JD_Shawnee, 2013-05-08 13:05:36
Got off to a 7am start Tues (7th). The heavy fog eventually lifted w/o aid from a breeze. A perfect day for trail riding. No wind. More notably, the trail’s bogs and creeks now have splashing riffling water in them. Good to hear that sweet noise again.

Saw lots of wintercress, garlic mustard, rose verbena, wild strawberry, western buckeye, wild parsley, blue phlox and others I need to learn about. Some of the sumacs have suffered from the drought. But many more are budding out okay. Also saw birds, waterfowl, and a handful of small butterflies.

The Central Street Bar & Grill in Richmond now opens at 7am. Does that mean breakfast is served there? The old Coffee Loft in Garnett has reopened as the Prairie Belle’s with a simplified but quasi-gourmet menu. Hours: 9am-2pm; closed weekends for catering. No country breakfasts here; mostly quiches and pastries.

I had to try their cheesy chunky rice soup. Very thick and tasty. I made mini-bruschettas out of the crackers w/o spilling a drop of it. Otherwise, I would have pigged-out at the Durango’s Mexican two doors further west or the Trade Winds (burgers) or the Chinese Cuisine, both a few doors further west.

One other joy. On my return leg, I saw a painted bunting about 3-miles south of Ottawa. A major surprise this far north. As it flew across the trail in front of me, I saw a twinge of orange. But thought it was a small oriole of some kind. It then landed two-feet into the west corridor for a few seconds where I could see it multiple colors distinctly. Wow. What a way to finish a PST ride.

JD_Shawnee, 2013-05-16 05:41:55
Started out to do the southern half Tues the 14th, but had premonitions to check out the Southwind section during the drive down, possibly brought on by the forecasted 90+degree temps then. Good thing I did that now rather than later. Turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Otherwise I might have ridden on freshly laid fines before they had firmed-up well. The crews have laid about 3+miles of it from just south of Riverside Park to the Mississippi-Road overpass. They were just starting work Tues when I met them. They’ll probably be done with the whole trail by the June 1st target date. The machine doing this work lays and press-rolls the fines at the same time. Dump trucks refill its hopper often. Another huge roller follows it. This work is being funded through grants I’m told.

This layer consists of finely ground rock having an amber color to it. They’re asking people to stay off the trail where/while this work is being done. Also, anyone who has ridden it already knows the unfinished part of this section rides fairly well. It’s been cleared, graded, filled in with crushed rock where needed, graveled, and rolled with dual large-wheel equipment, like, dump trucks. A bit rough in places, but not real bad. This section is greening up okay too. The people who cleared it deserve much credit. It’s base-width is now 12-feet or more all the way thru.

My computer clocked 8-miles from the north end of Cofachique Park (Iola trailhead) to the trail’s end in Humboldt, next to the industrial park. Its downtown is a mile further SW. I bike-toured it. Looks like a busy town. New city hall and police station on the town square; new community center and library, good school, and several nice churches and parks.

On my return leg, I cut over to the hard-packed 1300-Road next to trail just south of where the fine’s work is being done, and rode it north to the paved Mississippi Road. It took me back east to State Street, where I finished out back at the park. That was followed with a breakfast special at the Greenery across the street. Yum! These specials get a discount at the cash register. It was a cool take-it-easy 22-mile round-trip before it got hot. Will do it again in mid-June after it opens officially.

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