This morning at 6:50 it was 50 degrees F under cloudy skies.
Really wanted to ride, even with the limited time the flowers would be out. So headed east on Main Street toward High Cross Road, with the idea of stopping as little as possible, into the north-northeast wind. Restrained myself successfuly until I got to the little grove of oaks across from the Solo Cup (Dart?) factory, which were nicely set off by goldenrod and asters.
Remembered that last time I rode by this place on a Sunday morning there was a fox behind the trees, and sure enough, there it was again! But too far away for a good photo.
While I tried to get a photo of the fox could hear in the distance dogs barking, and they didn’t sound especially playful. In fact the sound seemed to be getting louder and wondered whether a pack of them might burst in my direction. Decided it was time to move on.
Stopped also, after passing it by on many previous rides, at the giant hibiscus in front of the Quaker church.
There still were some giant pink blooms, even among the autumnal purple leaves.
But resisted the urge to stop at Weaver Park and rode to the end of Main through the Beringer subdivision to High Cross Road.
Did stop not far over the I-74 bridge to get a portrait of the day and the time of year: cloudy, cool, and breezy, the corn harvest underway. It was the beginning of the kind of weather that does not automatically grab you by the collar and pull you outside, the kind you have to prepare for and meet as it is.
Stopped again to document the first fall colors at the beginning of the tunnel of tree leaves over the Saline Branch bridge.
Rode on, passing Brownfield Woods, which was bordered by the pale, small-flowered asters I remembered here from previous years, toward Olympian Drive.
Then turned west.
As I stopped for a shot of the bit of roll in the half-harvested field, distinctly heard a rifle shot. Deer season already?? Hoped very much that the shooting person could see (and glad my jacket was bright magenta) that I wasn’t a deer. Reached back and turned on my blinking tail light for further evidence. Wow. Made me think about spending Thanksgiving with my sister in Wisconsin and she discouraging me from taking a walk in the beautiful woods around her place: deer hunters.
Later, when I shared this story with friends, they suggested the shots could have meant pheasant season (but I’m pretty sure they were rifle and not shotgun shots) or a farmer shooting at “varmints.” Not the most welcome feature of being out in the country in the morning, but, like the sound of dogs on East Main, part of what’s there.
Rode in the open space with just enough speed to feel a pleasant cardio-vascular exertion, with smooth, deep breathing. Aahh! This is the point of cycling!
Came back to Willow, Oaks, and North Lincoln, down the best hill in Champaign-Urbana (next to Busey Woods) and then to Broadway, by the Anita Purvis Nature Center and the entrance to the now-empty Crystal Lake pool. Was amazed again by the patches of fresh yellow coneflowers in October.
They are beautiful in July but even more welcome now in this time of general diminishment.
Another good ride, glad to participate in the transition toward winter.