This morning at 5:30 it was 65 degrees and clear, with a 2 mph breeze from the WSW, calm enough to head in pretty much any direction. So headed Rhododendron in toward Windsor Road (which I was pretty sure was free of loose dogs) with the goal of going a ways east.
Was glad to get a reasonably early start without sacrificing headstand or Pranayama, and pedaled smoothly through the perfectly comfortable (with the light cycling jacket) morning air to Windsor Road.
And there was Meadowbrook Park, which I hadn’t planned to visit, but thought, why not? and soon was taking a photo of the sun coming up over McCullough Creek at the rabbit-statue bridge.
A mud bar separated Davis Creek from its connection with McCullough Creek.
The cup plants on the on the downstream side of the bridge stood vigorous and illuminated with the sunrise.
A layer of mist rested on the prairie and spread out the light of the climbing sun.
The air was scented with mint and bergamot.
Wondered if the willowy wet area harbored queen of the prairie but didn’t see any. Did spot a swamp milkweed, but didn’t stop for a photo so I wouldn’t miss the sun rising over the remaining mist.
Might have gotten a really nice shot of the deer in the mist if I’d arrived at the site two minutes earlier.
Oh well. Nice enough.
Did get a nice yellow coneflower-misty sunrise.
Stopped at The Freyfogle overlook and saw fresh Culver’s root with mountain mint,
spherical pink common milkweed blooms and already-red blackberries.
Noticed how lovely were the lead plants,
which seemed to thrive despite a recent onslaught of insects.
Then rode out of the park and straight east on Windsor. The air was calm, except for a “biker’s breeze”, and the grade seemed to go up for stretches (though mostly down), which promised a reasonable return ride.
Was filled with the joy of early morning out in the country in perfect weather.
Did not expect quite this perfection and tried to let as much of it in as possible. Yes, yes, yes!
Rode past a ditch where I remembered seeing a family of raccoons.
There were no raccoons today, but it’s always fun to peer down into a stream, a different world from the surrounding farm fields.
Above the creek banks, near the road, were abundant soapwort blooms,
exotic weeds, but so softly pink and fresh and dewey.
Even these plantain weeds looked like stately sculptures in this morning’s fine light.
Farther on, saw a sign I thought was rather humorous
The dangerous hill actually was hard to detect. Ah, my beloved central Illinois!
Then crossed a little tributary of the Salt Fork (of the Vermillion River)
where I think I always have seen wood ducks whenever I’ve been there, adults and ducklings, no less. Looked into the water, and there they were!
There is something special about this place.
Then rode to where the road bent to the north
A little way and then “T’d” into Homer Lake Road.
Rode east a little way, crossed the Salt Fork, and stopped at the nicely landscaped marker of the historic site of Kelley’s Tavern, where it says Lincoln used to visit.
The bloom seemed different from what I recall from last year. Lots more milkweed.
Stopped for a view of the beautiful Salt Fork
Then turned back and retraced my route. There were horses fenced on the southeast corner where Windsor Road met Homer Lake Road, and the tail of one caught the morning sun as swished and spread wide its long horse-hairs. Didn’t manage to get a photo, but the glittering image stayed with me as I returned home on this pleasant ride, pleasant to the end.