Monday, March 26, 2012

Sumner Park, Pecatonica Prairie Path, Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve 3-25-12

ETA: 4-16-12 I talked with the maint supervisor for this FP today. He said they abandoned plans for a bridge over the creek as it would not be maintainable and even getting to it with the equipment they would need would be difficult. He also said the road to the SW corner of the park is private and has a locked gate at the road. So, at present the only access to this part of the FP is via the Pecatonica Prairie Path, and it does not appear that will change.

We parked at Sumner Park in Pecatonica, walked a block or so to the Pecatonica Prairie Path (PPP) and then headed west. The east edge of the SW corner of the FP is about 1.25 miles according to Google Earth.

The PPP follows a power line easement. It is not real well signed in Pecatonica (I saw no signs at all) so the best way to find it is via the power lines. It seems to go right thru the fairgrounds and there is a gate there. It appears like you could detour around the fairgrounds to the south if the gate was closed. Seems a little odd.

What we saw was a nice hiking and horseback riding surface, but the lack of any shade at all would make it unpleasant in warmer weather. The part we were on was 6-8 feet above the surrounding terrain so the path was pretty dry. There was a lot of mud and standing water on either side but none on the path itself.

Given the PPP runs under power lines, it is not real surprising that there is no shade. There were some holes, probably animal burrows, in the surface of the grass and packed dirt path that might present a big surprise to a bicyclist who was not paying attention.

We went in and walked the trail on the east side of this section of the FP. Not really a lot there. Both trail spurs shown on the trail map go to Sumner Creek and just stop at the creek, and pickup on the other side, but there is no obvious way to get across.

Sumner Park is pretty nice. Has all the usual park amenities plus a working bathroom that was not locked. Kind of a rare find for me of late. The outdoor water fountain was not on, but the sink in the bathroom worked for getting Wilma some nice cold water when we got back. There was also a pop machine.


We visited this FP previously, but on the north side of the river. We only made the eastern most trail segment on this visit. It was warm and Wilma does not do real well in the heat. We may go back some time and walk the PPP to the west end of this park and pick up the trail from the other end. I kind of had in mind walking the loop from the east end to the west end and coming back on the PPP, but the lack of a good way to cross the creek we encountered that blocked the trail changed my mind.

View looking west on the PPP near Sumner Park.

View looking east on the PPP near Sumner Park.

A fallen tree across the trail inside the FP. There is side trail that loops around the tree. The vegetation seen in the picture is pretty typical of what we encountered, although most of the trail is in better shape.

We saw these three people with their horses on the PPP on our way back.

ETA 6-10-12 Based on this hike today, I submitted a review of the Pecatonica Prairie Path to TrailLink dated March 2012.

Walmart Boot Sock Update

Update to

3-25-12 Auburn/Meridian Roundabout

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pecatonica River Forest Preserve 3-24-12

We have been here before. We stayed on the east side of the park that time. This time we did mostly the west side. Nothing especially interesting. It is another beautiful setting they destroyed by clear cutting trees out of vast areas of the park. The hiking trail loop in the NW corner of the park has a lot of damage from the machines used in the clear cutting of the trees, and a lot of debris. It is close to unhikable at present. We did see two deer there and deer tracks.

I did not see a single numbered trail marker, and did not see any boundary markers along the gravel road that leads to the private cabin. At some point it changes ownership, but I never saw any boundary markers. All the other district facilities I have been in were pretty well marked at the boundaries.


This is what most of the trail loop in the NW corner of the park looks like now. There are also large segments of it covered in debris from the clear cutting.

[picture added 3-26-12]
An old trail marker the bull dozer managed to miss somehow.

Base Camp called it 3.8 miles.

Four Lakes Forest Preserve Dog Training Area

The part we visited is on the south side of Kilburn Road (route 70). It is not really on this map. It is more or less where it says "possible dog training area".

The map has also not been updated to show the addition of another pond immediately to the west of the existing four ponds. It was purchased from the former county sheriff who was apparrently trying to develop it as a private fishing camp, but never was able to make a go of it.

In this Google Earth image you can see the gravel road coming in from route 70. The fancy outhouse is along the loop to the north. You can see several trails in the weeds that are also visible from the gravel road.

