his two-hour a day job picking up nails at a construction site
  4. Nobody will look at your face because nobody wants to make eye-contact with a drunk hobo who’s probably got a bag of nails he can huck at your car if he’s really not right in the head
  5. Thus, my eyes could leak streams of water in their attempt to flush out pollen, and likewise my nose snot, and nobody would be the wiser
  6. And, that was going to happen at home yesterday, anyway
  7. Or it would happen at the garage where I’d wind up sickening the guys who, like the politicians at Nashville, deserve a better quality of interaction and, unlike (a number of) the pols, have useful skills and do meaningful work that helps people
  8. So why not lean into the pollen-storm a bit and dare it to cusswording smite me

I made a snack, got a couple of water bottles and filled one with a five or six years old Gatorade powder mixed with water, the other with water, ate a banana, ate a sandwich, put snack and an Epi-Pen (in case the pollen-storm were to strike me down) in a small rack bag, put the bag, my helmet and gloves in the car, mounted my bike on a trunk-rack, and drove to the garage.    Jim Long Imports has an impressive collection of wrecked Volvo parts cars, and usually when I wait for the car, I’ll spend the time wandering around the property looking at stuff.

Today, after exchanging speech and reminiscences with another customer who is from the same city where I was born, I walked my bike out to the street and turned right on Howell Rd.  That took me to Winchester Hwy., where I turned left and proceeded to Calls Rd., where I turned right.  Calls Road must run parallel to a slough on Woods Reservoir, because I observed a house to my left that had to have been a house I have seen from the water two or three times before.  The wind was in my face on Calls Road.  At the four-way stop where it intersects with Wimble Road, I turned right, thinking that would get me back to Winchester Hwy.  On Wimbles Road, what is obviously a former schoolhouse now painted grey with green trim sits near the crossroads.  The well-kept building has double doors on either end and double doors in front; it is obviously somebody’s residence, now.  Further down the road, at a slight uphill curve, and aged beagle ran out barking and chased me, faster than I expected.


At Winchester Hwy. (where a sign seemed to indicate I’d been on Dean Shop Rd., as opposed to Wimble Rd.) I turned right and road past Howell Rd., past Calls Rd., on to Miller’s Crossing, where I turned right intending to pedal as far as Prairie Plains Rd., then turn back around.  Not too far down Miller’s Crossing, I was chased by an earnest mastiff-German-shepherd mix that I almost didn’t outrun.  When I finally did outrun him, I gave a whoop and complimented him on his speed.  It occurred to me that I’d have to come back past him on my way to get the car.

When I came to a bridge over an unknown stream that doubtless flows into the Elk and thence into Woods Reservoir, I stopped and took some pictures from both sides of the bridge and of the United States Geological Survey’s stream gauging station mounted on the bridge’s parapet, if parapet is the word I want.  I took a picture of my bike and when I looked at later, thought the bike appeared to’ve been lollygagging.  I misspelled “lollygagging” when I titled the image.  Here are those pictures – click on them to view larger versions:

Unknown-Stream Lolligagging Waterweeds USGS-Gauging-Station-1 USGS-Gauging-Station-2
Miller’s Crossing runs through scenic farmland.  If you turn right at the end, Prairie Plains Rd. will take you to a bridge over the Elk River under which is a rutted dirt parking area and dirt-ramp put-in I’ve used many times.


On my way back, I was prepared for the mastiff-shepherd mix – prayed up, geared down and pedaling fast up the hill where I’d encountered the dog earlier, but he didn’t appear.  On Miller’s Crossing past the intersection with Winchester Hwy., I noticed at my left the ruin of what must have been an imposing house set up on a gentle, grassy hill.


The property wasn’t posted, so I rode up the hill a ways and then got off and pushed the bike until I reached the porch.  I spent a few minutes walking around the exterior walls and through the exposed basement of the house.

Front-Porch Machu-Pichu
Back-Porch Side-of-House
Full-Basement Shed