Friday, July 06, 2007

Long Madison Bike Ride, Part Four

Part one is here, and here are parts two and three. Click any photo for larger.

From Brittingham Park I kept heading east, and eventually hit John Nolen Drive again. Following that path north, it takes you right past and underneath the Monona Terrace Convention Center. It looks south over Lake Monona. The design is inspired, like so many things around here, from one of Frank Lloyd Wright's ideas. He had some sketches of this facility done sixty years ago and it finally got done approximately five years ago, with some modifications of course. It was actually a pretty big deal here in Madison as the greens were pissed that the pilings for the structure were sunk into the bottom of the lake, and a park was all but destroyed in the construction of the structure. I have heard rumors that the facility is steadily sinking into the lake bottom, but don't have any hard proof of that. It makes for a nice photo and bike ride - that much I do know.

Looking south onto Lake Monona there were a lot of boats out this particular day. Most of them seemed to be pleasure craft. I think they were getting ready for Rhythm and Booms, the huge fireworks show held every year on Lake Mendota. From Lake Monona you have to pass through a lock to get to the northern lake, Lake Mendota. More on that later in the bike ride.
I took this opportunity to "fuel up". I have tried just about every brand of gel out there and have settled on these - they are tasty and seem to work the best with my system.
Heading east, you don't get too much scenery for a while. I like the paths (especially old rail beds) because you typically get to see a lot of things that you don't drive by, on the back side. This is an M G and E power plant located on the isthmus. Ain't it pretty? You won't see any photos like this on the Madison Chamber of Commerce website.
Madison always wants to be a big city, but it is not. Of late our mayor is trying to ram a stupid waste of money trolley car down the taxpayers throats. There is much more resistance to that than I thought there would be. That is good. Along with that our executives keep pushing the idea of light rail, which is also a stupid idea since the whole damned town only has 210,000 people and the buses are never full anyway. Here is another example - Madison's Central Park. It is a small strip of land between some rail tracks and some utility commercial buildings. I am not sure what the plan is exactly for this area, but looks like from this sign that they got some heavy hitter charities to buy the land. Looks like it is sponsored by something called the Urban Open Space Foundation. Here is a site with an aerial photo of the land and the plan. Gets a big assed shoulder shrug from me as I don't live anywhere near it, but may use it to take a break on bike rides in the future.


Dan from Madison said...

One note - the link for that Central Park thing goes to their website and this thing was proposed in 2005 it seems. They must have hit some snags.

gerry from valpo said...

I read that perch fishing on Mendota is outstanding. Ever go?

Dan from Madison said...

Yep, I went back in the day, but haven't done it in a long time. These lakes are fished very heavily during the season - and during ice fishing too - I am surprised that there is anything in them left.

But I am definitely not an expert in this, if you are interested for real, you should call the Wisco DNR. They love to talk.

The big scandal now is this fish virus thing that has everybody scared. It is kind of like CWD for fish. They threatened to shut down ALL FISHING in Wisconsin but quickly amended that when clear heads prevailed and they realized that our state needs those tourist $$.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Don't know where you're getting your information about bus ridership in Madison, but the ones I ride are frequently packed. Ridership has been steadily increasing for the last 4 or 5 years.

Dan from Madison said...

No real source of information other than my anecdotal evidence of what I see on a pretty normal basis, which are empty buses. I suppose some routes are more busy than others.