I just go for a ride and try to open my eyes to things that are commonplace at a glance, but that are interesting, at least to me, upon a second look.
Sunday saw a good number of folks out on the BDB.
The barriers were down to the bypass trail that was used during the construction of the BDB west ramp. I decided to check it out. It is rapidly being reclaimed by nature as grass grows into the cracks and potholes, mud washes across it, and water finds its course.
The River Trail and the BDB in particular seem to attract many special interest activity groups. I came upon a gathering of dogs consisting mostly of hounds and German shepherds at the pavilion near the NLR foot of the BDB. They were participating in search and rescue training. This shepherd's expectant look said that he felt like he was not receiving quite enough attention. I know my dogs!
Amateur Radio operators. With antennae strung along the ground and up a sycamore, they were chatting with some counterparts in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
These amateur radio operators were set up along the river near the NLR soccer fields, and were visiting with passers by as they spoke to other ham radio operators in distant locations. Coincidentally, friend had recently professed an interest in amateur radio, and I was curious as to how it fit into the Internet driven world, though I remembered that after the earthquake disaster in Haiti that ham radios were the only viable means of communication in some areas. These guys reported that interest was high, some coming from end-time survivalist types who are preparing for the shit to hit the big fan, but mostly just curious folks who enjoy the wonder of tech toys as much as the rest of us. After visiting with people from all over the world, sometimes not knowing where those people are, they can go to the Internet and enter the call letters into a registry to see who they've been talking to. New technology doesn't always replace the old; sometimes it just adds another facet to the experience.
Barge traffic through the lock beneath the BDB is often interesting. I'm curious about this load of what appears to be coal heading downriver. Where did it come from and where is it going? Almost all western coal travels by rail to Arkansas.
I rode out the trail spur from the top of the Fort Roots climb on Sunday. The view is great and this dead end will soon be joined with the paved trails of Emerald Park.
North Little Rock could have done a better job of informing the public of plans to join paved trails in Emerald Park to the trail section to the east. The folks of Save of Emerald Park and Big Rock Quarry were justifiably concerned and mountain bikers expressed their displeasure at the loss of trail. My understanding is that the dirt track will be restored so that mountain bikers and road cyclists alike will be able to enjoy the vista from the rime of the quarry.
This structure will support a bicycle work station similar to the one provided by CARVE at the NLR BDB pavilion. The facility will serve as a memorial to Marilyn Fulper, a local cyclist who was killed while riding as a driver ran a red light on Cantrell Road. 3
UPDATED: I was informed via comment that this station is being installed by the county and funded by proceeds of the Wampoo Roadeo . Shout out to the Mellow Velos for their part in the event and the work station placement.
I am easily entertained and the River Trail is home to what is very much a community- an interesting community filled with active folks with a wide range of interests, set alongside and adjacent to major transportation routes, industrial areas, neighborhoods, and urban parkland. A place where you're likely to have views of barge traffic, the state Capitol, a soccer tournament, and a mix of wildlife all from the same spot at the same time.
NLR Levy Spur Update: Media Release From the Mayor's Office
Construction of Bike/Pedestrian Recreational Trail Begins
On the Levy Spur Trail
October 12, 2012 (North Little Rock)- Paving began this week in North Little Rock on the Levy Spur Trail, a new bike/pedestrian recreational trail which starts in Levy under the 1-40 Overpass and runs along the old railroad track line to Camp Robinson up to 52nd St.
“Sections of the trail will be closed as needed for construction, with an anticipated four month construction schedule. The trail goes further but the paving project stops at 52nd Street,” according to City Engineer Mike Smith.