Last (boat) bike ride of August

Both Jojo and I felt the need to pedal some, but it was hot humid August, so on Sunday morning we rode a short early loop down Harrell Road and down Schact Road, then across Walnut to That Road and back up the Clear Creek trail and back to the westside via the new “safecut” from the trial via Countryside and Rogers Rds.

By the time we got back we were quite hot, ready to hit the water. We grabbed the kayak and canoe and headed for Lake Monroe, putting in at Moore’s Creek. I took the kayak first, as the canoe has a quiet electric motor, and I have been needing the exercise for my rotator cuff problems I ‘ve had for at least a decade. By strengthening my scapular muscles, I’ve been able to realign my neck, which was the source of my arm pain. I had been favoring that arm, not using it as it was painful, which is the opposite of what I needed to do, which is use the muscles, work them so they become toned and resilient.

Canoe/Kayak pictures

We paddled out to one of our favorite spots, beached and swam for a while. Then we moved across the lake and into small bay, and we went swimming again. We then crossed over the water again and found some more spots for diving, swimming and floating around. We got back in the boats and headed back, and as we passed a rock outcropping with large bird droppings, a bald eagle took off right over our heads and headed down the shoreline, and then across the bay.

The clouds kept piling up, as did the humidity, we took a last dip, loaded the boats, and headed home.

Last boat ride of August

Both Jojo and I felt the need to pedal some, but it was hot humid August, so on Sunday morning we rode a short early loop down Harrell Road and down Schact Road, then across Walnut to That Road and back up the Clear Creek trail and back to the westside via the new “safecut” from the trial via Countryside and Rogers Rds.

By the time we got back we were quite hot, ready to hit the water. We grabbed the kayak and canoe and headed for Lake Monroe, putting in at Moore’s Creek. I took the kayak first, as the canoe has a quiet electric motor, and I have been needing the exercise for my rotator cuff problems I ‘ve had for at least a decade. By strengthening my scapular muscles, I’ve been able to realign my neck, which was the source of my arm pain. I had been favoring that arm, not using it as it was painful, which is the opposite of what I needed to do, which is use the muscles, work them so they become toned and resilient.

Canoe/Kayak pictures

We paddled out to one of our favorite spots, beached and swam for a while. Then we moved across the lake and into small bay, and we went swimming again. We then crossed over the water again and found some more spots for diving, swimming and floating around. We got back in the boats and headed back, and as we passed a rock outcropping with large bird droppings, a bald eagle took off right over our heads and headed down the shoreline, and then across the bay.

The clouds kept piling up, as did the humidity, we took a last dip, loaded the boats, and headed home.

Eagle Splat

While Jojo and I were out canoeing on Lake Monroe during the last week of August, I noticed a large splat of bird poop along the shoreline where we were swimming. I saw there was a large dead tree above, and speculated that it had to be a big bird hanging out in that tree. As we were paddling along the shoreline later, I noticed another big white splat on the rocky shoreline.

Just as I pointed it out to Jojo, a full grown bald eagle took off from a tree above us and flew along the shoreline for a while, then headed across the bay. If you look closely you can see the white on the rocks just to the left of the log in the picture below

Lake Monroe Shoreline w/ eagle splat
Lake Monroe Shoreline w/ eagle splat

Moore's Creek to Pine Grove Swim

This Sunday, like most days this August, was hot and humid. We straight out decided to swim at Lake Monroe, but took the long way to Pine Grove, riding south first then east and south.

We traveled the bike route from the YMCA to Jackson Creek School, then up Rhorer Rd. and down Harrell Road to Stipp, our favorite no brakes hill. It has been closed for many months due to the spring/summer floods that have kept the lake high for months, and going down just to ride back up is a bit masochistic, if not fun. We dipped our feet in water at the Moore’s Creek ramp. Legend has it that my daughter and her high school boyfriend once drove our car into the water here, so it has special meaning…road ends in water!

We once again survived climbing Schwartz Ridge Road and quickly made to 446, and then on to Pine Grove Road, a mile downhill with a few little hills on the way. We went straight to the boat ramp, and walked our bike around the outcropping of rock that defines the next hollow. We changed into swim suits and hit the water. It was incredible that just a few weeks ago had been diving from rocks that were now 15 feet out of the water and 10 feet from the water. Still, the channel of Salt Creek is right next to the ridge at this place (that’s why they have the boat ramp there, it gets deep quickly.) So we were able to dive, swim and dive as we wished. We eventually got out and as it was late in the day, dried off and changed.

As we were watched some yakkers launch, we were surprised to see a Conservation Officer (with gun and badge) come around the point. He seemed friendly enough, but he was checking us our for sure. We had our towels and suits drying on our bikes (we had our bikes parked in the woods nearby), and we wondered if he would roust us out of there, we’ve been thrown out of the lake before.

We chatted a bit, and he saw Jojo was drinking fruit juice (not beer) and eating a bagel. We were just a couple of graybeards, strange with the bikes, but understandable. (He had first asked the yakkers if they had DNR stickers, they did.)

We headed out after that, taking Knight’s Ridge Rd., a bit longer than SR 446, but much less traffic, noise and sun.) This road is often used by racers in training, we often hear them shouting “On your left”) as they go whizzing by, but not today, it was just too hot.

Cooper’s Hawks move out of Dunn Woods

The Cooper’s Hawks are long gone from Dunn Woods, I’ve neither seen nor heard them for over a week. The fledglings, at least 3 of them, maybe more, were there, loud and hungry, during the last week of July, but have been gone since the first of August. They would fly back and forth through the trees yelling for food and waiting for the a parents to show up with the latest catch. The juveniles were easy to spot, not only did they call as they flew, but the distinctive white band of feathers at the end of the tail was easy to see as they flew and when sitting on a branch. I think the parents could not keep up at the end, there was quite a ruckus when they showed up with food, and I think they either led the kids out into the wider world, or just stopped showing up with food, but as they all disappeared at once, I get the feeling they could have left together.

