Sunday 4 June 2017. West on Curtis Road to Kaskaskia Ditch

It was 73 perfect degrees with thin scattered clouds and just a hint of westerly breeze at 5:40 this morning as I headed Rhododendron southward toward Curtis Road.

Lovely as they were, did not stop for the yellow and pale pink cabbage roses nor the laden apple tree but did stop to check on the Amanita mushrooms. Wondered whether the increasing ground cover was inhibiting the appearance of fruiting bodies, but it seemed not.

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But overall it still did not look like a healthy population.

Turned west on Windsor Road without thinking then cut south toward Curtis on a gravel (“authorized vehicles only”–should have taken a clue) road and regretted it.

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It was a mile on semi-loose (could have been worse, but still) gravel that reminded me of riding on uneven ice. Had to concentrate, going slow and steady, balancing as if “flying”. Don’t want to do it again any time soon, however.

Headed west, enjoying the sky, along Curtis Road, to its intersection with Prospect Avenue and the sunken pond.

Around the pond were Penstemon,

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spiderwort,

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purple indigo,

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and the season’s first purple coneflowers.

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Did not see many waterfowl: one mallard duck and a few Canada geese.

Continued west on Curtis, and saw a great blue heron wading in the stream that cut under the road east of Mattis. Stopped and got the iPhone camera ready before carefully going back to get a photo before it took off. Those great bue herons sure are wary!

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Got a view of the decaying farm building across Curtis from the large and growing Carle Clinic on Curtis facility. It was a glimpse of the past and future of the area.

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Then farther west, just over the I-57 bridge, was a large structure under construction, which at first I thought was a new high school. But it turned out to be yet another Carle facility. I guess that means jobs for our community, or even improved medical care. But sometimes it seems like Carle is Everywhere. At the same time it seems like health care is becoming a luxury.

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Noticed that both the corn and soybeans were well along in their growth

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Rode as far as the crossing of Kaskaskia Ditch

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and then got a text from a friend inviting me to talk over morning beverage. So turned and headed back.

The ride was a satisfying 20 miles!

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Sunday 30 May 2016. Ten Miles Out West Windsor Road

This morning at 6:10 it was 63 degrees F under mostly cloudy but clearing skies.

Didn’t have much of a plan, because, frankly, I’m getting behind in my blog posts!

But it was a a holiday and the weather was beautiful so what else was there to do but head out on Rhododendron?

Tried to resolve not to stop for a lot of pics, but this time of year it’s not so easy….

Stopped for a shot of the bifurcated ash tree on the edge of Blair Park.

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Will it survive? Odds are, not. Alas. Oh, ravaging emerald ash-borer! Change keeps happening.

Made my way generally to the south and wondered how the prairie planting on Florida was coming along, which was wonderfully.

First, false sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides

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Then, prairie cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta).

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Of course there was white and pink-tinged foxglove Penstemon.

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Was pleasantly surprised to see blue flag iris

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Was a little surprised not to see spiderwort everywhere, but a little way west, there they were. Profuse and blue and gorgeous!

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Rode on. Stopped at the City of Champaign Prairie Restoration to see how the lead plants were coming along

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which was just fine, and also there were foxglove Penstemon around the sign. Saw more gorgeous, abundant spiderwort farther down but didn’t stop for it.

Managed to ride on almost all the way to Rising Road, to the where the sewage treatment plant (which was pretty “fragrant” today)emptied into Phinney Branch, where I got a photo

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Then kept on until Phinney Branch turned south and under Windsor Road. To the south of the bridge, a great blue heron waded in a riffle.

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It didn’t seem concerned by stopping to observe it. Lucky for me.

Not far along crossed another bridge, this one over Kaskaskia Ditch (no herons) from which could be seen county road 600 E, or Barker Road,

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jogged north, and it was inviting to keep going. But noticed 10 miles recorded on the Strava phone ap and felt that was good, and turned back.

From Windsor back into town took Fox Drive

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where below a bridge there were yellow flag iris in bloom.

Took St. Mary’s road back to Urbana and got a pic of a couple of surviving round barns.

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The roof shingles looked pretty worn. Hoped they eventually would be replaced.

Then enjoyed speeding down to Lincoln Avenue and on home.