Good Saturday ride.  Got on, with assistance from the trailer fender, at 1145a; got back to the trailer at 345p.  The weather was a little odd I thought.  It was a very comfortable day for me, but Winston was sweating before very long and the terrain was not at all difficult.  Apparently the humidity was higher than it seemed to me.  Just Debra / Clem, me / Sir Darth Winston Vader, Kardashian bred extraordinaire.  No traffic, nothing but the sounds of nature on the trail.  Well, at least after we got out of earshot of the shooting range.  If you like traffic sounds, just hang out at the parking area on nice weekend day.  421 is apparently a popular ride for motorcycles, especially the rice-rockets, and boy do they go whizzing by.  Sometimes they travel in packs too.

As for the sounds of nature, it was a very audible day.  We were serenaded during lunch by a turkey.  I don’t think the turkey was trying to serenade us, I think he / she was trying to lure us away from our spot.  Whatever the purpose, it was a very persistent chirping sound and it paced back & forth just inside the tree line from the “wildlife habitat”.  That didn’t work, as we just kept staying in the meadow.  Then it crossed the trail, beyond where I could see, and came around above us on that side, still to no avail.  By the time we were ready to leave, it had circled back to it’s original position on our right.  Winston didn’t seem to be actually scared of the turkey.  He seemed to know what it was, but it did unnerve him that it was just outside his perceptible range of vision.  I imagine he didn’t quite trust it, since he couldn’t actually SEE it.  He munched, but he maintained his awareness of where the turkey was all the time.  I think he and the turkey were relieved when we left the meadow.

The real symphony came from the cicadas.  If you don’t know what they sound like, listen to the audio clip:  Cicada Symphony.  The rustling sound is Winston grazing, I mean practicing.  It certainly does not do them justice, but it’s what I got.  There were a few times when we could not hear them at all, but mostly they were a steady symphony.  The volume would vary.  The rhythm was always the same – steady.  I think they are nature’s version of white noise.  There are some pics of their empty shells, and one live one.

We didn’t ride to the end, but instead rode down to the pond / wildlife habitat.  This is where we disturbed the turkeys.  One flew away as we got there.  I guess the other one was left to protect the nest.  After our snack we rode back as we came.  For the record, the pond is down the second Y on the left and it’s after crossing the creek.  If one rides on to the end of the road, it comes out on Wyatt Hollow Rd off of Denton Valley Rd.  Wyatt Hollow runs into Government Rd in the other direction.

Did not see any deer at all, but did get a good look at a lovely black bear.  It was feeding on the right side of the road.  Judging by the three piles of ‘sign’ that we saw on the road, the bear likes road-buffet.  Winston stopped when we got to it, but that’s all.  It scurried up the hill into the laurel and woods.  Then we rode on.

Clem and Winston got to practice for the Olympics often.  The grass was especially nice on the trail down to the pond.  Clem has been such a good teacher and we appreciate her diligence to continually set an example for Winston.  I did not take a raincoat, no need.  I did take a long-sleeved shirt which sufficed as a training aid.  By the end of the ride, I could twirl the shirt on either side, circle it over my head to the other side, and twirl again with no change in pace, no swerve, nothing more than an occasional cutting of the eye.  Progress.  Not the finish line by any means, but progress definitely.

My pics are here.  Will add Debra’s when I get them.