Monday, November 5, 2012

How Far East Can I Go? Perhaps New Jersey?

I have to admit that as I rode this morning, at least a few of my thoughts were about our "Twisted Roads" friend in New Jersey. Having experienced a close call to a natural disaster in my lifetime (Topeka tornado 6/8/66), I know what it is like to have a little fear. We are glad Jack is okay and probably bitching up a storm of his own. But I was thinking about Hurricane Sandy this morning. I was also thinking about Jack's new book, which was ordered but not yet received, and was supposedly on its way. I feel a book report is coming on.

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,


  1. It really is amazing how many miles you can cover on a bicycle. To me, there are many similarities between bicycle touring and motorcycle touring and I enjoy both. I told others in the past that once you can ride your bicycle 50 miles you can ride it anywhere. My problem has always been getting enough time off...

    I enjoyed the pictures and the trip, thanks.

    1. Richard, you're absolutely right about the bicycle touring. Post cyborg era for me, the longest bicycle ride has been about 18 miles, mostly on bike paths instead of streets. I am less interested in touring than I used to be, but I sure enjoy the exercise and even the solitude. The doctors absolutely keep encouraging me to keep riding. I'm finding that various firms of exercise keep it from getting monotonous.
      Thanks for the compliment on the pics. Sure was a beautiful morning. Hope you're staying warm where you are.

  2. Jimbo:

    I used to do a lot of cycling. I even took vacation days to ride, but then I hurt my knee and stopped. Then I got addicted to the "throttle" and got used to non-pedalling. We live in the heart of Vancouver at the top of the "hill". Everywhere is downhill from home and my legs are not strong enough to get me back.

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

  3. BobSkoot,
    I also developed knee problems when I was bicycling and that is part of the reason I stopped. But there for awhile I was doing sometimes 100 miles (160km) per week in the summer. I have little desire to ride like that anymore. Now its all about the exercise and solitude and thinking and all that kind of "stuff".