Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Ride with Me
Lately I've been meeting my sister in law to walk her dogs at Lillie Park. The beauty is, whether I walk Butch (left) or Brandy, I'm never on poo patrol! I ride my bike to the park and then take a longer ride after walking the dogs. I thought you might like to come along. Relax, you don't have to worry about mosquitoes or humidity, and I'm doing all the pedaling.
I ride through Mary Beth Doyle Park on the way to meet my SIL. I talked about this retention basin last time, and you can see the water level has gone down.
After leaving Lillie, I take the new bike path as far south as it goes. I'm heading out of town, so I see pastoral scenes like this with corn as far as... the next subdivision.
Having an odometer is a mixed blessing. It's cool to know how far I've gone, how fast I'm going, and what time it is, but it also kind of pushes you to do more miles to round up (13.56 miles is for wusses! Gotta do at least 15). I often add miles on side streets, which is how I discovered Freedom Drive. It's a ridiculously short dead-end street off another mostly-forgotten dead-end street with light industrial buildings, many abandoned. I guess it makes sense that freedom hides in a dilapidated place many of us never choose to go. And biking is freedom for me. One of the few ways an otherwise inelegant person can fly.
Sometimes I also ride through subdivisions. Caution: I brake for free plants.
I didn't need any lilies, oops, irises, but I loved the sign.
Heading west, I generally take this dirt road though it can be bumpy, which reverberates through your whole body in a disconcerting way. The tall plants on either side are invasive, non-native reed grasses, Phragmites australis. A horticulturist once described the ID process this way: "If you're in a wet area overgrown with a single kind of really tall grass, and you're not sure if it's Phragmites... It's Phragmites."
A boardwalk view of the marsh at Marsh View Meadows Park.
I always get excited when I see burdock because my first thought is always prairie dock! Burdock is a biennial thistle whose seed pods stick to your clothes. The mosquitoes were wicked in this spot.
Ann Arborites know you can forget about the summer when the sumac is on fire.
"In harmony?" Yeah, I'm not buyin' it either...
Just because they kept the silos, doesn't mean the farm's not gone. Not harmony.
But, look, here's a working farm, just down the road from said bid'ness park.
And here's the best location for listening to frogs in southern Ann Arbor, Morgan Woods Nature Area, northwest corner of Morgan and Stone School Roads. Can you see the jewelweed at the bottom left?
I was hoping some of the alpacas would be out at the local alpaca farm, but they weren't. You'll have to make due with this trumpet vine. I know it's not the same, but it's what was there.
Heading back into suburbia now.
I love the contrast of this working farm and south Ann Arbor's two tall buildings to the west.
The same farm, looking south, contrasts with a small light industrial complex.
Directly across from the farm to the east is a strip mall, which includes my high-end soil supplier, the Grow Show. The two duuuudes who run it are awesome.
The last time I passed that farm, they had an 1800s buggy (minus the horse) for sale.
This tractor is way cooler.
This sign is in a friend's neighborhood, not on my normal route, but it could just as easily be. It's so quintessentially Ann Arbor.
OK, fess up. Did the title get you humming Nelly or John Mellencamp? I went both ways!