|TART trail leaving Traverse City early in the morning along the bay. Lots of sweet peas along the road up there. Rare downstate|
|First stop after huge hill: Lake Arbutus|
|Only town that day: Kingsley but at 9, too early for lunch|
|Many hills later, lunch in Meauwataka consisting of a huge cup of 2 flavors of good ice cream. Couldn't see more than a few houses|
|On the final day, cute museum in Tustin, MI. Amish bake goods for sale, so tasty|
|This is a mangle in the museum. My mom had a bigger one. Handy to iron sheets|
|White Pine Trail, final day|
|Almost done: note to self, no more photos with straps trussing the body|
This was our life for a week. We awake to the sound of zippers around 5:30 while it is still dark. I have everything I need before breakfast in a bag near the door including my huge coffee cup. I have slept in my bicycle clothes. My sandals are by the door. After the bathroom, I take my cup to the gourmet coffee lady who drives here from Florida. She was missing the first day and we were stuck with cafeteria coffee. Ugh. She has the propane burners fired up at 3 am. Fair Trade, dark roast Sumatra coffee. Yum. Then I wash the night grime off my face, brush teeth and if there is enough mirror time (short supply) I put on make-up if my eyes aren't swollen too much. Breakfast from 6 to 6:30, organize clothes and shower supplies for the next stop, take down the tent, load the truck up with our bags, get water and we are on the road by 7:30.
We get to the next camp site by 2:30 most days, find the bags (not easy..2 apiece), set the tent up (which we got faster and faster at), put all the bags in the tent, take a shower and then it's time for a 4:30 dinner. On short days, we have time to explore before dinner. After dinner, time to go to town, sight seeing, bar hopping....we were usually back before dark. And I was usually so tired, I never saw a sunset the whole week though I heard some were spectacular. Nor did I see stars even though I usually had to stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I slept well except for the first night and the night of the falling tent. My cushion is comfy and my sleeping bag easily kept me warm for the 40 degree nights. Voices carry. I got up to remind one man it was 3:30 am!!!One lady vetted her potential camping neighbors by asking if they snored. She couldn't abide snorers.
There were 386 riders with us but creatures of habit as we are, the same people seemed to travel at the same times. Two nice couples and a single lady in particular seemed to always be with us. Our bar buddies were varied. One night, I met a man from Asheville NC who frequently travels to Michigan. How long does it take? He wondered why I cared. I said I have a friend there that I was thinking of visiting. He asked who? And despite it not being a tiny town, he knows my friend!!!!!Small world.
My favorite companion, who I spent much time with especially in Cadillac, I will call Joe Friday Junior for his no nonsense demeanor. He is around Shanna's age and works narcotics undercover for our fair city. Lots of interesting stories. He has to master a variety of disguises to infiltrate, which given his stiffness I can't quite imagine him doing.
People were friendly and chatty. As they said, we are family for the week sharing the same ordeals and exhilarations. There were usually lectures at night but we usually were in town.
I dreaded the 5th day. A climb out of Traverse City south to Cadillac for 52 miles (made longer because the sun blinded us to a turn)581 feet to 1310 feet, half of the gain in a 2.3 miles stretch I remember screaming down with Josh back in 1997. His odometer still reads its highest at 41.5 mph (I've gone up to 45 mph on a road bike). You can be sure some walking was done up that monster.
Our school in Cadillac was on a pretty lake about a mile from town. You could walk along the lake (which we did on the way there) or go through a series of parks (the Tree Zoo? the Sound Park?) on the way back. That night's beer place Clam Lake Brew Pub. Very cute. I had some cider there. Earlier in the week, I had tried cherry ginger mead (sounds better than it is).
The last day was short, 32 miles and mostly downhill. Highlights included the Amish bake goods and the small town museum. We crossed the finish line just as they were throwing our bags off the truck. A shower, more packing, lunch at the good place and then back home.
Back home, doing a weeks of weeding, shopping for clothes for tomorrow's trip, a manicure, drying the camping supplies out and then packing them up, visiting Shanna and then Josh. The Moms' group last night on my friend's pretty farm out in the country. A cool night. We sat outside until the bugs came. I haven't been back on the bike though I have been running. I haven't read a paper in almost 2 weeks or did my silly puzzles or watch TV. Always busy. Today I will be with Naomi as she takes Maya for the 4 year check-up. Sadly for Maya, it's the check-up with all the shots and then no more shots until she is ten or so. As for Moose and Squirrel, as far as we can tell, no work has been started. If they can fix that septic field, we will revisit.