My friend, named Deb also, just got a new bike and I accompanied her on the maiden voyage. We took a ride out to a nearby park, cruising through the gravel back-roads. For this time of year the roads were unexpectedly dry and in places freshly graded and not in others. If you're not familiar with riding gravel roads, fresh grading is not desirable. While it cuts down on the pot holes and washboard effect, it's a bumpier ride on the newly turned chunky gravel. On even the worst washboard roads you can usually pick out a path of hard pack down the middle of the road and since they are low traffic roads, it's easy to ride right down the middle of the road. A hard packed dirt or gravel road can be nearly as smooth as pavement, for a bike anyway.
|Deb Anderson's new bike|
Some might argue that the park is already under-utilized and that an investment of $4 million dollars is a lot for a park tucked out of the way, however a recently added disc golf course has increased participation at the park and undoubtedly the new attraction will boost attendance as well, once word gets out about it. While there are many lakes throughout the area, most are private or can only be accessed through a public boat launch, so if you don't own lakefront property or a boat you have no way to enjoy the waterfront, swim or cool off in the summer heat. Independence lake is a hidden gem, that has a paved bike trail and several wooded hiking trails that are for foot traffic only, allowing multiple uses and enjoyment. Cyclists can enjoy a loop around the park while riding through wetlands over boardwalks, wooded areas and lakeside views. Hikers can amble unencumbered by bicycle traffic while birding or just enjoying the quiet surroundings. There is a look-out tower for bird watchers deep within the park. There is an abundance of fowl as evidenced by my friend who had a turkey vulture nearly swoop down on her while on the path yesterday. As we rounded a corner on the boardwalk we startled a pair and one just wouldn't let up on my friend and for a moment I thought it was going to land on her.
All in all it was a great day to be out for a ride, one of a small handful of really nice days so far. It was a good chance to enjoy the outdoors with little wind, mild temps, abundant sunshine and we made the most of it. Sunshine and Bonny Blue skies warmed us inside and out!
|Lucky for me I went back to the bench before leaving for the ride home, good thing because otherwise my phone would have been left behind. If you look close you can spot it on the bench.|