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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

American River Bike Ride on a Perfect Day

Today was a perfect morning for a bike ride. When I started out at about 9:30 AM, the sky was clear, humidity was low, and the temperature was about 60 degrees with a very light breeze. It was a perfect morning.

I rode on the Jedediah Smith Trail by the American River for what was about a 13.5mile round trip. I drove to a trail head today, I just didn't feel like putting the extra three miles on streets it takes to get me to the trail without fighting speeding, coffee drinking, texting dimensional transmogrifiers (oops,I meant drivers).On a bike they are dimensional transmogrifiers when they convert a three dimensional cyclist into a tow dimensional cyclist. BTW, I picked up that term from Fat Freddy's Cat in a comic book in the late 1970s.

I took a few snaps of the ride.

This first shot is a typical scene of what you see directly in front of you as you ride on the trail. This landscape is generically known as a riparian forest, because it is a forest along the banks of a river (so, mister smarty pants wikipedia contributor, why not river-ian forest?) Lots of strange oak trees and browned out grass. This would not be a good place to toss out butts.

After a short distance, the trail veers a way form the river into some empty prairie. The land was never built on because it is very prone to flooding. Too bad that reasoning was not enough to stop building in the North Natomas area of Sacramento. Anyway this little bridge is cute.

The next sight is Soil Born Farms, a small organic farm run by hippie gardeners who are slowly figuring out farming. I visited them last Sunday with a group of bicyclists including some bicycle advocates and a local chef. We had a tour. I was really most impressed with two things. First, they use their fallow fields for grazing sheep. I haven't walked among grazing sheep for many years. The sound they make grinding up the grass is unbelievable. The second amazing discovery was in their shop.The sold bacon scones form a local bakery. That's right, I said bacon scones! I had one and it was good. The organic vegetables they had were less impressive,but the potatoes looked excellent and I could see what looks like a great crop of winter squash starting in the field. This could be the place for the Great Pumpkin's Second Coming.

The trail veered closer to the river for a short time. This is a sometimes popular swimming spot at a bend in the river. Unfortunately,it has also proven to be an occasional drowning spot. The American river flows to us from mountains about two miles high and has all sorts of strange little currents. This is not a swimming hole for people who can "almost swim".

The next sight is Rancho Cordova's Hagan Park. This is an ordinary large city park (ball fields, duck pond,etc.) except it has the biggest model railroad I've ever seen. They give free rides to kids on the weekends.

The trail climbs up a placer. Early gold miners formed placers when they re-routed the river and dug all the boulders off the riverbed. The placers still stand when they dumped the rocks that they hoped were sitting on top of all that gold. Most went back home broke.

The trail provides plenty of overlooks of the river. This view is probably similar to what early wagon train folks saw during a lot of their journeys.

This short shaded stretch is one of may favorite parts of this ride.

I use the area around Jim's Bridge as a turning point. It's a nice place to stop for a drink of water. The bridge was built as part of mining operation long ago. This bridge appears to be invisible on the interwebs, so you'll just have to take my word.

I can stop and have a drink of water here, the view to the west is beautiful.

Looking east reminds me why I escape to the bike trail in the first place. The wide and but-ugly suburban Sunrise Boulevard. Sunrise Blvd Connects two of the less attractive Sacramento suburbs, Rancho Cordova (aka Repo Forclosure) and Citrus Heights (aka Syphilis Blights). There is some hope looking east form Jim's Bridge. You can see a great pedestrian bridge about one half mile up the river, in the more fashionable (at least in their own eyes) feral chicken-filled suburb of Fair Oaks.

Since I was making great time, I stopped to enjoy some wild blackberries.I call them The Sacramento Treat. They are way better than Rice-A-Roni. Take that, all you San Francisco snobs out there!

You might notice a blurry light brown object in the background of this picture. Turns out that or something near it was the rear end of a rattlesnake. I didn't notice it until it sounded off while my hand was reaching in for the ripe black berries under the red ones. I decided to leave that bush alone for a while.

Near the end of the return trip, I stopped to enjoy this scene, straight out of a Western Romance.

This was an hour and a half well spent.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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