Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When the Levee Groans

It seems the rain has finally stopped for a few days, and while it was certainly no Katrina, it's a lot more water than we're used to. Here are a couple snaps of the bike path near the Monona Terrace Convention Center:

Normally you'd have to scramble down over a couple feet of rocks to dip your toes in the water. Tuesday morning the path was covered with lake weeds and garbage that had washed up on shore.

Here's the bridge I use to cross the Yahara River every morning (click for bigs):

That line of pilings from lower left to middle right is normally about two feet above the surface of the water.

Here's the same wall from the bridge.

and here's the same place back in January. You can see the wall of pilings on the left just behind those three tree trunks. Very few of the rocks are visible right now.

Boating is now restricted to no wake speed on all of the lakes as of today. This means a long weekend of canoeing for us without the buzz of speedboats or jet skis. Hooray!

On a more serious note, I rode in on Monday, but swung by the main office on my way in to try to pick up my new employer-provided annual bus pass. [A great benny, by the way—thanks Employer!] The office where I'd normally pick it up was closed, so I decided to ride on to my office another 3 miles away. When I got outside, there were several flashes of lightning and some thunder. It wasn't raining, but I decided, somewhat uncharacteristically, to hop a bus for the last leg. This was possible only because all of the busses in Madison have bike racks on the front. [See where that pass comes in handy?] That went fine and I could hear the storm passing a little later while I was working at my cornputer. Around lunch, I checked the local news Web site and read that some unfortunate old duffer had been hit by lightning and killed while golfing at the very same course I ride past on my way in. (Cue scary shocker music!) Of course, I had gotten to work at 8:30 and the golfer was struck at about 9:45 (while I was shamelessly praying for a power outage to break up the monotony), but still...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Road Find: Baby Snake

Not the kind of road find I'd stick in my jersey pocket, but this snake was indeed in the road. I think it's a young bull snake, measuring maybe a foot long. It was lying in one of the wheel tracks at the top of a hill on either Bellbrook or Frenchtown Road, so I scooted it over to the edge with a stick.

Tour de Last Week

I did a nice long ride last Friday, but haven't gotten around to blogging it until now. Not busy, just plain lazy.

Took off work and left the house at about 8 in the morning on a perfect summer's day, with the temperature at about 66 degrees. Headed south past the Sheraton, under the Beltline and past Madison's lovely sewage treatment plant. Then further south on Lake Farm Park Road past lake Waubesa, onto Lalor Road (one of Wisconsin's Rustic Roads a mere 6 miles from the Capitol Square), then County B to Sand Hill Road, where I spotted these pretties:

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to ride these roads.

Of course, you never know what you're going to come across. The next time the missus and I need a holder for the mailbox, I reckon we're going to follow the rough outlines of this example here:

or similar.

Then the ride turned west onto the Rutland-Dunn Town Line Road and into the beautiful village of Oregon, Wisconsin. When I was a young lad, before I was allowed to participate in the public educational system, my folks both worked. I started out staying with a relative for a while, but as she was a bit nervous and as I had gained a reputation as a choker (while eating, that is, and still do) that arrangement didn't so much work out. I thus became the sole charge of an in-home daycare populated by 4 young Italian sisters and their parents. This might go some ways toward explaining my irrational affection for Spirograph and Pringles. All of this took place in Oregon, so I thought I'd swing by to see whether the house was still standing. It is.

After finding my bearings again (who knew Oregon's Main Street would end in a barricade?) I picked up Union Road to the south and eventually turned west on Bellbrook:

Be sure to click on this one, because it's the architypical southern Wisconsin summertime landscape. It was about 10 o'clock at this point and maybe 75 degrees, with no wind. We're looking west here, but I'm on the wrong side of the road because there was a really nice patch of pitstop greenery there.

The ride turned north from here onto County D. Out here, you never know what you're going to come across:

I was lucky to have gotten this shot without being abducted and probed.

West again onto Frenchtown road, then north onto the Badger State Trail I wrote about last month. I got off the trail at the Sun Valley Parkway bridge using sort of an unofficial path over to a farmer's lane which connected with the Parkway. Then West to Paoli for a bit of a rest in the picturesque towne square:

Here's a shot of this ride's wheels. It's a 1985-ish Trek 400 with no original parts. Lugged True Temper 60 cm frame, with a 57 cm top tube (worthy of mention because it's just about the most comfortable bike I own.)

North on Range Trail, so named because it was once home to a rifle range. I stopped at a couple of garage sales in Verona and returned to Madison around 1 pm. 54 miles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Careful what you wish for

We've gotten at least a foot of rain since my last post, four inches of it last Saturday night alone. Now the lakes are at capacity. Grateful as I am, it's not doing wonders for the garden or for my riding milage...