Much like this day, I took my son to his high school – this time for his PSAT. So I threw the bike in the back of the van and cycled away after dropping him off.

The thing about this morning is that it was quite cold – low 50s and windy. Sure, I’ll love this kind of weather in January, but the first cold ride of the year is always an eye opener. I warmed up after about 20 minutes, and I got into a nice rhythm as the sun came up.

Sunrise Near Cairo
Sunrise Near Cairo

The ride to Brookston was pretty calm, and the town was pretty quiet. If had thought to bring some cash, I would have stopped for a snack in town.

Brookston Mural
Mural in Brookston

I didn’t have a definite route planned, other than to maybe ride to Springboro, so I just headed east on SR18. This highway was not busy at all, and the motorized vehicle drivers didn’t seem to mind me too much.

Did They Mean to Write ‘MAIZE’?

When I got to 300E, I was getting worried about the time. I only had an hour or so before the test would be completed, so I turned south to begin a return to the high school.

As I re-read the account from my Brookston ride two years ago (linked above), I laughed at how I basically had the same problems with route planning (or actually lack of planning) today that I did back them. They say that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and I’m now the poster boy for that observation.

I could see up ahead that my road was ending at a ‘T’ intersection. Just then, I head something running up next to me. It turned out to be a dog. A big dog. However, he seemed happy just to ride along.

I stopped at the ‘T’ and turned to pull my camera out of the seat post bag. My new buddy seemed very interested and posed for a couple of photos. I reached out to pet him, and he leaned in and rubbed against my leg as I scratched his ears. Friends for life!

My Riding Buddy
White County Escort

So at the ‘T’ intersection I look at my clock (it’s late), to the left there is a paved road heading east – away from the high school, and on the right is a gravel road with the Ash Grove grain elevator in the distance. In the interest of time, I chose the gravel road.

The dog and I took off to the east. He was running in front of me, much like a sled dog, as I fought to keep the wheel straight in what appeared to be freshly spread gravel – full of dust and loose rocks. Maybe I could have hooked up the dog to some sort of harness to have him help pull me through. It was almost two miles later when my escort dropped back, and I was on my own. A short ride to the south (more gravel) took me to Ash Grove and 900N.

Now, here’s where the planning would have helped. That left turn on the paved road would have led me to a southbound road to 900N (also paved) in less than half a mile, and I probably would have actually saved time and frustration by not riding on the same stretch of gravel road that I fought last time (but maybe not have had my friend along). Anyway, next time I go to Brookston, I’m going to plan the route a little more carefully.

Heading back to the school from there was easy. I found some route markings from last month’s Tour de CrossRoads, and followed one of their routes back to the school. Even though I arrived about 10 minutes later than planned, the test wasn’t out yet, so I had time to spare.

Miles Ridden: 27.5

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