Monday, September 29, 2008

Katy Trail ride back home.

It began raining lightly as I loaded up the bike for the return trip. I was apprehensive. I hadn't expected any rain; in fact, I had postponed the trip from the previous weekend because of predicted scattered thunderstorms (it didn't rain until later, though). But I had thought this weekend was going to be dry.

Since I hadn't expected any rain, I hadn't brought any rain gear at all. I put Jacob's "soft shell" on him. But it wasn't a true "shell" at all - the fabric is like a soft shell, but it didn't have significant water-repellant ability.

For myself, I just put on my regular bike outfit - shorts and a jersey. I had a long-sleeved base layer, but I figured I would save that for when I got to feeling really miserable.

As we began on our trip back up the Katy, we passed a few riders who had left from Klondike (many of the other campers had brought bikes along, although I was the only one who biked in.) They were all bundled up in long hooded raincoats.

We hit the trail and I brought the rig up to cruising speed. The rain was coming down, not severely, but sufficient to get us wet and cold. I remember thinking to myself, "Ok, this seems bad now, but in about an hour, I'll think back about how comparably comfortable this half-soaked condition was."

Interestingly, we saw several times more bikers on Saturday, even in the rain, than we had seen on Friday night.

Thankfully, the rainshower was short-lived. By the time we got to Defiance, the rain was no longer falling. We pulled off the trail and rode to the bike shop in Defiance. At the shop, we bought a 24oz of Coke (Jacob had dropped one of our Aquafinas playing "baseball" at the camp and broken it), a couple of ponchos (just in case), and some special Jelly Belly jellybeans.

The Jelly Bellies were raspberry and blackberry flavored, and were made of a central jellybean part covered with little cruncky candy bead "seeds". Jacob wanted to get them for his mom... sweet. The whole family enjoyed trying them on the next day. Reviews were mixed.

Anyway, thumbs up to the bike shop in Defiance - they were friendly folks with clean restrooms. They do bike rentals, and they even have Ted Drewes frozen custard.

We left the bike shop and continued on our ride. Jacob decided to start singing. So we sang, There is a Fountain Filled With Blood, Grace Greater Than All Our Sin, and, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand. I think some of the other trail users were a bit puzzled. And I was riding so hard that I barely had breath to sing.

After we had ridden for a few miles, Jacob told me to stop - he had seen an animal at the side of the trail. He said it was white, and it looked like a hedgehog or something. I figured that what ever it was would have run away by the time we got back to it, but we pulled over and walked back to see what it was. There, in the grass about 20 feet or so to the side of the trail was not a hedgehog, but the biggest mushroom I have ever seen!
It's a giant puffball mushroom!

Did you know puffballs are edible? We left this one in the woods, though.
We kept on riding. Some of the trail was like this: road and fields on one side, trees on the other.

We found two box turtles. One of them was shy and hid in his shell, but the other was much bolder and continued crawling without paying much attention to us at all.
Jacob is wearing my base layer under his "soft shell" to give him more warmth. I was plenty warm, just from pedaling.
Jacob complained that he was tired when we were about a mile and a half from the St. Charles trailhead. And before we knew it, we were back at the car, loading up!
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Edi said...

I love the giant mushroom - glad you got a photo of it! I can't believe a mushroom can grow so big...would have been cool if you could have brought it back...I'm sure storage space was limited...

Our Crew said...

Yes, space was limited. I suppose we could have strapped it on, but it really would have gotten mushed up. If we had kept it long enough for it to dry out, it would have made an amazing "puff" when stomped on...