It was 68 degrees F and mostly sunny and calm at 6:45 this morning of American Independence Day as I filled up Rhododendron’s tires (it made a helpful difference!) and headed east on Washington Street into the dappled canopy.
Could not skip a stop at Weaver Park, even with having to traverse a stretch of trail-less grass, across which a couple of apparently well-fed ground hogs undulated toward the tree-lined street side of the park.
The edge of the purported buffalo-wallow pond was richly decorated with newly blooming prairie plants, like Monarda,
yellow coneflower, cup plants, an early aster,
and, most whimsically, the candelabra of Culver’s root,
all beautifully set in front of the water lily pads and cattails of the pond.
Then headed back on Washington to Route 130 (High Cross Road), where there is a lovely place to view the sun rising over the landscape
and on past Cottonwood Road to the “T” at 1800N.
A couple of cyclists behind me went right (perhaps to Homer Lake) and I turned left, to the north. The road was narrow but smooth and mostly without farm houses (that is, potential loose dogs) close to it.
The bridge over I-74 was simple and without much bordering vegetation.
Continued north, crossing the Saline Ditch,
and detecting some roll in the grade of the road.
Just before heading back stopped to look down into a creek
then turned back at the road just past Ford Harris Road.
Came back to Ford Harris and an debated just continuing to retrace my path, but craved a little novelty. At the same time, could not remember this stretch, so took a bold gamble about its safety and plunged westward on Ford Harris Road.
Close to High Cross Road was a cemetery on the side of a little (central Illinois) hill.
Got a distant shot of a dickcissel
the calls (which which sounds to me something like “Uru ahim!” (“awake, my brothers!”) from the Israeli folk, song “Hava Nagila”) [Note: the dickcissel recordings I found on YouTube were not exactly like the birds I heard, but maybe you get the idea. Head out on a country road some morning and see what you think.) from conspecifics of which had been accompanying me for much of this trip.
At Perkins Road was a nice prairie planting that included non-native but handsome mullein.
It was another satisfying 20 miles!