I put on blinders to everything that needs to be done at home and went out for a bike ride with Frieda this morning before the temperature reminded me too harshly that it’s still summer. Like most everyone right now, I find it a constant effort to manage my stress levels. I would love to go camping and spend a few days unwinding, but that’s not possible at the moment. So I take what micro-breaks I can get — sitting on the deck for a few minutes in the evening with a mocktail (I don’t drink much alcohol) and some music, or finding a less-traveled spur of the MKT Trail where I can be “away from it all” for a couple of minutes, right in the city.
The illusion of being out of the city:
On the main trail, an interesting rock with an interesting puddle in an indentation.
In an effort to learn more about the rock, I took an accidental selfie. In case you can’t read the print, the rock is several million year old limestone. I wonder how many other creatures have stopped to look at it throughout the millennia.
Poor Frieda was left at home when I went out to ride today. My husband makes a weekly bicycle pilgrimage to what locals call the Big Tree. Today, I invited myself along. He dusted off our 30-year-old Burley tandem, Tandy, and we took it. It’s the only way I can keep up with him.
We’ve nearly sold good old Tandy a time or two, and she’s spent long periods of time in storage. I’m glad we still have her, though.
Here’s the Big Tree, a 400-year-old (more or less) bur oak at McBaine, Missouri.
Spouse included for scale in this one.
Some close-up photos of tree parts:
Think about it. This tree was here long before George Washington was born. I imagine it’s seen some things.
We had six inches of snow here nine days ago. Today, the temperature reached 68 degrees. The hubs and I took a leisurely bike ride together, and I was comfortable wearing leggings with a short-sleeved t-shirt. Many spots on my usual riding trail are soggy from snow melt, so we ambled around a little through town and the nearly-deserted university campus where the spousal unit works at his paid employment.
Everything about the day felt odd, from the weather to the dearth of people where there are usually crowds. I managed to stave off apocalyptic thoughts and feelings enough to enjoy the outing. It was relaxing, not having to worry much about traffic, as we saw only a handful of other folks out and about in that part of the city.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! To everyone else, wishes of peace and joy.
What you see depends on where you look. Frieda and I repeatedly ride to the same few places, for the most part. But I manage to see new things each time. Yesterday, we went to a city park where I’ve taken several photos in the past. But none look exactly like the ones I got yesterday. All of the photos below were shot from the same spot, but looking in different directions.
For one, I turned away from the creek and the natural landscape, pointing my camera toward the city instead. A little shot of Americana.
Facing the other way, you might not know there was an urban area so close.
I rode in the evening and stayed until I looked up and saw the lamp signaling me it was time to get home while I could still see and be seen.
The waters have finally receded around here, with trails opened up once again. I’m proud of myself for getting up early, after only three alarms, and setting out with *Frieda before it got too hot to ride.
We took the Wetlands trail today, and saw lots of pond scum — er, filamentous green algae. It’s beautiful in its own way. Here’s an informational page about it from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Turns out it floats because of bubbles it produces. And it’s a healthy part of the ecosystem, as long as it doesn’t take over everything.
Early this evening, Frieda and I went to a book release and discovered someone had left a Bird scooter blocking one side of the bike rack in front of the bookshop. Rude. Frieda was able to fit in on the other side, though.
More important than parking is that my friend just published her first book, Equillian’s Key, the beginning of a fantasy adventure series. Check out this trailer.
Last post, the creek was up. Here’s what was up today:
My gear settings. I’m getting in shape, baby! When I first got my bicycle, I was doing most of my trail riding in 3rd or 4th gear on the middle chain ring. (My bike has 24 gears.) I still haven’t gotten to the big chain ring in front, but I’m comfortable doing a lot of my riding in 5th and 6th gear on the middle one now. And I even pushed it up to 7th for a while today. Coming off the trail, there’s a fairly steep switch-back uphill. I’ve been putting Frieda into low-low granny-low gear at the very bottom in order not to get off and push. But today I made it halfway up before I had to shift all the way down.
Butterflies. I saw lots of butterflies while riding.
A fancy new carrying basket up on Frieda’s handlebars.
The sky kept threatening rain all day, so Frieda and I stayed home. But it finally cleared enough that we felt safe going out after dinner this evening. My husband and son went along, too, though they rode off and left me a couple of times. (It’s okay. We all have phones.)
We’ve had a lot of storms lately, resulting in many closed roads around the area. I encountered a couple of muddy patches on the trail, but it was mostly okay. A few areas of standing water right off to the side.
I wanted to take more water pictures, but the one time I stopped, I got swarmed by mosquitos. Plus dusk was coming on. On one stretch, the only occupants of the trail were me, Frieda, the mosquitos and a deer. A doe ran right in front of me, but I didn’t get photos.
Here’s the only photo I snapped to document the water level. I’m pretty sure the creek is not supposed be nearly up to those apartment balconies: