Friday, June 22, 2012

Biking Chicago's Lakefront Trail Again

I've biked over 160 trails across the country so far, but our very own Chicago Lakefront path is easily in my personal top 5 list.

We parked at the lakefront just south of Foster Avenue.  All parking near beach areas have the ubiquitous Chicago Parking Payment Meters (50 cents per hour) but the parking spaces away from the beaches remain free.  We biked the trail from Ardmore to 31st Street, about 29 miles, careful to avoid the crowds around the popular beach areas.   Below you see us approaching the Oak Street Beach area with the towering John Hancock Center clearly visible in the center...

It's always fun to see the magnificent boats moored in the harbors at Montrose, Belmont, Monroe, and Burnham Harbors...

... and Buckingham Fountain is another sight to enjoy...

The trail had crowded sections but not as horrendous as a weekend ride would encounter.

Another fine way to see the downtown area is by water.  Though most do so by sailboat or power boat, here's a kayak group doing it the right way just off Shedd Aquarium, and I saw another kayak group as we crossed the Chicago River.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Naperville Triathlon

The SheROX Triathlon series of 8 races began in Naperville this weekend. The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund benefits from the proceeds and is the largest private philanthropy in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to funding ovarian cancer research. OCRF’s mission is to find a method of early detection and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer. Since 1998, OCRF has invested nearly $40 million in the best, most promising ovarian cancer research.

Here's a brief video of the the action (click on the video title to enlarge to full screen)...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gilmer Road Underpass Is Open!

The Fort Hill Trail beginning at Lakewood Forest Preserve at Fairfield Road and Route 176 now is open to Ray Lake Forest Preserve thanks to the attractive underpass at Gilmer Road seen here...

Pardon the lack of green but the grass seed hasn't germinated yet!

The short 1/2 mile stem from the Gilmer Road parking lot (located off Gilmer between 176 and Fairfield) takes you to the 2.25 mile loop through Ray lake Preserve.  You can park at either Gilmer Road or the Ray Lake Preserve lot off Erhart Road.  The intersection seen here is the stem trail meeting the loop trail...

Lovely meadows of wildflowers and prairie grasses and occasional brief wooded areas make this a scenic ride.

A detour bypasses the Route 176 underpass now being constructed...

If you prefer a longer ride, you can start at the Singing Hills Forest Preserve parking lot at Gilmer and Fish Lake Roads (about a mile east of the Route 120/Gilmer intersection) and bike the Millennium Trail about 7 miles to the Fairfield/176 intersection, then cross Fairfield and bike to and around Ray Lake Preserve, for a total round-trip ride of about 21 miles.  If you take the paved Loop Trail through the former Four Winds Golf Course, you can add another 2 miles to your total. This map shows the entire route described here except for the Ray Lake loop (click to enlarge map.)


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fremd High School 50th Anniversary Alumni Fest

Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, began as a frosh-soph campus of Palatine High School back in 1961, eventually becoming school number 2 in the five school High School School District 211.

I taught here for 29 wonderful years and have been retired 11 years now, and over those years the exterior has been remodeled and enhanced, but that was small stuff compared to what they've done inside during these intervening years.  A tour of the building showed too many changes to mention, with very few things being as they had been.  Thanks to our tour directors, Halley Henderson and Lynn Ridge, both current FHS teachers as well as  FHS alumni for the excellent hour-plus tour of the facility.

It was particularly fun to see the changes in the athletic facilities in the building since I had coached cross country for 16 years, and it was also fun to see the auditorium where I had directed Variety Show for 25 years.

Three of us retired faculty are still great friends and we hike or bike together a couple times each week, year round.  Here we are:  Len Kortekaas (math), myself (English), and Dave Rusch (social science.)

It was a real joy to see other old friends with whom I had taught for most if not all of those 29 years.  Here are English teachers:  me, Pam Skinner, Dwight Aukee, Gary Anderson, Jim Wyman, Kevin Brewmer, and Patti O'Brien...

...and some (mostly) math teachers, Jeff Fujino, Ron Dowiarz, Erin Schon, Gyula Szabo, Paul Fuller, and Len Kortekaas...

It was a wonderful afternoon, catching up with friends and telling stories about the past and present, and I send wholehearted and hearty thanks and praise to all the FHS staff who worked so hard to put on this successful anniversary celebration.  THANKS!