Coopers Hawks in Dunn Woods

A couple of weeks ago I saw one of the parents fly in to the squalling crew and land on a high branch with something in its claws. As the fledglings flew closer, the parent released the prey, but none of the kids flew to catch it as it dropped. I assumed this was their way of teaching the kids how to hunt on the fly, which is what they do best.

During that last week they were especially noisy, and I could hear 3, maybe 4 fledglings calling at once, and my guess is that the parent were coming less frequently, till eventually all the kids got the message and headed out on their own, or followed their parents out of the Dunn’s Woods nursery into the wider world spurred by hunger.

Summer Flies By

It was a warm Sunday morning and Jojo and Cornish John showed up at the BBC on time, and we quickly made our way out 10th St., riding steadily the highway as there was little traffic. We turned on Tunnel Road, then on Shilo Rd., which runs the forested ridge for nearly 4 miles before dropping 200 feet to the Bean Blossom valley. Jojo works for Wireless Deer Fence on Shilo Rd., check them out, they kept the deer out of my 3 Sisters Garden this year. Here are some pictures of the garden and my corn crop.

We stopped to watch the Bean Blossom flow by and then rode up to Anderson Road, riding the flat bottoms to Old 37. As luck would have it, we ran into Sue Aquila riding alone and fast in the other direction (we had seen her at the BBC on our way out.) She was on one of her triathlon training rides, and we all stopped and chatted a moment in the middle of the highway!

John had to get back to town around noon, but Jojo and I wanted to ride longerWe headed back south, and John had to get home to work on his floor. Jojo and I wanted to get in some more time, so while John kept riding on 37, we turned right on Wylie Rd. To our surprise we found the Bloomington model airplane club, and there were dozens of planes revving up and flying.

Everyone had either vans or trailers to transport their planes, and they all had tools and parts, even built-in workbenches. They all were talking about their planes and the latest tweak they had done, while one or two at a time took off, flew and landed.

Flyby Pictures

We climbed the ridge and crossed SR 37, but nothing matches Wylie Rd, on the other side, so we had to travel north on 37 for a bit to pick up Sample Rd, which we took to Bottom Rd. We rode Bottom back south to Bloomington, about 30 miles, and no real sweating. Bean Blossom was really low when we crossed it at Dolan and on Bottom Road. This was a good fast ride, about 30 miles with just 2 climbs, a good ride for a summer morning.

1st Annual Hub Ride-The Hilly 25

I went out about 7:30 to the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard 1st Annual “Hub Ride”, starting in Karst Farm Park. It’s about 7 miles from town, I went out 3rd St. and cut south to Karst Farm rather than ride on 2nd St, it really feels like a highway, and the cars move fast. There is really no safe or easy way to ride west, the best bets are Tapp Road and Vernal Pike, two of the most dangerous intersections (for motorists) in Bloomington, and out of the way if you are trying to shop in the shops along the west side of SR 37.

There were plenty of riders and a number took off early to complete the 2 laps making 50 miles. Everything was organized and in order with plenty of great volunteers as usual at a MHC event. I had run over the route on Google Earth and knew there were quite a few hills, and this is the middle of summer. But with the half way stop at Mt. Zion Rd., there was little chance of bonking even in the heat, and I was carrying plenty of water and coffee (and bagels, there was a bunch of good stuff in the registration tent.)

Full Album of Pictures

I ran into Jim Manion, and we partnered up to ride the 25 miles route. Jim’s bike was built for comfort, like mine, and we had comparable paces, so we were able to bike and talk, even on the hills, which were never ending. We first came up Bolin Road hill and took a water break while watching others climb this first of several 100 foot climbs. We rode back over to Rockport Road on Tramway and then rode along Rockport, climbing once or twice more before getting to the big climb of the day. Jim dropped his chain right at the bottom, but I continued to the top and waited. Steve Wallace came up on his recumbent with Linda Roos, one of our MHC board members right behind. Jim then came pedaling up, and we continued climbing on past the intersection of Victor Pike to Harmony Road at 920 feet.

We continued on Harmony Road, and stopped at Mt. Zion Church, where Stephanie had cold water, gatorade and snacks. We continued along Harmony Ridge, and for a mile or three it is newly paved. This made riding down the hill down a real blast, well over 200 feet of drop, smooth and curvy as we descended into the woods.

[youtube KCV2EtCHn-Y]

After coming through the valley and over the hill at May Road, we rode on into the wide Indian Creek valley, and stopped at the Harmony Church on Isom Rd. In the last century Jim had lived next door where there is now a plant nursery, and Eileen and I raised our kids in a little old farm house a few hundred yards up Isom Road. Jim rode over to see his old house and talk to the current owner. I jumped down into the creek, which was amazingly cool even in mid summer, no doubt this is spring fed. The old church at the corner was the site of “Fort Harmony”, an which was at first an agricultural branch of the New Harmony utopian community. The site became a trading center with the Native Americans, and many artifacts have been found in the fields across from the church.

We then moved on and climbed the hills on Isom Road that lead to the blind valley where the scenic Sparks farm can be seen from the hills along the road. A final climb out of the valley led to another speedy down hill on Isom. We took the left on Eller, crossed the highway, and climbed Reese hill a dropped onto Garrison Chapel Road. We too that to Airport, climbed that one last hill, and coasted back to Karst Farm Park and some food and music to finish off the ride.