Another Day Dawns
Today began with a cool, crisp air about it. But it was promised that the temperatures would elevate into the 70s. So I risked a pair of shorts and a long sleeved nylon shirt and topped it off with a fleece vest. It proved to be the right mix of warmth and breathability.
We grabbed our usual bagels, acai smoothies and grande iced coffees and headed out to the Fox River. We drove west along Diehl Road towards the river and then headed north into downtown Batavia. A left on Wilson takes you down to the river and into the City Hall Complex. As we made the turn we spotted a bright red statue of a bulldog covered in physics graffiti.
No sooner had we returned our gaze forward up the road than we spotted another bulldog in front of the local church and then another and another and another! It was raining bulldogs all over the downtown area of Batavia!
You feel conflicted at times like these. Do you cancel you intended ride and go in search of the lovely bulldog statues or do you combine the two activities?
Setting Out On the Ride
My first thought was to cut our ride short and return early enough to capture all of the statues we could find in the downtown area. So we pulled the bikes from the back of the van and got ready to head out onto the Fox River Trail.
First a pit stop in the Police Station and then off we went in search of as many of the critters as we could find in the immediate area on our way over to the south side of town to pick up the trail. There had to be at least eight of them all shiny and inviting within the first block.
To add to the excitement a local 10K was in progress along the Fox River Trail and the 35 mile portion of the Tour de Cure bicycle fundraiser was being held along the same stretch simultaneously! Yikes!
We got the first bulldogs and then hit the trail. The runners and bikers were still straggling in as we made our way out of town. The shade along the trail was wonderfully full and it made capturing images of the flora and fauna along the southern stretch in Aurora all the easier.
The river this year has been at a high water mark and it is rushing wildly down towards the Mississippi. Geese and ducks alike were battling just to try and paddle upstream. The dams along the stretches of the river that we passed were roaring mightily!
I was running a route that I had created in RideWithGPS.com. This is a very nice little route creation utility which allows you to download the resultant route into your GPS unit as a GPX format file.
Just as we were heading into the final stretch of the southern trail that approaches the Aurora Casino we took to the streets to find our way across the 2.6 mile gap in the Fox River Trail to the point just below the Virgil Gilman Trail where it resumes along the Fox River.
The southern end of the Fox River Trail is very delightful and even more scenic than the portion just about the Aurora Casino. We rode along waving to passersby and shouting “cool bike” to every kid out on their tiny two wheelers with obvious pride in their accomplishments at being able to ride without training wheels.
The Daily Grind Turnaround
We grabbed a couple of iced tea drinks at the Village Grind. We had flirted with the idea of ordering some lemonade drinks before learning that each glass had a cup and a half of sugar! Yikes!
The tea was unsweetened and very refreshing. It was made from acai berries and that was appealing. The bagels and peanut butter we had brought along made for a pleasant repast as we watched cyclists across the street try out bikes to be purchased from the local bike shop.
Then it was back on the trail and as fast as our legs could carry us we made our way north to Batavia to complete our collection of bulldogs!
A Late Luncheon Or Is It An Early Dinner?
We grabbed the last of the bulldogs that we could find and headed over to El Taco Grande for a veggie burrito (for me) and veggie tacos (for Connie). It was great to have had a wonderful day of riding (which we did not cut short) and to have discovered a delightful set of bulldog sculptures quite by accident!
After dinner we made one last stop for coffee before heading home to shower. It was a great ride and a fun day chasing unleashed bulldogs!
If you want to visit Batavia in search of your own bulldogs images you can find out more about that experience here. A scavenger hunt for all the dog statues can be conducted with the aid of this map (PDF).