In fact, I almost didn’t bother posting the images, but it shows the degree of drought before the rain came. I took my usual back route through the Alliance Midwest Hospital area and connecting streets to Midwest Boulevard. It was a straight shot northward all the way to Hefner Road. Turning right, I rolled up to Douglas Boulevard; there was a good bit of dump-truck traffic at the sand and gravel mine there. I turned left because I wanted to see that lovely horse ranch up on NE 122nd. Right again on NE 122nd I crossed an expanse of flat farmland. The one farmhouse where last year’s storm blew over a massive tree now had the spot properly refilled and grass growing over it. The view from the bridge (above left) was peaceful and called for a moment of quiet prayer.
I couldn’t figure out how to capture the image of a cottonwood that had grown in the bank near the water, but bent over completely, practically lying on the downward slope into the water. While it’s not so terribly uncommon for such trees to lie down and prosper, this one had spent way too much time underwater and was dying slowly at only a moderate size.
From there I followed the only route open to traffic: a hard right south on Westminster Road. Once I climbed back up to Hefner Road, I decided to avoid a troublesome dog I know that guards its domain too zealously further south on Westminster, and turned right again to begin the return leg. The bridge here on Hefner offered a slightly more dramatic view. Just under the bridge I spotted evidence of someone having a long stay on the end of a sandbar close to the water. There was the deep imprint of a very substantial ice chest and some other less identifiable impressions in the sand, plus a few empty containers that likely held fishing bait. However, in the picture I took you can just glimpse buried under silt the remains of the previous bridge, beams of the older steel truss design. And while the large sandbar has seen substantial off-road vehicle use, I suspect today that’s all under water.
So aside from two brief stops where the silence called to me, I road steadily and at a decent pace for 26 miles.