Thursday 20 August 2015. Some Good Miles to the South on a Clear Morning 

It was 55 degrees F, the sky clear, at 5:55 this morning. Was so glad to get out on Rhododendron, its front wheel and crank bearings repacked and well-lubed. 

Today’s destination was for parts south, by way of Race Street. Wanted to take advantage of the daily-shrinking window between the first morning light and the activities of the post-summer break day and go for a little, but long-as-possible, ride. 

Really tried to refrain from stopping for pictures (though I did check, without finding anything, the mushroom site). Noticed the stealthy silence of Rhododendron’s pedal crank and was surprised to feel like I missed the bird-like sound of its squeaking, a sound that used to distract and annoy me. Go figure. 

Soon approached the corner of Race and Windsor, but, alas, south Race Street was closed. Windsor itself was under construction, hardly inviting to bike traffic, so doubled back to McHenry and south again on Vine. Crossed the constricted Windsor Road and alas, did not stop at Meadowbrook Park. Did notice that a sculpture (iconic of Meadowbrook, I thought) that I liked had been replaced by one of a rather cartoon-y representation of a person walking a dog. Haven’t decided whether I like it. 
Fortunately the long sidewalk along Windsor was accessible, and it was a lovely ride into the sunrise over Philo Road.  

 Was happy to see a clear path to the right and southward. 
Did stop on Philo road for a shot of these dressed-up corn stalks.  

 This is ag-research country!

Rode to the end of Philo and had to decide between a left (eastern, Yankee Ridge Road) or right (western, back to Race or on to First Street) and chose the left. 

Had not planned to view the sunrise from the magical crest of Yankee Ridge, but there it was!   

 Ah, mid-August dawn in central Illinois!

So went south on Yankee Ridge Road, which has a pleasing bit of vertical roll but today also a dusting of distractingly loose gravel.  

 
Tried to remember my ice-riding skills: not to try to grip the road but balance (like flying!) over it. Actually the road was mostly pretty firm. 

Turned around at Champaign County highway 18, I believe, and headed back to Old Church Road. Decided to avoid the whole Windsor Road project and come back via First Street. 

Stopped at the Barnhart Prairie Restoration and was pleased to see the blooming compass plants and big bluestem grass  

 
as well as fairly abundant prairie dock. 

  
Was pleased also to see a path through the little prairie, which I did make time to traverse a short way.  But got my feet quite wet and then back on the bike felt cold in the extremities, to go with my already running nose. Who would think there could be issues of cold in mid-August?

Turned north on First Street, where traffic was already starting to build. Decided it wasn’t so bad to ride in its company; kept me from stopping too much. 

Enjoyed the new, slightly swaying extensions of Gerty Drive and Fourth Street as I made my way back home. 

In spite of the traffic and cold loved this satisfying, healing almost 20-mile mid-August morning ride!

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