Friday, June 25, 2010

Keepin' it fresh, unintentionally OR My Adventure!

We've had quite a bit of rain lately.

So much so, the Missouri river has been pushing outside its banks, especially on the Iowa side. Needless to say, this had an effect on my regular, tried, and true commuting route.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, one of the first nice days after a string of thunderstorms and rain. Low wind, blue skies, sun shining. The bike glided almost effortlessly along the trail. There were a few puddles and some standing water, but nothing the super Soma Double Cross couldn't handle. My go to commuter, takes punishing miles and comes back for more. I made the loop around Lake Manawa, no sweat.

When I reached Riverfront Park, it was a different story. As I descended down into the park, I rounded the first curve...and slammed on the brakes. The trail disappeared into a great swamp, definitely not some little puddle or simple standing water. No way would I be able to splash through this mess!

What to do? Here I was, only 3 miles or so from work and I was stopped cold. The first thing crossing my mind was riding all the way back to my truck, load it up and drive into work. Crap. My next thought considered any possible alternate route. Of course I had no contingency, no alternate routes mapped out or any other kind of alternate plan in mind. Jeez.

So, I did the only thing that made sense at the least to me. First, I accepted the fact that I was probably going to be late to work. Now, it was time for an adventure! The only route that I could think of to get me across the river would the South Omaha Bridge road. I turned around hoping a route would magically materialize.

I backtracked to South Omaha Bridge road and started heading west. There is a trail adjacent to the road so I didn't have to ride in traffic. I was wondering what would happen when I arrived at the bridge. I knew they were renovating, so I was hoping there would be a way to cross without having to ride in rush hour.

I shouldn't have worried. The recently and very nicely renovated bridge (I stopped and took pictures btw, subject of a later post) had an excellent pedestrian path. Made it across, no problems.

Next issue...where do I go from here? I was on 13th street in Omaha, south of the Zoo and Rosenblatt stadium. 13th Street was not an option, too much high speed traffic and the College World Series was in town. The bike path terminated once I hit the street. But, I noticed a path on the river levee below the bridge. Now I had to figure how to get under the bridge and onto the levee path, running North towards my intended destination. I found a cross street (and pedestrian path!) running down under the bridge to river level. Great! I was able to find the entrance to the river levee path. I hit the path and started cranking, making great progress...until...

The levee path abruptly ended after about 2 miles. I ran into a gate across the path, and the path behind the gate was no longer paved. This was a dead end. Fortunately if there's a will, there's a way. At the gated point, another path lead down hill to the Burlington Northern railway, which runs parallel to the levee. I could only think "This is where they hide the bodies." but I soldiered on :>)

There was a gravelled right-of-way along the tracks, the only way to go, so I took it. After a couple of hundred yards there was a railroad crossing that led to a gravel 'street'. 3rd and Hickory. A light at the end of the tunnel! There was no place to go but up, and the street numbers were increasing.

I knew where I was, and once I got to 10th street it was North to Dodge and west to 16th and work. I rode through 'Little Italy' on the way, a nice diversion. Past the Durham museum and into downtown, lickety split. Without the backtracking, it's only two miles more than my regular route! -D

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