Sunday, December 28, 2014

In Which I See Water Smooth and Roads Rough

The rough surface of the Lindale Trail. So I turned back and rode on pavement.

The longest ride of the Christmas break so far, and it came on the same day I spent two hours at the gym and the weather also cooled off so the day was below freezing. Strange how that worked out.

I woke up early, for no particularly good reason, and went to the gym a bit after 4 a.m. “Law and Order” did not start until 5, and my wife and I (she had showed up just before 5) enjoyed first one, and then a second episode. We decided by 7 we had to leave, so she want to pick up doughnuts for breakfast as I went home.

Well, after that sugary breakfast, I went back to bed and slept most of the morning away. I woke up after 11 a.m., had some leftover pizza for second breakfast/lunch, and spent a little time putting out birdseed and putting used bottles in the van.

By around 2, I decided the day was too nice to stay inside, and I dressed for another bike ride. It was cool, but I wasn't sure long underwear was called for. I decided warmth was better then coolth, and opted to risk over heating rather than hypothermia.

I set out, planning first to do the Lindale-Boyson Road trails and then maybe head over to the Cedar River Trail. But, once I got past the half-mile or so of paved trail to the limestone surface, it was both uneven and mushy in places. Although it was only 30 degrees, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the low winter sun was still warm enough to make water on rock liquid rather than solid.

I decided that once I get one of the mountain bikes fixed, it would be OK to ride this rutted trail, but I probably won’t do it on Francis and definitely not Fancy Bike.

So then I had the bright idea to stick to paving—and to go down to the Prairie Parks Fishery via the Cedar River Trail.

Birds on Cedar Lake.

I think it was a good idea. Cedar Lake, when I got there, has started to ice over again (early next week we’ll have lows near zero and it will probably mostly close). There were some walkers and riders on the trail, and plenty of birds were on the lake where water and ice met.

Closer look at some ducks. I like how the blue sky turns both ice and water blue.

Traffic was light as I traveled through downtown. When I go to Otis Road, the approach road to the fishery, Cedar River looked quiet and peaceful—even Mt. Trashmore was pretty reflected in the river.

It was such a pretty day even Mt. Trashmore, viewed from Otis Road, looked nice.

When I got to Prairie Parks Fishery, I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few people strolling or fishing—it’s good to see a park in use. The other surprise is that, unlike Cedar Lake, almost no water birds were crowding the lake. Then again, the river is nearby and birds seem to like it a lot—maybe the moving water stirs up more food.

On north end of Prairie Parks Fishery Trail, look south (top) and you see the lake, turn around (bottom photo) and you're looking north across the Cedar River.

Anyway, I ate the snack I had brought and then headed back home. The last half hour, I was riding with lights on, but by 5, when I go home, it was dim, but no longer fully dark.

While the coldest six weeks of mid-winter lie ahead, it’s nice to realize that the star which warms us by day is slowly rising higher in the sky and giving use more light each day.

Part of the route between the Cedar River Trail and the Prairie Parks Fishery--two blocks of brick street near downtown.

With my computer on the fritz, I’ll be guessing wildly at mileage. But I know this ride felt longer than the trip out to Lafayette yesterday, and that’s about a 20-mile ride. Did I go close to 30 in a bit over three hours?

It’s possible. And whether it was 30 miles or not, it was still a pleasant ride. As the sun slowly sank and the air turned colder, it turned out the long underwear was a good idea, too.

Traditional view of low sun over Cedar Lake, but it does look nice, no? Turned on lights after taking this photo.

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