Sandhill Cranes Ride 3-19-2011

The Signs

Sandhill Crane in Flight

Sandhill Cranes circled overhead as we watched and listened to their faint but audible burblings. They were evidently a large group of nearly 100 strong and there were a few stragglers who were still trying to catch the main group. Once assembled they took off again heading north and it was indeed a sign that Spring was officially here. The calendar date is merely a formality.

Additional signs of convergence of the Forces of Spring were the opening of the local Dairy Queen and the lovely sounds of the newly arrived Robins. All you can do at times like these is stand in awe of the Creation and its Creator. How else do you explain that lightening of your step and swelling in your breast that greets the arrival of warmer weather and the hope of renewal of all the Earth?

The Preparations

Sandhill Cranes Displaying

Getting back into the saddle takes a bit of practice. Literally. You have to remember which side of the bike to stand on to operate the kickstand and which set of procedures you need to perform (Cycling ABCs) to prepare to launch your steed on a newly minted adventure.

With tires inflated and an amazing amount of dried salt brush off our seats we prepared to leave. Our neighbors across the street were also heading out on a bicycle ride. We offered our pump. If you don’t realize it keeping your tires inflated to the proper level can make riding all the more enjoyable. That was the case here.

The Route

We waved goodbye and headed out. Our first stop was the housing development inside the Old DuPage County Courthouse. It has now been converted to condominiums and townhomes. Quite a nice place. And then a bit further on we got a glimpse of our friend the Pipe Man who stands outside the Wheaton Water Department.

The crossing the tracks we reached the Wheaton Library which a few years ago was renovated and enlarged. The structure is rather interesting and stands facing a park surrounded by two churches with nice architecture.

Then it was into Memorial Park to visit the site of the Gary Home (one of the town’s founders) and to say hello to the Doughboy Statue honoring WWI veterans.

Inside the Northside Park area we discovered lots of folks out and about and noticed that some dredging equipment was in place to help clean out the bottom of the lagoon area. We stopped and chatted with a couple walking their two dogs who were gazing at the same equipment.

We wound our way out of the park using a sidewalk sneak intended for community members who used to visit the swimming pool here. But the new pool has made that walkway obsolete and only old-timers like ourselves even know it exists.

Out on Main Street we stop to capture images of the nicely done sidewalks that make this a Complete Street. These are wide enough to serve as pedestrian and bicycle lanes. My eye is caught by some brightly colored lawn chairs in the parking lot of the hardware store. A fellow Elmhurst Bicycle Club member by the name of Chris hails us from across the street.

He is out on his Dutch bike replica and is doing some errands. He normally rides a Greenspeed Trike and in fact owns two. He is trying to sell the older of the two since he has lost enough weight to make the folding version of that trike a possibility for his use. He says that the smaller vehicle that he now drives prompted the second purchase. But he has kept the older one tuned up and stored it in a nice dry environment and hopes to find it a nice home.

We chat for what must have been nearly a half hour. He too is a member of the Chainlink Forum and like most of its members is an avid commuter. The conversation turns to options when you are attempting to use multimodal choices like commuter trains. I suggest that a LWB bike like the Tour Easy is not nearly as good an option as a Bompton folder.

By now the temperatures are chilling and so we say our goodbyes and go in search of some luncheon (actually a very late luncheon). We stop at the local Qdoba and order a couple of veggie bowls and Honest Teas. We sit and talk about how nice it is to be out and decide towards the end to head back home to beat the temperature plummet that has already begun.

We pedal through the grounds of the Theosophical Society In America and I promise myself to return with enough time to take some pictures. And we pedal onward towards home and showers. Life is good.

Distance: 6.7 Miles
Time: 1h 1m 39s