Watersnake Racoon Ride-Apr. 29 '07

Jojo had his roof torn off on Saturday, so Sunday moring we tried an out and back to one of our favorite spots, Pine Grove. We took old 446, it was filled with racers doing time trials or something. The two main things we saw, other than canoes and kayaks at the ramp, were the two racoons pictured below, and a watersnake swimming in Lake Monroe. This is the second week for a snake. Also we liked this two color bush on the way out of town.
2 Racoons in a treeTwo Color bush

Distance: 30 mi
Weather: Great, blues skies, 65 degrees
Nature Sightings: Watersnake, racoons, dogwood was still blooming, redbud was gone.

Mitch's IU Bike Blog

Mitch at the Gates-I cut that stone in the background, 1983!Hope I don’t get into some self-referencing loop, but here I goes: I wrote a blog post for IU that went out in the email newsletter, Active for Life. In the intro to the post, Tracy James, the editor, describes me a “canoodling Mother Nature” on my rides. I looked it up, and it ain’t bad! That blog post references this blog, so round it goes:
Mitch’s 1st IU blog post

Warm Spring Rides-90 miles

This weekend was our first two day ride, we did not plan this, it just happened, the weather was just so glorius, first time in shorts this year. Here is the summary:
Miles total: 90
Avg: 11.5mph
Weather: 70° and sunny, wind from the south 20-25 mph
Sightings: Buzzards, Blacksnake and innumberable (redwing) Blackbirds. We noticed that the water in Bean Blossom was at the lowest yet this season, but still passable in a canoe. Many of the small branches coming off the the ridges are dry, on the the spring fed ones still run.

This was bit of an experiment to the east which turned out to be a fun forty-plus miles. We headed out Covenantor past the mall and through to 446 at Bill Mallory. Rather than going to 45 and then Kerr Creek, we headed south on 466 and then headed east at Lampkins Ridge/Moore’s Pike. We rode several pleasant miles along the ridge top, then down the hill to S. Friendship Rd. The large gravel on Friendship made it a difficult ride even for Jojo on his mountain bike, so we were happy to take a break at the bridge over Salt Creek.
Resting on Salt CreekSalt CreekJojo on the bridge

We took a short jog from Friendship along SR 46 (it was not that bad with 2 feet of paved shoulder) to Brummett’s Creek and headed north. Brummett’s is one of the typically beautiful farming valleys of Monroe Co. We saw and smelled the spring plowing, and stopped by the creek coming out of the valley at Brock Rd.
We kept going and came past the horses

Buzzards over Apple TreeHorse RiderBrock Rd

We continued up the valley and I was able to get a shot while riding, I was suprised. We said hello to our horse buddy, started up. We ascended the hill and amazingly, the junk yard at the top was cleaned out, no more dead cars leaking oil into the valley. We took the short jog on 45, and then took Mt. Gilead back, the extra hill is worth beauty and quiet of this road (compared to SR 45.)

From Mitch’s viewpointOld Barn on BrummettsHorse at the Hill

On Sunday we were going to go out for just a couple of hours, but the stretched out to over 45 miles. Out Bottom Road seemed nice and easy. We stopped at the Muscatatuck Wildlife Refuge, and watched several egrets out in the marsh. We decided to continue on the visit our friends Kevin and Kimberly, who live farther down Bottom road near Mt. Tabor Rd. We drank some iced tea, talked a bit, and then headed out. We went ot Bowman Rd and on up to Burma Rd. It runs along the last ridge above the White River and is wonderfully scenic. We then headed south on Buskirk, down into the valley at 56 mph, and back up and on to Dittemore Rd and then Bottom and home, about 47 miles.

Simpson ChapelEgret at MuscatatuckSpring Plowing
Gravel Bottom RoadCorn Crib Bottom RoadBlacksnake on Bottom Rd
Violets" /><a href=Fancy YardPhlox

Clear Creek Path plus, March 21

It was a warm March day, and we rode southeast to the Clear Creek Trail, I was still on Longreen (yes this really is the last ride), so we could not push really hard. The path was filled with folks walking, biking and skating on this first really warm and dry weekend since the February snow.
Clear Creek PathOn the CC Trail

We continued past where the path ends at Church Road, and kept heading south. We eventually got to the SR 37 overpass, and had to pass through the muddy mess that is always there.
Trail south of Church Rd.Muddy 37

Further down the path we found some giant tires in the woods, and the we got to this confusing gate. We noted that these folks have their front yard in the RR right-of-way, so it was not possible to get to Dillman Rd. The sign strangely enough sits on the wrong side of the gate to make sense. Who put the gate in place?

