Saturday, February 27, 2016

In Which the Eagle Has Landed

Some bird photos from Friday ride home--took the trail route.

Tristan, age 6, just started riding a bicycle without training wheels last year, and hasn’t had much time to practice this winter.

But today, a warm, mild day that seemed perfect for biking, Tristan came over. His mom had texted me earlier in the week, and apparently it was Tristan’s idea to ride his bike and to see trains—and he knew who to take him on this journey. CR Biker.

Tristan looks at trains across Cedar Lake.

We loaded bikes on a van and I drove us down to Cedar Lake. Tristan remembers a cold March walk a year ago when Audrey and I took him on a walk to see the trains. I parked in the lot at the small park on the east side of the lake, and Tristan was super excited to use the binoculars there to look at train across the lake.

It turns out that starting is not something Tristan has learned yet, but once I gave him a little push, he was off. I rode behind him, giving him advice (stay in your lane) and alerting him to hazards (bikes coming!).

He went off the trail a couple of times. But he never hurt himself, and we just started and again went on our way. We circled the lake counterclockwise, enjoying the sunshine, the trains and all the other bikers.

When we got to the point where the trail meets a street, we stopped and turned around, although we also spent some time looking at the lake from the bridge that divides the smaller from the larger lake. I think Tristan thought the lake was almost as cool as a train.

On short leg of trail headed to Quaker Oats. Mr. T is doing well staying in the middle of his lane. "Grandpa, I'm doing really well," Tristan said to me several times. He was telling the truth.

We were going to return around the lake clockwise, but Tristan didn’t turn right at the intersection, so we kept biking for a while to Quaker Oats, and again turned around when we got to a street.

Tristan had been having some trouble on corners—it was one place he would usually stop—but he executed a perfect left turn to return to our route. As we approached a right turn, I asked him, “Do you want to go turn right and go to lunch now or keep going and ride a while longer?”

He opted to ride. We again followed the trail to the next street an turned back. All in all, we went 4.14 miles, which is about my ride to work each morning, but for Tristan was quite a ride on a small child’s bike.

Tristan during a drink break near end of ride. My bike is behind him. Trains and nearby, and Tristan is pretty excited by trains.

He wanted pepperoni pizza for lunch—from Pizza Ranch. He napped in the van on the way there—the ride had worn him out—and he had a good appetite when we got to lunch.

At the end of the ride, Tristan was again looking at the lake as I loaded the bikes. A large bird settled at the edge of the ice in the middle of the lake.

I couldn’t see it clearly. We saw lots of birds at the lake—gulls, geese, ducks. This didn’t look like any of those to me. And I wondered—hawk? Something else?

So I looked through the park binoculars. Hooked beak, white head—wait a minute.

The eagle had landed. Well, cool.

Big bird on Cedar Lake. Looks like an eagle to me.

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