Jackie and I went for our first bike ride of the year. We followed our traditional first-ride route, around Kaufman Lake, past the Olympic Monument, around Parkland College, and then back. This year we went 6.27 miles.

I’d been hearing cardinals for several days, but out on this ride we got definitive expressions of bird spring. The robins are back, as are the red-winged blackbirds. I saw a crow fly up out of Copper Slough with a huge wad of nesting material in its beak.

The ride itself went fine as well. No mechanical problems. No problems with Jackie’s wrist. There had been a couple of previous days when it would have been warm enough to ride, but those days were very windy. It was nice to just wait for today and not have to deal with the headwinds.

I think we’re all set now, to be able to ride whenever we want. In particular, if there’s a day when it’s nice enough to ride first thing in the morning, we could ride to the Fitness Center and then to taiji. (That’s a bit long and complex of a ride to try to combine it with our first “shakedown” ride of the year.)

Copper Slough, originally uploaded by bradipo.

Most of Central Illinois would be wet prairie if it weren’t for a network of drainage ditches, such as the Copper Slough. It runs past Kaufman Lake and then on south and west. It merges up with similar ditches and, somewhere around Sadorus starts being called the Kaskaskia Ditch, after which it, presumably, flows into the Kaskaskia.

I liked the mirror-flat surface of the water. I also liked all the drain tiles emptying into the ditch.

The picture was taken from the bridge on O’Malley’s Alley, looking north towards Kaufman Lake.

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Copper Slough by Philip Brewer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.