Monday, April 4, 2011

Cycle exploration and campus lights

I finally started on that little idea I had earlier this winter; exploring the DeKalb area on my bike. I'm only planning to live here until I am done using the city for it's University. I'd still like to say that I came, saw, and conquered. I figure, what better way to see the area, and get out in the fresh air than to take to the road on my bike. I've got a sweet early 1980's Sekai 2000 that used to be my grandpa's. I found it stashed away in the back of the garage at the lake house in Wisconsin. It hadn't been used for decades, and I was in need of a new bike. The thing was still in excellent shape and just needed cleaning up, and a new set of tires!

So, Friday afternoon I found myself watching the Cubs lose on Opening Day in classic fashion blowing a lead. My cabin fever was just screaming, but it wasn't an overly beautiful day. It had just finished spitting large snow flakes, temperatures were in the low 40s, and the north wind was screaming. I couldn't take it anymore though, and set off on my bike with no real target in mind. Before no time I was on the outskirts of town, and soon cruising the open country roads. I hit up the airport first, since I had never actually been out that way before. I was hoping I'd time it right and catch a plane landing or something, but it isn't exactly near the top in terms of business.

I hung around on some of the back roads a bit, before looping back around into the east side of DeKalb, actually hooking up with the bike trail that passes through town. I then took that back down toward the old coal loading tower down in the old industrial part of town.

I was about 30 minutes from sunset at this point and could tell we may be in for a decent one, so I decided to just hang there for a half an hour and enjoy some quiet while waiting on the sun to duck below the low clouds we still had in place. In that magic moment, the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds casting everything in a red glow. It soon disappeared, and I made my chilly way back home. I ended up right around 10 miles for the trip, which wasn't bad considering the weather conditions. Hoping for better this week...

I decided against chasing yesterday in Iowa. If the storms had been a bit closer, perhaps I'd have been in the mood for some fun, but I just couldn't get myself to drive 2-3 hours for a non-tornado situation at this point in the year. I figured stuff would blow up into a line and march this direction shortly after dark which is what ended up transpiring. I ventured back to the parking deck on campus and was actually surprised to find quite a crowd. A few were fellow meteorology students from the school, a few were just hanging out enjoying the show and there was another photographer who's name I did not catch who seemed to be out there fairly regularly. I'm sure I'll run into him plenty more.

I had hoped for more cloud to ground action, but a few dinky crawlers on the leading edge had to suffice. The next couple days look fairly bland, if not a little warmer at least. Here's to hoping I can finally get myself inspired to get out and chase down a tornado soon.

No comments: