________ September 30, 2016 _________

Newly Extended Thornapple Trail

Earlier this summer, we read about how they were going to extend a bike trail that we’ve taken a couple of times.  They were talking about adding six bridges and a mile of trail, according to the article I read.  You can probably guess what I thought: that it would be great to get out and try it, right?  And you’d be right!  But my imagination is… okay, I have high heels and high standards, both.  And when they said six bridges, I started getting excited about seeing these bridges, the variety and uniqueness of them…

Ha.   Hahahahaha.  Please tell me to refrain from thinking such thoughts, k?

First, there’s no parking at the end of the new trail… it starts in the middle of absolute nowhere.  So we parked in a business lot (closed on a Sunday night, anyhow), and rode three quarters of a mile to the trail on the road.  I’m not a fan of biking on roads.  Just… for the record.  And people on that road drive FAST.

img_7903-444x333Beginning of the trail.  Getting there was not my happy thing.

img_7905-416x555Waterfall!  Actually, it was drainage from a factory, with growth and rocks enough to hide the man-made part of things.  It was very pretty, actually.  Considering.  And suspending reality, of course.

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The new bridges.  You can see two of them, in this pictures.  They’re alllll the same, and they’re allll made out of flat, plain, boring old boards and posts.  Every. Single. One of them.  Y’know, people just don’t take pride in what they do anymore.  It used to be that if someone was going to make something for enjoyment, they’d make it appealing, both to the eye and the ear and the environment it’s in…

Brian says they paid extreme amounts of money to do what they did, and I should just be quiet.  ((<< Pretty much.))  But honestly – it was a railway run, so it was already leveled and graded and ready to go, all they had to do was slap down blacktop and put across the old tressel frames board-bridges.  There’s no reason it should cost extreme amounts of money to do that.  I just… I’m sick to death of price gouging and nobody being able to afford a job well done – so we get a job done, basically.  It sucks.

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Along the trail, we got to see some new things.  This is the new boat launch for kayaks and canoes on the river.  It’s even handicap accessible, which is really kewl, but I think the push rails would be good for anyone trying to launch.  (I suppose that cost the other arm and leg, and the township is armless and legless, now…?  Figures.

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The trail runs right through the village of Middleville, which I haven’t spent any time in, before.  It looks cute, though.  Well… the downtown part tries to look cute.  I think the citizens are trying to thwart it, though.  Brian saw a Mexican restaurant.  We’re in need of a really good Mexican restaurant, and so we thought we’d at least try it while we were there.  It was closed.  At 7pm on a Sunday night.  Apparently they don’t want business?  (<< I thought only Russ’ was closed on Sundays, and that’s because they’re Jee-zus Dutchies…?)  We didn’t end up eating Mexican, obviously.

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Brian says they put ice in this pavilion in winter for people to skate.  I’d think people would slam into brick posts, but maybe that’s just me referencing my own skating skills.  I think I’ll pass on this particular rink, thanks.

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The trail goes right past the dam.
If you take the picture from just the right angle, it’s real purty, too.

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On the way out the other side of the village,
the trail runs along the Thornapple River.  Very scenic and nice.

img_7921-333x444Flora and Fauna… and, erm, Feathers abound.
I try very hard not to think about the snake population.

img_7922-555x370Care to count turtles?  (Psst.  Fifteen on this log.  Two more on another.)

img_7931-555x365Muskrat.  There were two of them playing,
but when one surfaced, the other went under.  I have luck like that.

img_7933-555x416Metal-eating tree.  Om-nom-nom.

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Pretty… but very difficult to photograph from a distance.

The trail used to be a nine-mile bike ride, and with the addition it’s twelve (including our commute to the trail on the road).  It’s flat as a pancake once you’re beyond the new section, too (<< that has to curve around property, and has a hill).  But it’s a nice ride, with lots to see and absorb.  If you like going six miles in one direction, and then turning around to go back the six miles you already came.  I’m personally not a huge fan of rail-trails – I like loops that take me back to where I started.  But this was… nice.  Not as nice as it would’ve been if the bridges had variety… and there’d been no road riding and…

It was nice.  Let’s leave it at that.

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