Home on the tracksBackwards sign

Cool Tax Day ride

April 15
We started at Jojo’s house on the westside, headed south past Jackson Creek to Rhorer Rd, then up the hill east to Harrell, then south to Moffit. We headed east past Handy, and on to the hill. This was the first time down Stipp hill on the new bike, which is normally a 40 mph hill if you just coast and don’t use brakes. So I hammered down the hill and pedaled hard as I came around the steep little curve at the bottom. I checked the speedometer later, I had hit 58 mhp and that was a first run with both saddlebags on.

The air was clean and the clouds came scuttering across the sky in great billowy masses with a cool 25 mph hour NE wind. We both had extra coats that were superfluous in the sunshine. We climbed Schwartz Ridge and rode to 446, where we headed south to Pine Grove. I again pedaled all the way down the hill, Jojo has the advantage climbing, so I sometimes I have to use my advantage going down (besides it is fun)!

We took a small dirt road to the lakeside and ate some food. We watched for birds, as we were near where we saw the tree sparrows last week. So we were quiet, and Jojo spotted an immature bald eagle over the far ridge. As we came down the hill a large hawk flew with us for several hundred feet, and landed in a large tree ahead, then took off across the lake. But perhaps the best find were the blue heron tracks we found in the mud, there was no mistaking them. I uncovered a little spring/seep that flowed into Lake Monroe, and we were impressed by the the lake level from several weeks ago, at least six feet above the present height. We finally headed out and up the hill, and scooted back old 446 and home.

Total Miles: 40
Weather: 50 degrees with massive fluffy clouds that blew away for clear blue sky at sunset. 25-35 mph winds. Some folks told us to look out for the wind, but on the lake it was nothing like last week when we saw whitecaps and it felt massively cold.
Sightings: Eagle, hawk, buzzards, heron tracks and a clear spring.

Cold April Ride

April 7-It just felt cold this day, high humidity, 32 degrees, mostly cloudy, lots of wind. We decided on a down and back, we both felt a little under the weather. No kidding, I felt warmer in 20 degree weather riding on the sunny Lake Monroe ice than I did this day. We went down old 446 to Pine Grove, and hung out for a while, the water was quite high.

No pictures, the camera batteries went out. We saw a dozen seagulls on the water, getting blown to the east, but the real bird find was the little black birds skimming inches above the water. It seemed they were struggling upwind, sometimes almost hovering over the waves (which were whitecaps at the time), then pushing on. The would then swoop back downwind and start over. Jojo said he wished they would come closer, and right away a bird flew and hovered right in front of us. It was not all black/brown and in fact had a wonderful blue-green iridescent back. At first we thought they were looking for fish, but then it dawned that they were eating small bugs being blown in the wind.

Tree Swallow

When I consulted my bird book at home, I first they were probably hungry purple martins, one picture I found on the web had exactly the wing shape I saw this flock were using to hover. But when I found pictures of tree swallows, the color was exactly right, I am surprised I did not recognize the swallow tail.

We climbed the long but relatively easy hill back from the lake, then booked back into town to stay warm.

Distance: >25 miles
Weather: Cloudy, windy, cold 32 degrees
Sightings: Purple martins over the water.

April Fool's Ride

Jojo and I went out this morning, Sunday, April 1, 2007. I had 2 more performances of the Woody Guthrie show that day, but really needed to move.

We headed up to Walnut, then down through Cascades park and up to Kinser Pike. We crossed 37, and headed down the hill to the Bean Blossom, which was swollen and muddy.
Bean Blossom Creek at Bottom Rd.Muddy Bean Blossom

We rode on past Lawson, Denny and such till we got the , we stopped and watch the geese mating, or at least trying to, with ducks flying here and there.
Muscatatuck Nat’l Wildlife RefugePurple Rans at Mucatatuck

Distance: 35 mi.
Avg: 14mph
Weather: Sunny and warm, 70 deg.
Wildlife: Geese and ducks, and one large redtail hawk that flew with us for several hundred feet.