Like lots of times I took off with a sort of preconceived idea of where I wanted to ride this morning only to change my mind shortly after leaving the house. I hadn't been riding the bicycle much lately due to a very sore shoulder and neck from a slightly out of place and inflamed spinal cord disc. Riding the bicycle sort of aggravates the problem, but it was much better and a ride sounded like a good idea. Plus I needed the exercise.
I have written about this abandoned rail road line before. It has been converted to a jogging/bicycling path. It starts very near downtown Wichita and heads mostly east but also a little northeast from town. I heard you can ride a long way, but wasn't sure how far. Also the riding is rather tough because the path is rough consisting mostly of large pieces of gravel. I decided to hit the trail with the intention of seeing something new today.
|I had not been any farther east on this trail than just the other side of this bridge where an interstate highway crosses over the path. I wondered how far I could go.|
It was a beautiful morning, about 50 degrees, but very sunny and almost no wind. Ideal conditions. I was only slightly bundled up in a warm outfit and was sweating a bit very soon after leaving the house. I can catch this trail about a mile from home so I headed that way. I stopped to take a few pictures while wondering how far I could take the trail. One problem is that it is pretty much an up and back trail. I would have to come back mostly the same way. Also because the trail is rough, the going would be slower than usual.
|Looking east on a Sunday morning, the view is a bit rustic, even a bit lonely, but very pretty, quiet and peaceful. The sounds of the mountain bike tires on the gravel is most of what you hear.|
There were times when I noticed how isolated it was on this trail. I encountered maybe 3 joggers all morning and no other bicyclists. Some housing developments back up to the trail where I could see the back yards of some fairly nice homes. Then a little way down the road it would just be farm fields by the side of the road. I thought about what it would have been like to ride a train on this line. I'm sure this was mostly a freight line, not a passenger line.
I wondered about what would happen if something happened to me. How long it might take for someone to find me. Should I carry some protection? They have a new firearms carry law in Oklahoma. Not exactly a comforting thought, but what the hell, This is Kansas! How dangerous can it be?
Occasionally the rail path would cross over a stream or a creek as I rode eastward. The scenery would change a bit. Oh, the scenery isn't what you would call fantastic, but it sure was a nice day. A good day to be out absorbing some vitamin D and feeling the sun beat on you a bit. Isn't that part of the point?
|There's a little drop off on the side of the path here. Lots of trees and lots of leaves.|
The sounds were mostly very quiet type sounds. My breathing was noticeable. The sounds of the tires on the gravel was the noisiest sound to be heard. I would say hello to the occasional jogger and usually, but not always, got a kind response. I thought about many things as I rode along.
|At one point I stopped to take a picture and heard this unbelievable racket of birds above me. They must have been discussing the upcoming election. It was obvious they were not all in agreement.|
I quickly realized that it was taking me much more time to get anywhere fast and when I reached the county line road to enter Butler county, I decided that I would turn back to Wichita. All in all I probably didn't broaden my experience in this easterly direction by but a few more miles, but that was only part of the point.
You could say that at this stage in my life, everyday that I can experience something as enjoyable as this is pretty important.
|At my turn around point I encountered this sign, obviously decorated by some sort of small town hoodlum.|
Eventually hunger controlled my thoughts and I headed back to town to see what the other family members might have on their minds for lunch time activities. I had worked up a bit of an appetite.
Lunch was the new priority. I'll check out more points eastward on this trail another day.
Ride On and Carpe Diem my friends,