Friday, July 15, 2011

The Birthday Bike Ride

Yesterday when I ventured out to find the sycamore struck by lightning, I was on my old bike. I realized as I pedaled off that I had not been upon that seat since the end of the semester waaayyy back in early May.

After viewing the tree, I headed east along the rest of The Row. I wanted to survey the remaining segments of trees to see if any others had suffered in the latest storm. I didn't find anymore lightning strikes, but I did notice downed limbs and interestingly enough, they were of the same size on a half dozen trees....probably 10-12 inches in diameter. There were three trees in a row surrounded by these jagged limbs. From the looks of the leaves, they came down earlier than this past Monday. I thought it peculiar that of the six or seven affected trees, they had all given up similarly-sized limbs.

My bike ride continued on along an asphalt path that curved along the edge of this wooded floodplain. As I came 'round a bend, I stopped short where the path was blocked by a six-foot high cyclone fence. Beyond I could see where the stream bank had been scoured back to the walkway and not only the bank, but the asphalt had fallen into Squaw Creek. I had to stop and take some fotos of this "man vs. nature" disturbance.

My ride home took me past a foot bridge to the other side of the river, so I veered east for this short side trip over to Evan's Eagle Scout project...a butterfly garden completed for the City of Ames during the summer of 2006 and sited just to the north of the bridge and maybe 50 feet from the bank.

I had seen some activity down along the river; big construction equipment pushing soil and large rip-rap over the edge to stabilize another scoured stream bank.

Much to my dismay, the entry drive for all that heavy equipment went right over the top of the butterfly garden. The pavers edging the beds that were the "wings" of the garden were still there, but all the plant material was gone....scraped right down to the nubbins. I was last there weeding in late April. Crap!

Time to head home. Back across the bridge, across Elwood Drive, then up the hill to Friley Road. I forgot how wonderful it feels to just ride my bike. For these past four years, my bike has provided me with transportation back and forth to school. Usually loaded down with laptop and such, I never looked forward to those cold (or rainy or dark) rides home after studio. Today it was fun to just ride from here to there, stopping along the way to gather a curl of sycamore bark, take a foto, or chat with others who were out enjoying this beautiful day .

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