July 19, 2006

E.T.'s bike in Longview Park?

I don't know why or how I stumble across stuff like this, but I'm kinda glad I do.
The latest oddity was pointed out to me by some kids at Rock Island's very nice Whitewater Junction water park.

While escaping the blazing sun by seeking some shade up on one of the surrounding hills, some kids said there was a bike in the tree just behind me. That's enough to make me look, (hell, anything is. I'm curious to a fault) and I tried to see what they were talking about.

I didn't see anything as I scanned up the nearby trees. I had to ask where it was and follow their pointed fingers. I tracked up the trunk of the tree, up, and up, and up, and then up some more. Finally, there is was. A ten speed road bike firmly planted in the tree about 40 feet up!!!

Click on images to see them better.

Of course, the first thing that escaped my lips was, "How'd it get there?"

I got various responses, but the first, and most plausible, considering my companions, was that E.T. crashed there. (the basket must have blown away in a storm).

I truly have no explanation for how a bike could get lodged in a tree far beyond a height any mere human could throw it.

My best guess was that someone probably ditched the bike in the crotch of the tree, maybe putting it up about 6 ft off the ground at the time, and the spot was so secluded that no one noticed it as the tree continued to grow, finally resulting in the bike being up where only birds could enjoy it.

I still have no explanation for how it was so firmly attached that it could stay fixed in the tree through strong winds and storms. It's not hanging on anything, and appears to be lodged between two branches of the tree with the front fork dug into one of them.

And maybe the most baffling thing to me, how did anyone even notice that it was up there? Apparently, all these kids knew about it somehow, but I'd have never noticed it in a thousand years.

After all, you usually don't see bicycles 40 feet up in a tree, but now I have. And so have you.

P.S. I've seen two other weird things in the past few months, but alas, I didn't have my camera handy.

One was a HUGE dark blue replica of one of those folding camp chairs that are so popular. It was sitting in the front yard of a house on the north side of the 3600 block of 12th Ave. in Moline. With no exageration, the top of the back of the chair was higher than the gutters of the house, and the seat was probably 6-7 feet off the ground! I'd guess 15 people could fit on it comfortably.

I can only speculate that it may have been a promotional thing from the chair manufacturer that this person got hold of somehow. (Or maybe it was Paul Bunyan's camping chair?)

I was so impressed that later that night, I made a special trip with my camera to try to get a shot of it to share, but, as luck would have it, they'd already taken it down for some reason. I keep checking every time I'm in the area, but alas, it hasn't appeared again. (I'm pretty sure I wasn't hallucinating, the person I was with saw it too. Anyone else happen to notice it?)

The other was a canary yellow Camero, maybe around an '89, which some industrious wrench jockey had put on a jacked-up 4x4 truck frame. It was up so high and had such huge tires that you'd literally have to use a step-ladder to get in or out.

It was parked for sale in an East Moline parking lot, but that too, had disappeared by the time I returned to get a shot a few days later.


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