[picture added 3-26-12]

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Trask Bridge Forest Preserve

There is not a lot there. We passed it on our way to Pecatonica River Forest Preserve so thought I would shoot some video.

It is mostly a boat launch, picnic area, and fishing spot.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

more random stuff

3-21-12 The first "l" in the Logli sign is now unlit. Compare to previous picture (2nd picture in this post) from a few days earlier.

Wilma at my mom's house 3-19-12.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random stuff

Seen Saturday along the road by the Rockford Speedway.

Logli sign this morning. Note the loss of light in part of the first "l" as compared to previous photo (at end of this post).

Seen parked in Logli parking lot this morning.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rock Cut State Park 3-17-12

We started and ended at the parking lot near the route 173 entrance. My original plan was to walk the horse trail loop on the NE end of the park but it turned out to be mostly mud, so we took a detour over to the paved bike path and ended up walking around the lake. So what would have been perhaps a little over 2 miles ended up being over 6 miles. We had a good time. It was nice walking weather. We ended up having to hoof it back on the park road instead of trails after it got dark though.

For the first time as best I can recall, I got a couple of ticks in this park. I checked Wilma and did not find any. But they were the small deer ticks, and they are not real hard to miss. She has Frontline so even if she gets a tick it will die in a day or two.


Base Camp said it was 6.1 miles. Seems about right.

Sunset over Pierce Lake from the east end of the lake.

An old trail marker. We run across these now and then. It was too dark to get really good pictures.

A toad Wilma ran across on the road. It was too dark for me to see it but somehow she knew it was there. I had to take this flash picture by more or less random aiming. It is the best of the three shots I took.

A random flash picture as we were walking back to the Jeep in the dark.

Walmart shopping trip today

Walmart is now selling Frogg Toggs rain gear. No doubt that will force the Walmart haters among us to decide Frogg Toggs is no good anymore.

Also in the sporting good section Celox granules. I had thought that the general consensus was that the granules were not a good choice. I sort of thought they had been taken off the market.

Found in clearance aisle. $2 for the insect repellent and $1.50 for the itch relief. I am not normally one willing to pay for the insane costs of the smaller packages but I wanted something that would fit in my fanny pack. I got two ticks yesterday at the park so I wanted something that might repel ticks as well as mosquitoes. This brand claims to do both.

Some other camping gear in the clearance aisle included a Coleman propane heater, a couple Coleman camping toilets, and some Coleman cook sets. Nothing that was really a bargain. Most of it seemed to be reduced 10-20%. Not enough to interest me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rock Cut State Park 3-14-12

Wilma and I have not been on the horse trails in the NW corner of the park since before Christmas as they have been closed to hiking. We did not see anything unusual, but we had a nice hike. Base Camp said it was 4.8 miles.


We started and ended at the parking lot near the route 173 entrance.

Lots of what appeared to be coyote and deer scat on the trails. More people than we normally see too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Packaging weight


I sometimes read of people packing retort style packages (like this tuna) as a means of saving weight. I never bought into that idea. It seemed to me that the total weight of the smaller packaging per food weight probably made it a wash at best.

I don't have any Spam pouches to weight, but I do have four tuna pouches. According to my not real precise scale the Spam with its can weighs 13 ounces and the four tuna pouches weigh 12.25 ounces.

There is 12 ounces of Spam in the can, and 2.6 ounces of tuna in each pouch for a total of 10.4 ounces of tuna.

That amounts to about 0.083 ounces of packaging per ounce of food for the can, and about 0.18 ounces of packaging per ounce of food for the pouches. That means the packaging per unit weight of food for the pouches is more then 2X what it is for cans in this example.

Smaller cans would probably tip it to more of a wash, and there is a convenience factor involved that is not part of the weight equation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

3 pack of Freznel lenses


I got these from an ebay seller webclothing10 for $1.08 shipped from the UK no less. They arrived within a week.

They work pretty good as magnifying lenses, and are quite thin. I thought they might be handy in a kit for fire starting or just as a magnifying glass. I have yet to try them as a fire starter.

I put one inside a small ziplock style bag and put it in one of my fire kits. I want to see how being bent like this affects it down the road.

Fiskars Shop Boss scissors

Fran found these in the Walmart clearance aisle for $5 last week. NIP. They are basically tin snips with a built in wire cutter and a ceramic piece that can be used to take off a sharp edge after cutting light weight sheet metal.

