Nevertheless, I enjoyed the way the house felt during the day. Intense wind was pummeling the walls from the south, but it was warm and quiet inside. I walked around and took a few photos:
Breakfast was an excellent omelet. I ate slowly, reluctant to head out into the wind, but eventually the desire to avoid bicycling in the dark later on made me stumble outside and don my hemet. I exchanged photographs with the proprietor before pedaling away. If she were a next-door neighbor I would definitely visit!
I stopped at a snack station and used my knife to cut the hat-brim away from my bike helmet, since I was no longer in danger from the sun and the wind was catching on the brim and pushing my head around. Across the street I saw this silly sign:
Then I was off, riding into the sideways wind. It changed directions erratically, blowing to the north or to the east. The stripey farmland resumed from yesterday, and I also discovered hundreds of majestic wind turbines all around me, slowly rotating and generating power.
I took a short video of them as I rode along:
Much later, I realized that those slowly blinking red lights I'd seen yesterday night were probably signal lamps at the tops of wind turbines, warning low-flying aircraft of their presence.
I finished off "The Worst Hard Time" and then decided to go for something a little more abstract and sciencey, so I queued up the new edition of "The Blind Watchmaker" again. The chapter explained how certain frivolous-seeming physical traits in creatures - like the peacock's ridiculous tail - can be explained by positing sets of genes that combine the presence of the physical trait in one sex with the interest in that physical trait in the other sex. The mathematical model created by the pairing is a positive feedback loop that tends to push for maximum exaggeration of the trait. Fascinating!
That kept me enthralled as I zig-zagged along the 40 mile path towards Monticello. Along the way I stopped to photograph a cornfield:
... And I discovered an unexpected hazard of biking through a farmland in the wind. Corn husks in your wheels!
I also discovered this creepy structure in the woods:
And found this nifty seed pod. What is it?
Sooner than I expected, the magic-hour sunlight settled over the landscape. I got some very nice shots in it:
My leg muscles were signaling me with little twinges of pain that I interpreted as a strong need for rest. It wasn't pain at the joints - it was pain inside the bulk of the muscles. A strange, sharp, electric sensation.
I got to Monticello and checked into a motel, and then cruised over to a restaurant where I devoured two meals at once - another omelet, and a taco salad. Again I seriously considered the idea of finding some alternative transport to New York, so I didn't have to go at such a relentless pace. There was a car rental business on the corner... Perhaps I could rent a truck in the morning and pitch my bicycle into the back.
I switched into my jeans to do laundry and realized they were big on me. This, despite my ridiculous eating habits of the last 3 weeks. Exercise is awesome!