Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Trails

For the past few years the city of Evansville (where I happen to live) has been quietly building the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage trail. It's a walking/biking trail that winds through the city, and in my opinion is pretty darn cool. I do a lot of recreational walking and lately I've become addicted to the Trail. For the first time in history, my tax dollars are being spent on something fun, that I actually enjoy.

The plan is for the Trail to eventually form a continuous loop around the entire city that'll be about 17 miles long. It's not quite there yet though. Right now the Trail is in several sections, but each year the city works to connect them. I can't wait until it's all completed.

We had some beautiful weather last weekend, so I walked along the Trail and snapped some photos that I'm sure will be of interest to only myself.

Even though the trail winds its way through some of the busiest areas of town, parts of it feel very secluded. The trees and hills do a good job of muffling the traffic noise so it's very easy to forget that you're really in the middle of the city.

I know it looks like the Trail is deserted in these photos, but I'll bet I passed at least a hundred people walking or biking on it. I just happened to take photos when there was no one around.

99% of the Trail passes underneath the streets, so you get a nice tour of the underside of the city's bridges.

Not all areas of the trail are secluded. This section winds past a skateboard park. I had to stop here, grab a skateboard from some young punk and teach them how we used to kick it Old Skool...

Then he and his friends beat me senseless with their iPads and left me for dead...

At one point the Trail turns into a bridge that crosses a deep ravine. I hope they're planning on painting this bridge soon, or this time next year you'll be able to poke your finger through the rust covered spans.

There's the ravine below the bridge. I guess that must be Pigeon Creek, since the Trail is called the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage. If you were adventurous and it was springtime when the water's higher, you could probably canoe down this creek and into the river.

No vehicles are allowed on the Trail, so I'm really not sure why this sign is necessary. Maybe it's to warn visiting Wookiee dignitaries so they don't bump their heads on the bridge in the background?

I really like the design of this bridge's supports. It's got a very industrial and steam punk look to it.

Not the most interesting of photos, but worth pointing out for the overpass in the distance. That's  Evansville's Lloyd Expressway, one of the busiest thoroughfares in town.

Whoever named this miserable stretch of road the Lloyd Expressway had a fine sense of irony. The concept was to build an elevated freeway that would allow drivers to get from one side of town to the other without having to stop. In reality the majority of it is not elevated, so there's a stop light and intersection every two or three blocks. You drive 50 mph for thirty seconds, then stop at a light for two minutes, drive another thirty seconds, stop again, ad nauseum. It's incredibly frustrating and rational drivers avoid it at all costs.

Just past the Lloyd you walk up a hill and see this sculpture. It's supposed to be a monument to the river or the history of transportation or some such hooey. Personally I think the artist secretly designed it as some sort of U.F.O. landing pad.

It also reminds me a bit of the old Hands Down game I had as a kid. Yep, I'm old.

Here are some close ups of the images on the sculpture's dragonfly wings.

Here you can see the Trail winding along with the bustling megalopolis of downtown Evansville off in the distance. If you squint you can just make out the bank where I'll soon be losing my job.

Around this area is the only spot on the trail that doesn't go underneath a street. You have to walk across a railroad track and a road. Other than this one section you'll never encounter a car anywhere on the Trail.

The Trail also forks right along here. If you go to the left, you'll walk along the riverfront and downtown until you reach the end of the Trail, probably two miles from this spot. If you turn right, as I did, you'll come to this bridge that's been turned into some kind of monument.

I'm assuming it used to be a functional bridge, open to traffic. Now it's an observation deck.

As I said, it's now an observation deck, so start observing.'

Wow, the economy must be worse than I thought.

"Sorry, didn't mean to barge in! Heh heh. Get it? 'Barge in?' You see, because, there's a barge... heh... ha... Is this thing on?"

Alcatraz. There's no escape from... The Rock!

This was as far as I went on the Trail. I could have kept going and walked down the riverfront to the end, but it was around this point that it occurred to me that however far I walked forward, I would have to walk the same distance back. My car was sitting back in the park where I started, exactly four miles away. I was beginning to wish I had a Batmobile, so I could speak into a remote and it would automatically come and get me. But no, I have a plain old car that can't drive itself, so I had to walk all the way back. I ended up walking eight miles along the Trail!

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