Tuesday, July 7, 2009

july 6

Today was a beautiful day and housemate and I decided to extend our vacation one more day and go on a bike ride. Housemate really likes the rails-to-trails rides so we loaded up the bikes on the car (sorry Mike)

and headed to Mt. Horeb to start the Planet Trek ride (a scaled model of the solar system) from the outer solar system and head inward. We just planned to go from Pluto to Neptune, which is 9 miles one-way. We'll finish the rest of the solar system another day.

Here's Pluto, in downtown Mt. Horeb:

The sun is located at the Monona Terrace. Pluto is 23.5 away in Mt. Horeb. If the sun is 24 ft in diameter, pluto is the size of a chick pea (garbanzo bean).

The temperature was 79-80 degrees F for most of the ride, dewpoint 54, winds 10 mph from the NW. We had a tailwind going out and it was downhill for about 3 miles so we coasted the first 3 miles, realizing the ride back was going to be harder. What a gorgeous day. This is why I love Wisconsin. Here's housemate at the start of the ride:

As usual, I can't resist the flower pictures:

a close up:

oops, more flowers:

a closeup:

Lunch under a huge elm tree:

pretty grass in the foreground:

More flowers. This is glade mallow:

It turns out this area by the sugar river is the "glade mallow headquarters." It's a rare plant and listed as endangered in some states. Here are a couple more shots of it:

The Sugar River wound along the bike path:

This was a grassy wetlands area along the Sugar River.

Typical Wisconsin scenery:

The bike path:

Sugar River again:

Neptune: This is 14.5 miles from the sun (at Monona terrace) and is the size of a basketball (if the sun is 24 ft in diameter). It is in between the towns of Riley and Verona.

Here I am next to a corn field. I'm hoping this is sweet corn. Most of the corn around here is feed corn and is quite a bit shorter than this right now. I'm 5'9" so this stuff is pretty tall. I'm hoping the sweet corn season will start very soon!

If I had chosen the bike ride today, I would have avoided the car and just rode around town, to Olbrich gardens or some other local park. But I forget how nice it is to go out of town and see the country side. I'm glad we took the car, even if it is a bit evil.

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