Flag finial: American eagleHere in southeast Wisconsin, we no longer have the gentle, blossom-scented springtimes of my youth. Thanks to the New Weather, we now get six weeks of 40-degree fog one year, suffocating heat and humidity the next. This time around we had a hurricane or two, interspersed with some pleasant but downright chilly days and nights — not a miserable spring, but not the way it’s supposed to be. I guess I am grateful for the free water.

So much for March, April and May. Looking ahead, our weather forecast seems to be calling for a nearly perfect Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff to summer, outdoor grilling, patio living, white pants, flip-flops, tank tops, sunburn, grass stains, and weekend events.

Browsing around the Web, I see Racine has this new Market on the Square opening on Saturday morning — an idea similar to Kenosha’s Harbor Marketplace, I suppose, but located in the center of downtown instead of out at the marina. There’s also the Milwaukee Public Market to our north, and Burlington is holding its 20th annual ChocolateFest the entire weekend. I’m not a big chocolate fanatic, but that walleye basket sounds good.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the big King Tut Exhibition opens at The Field Museum. They say they’ve already sold over 190,000 advance tickets. Chicago hosts a very large Memorial Day Parade downtown at noon on Saturday, with over 25,000 participants and 250 marching units, plus the weekly fireworks show over Lake Michigan Saturday night at 10:15, and the fifth annual Bike the Drive on Sunday morning.

I have done zero cycling this year, and this weekend looks like a perfect time to finally get out there. We could take the Racine Bike Trail, which continues south to Kenosha, or Amy and I also have our own little favorite cycling stretch, on Kenosha County Road A, just west of Petrifying Springs. It’s 7.2 miles of peaceful, quiet farmland and very few cars — not really a ride to anywhere, unless you want to add a leg north into Union Grove which includes one mile of danger on Highway KR, but even the County Road A stretch by itself becomes 14.4 miles with the return trip.

Jeez, I’m already getting antsy here on the starting line, waiting for the sound of the pistol.

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