The fervor of excitement continued on this week as we both were desperate to see and experience the final section of our proposed loop. This Thursday night’s theme was ‘City Parks’ and since the Emerald Necklace is about Parks why not ask the group if they were up for it? To the experienced group of riders assembled, we explained the intent an asked those present if they were up for a potential 40+ mile ride to head up and out around the Eastern Section of the Emerald Necklace. Given what all present had seen/heard about it the trail it did not take long for all to agree and for us to get up and go!
Doing it section by section demands that you travel out to the loop to pick it up so as to continue. Straight North once again onto 2nd Ave. we turned, having fun, playing tag all the way up to Palmer Park. Since Palmer is the Emerald Pendant to our proposed Necklace/plan/trial, I decided to take the group through a section of trail that they had never been on before. Hopping the Kerb at dead end of 2nd, we jumped into Park #1 of tonight’s tour, onto the asphalt trail and strode straight up middle through and entered in on a slight right just past the old handball courts. Snaking around corners opened only weeks earlier, we snaked around right and left making our way out to Woodward as Nevada St. picks up where we left off. As we came to the exit point I stopped the group and invited them to pose for scale, next to one of the newly accessible Palmer Park Virgin Oaks? Smilingly they all agreed, once camera pictures were done, I swung around 180 degrees, walked 4 paces, and looked up to marvel yet another grand old fellow!
The problem with the East side loop is where to stop for refreshment breaks? We talked about it once out of the Forest across Woodward heading East on Nevada. Nobody had any suggestions on where to stop. A problem soon to be addressed! Crossing over I-75 we made a quick left up Hawthorn and after a 1/2 block slide slight right into Park #2 on Today’s tour. Huge group of Basketball thugs playing, with the boy who had something to prove shouting, “Get the F— out of our Park”! Obviously educated and enlighten words, as we were exiting North we noted a fine group of 4-5 horse shoe pits clean and ready for action. Right on Grixdale, 8 blocks East we made a slight right and cut across at a diagonal park #3. Nice open field cut down nice attached to an old school. South on Fleming we turned right onto Minnesota and we were soon met and warmly greeted by various families and children cheering for the bike riders! East again to just past Charest, slight right and on into Park #4 we did turn. Many abandon fences were taken over by a native Concord grape variety. It looked better than a vineyard and the crop that soon would be ready to Harvest in two weeks time had us all thinking about a combined return trip with harvesting tools and bushels a plenty! If you ever wondered if grapes could be grown in our region/select micro climate, the answer is YES! Out of the Park after a breather, the conversation continued on where to stop as we turned right onto Moran.
Crossing over left at Luce Street we entered into the Jayne Playfield/Park #5. Huge, well kept ball fields of all sorts, abound. Wow who wouldn’t want to come to this park and play sports? Traveling through the park via the middle asphalt trail, we soon found ourselves crossing over Fehelon St. Entering into Park #6. This Park is all at once beautiful and open, natural in feel, disarming by comparison, to our 2nd park of the night’s tour. Snaking on through, left on Charles for a block then a quick left on Ellery we made our way SE into Hamtramck on bye park #7 ‘Recreation Field’. Continuing on down we made a left onto Conant St, just past the bend, further south we traveled, left onto Vincent, the route back North to Park #8 was blocked. Stopping to check the Map once again the group started to ask, “When are we going to stop for a break?” Needless to say around these parts there is not much, especially any buildings that are open to the public. I thought to myself I better push it up a bit and get on to an area that would have a rest stop open. Right onto old Mt. Elliot left onto Hientz we entered into a vast wasteland of leveled residential city blocks that had been captured and were to be re-positioned into a vast commercial zone, Ooops the great down turn sunk that idea in a hurry. Down Sherwood, left onto Strong we finally made our way over to St Cyril street turning left to enjoy the only ‘Bow’ shaped road in the entire city, who’s that Plucking Yew? Crossing over Vandyke we headed east on Grinnell on our way to Park #9.
Skirting around the trial at Conner Park we crossed over I-94 on Conner Street soon turning left onto Shoemaker/Chandler Park Drive on into Park #10. Hopping the kerb to off-road east of the great water slide, the turf was thick, wet and deep. It was like swamp mermaids, with strong fingers and hands reaching up through the thick wet strands in a vain attempt to grab hold of our feet. We did not stop but what breath we did have left, from the now 2 hour + ride, was getting used up in a hurry. Slowly we poured out and over the defining kerb making a slight right we headed down on Gray Street. It was after this turn that Jen said she had had enough, and would really enjoy a bathroom break! With Dan in agreement we traveled fast and hard down to Kercheval turning left so as to go into GPP where we knew a place or two would be waiting. On our way over the Texas Bar caught our eye and the next thing you knew we were being Buzzed in and greeted by a Crazy lady that liked to dance. Cool this is my kind of place.
I won’t boar you with the tales of Miller High Life and Waters. All I can say that this place is yet another distinct venue where judgment was left outside with your horse, after all it is Texas. Back up on the saddles again we headed back to Gray then left on down, later joining Dickerson for our over-the-grass-far-east-entry into the back side of Algonquin Park #11. Blasting in and onto the waterway trail we made our way across the bridge and on up the hill to stretch and take in the sites of the water way sliding by, turning to enjoying the sun set stretched sky in the opposite direction. From there it was out to Freud, left over to Harding, right over Jefferson, left at Kercheval, left on Pennsylvania, right on St. Paul, left on Crane then straight across Jefferson into Erma Henderson Park #12. Quick sidewalk trial tour then north to the east bound Jefferson sidewalk trail, in opposite direction west, we soon found ourselves turning left down into the Last Original Ribbon Farm and subsequent most historic site left in the city. Owen Park #13.
Okay darkness was falling all around, back across Jefferson for a brief tour of Shipherd Ct. sprinting east on Lafayette, left onto Mt. Elliot and into Park #14 aka the east end of the River Walk. We all shouted out one more stop please so yet again we made our way into Andrew’s place where ole big burly buddy was waiting glad to see us. Quick hello and quick good bye our next stop would be Jacoby’s for some good late night food as EVERYONE was hungry. It was 6:00 when we started tonight’s ride and it was 12:00 when we finally made it back to MCB. Some say 36 I say 42+. Needless to say we all felt it the next day as we talked about how to change the Eastern leg of the Necklace to have more stop location and maybe even consider including Balduck Park, knowing full well that the Emerald Necklace would have to expand beyond the 100 K presently proposed.
Bike Detroit! Bike the Emerald Necklace!
J. Meyers bike explorer.