Great Dane Toodle – 4-09-2011

Breakfast, a Coat and a Calendar

167 lbs. of Great Dane Puppy Joy!

The first order of business on a weekend is to get some breakfast. So we headed out to take Connie’s winter coat in for its end of season cleaning. Afterwards we head over to the local Post Office to ship off two calendars I have made for my nephew (currently deployed in Afghanistan) and his wife. Then we drive first to Einstein Bagels for bagels and OJ and then to Starbucks for coffee. But just before Starbucks we picked up two Acai Berry smoothies in place of the fruit cups we normally get. Yummy!

Taking to the IPP Trail

The trail is pretty full today. There are runners and bikers galore and lots of them are families. The local skateboard park is busy with youngsters doing tricks and falling and then getting up and resting while the pain subsides before trying it all again.

A bit further west and we reach Childs Street. As we ride along I spot (as does Connie) a curious motorcycle. It has a canopy and is actually a delta trike. It seems a great way to ride around in all sorts of weather.

The path itself (once we cross Roosevelt Road) is flooded with blue irises! What a joy to see this harbinger of Spring. A couple is sitting alongside the trail and decides to move on while I am taking pictures of the flowers.

A bit further we spot an enormous (167 lbs.) Great Dane being walked by his master. He’s a shelter dog who still has his ears intact and a wonderfully warm personality to match. Both the dog and owner are a delight to get to know. I get slobbered for the first time in quite a few years (following the death of Lovey) and am grateful for the act.

We part and continue west noting as we pass the spot where just a mile or so out of town we used to sit and rest some nearly 20 years ago when first beginning to bicycle. The bench is gone now and there is a modern water tower alongside the pond, but otherwise all is pretty much the same.

Herrick Lake

When we reach the Wheaton-Warrenville High School we head into Herrick Lake from the extreme northwest edge of the forest preserve. There is glass just at the entrance and we avoid it not wanting to spend time fixing flats. We take a brief Nature Stop at the outhouses near the entrance and then proceed into the interior of the preserve.

A group of girls comes towards us and they are all carrying red bags. It turns out that a high school drama group is out here today doing some “team building”. There are bags hung from branches all along the trail. They are collecting them and enjoying the candy inside.

Near the furthest southern end of the Herrick Lake Woods we stop to let some horses pass. They are always it seems wary of recumbent bicycles. Their riders are nervous that the horses are spooked and might do something untoward.

I decide to take the outermost loop of the rear section in an effort to spot if possible a way into the Lucent-Alcatel property to serve as a shortcut to reach Naf Naf Grill. But alas there does not appear to be one.

Before Entering Danada Farm Woods we hear what seems like a million bull frogs out singing their passions aloud in search of mates. I stop and capture a few seconds of the sound.

Danada Farms

We are approaching the farm area from the west side of Naperville Road. A horse drawn wagon is approaching. It turns out it is Ike and Ada Rose (two young draft horses) who are out learning their craft. In a couple of years they will replace their mothers at this task. For now they are being taught patience and how to accept guidance.

Inside the Farms we see banners thanking the volunteers who work this place tirelessly. The barn is full of visitors. The southeastern pastures are full of horses getting air and stretching their legs. We keep pedaling towards the northeastern edge of the property and Danada Square Shopping Center.

Mountain bikers are climbing the hill towards us. This is a really steep section (having ridden it myself) and I am thankful we are heading downhill instead. But before long we reach the long steady ride before exiting the property and I get to sweat a bit myself.

As we exit a middle-aged Asian couple is coming up the path. We nod hello and drop down to the street and cross Butterfield Road. We decide to head home rather than eat there and so we take a well known route back through the apartment complex and the grade school to the north.

By the time we reach home our neighbors are leaving their home for an evening bicycle ride of their own.