|Tuesday morning, Boyson Trail closed at low bridge over Dry Creek. Not aptly named, this year.|
Summer biking in Iowa: It’s lily season, and they've been blooming for a while along the trails, and are just starting in my yard. The big Iowa tiger lilies (not the Asian ones of the same name) are just coming on. Yellow stella de oro are everywhere, it seems.
|Iowa Tiger Lily in bloom, first flower in my yard. Shown with a little granddaughter who is visiting from England. Perspective is tricky--the flower is big, but not really bigger than her head. Below, a stella de oro Lily near the Iowa lily.|
And water, this summer, a lot of water. Last year, a wet spring was followed by a semi-serious drought in the latter half of summer—one reason it was dicey to plant trees last year. And that arid summer was followed by an extreme winter. Now, this year, we’re having monsoon season, with rains almost nightly. Today was the second of two consecutive dry days, and that’s been unusual.
Heavy rains Sunday soaked the soil and filled area creeks. Dry Creek and Indian Creek were up so much that, on my morning ride Tuesday, I noted that the Dry Creek low bridge on the Boyson Road trail was closed as water flowed over it.
The Cedar River was to crest that day at “major” flood stage. To those of us who recall 20 percent of the city swept away in 2008, the “major” needs quotes—knock on wood, but the flooding this year so far has not been all that serious. Still, on a longer afternoon ride, I could go no further than the new Federal Courthouse downtown.
|Bollards! And a wayward river, too.|
It wasn't a case, really, of Mother Nature changing my plans, because I figured the trail by the river would be closed, I just wondered where.
I was hoping to top 30 miles Tuesday, maybe even approach 40. But, it wasn’t Mother Nature that interrupted my plans. It was the Cedar Rapids Public Library.
I’ve been meaning to check out some books on the history of World War I—it’s the 100th anniversary of the war’s start and the university where I teach is having a series of commemorative events—and the new library just looked so darn inviting. So I had a 25 minute or so break in mid-ride to find the history area and lose myself in the world of 1914.
I was lucky I was riding Francis. The front basket came in handy. I hadn't checked out books at the new downtown library before, and it was a pretty slick system. I think I have a new summer home, located conveniently on one of my main biking routes.
|Front basket post library visit. I'm 60 pages into "The War That Ended Peace." It's interesting,and discouraging at the same time.|
Anyway, at the end of the ride I again headed over the Boyson trail. I had climbed Mt. Brentwood Drive twice in the morning, and was not going to do a third ascent—I was just collecting a few miles and checking out the trail.
By the afternoon, the water at the low bridge was noticeably lower, under an inch washing over the trail. As I photographed it, other bikers simply went around barriers and across. Well, shoot, I can do that. And after I did it, I had a sudden pang of guilt.
|Water was down in afternoon. Barrier still up, but other bikers ignored it.|
Dang. I forgot my front basket was full of books. And they are all library books. How much water had I splashed on the memory of World War I?
As it turned out, since I was just getting started and crossing the ford slowly, apparently none at all. Which I’m glad of. Next time I stop at the library, however, I think I’ll bring a bag for the books.
Don’t want to take any more chances with water. Not this summer. I rode 29 miles Tuesday, and with 9 today have passed 1,300 for the year.
|Asian lily, planted in garden in back just this spring by two grandchildren and me.|