Virgil Gilman Trail or Not?
After grabbing some breakfast we decided to check out the Virgil Gilman Trail to confirm that it was indeed a paved trail from the Fox River to Waubonsee Community College just west of Bliss Road. It turned out to be difficult (without a map) to follow the trail for any distance and so we abandoned the “drive along” and headed to our original starting point to ride to the trail and view it from our bikes.
We rode north along Route 31 into Batavia and noticed small signs planted in the parkway pointing us towards “Fest Parking”. What on earth did this mean? Well it turns out that this was the weekend for the “Art In Your Eye” Festival and it had commandeered the entirety of the Municipal Parking Lot. So we went next door and parked along with hundreds of others who were among the throng walking in and among the booths in the municipal lot.
We stayed long enough to grab some photos and use the restrooms inside the Police Station before heading south towards the Virgil Gilman. It was by now fairly late in the afternoon and even that (riding the Gilman for its entire length) might not be possible without getting into sundown issues.
So we began to fudge a bit. Perhaps we could ride as far as either Montgomery or even Oswego and return (this constitutes the southern end of the Fox River Trail). But before long we were stopping at every location we could find to try out Connie’s new camera and capture what we could of the final days of summer before the Fall Colors land upon us.
By the time we reached Aurora we decided it was time to turn around and head back towards Batavia. And so we made a U-Turn in the parking lot on Illinois Avenue and headed back along the trail beside the newly christened Cole Center where the Fox Valley Park District has its new headquarters.
At the Harners Bakery parking lot we crossed the River and took the trail up and into the Red Oak Nature Center area. We stopped at the center itself for a “pottie break” before heading out again to find some luncheon. And of course it was a forgone conclusion that El Taco Grande would be the place. Yummy!
We dined on veggie burritos and tacos and played with our cameras a bit more. Before long it was time to back the bikes out of the narrow corridor where the outdoor tables rest and to mount up and cross the bridge to reach our van.
We packed up the bikes, and headed off to Geneva a bit upriver for coffee. And then it was home to stow the bikes before grabbing showers. A grand day for just about any outdoor activity! Simply beautiful weather!
Distance: 12.9 miles
Time: 1h 35m 25s