|Home sweet home for the week with one of the Moms who came with me. I did have to seal some of the ageing seams and we had one bad night that the tent failed because we didn't set it up right but it worked out even in the rains|
|Surprisingly good restaurant in Reed City we had a lunch/dinner at the first night. So good we went back after the ride. Who would have thought we'd find lobster bisque, prepared perfectly in the middle of the state.|
|stained glass windows of the restaurant|
|tunnels on the White Pine Trail|
|Lake Mitchell in Cadillac. Stopped for a latte to sip on its shores|
|Boon Michigan, the highest town in the LP at 1405 ft according to them. So far, they seem to be right. We picnicked at a party store across from this scene. Specialty? Twenty flavors of cheese curd.|
|First overnight stop: Mesick, pronounced Meesick as in Me sick of Mesick. But the bar was interesting. I went in asking for a horny bitch and was told, none of those but we do have horny monks|
|Pretty cactus flowers in a Mesick yard. Far north for prickly pear but there they are|
|lunch stop in L'Chayim deli in Beulah. Macaroons the size of your fist. We split one and took out tasty sandwiches to be enjoyed on the nearby Crystal Lake Beach|
|Our lunch view. Ten years ago, Naomi and I spent the afternoon at this beach. She was 13.|
|Embiggen (as EC would say) and you can see the name of this boat: Bite Me.|
|There was a nice trail from Beulah to Frankfort after lunch (there was an atrocious trail for 5 miles of loose gravel and sand before Beulah that my friend avoided but I lumbered through)|
|Frankfort beach, Lake Michigan. The dot in the center is my friend. Steve and I came here at the end of April and the water was full of ice balls (as opposed to giant slabs of ice we saw further north in Charlevoix)|
The ride started and ended in Reed City, a sleepy town whose industry is yogurt production (which was not given to us as it had been in the past). It calls itself The Crossroads as two trails, the Pere Marquette and The White Pine intersect there. Snowmobilers are the principal users of these trails. We were able to get the tent put up right before it poured. Things would have been dry if we were a bit more careful with the openings.
We found a wonderful place for lunch/dinner at the not so promising named place The Pere Marquette Catering Company. Nice waitresses entertained us with the history of the area and of their business. Very good food. Back at the camp, we were told that the weather service said a severe thunderstorm was to hit at 10 pm and we were to bring our sleeping bags and pads into the school for safety. As soon as we did, we were then told, that we misunderstood. We were to wait for the thunderstorm to hit to bring the camping stuff in. That made sense...NOT. This storm bypassed us but it did pour and thunder a bit. And we were treated with high winds. The tent held but I couldn't sleep for worrying about it.
All was dry and calm in the morning.
My friend had maybe trained for 50 miles total and never in her life has biked more than 30 miles. She was nervous about whether she could do this. I knew she could but figured we'd have to take lots of breaks and that she'd be walking up some of the hills. In her favor, she had dropped 30 pounds and has a good bike. She also has lots of endurance and perseverance that I have observed in the past.
This is how this turned out: she left me in the dust. And the only hill she walked was that 400 foot monster outside of Traverse City. She did not want to take breaks ( I did, both to rest and to take photos). In short, she discovered her inner bicycling goddess.
So I figured the first day, 58 miles mainly uphill with lots of headwinds, would be the hardest day. Ten miles of gravel, though smooth White Pine Trail, turned into twenty paved miles to busy Cadillac. Too soon for lunch though I had my latte on the shores of one of its lakes. We would return Thursday.
Lunch at mile 40 or so on top of a huge hill in Boon (never heard of it) Presumably the highest town in the lower Peninsula. A stop at the fish hatchery in Harrietta but all the fishies were released. Almost 60 miles NW of our start, we were in the up North, non-touristy town of Mesick. Bear Country. I didn't see the bears but others did. Wildlife sightings were sparse on this trip. Much more deer downstate where we live. My friend and I did see the eagle flying over us in Beulah.
Tent set up was in slow motion. I was beat but my friend was all chipper as the alleged hardest day (there were be harder) was no skin off her teeth. After dinner, off to the Mushroom for a Horny Monk. Then a presentation about supermoons and the night sky by the Dark Sky Park lady. I didn't want to wait for the stars to be viewed (up so far north and west, that would be a long wait) On this night I slept.