Friday, June 22, 2012

A Nice End-of-Day Ride With Lots of Yutes

What are they?  I don't know . Blue and orange flowers along the trail.
I’m borrowing a word from “My Cousin Vinny.”  Yutes is how the judge mishears “youths” pronounced with a Brooklyn accent in that movie, which I love to quote now that I know one of my sisters is surprised that I saw it.  Anyway, I’m using the word here to mean young animals, and I saw plenty of yutes Thursday.

I rode to MMU for 6 p.m. bell practice.  My choir director was so impressed with the MMU bike jersey I had on that she asked me and one other ringer who has an MMU bike jersey to wear our jerseys for Saturday’s parade.

The original plan was for all of us to wear plain blue shirts, but look for us in the Freedom Festival parade this Saturday, June 23, in downtown Cedar Rapids at 10 a.m.—most in blue, two in MMU jerseys.  The parade is fairly short and ends at Greene Square Park, by the way.

Anyway, choir practice got over around 6:45, and I texted Audrey that I was on the way home.  She was painting our home office, and I think she wanted more time before I got there, because she texted back:  “I thought you were going for a bike ride after practice.”

So I did.  I missed the MMU ride due to the practice, but I hopped on my bike and headed to the Cedar River trail.  First, I went south down to Cedar Lake, and then I turned north once I got to Quaker Oats.

It was a gorgeous evening for a ride.  After the heat we had earlier this week, a summer cold front passed through, bringing some badly needed rain.  A summer cold front means the high was in the 80s and the day was warm, by the way, and not oppressively humid and hot.  The geese were out and had to be shooed off the trail, but they were pretty nice about it.

As I headed north, the sun sank low and the world was bathed in that special golden Iowa summer end-of-the-day light.  The flowers popped along the trail as they were lit or back lit with that fading sun.

Cone flower at the end of the trail, back lit by low sun.

And the animals were coming out.  After I reached the end of the trail and headed back, as the shadows were growing, but it was still light, the creatures of dusk were starting to stir.

First, I had a fairly close encounter with a doe.  She stepped onto the trail about 10 feet in front of me, startled, and darted back.  Whew.  A deer collision wouldn’t be fun on a bike, either.

Then, cute and cuddly looking, right beside the trail, two baby raccoons were wrestling.  Aww.  I thought of stopping to take their photo, but let’s face it, if you have young raccoons (are they kittens or cubs?), you might have a mamma.  Raccoon adults are substantial and potentially nasty animals, the second most dangerous omnivore you might meet along this trail (there are no bears in this part of Iowa, so people are the most dangerous omnivore you would meet), and I wasn’t willing to risk having mamma raccoon upset with me for any reasons.

So you’ll just have to picture them.  They were cute.

Then, as I continued toward the urban wilds of Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids, I saw several baby bunnies.  They were much cuter to see on the trail than they would be in my gardens.

It was a fun ride, and Audrey did indeed finish the painting project.  We are installing a new computer in the office.  I’m writing this on the laptop as OpenOffice installs on the new computer.

New computer boots up Thursday night for the first time.  But I'm writing this on the laptop.

Well, bell practice was a bit disconcerting—I’m ringing two notes I don’t usually ring—but I’m sure the parade will go well.  I do plan to ride there on Old Blackie—biking to get there will surely be easier than driving.  And the ride home Thursday night, with all its yutes, was grand!

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