Friday, July 30, 2010
The Journey--Words & Pictures
What is my morning commute like on a nice sunny warm summer day? Very pleasant. I'll take you on it. Normally, it's about 30 minutes, start to finish, but today will take just a bit longer, due to stopping to snap photos.
First photo: Crossing the C Avenue Bridge, near my house. I start out on Brentwood Drive and turn onto C Avenue. Unlike crazy Rockwell engineers, however, I do NOT ride on C Avenue itself, since I lack the requisite death wish, but illegally stick to the sidewalk. Life before rules, I always say. Anyway, I do try to give all pedestrians right of way. This is the view looking towards Dry Creek, which, since development continues to add paving to our area, is inaptly named, as you can see. Pleasant view, deer, woodchucks wild turkeys, sometimes an owl in the evening or (much more freaky) a possum--wildlife can often be viewed here.
Second photo, same spot, looking south along the route I will ride. Yes, you can see why I stick to the sidewalk ...
Next, the corner of C and Blairs Ferry. Two busy 4-lane streets join in a busy 6-lane (or 12 lane if you're counting both streets) intersection. Handy walk buttons, but right-turners don't always watch out. I don't cross in this direction--traffic going west on on Blair's Ferry and turning right onto C would be behind me. I cross the other way, so right-turners are either on my left or ahead of me. It's still a dicey intersection.
Photo number 4. I've crossed C and BF (twice, going south and turning west) and ridden a short distance west on a sidewalk of Blairs Ferry. Sidewalk ends, as you can see, so I sneak through Rockwell Collins parking lots. Don't tell anybody.
The fifth photo shows Collins and F, one of the most problematic corners. The lights are on "triggers" that somehow detect cars. Don't know if it's by weight or magnetism, all I do know is that a bike with a 240-pound payload typically won't trigger the light. There is often a pause in the commute at this point, waiting for a car to show up--if it's going the opposite direction as me, I have to "steal" the light by running a red when the opposing car's light turns green.
The sixth and seventh images are both the "corner of doom," where I fell on ice in January. Sump pumps empty onto a very uneven street, which is always wet, pretty much year round. Dodging potholes is one way a biker is reminded to stay in the here and now--but it's not too difficult.
Image 8, Old Marion Road and F. The Buick is not about to kill me, I happened to hit the light green and had to pass through before shooting this over my shoulder. Although this is another "triggered" intersection, it's not as bad as Collins and F, because there is more consistent traffic and the light turns green in both directions when a car approaches.
I head south on F until I come to 42nd Street, then go east to E Avenue. At the corner of E and 42nd, there sits a modest house with a glorious garden, filled with an enticing variety of perennials that look good all spring and summer. These Black-Eyed Susans are in that garden--kudos to the unknown gardener. Being able to see gardens like these up close is one of the many joys of bike commuting.
Besides a closer look at gardens, bushes and trees, I think biking promotes tuning in to all kinds of details of life--such as this architectural detail of Kenwood School on E Avenue. Don't know if it's true, but looks like a 1940 school had a 1955 edition plopped on top of it--not exactly consistent, but still kinda cute in a weird way.
I take E to 32nd Street and turn right. I turn left either at E (E does not meet E at 32nd, the extension is west) or Lindale, depending on traffic. 32nd is a fairly busy street, but not too busy to bike on for a short distance. It does require care. Anyway, today I turned on E, and I like the shady look of this street. Hope the city encourages more tree planting next to streets, particularly since Ashes will need replacing.
I took E to the first cross street and turned onto Lindale, then continued south to 27th Street. Image of care, potholes and mom towing child is at the corner of 27th and Lindale. Requires patience to cross, but isn't really too dangerous, but watch out for the potholes. And don't let cute moms towing babies distract you.
I take Lindale past 27th to 29th, and turn right, riding on 29th until Mount Mercy is in sight. Next image is Mount Mercy. I'm down here and Warde Hall is up there. Near the summit of a substantial hill.
How substantial? Next photo iss the drive on Prairie that I will turn and peddle (in granny gear) uphill.
Partway there, turning from parking lot to side walk. Yes, I do feel pretty macho that I bicycle up this sidewalk every morning that I bike to work.
Photo 16 and 17--bike in rack.
Photos 18, 19, 20 and 21--a redbud, hosta, "art" with coneflowers and lilies framed by the art. Yeah, walkers up the hill get to enjoy the view, too, but still, I do like this little courtyard area.
That's the journey. Sometime, I'll post information on my longer route when I use the bike trail.