The package says it can also be used to open bottles, but I have not needed a bottle opener for a lot of years. It also has a pencil holder.

The little hook on the end of one blade is supposed to be a twine cutter. I tried it on some jute twine. It worked OK in that role, but cutting twine using the snips as a pair of scissors worked too, and was a little easier I think. In fact, they cut paper pretty well, so they seem to be an adequate pair of scissors as well as tin snips.

It comes with a plastic sheath/belt holder. I don't cut sheet metal much, but they may come in handy. They are going in my car kit.



Dorr Road Bike Path

After we had a short hike through the Hononegah Forst Preserve and the Kelly-Meyers Path, Wilma and I decided to drive north on Dorr Road and explore the Dorr Road bike path. Its southern terminus is about half a block west of the entrance to Kelly-Meyers Park, and the northern end is at the South Beloit City Park.

The path is nothing special as far as scenery goes. It is mostly a residential area. None of the path is screened from Dorr Road traffic, although the southern end of the path is mostly screend by privacy fences and vegetation from the back yards it passes by.

It starts at the far south end on the east side of Dorr Road, switches to the west side about half way, and then back to the east side as it nears S. Beloit City Park. There is a short spur that heads west along Prairie Hill Road to the high school just south of the the city park. There are several connections at the city park to paths inside the city park.

Wilma and I won't likely walk this path. It just has no scenery we are interested in. But as a connecting path to the Hononegah Path via the Kelly-Meyers Path, it has a lot of potential for bicyclists.

ETA 6-9-12 March 2012 submitted and reviewed at TrailLink.

Kelly-Meyers Path/Park 3-10-12

We came in here after we finished at Hononegah FP.

It is not a big park and the path is not real long. It does go along the creek and is a nice, if short path.

It ends at the park road after crossing the creek. There is a bike lane along the park road most of the way to the park entrance.

Just down the road a half block or so from the park entrance is the trail head for the Dorr Road Bike Path.

The underpass from the Hononegah Path side.

Nice creek scene with some ducks if you look very close.

Main entrance to KM Park.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hononegah Forest Preserve 3-10-12

Nice day out. We started out in the FP, walked in the woods awhile, crossed the creek and came home on the east side roads (no trails on the east side).

61F and sunny. A bit breezy as some of the wind noise attests to.

Saw lots of people in the preserve. Perhaps 15-20, along with maybe 5 or 6 dogs and a similar number of bikes.

After we were done in the preserve we walked over to Kelly-Meyers park by taking the path that goes under Hononegah Road.

Base Camp called the whole thing 3.3 miles total.

Wilma got plenty of creek time.

Some nice scenery.

Pizza Hut Reciept

"'I' before 'E' except after 'C'...".

Morton Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt

A friend of ours gave this to Wilma as a Christmas present. I used it like I would normally salt to melt ice on the porch and in front of the garage door. It seemed to work about as well as regular salt. It was never real cold when I used it so I don't know how well it works at lower temperatures. There is not that much in the container. About enough for 1 and a half uses for me. I was treating maybe 300 SF, so one container would have probably been enough to treat about 500 SF.

The container is like a giant salt shaker so when I used up the blue stuff that came in it, I just refilled it with rock salt from the water store. I had to make the holes in the top bigger as the rock salt crystals are somewhat bigger than what came in the container.

I wondered what was in it and went to the Morton web site to find out.

This is what their web site says about it.

Morton® Safe-T-Pet® Is the Safer Choice for the Pets You Love
Morton® Safe-T-Pet®, Pet Care ice melt was formulated to provide a safer choice for pet parents and enthusiasts who need to manage ice and snow:
• Developed with, and recommended by, Veterinarians.
• 100% salt-free and chloride-free so it won’t irritate pets’ paws.
• Safer for plants, pets and concrete than traditional melting salt.
• Colored blue to provide application visibility.
• Scientifically proven to melt ice and snow in normal winter temperatures (~10°F and above)

The ingredients in Morton® Safe-T-Pet®:
• Urea
• Propylene Glycol

I left the container sitting outside the front door on a table, as that was a convenient place for it. The container apparently did not like the cold and cracked on the bottom, so it ended up in the recycle bin. Odd that a product made for use in cold weather came in a container that fell apart when exposed to the cold.