If my writing seems a little (more) loopy (than usual), it is because I may be writing with a contact high. Apparently, bike riding is not the only thing such a nice night is good for.
Hah! I was right! I’ll tell you about what in just a bit.
The temperature was about 15 degrees cooler today, and the humidity was down, so it was a perfect night for … baseball. Cubs versus White Sox at US Cellular Field. Start time: 7:10pm. Everybody in Chicago came, and most brought siblings, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and whoever else they could dig up. I know this, because I rode eastward toward the stadium (and the lake) around game time. Mind you, I did try to skirt the traffic by riding a mile north of the stadium, but it was still packed. Earlier, I had occasion (due to a poor choice of public transportation options which landed me right next to the field [and also reminds me that, I don’t care who is wearing them, a person wearing sunglasses on a subway is unsettling]) to walk by many of the parking areas surrounding the area. It is clear that if you are tailgating at a White Sox game, the following are essential: a smoky grill, beverages, and Cornhole (preferably with the Sox logo), which apparently was invented in Cincinnati. I know Cornhole has made it to Buffalo, but there is scant evidence as to whether it’s made it east of the Hudson. I’m sure someone will let me know. It is worth looking at the link to find the meaning of such colorful terms as: Drano, Cornfusion, Slippery Granny, and Screaming Eagle.
I rode south along the Lakefront Trail, my destination was a Jackson Park, which is just past the Museum of Science and Industry. I’ve been in the area several times (including my very first ride with Ellie, who was so excited to get out that she carried me several miles past my intended turn off), but never turned right into the park. The park was well laid out, but the paths were in rough condition. Thank goodness Ellie is a hybrid, and has no trouble with gravel, potholes, chunky pavement and even the occasional detour over grass. I try to stay off the grass, but at one point it was unavoidable. Due to last night’s heavy storm (many large branches are down all over today), a portion of one path was under about a foot of water; too much for us, so we detoured around it.
After passing over even more rough terrain, we finally found a proper bike path to lead us under Lake Shore Drive. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, as it turns out) that underpass was also flooded about a foot deep, so we turned to find another route.
We headed west, and came upon a huge golden statue which was none other than the Statue of the Republic. Much of the park is under restoration, in a sense. What were once likely open, grass-covered areas are being replaced with native prairie grasses and flowers. This is happening all over the city. It is easy to spot them since the bright yellow prairie cone flower and pale lavender wild bergamot are blooming.
We continued up the west side of the park, along a path that nearly paralleled Cornell Drive. I say nearly because at one point, the path took an extra lazy curve in toward the park and back out again. No clear reason for it, just a different, pleasant view. That’s when it struck me. I’ve been on meandering curves in a park like that before, in Buffalo’s Delaware Park. Meandering curves, water features, little bridges, it’s got to be Frederick Law Olmsted. When I started writing this, I looked it up. It sure was FLO. Designed in 1869 and finally built in 1893 for the Chicago World’s Fair. Classic.