I've been slowly building up my bicycle riding "oomph", since I restarted bicycling a few weeks ago, and last Friday, I finally pedaled my way to the Great Confluence Trail, and it turned out to be easier than I had feared. Well this morning, I went all out and took my bike all the way to the Alton end of the trail, next to the Clark Bridge. But wait! it get's better! I took my borrowed digital camera with me, so here is my low-quality picture essay of David's big little adventure! 7.1 miles from my house to my destination at the end of the trail, with a little added on for the grocery run after, for a total of 15 miles in two hours, with many picture stops.
6:00 a.m.: I started my grocery run, to pick up bananas, milk, and frozen vegetables. I somehow ended up here at the Enviro Way intersection that hooks up with the bike trail. I'm on my way!
I approach my first way-point. I R Here.
My bicycle trail nemesis! The SCARY BRIDGE! There is something unsettling to a guy like me, with acrophobia, riding across a bridge where the railing is lower than my waistline.
The bridge crosses the Wood River, which empties out into the mighty Mississippi.
Now I pass the coal-fired power plant that provides power to the area. The trail goes right under the conveyor belt that brings coal from the barges to the power plant. This place is incredibly noisy! There's also a covered wooden (not scary!) bridge.
Woohoo! We're getting close to the Great Rivers Museum now!
Here's the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. The unreadable part is "Jerry Costello" i.e. "Is that pork I smell?"
Made it to the Museum! My only regret is that it's early in the morning, so the museum isn't open, and it's not yet time for the first tour of the Melvin Price Lock and Dam. Set self timer, run to the bike, and wonder why the heck the camera is using the flash in broad daylight...
Here's a barge that just exited the lock.
I'm still feeling energetic, so ONWARD! My destination is in sight!
Well drat. Only 12 attachements per post... and only three left to go. I shall attempt to cheat, and put the last three in a reply to my own thread...
Bikes: '88 Fuji Saratoga, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite
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Well Done, Sir!
I enjoyed the photos and your story. Way to go!
I had to chuckle at the "scary bridge" part. I think that each of us has one of those. Mine is on a causeway that connects from Ocean Isle to the mainland near Sunset Beach, NC, where we vacation annually. the causeway bridge is a steep hump with very little shoulder and LOW concrete side rails. So you are about 75' above the water with the rail at your knee. I just try not to look to the side as I climb. Descending after the bump is no problem.
Nice report David, enjoyed your pictures very much. The Clark Bridge fascinates me, I have read several engineering magazine and construction magazine articles about its construction. Beautiful, graceful lines from the towers and suspension cables on it.
__________________ "I did not choose to have Parkinson's Disease, I choose to not allow it to control my life." Davis Phinney
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me. Philippians 4:13 NIV
Thanks! Today is the last day with my borrowed digital camera, and I can't get out on the bike, so that will be it for now with the pics. It's an old Olympus S600 with a screen so scratched up that taking a picture in daylight is an exercise in finding shady areas and using blind guesswork!
Edit: Clarification! I went out with the INTENT of buying said veggies. I only actually bought them afterwards, on the way back home. Actually, it's the milk that I'd be most wary of carting around in the heat...
I never thought to mention it, but just getting to the bike trail was half my total distance! Anything to avoid using gas, even if the prices are currently falling like a rock here. I think my next attempt will be longer run southward on the trail, toward Hartford and the Great Confluence Tower, where, for $4.00 (US), you can go up the observation tower to see... stinky rusty refineries on one side, and Mississippi mud on the other... The Great Rivers Museum is cheesy, but at least it's free! I haven't been there at the right time for the tour of the lock and dam, but it's free too. If I ever get a day completely free, I think I'll bite the bullet, and take the bike by car to one of the MCTTrails parking lots, and pedal all the way down to Camp Dubois near Granite City, IL, and maybe even across the Chain of Rocks Bridge.
If I ever manage to score a digital camera again, you may be sure I shall resume... er... "pedaling my wheres"... I live for stinky puns!