St. James Farm Toodle

Preparing to Depart

Robert Johnson of TerraCycle had written Connie earlier in the week to find out if it would be possible to get some photos of our idler setups on the Sun Tour Easy LE bikes. Last fall Pat Franz was kind enough to provide us with what were prototype Terracycle idlers for these bikes. The tab to which the idler mounts is quite a bit different than that for the Easy Racers Tour Easy version so it took a couple of tries before we were able to get an idler set that worked perfectly! What we have now is a pleasure to ride with. Thanks again to Pat and the gang at Terracycle!

We set up several shots before leaving on our toodle. The first three were pretty good but the camera had a dickens of a time focusing on the idler from the non-drive side. But at least you get the idea when viewing the images.

Back on the IPP

It’s been literally years since we took the southern branch of the Illinois Prairie Path (IPP) south out of Wheaton and headed down towards the Wheaton-Warrenville High School area. Just west of the school is the St. James Farm. It’s owner bequeathed it to the DuPage County Forest Preserve and it is really a gem.

From their web site:

St. James Farm was the retreat of the McCormick family, descendants of Cyrus McCormick, who invented the first commercially successful mechanical reaper and was co-founder of what would become the International Harvester Corporation.

Home to an assortment of farm buildings, equestrian structures, and agricultural fields, the preserve also includes acres of oak woodlands, prairies and wetlands, habitats that host hundreds of native plant species and wildlife. Springbrook Creek, a biologically-diverse creek in the north part of the preserve, has been reconfigured back to its natural state to improve water quality, control erosion, improve flood-water control, and increase wildlife habitats.

St. James Farm Forest Preserve is in the center of a 4,000-acre stretch of natural areas with linking trails, which includes Danada, Herrick Lake, Warrenville Grove and Blackwell forest preserves.
St. James Farm Forest Preserve is currently open only on select days. The schedule will expand, though, as amenities at the new forest preserve develop.

You can download a copy of the map to the grounds here.

The tour of the farm took about an hour as we meandered hither and thither enjoying the fall colors and trying to peek into every nook and cranny available. Docents were out with groups who were paddling along in soft shoes hearing about all the historical facts concerning the owners and this gem of a tour destination.

But before long we were riding out the rear gate and back onto the IPP trail to cross under Butterfield Road and heading east towards Herrick Lake F.P. There we encountered dozens of hikers, bikers and dog walkers all out enjoying the crisp fall air and bright sunshine.

You can download a copy of the Herrick Trail map here.

The back portion of this preserve connects to Danada Farms F.P. This is the active horse farm in the group.

You can download a copy of the Danada Farms trail map here.

Danada has a large barn complex and you ride past these to reach the section that is border by Leask Lane to the east and Butterfield Road to the north. The trail drops down from a fairly high ridge line and continues out to the Danada East Shopping Center.

Our original plan was to dine at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in the area but instead we rode directly home and then drove to the other Chipotle on Roosevelt Road a few miles away.

This was an especially nice ride since we haven’t really been in these preserves for several years, owing to the fact that our two dogs have long since passed on. But today it was a tender moment remembering both of them and being happy that we have bikes that work well on gravel surfaces and climb like mountain goats.

Distance: 17.4 miles
Time: 2h 27m 56s