Monday, July 21, 2014

When the Polar Vortex hits the Deluge

Sleeping Bear Dune climb: the only dune I photographed. It had stopped pouring briefly

Inside our lunch place in Glen Arbor. Good food but I wish the air conditioning would have been turned off

winery a few miles short of Leland. Still had to bike so no tasting. In Leland, we had a coupon for free tasting, which we used which included ice wine. Yum.

Trying to dry stuff out on the playground

Fishtown at the Leland dock Quaint fishing shacks turned into artsy stores

Port of Leland. Ferries go to the Manitou Islands from here (we went there once)
I thought this would be the best day when I first saw the route. 53 miles of going along Lake Michigan or Crystal lake. A trip through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore on a newly paved trail. This is the area that most people think is the absolute prettiest part of Michigan. And we were blocked from seeing it back in April due to ten foot snow piles.

Beautiful scenery beckoned. I was told later that we had the most vertical feet climbed than all the other legs. How could this be as we started at Frankfort, on the water, and went to Leland, on the same water? Well people had these silly programs that keep track of altitude gains but don't subtract the losses. My activity tracker does that too. Lots of feet climbed even though I end up in the same spot. I didn't use this device as it is a major battery suck.

We were warned ahead of time that the polar vortex would hit then. How the weather people love that term! They can't stop from saying it even in the summer. I had packed an extra sleeping bag for my friend. Yep she needed it that night. We were warned about a steady rain but not that it would last most of the day and be so heavy. I did pack extra warm clothes but did I wear them when I needed to? No. Stupid..stupid Sue.

The rain held off as we packed the tent up (not fun packing in the rain). It didn't rain until I was doing the big climb outside of town. I stopped to put the rainjacket on (now my jersey was wet underneath and I would never get warm). Then it poured and poured. Hard to see. I know I was going by beautiful things but all I saw was water smears on my glasses. And the noise the jacket made going down the steep grades! At least my new disc brakes can stop when wet. The first sag was not sheltered. I froze if I wasn't moving. The second sag was in Empire where everyone tried to get warm in a gas station minimart putting plastic bags on their feet and wearing garbage bags. Yeah we were a sight. Coffee warmed me up a bit and the rain turned to drizzle. Now some how I thought the new bike path would be flat that runs through the national lakeshore between Empire and Glen Arbor. No, no, no. Signs for 11% grades. Short hills at least but lots of them and stop signs at the bottom of the downhills. We could see that the path would be spectacular in good weather but instead it was a chore. How I wished for a warm shower and fleece against my skin!

Things improved a bit after a nice lunch in Glen Arbor. Up to that point, we had very nice, smooth roads but then the shoulder disappeared and the edge was all pot holed and badly patched. Even worse, we were on the main road that goes up the edge of Leelanau and down the other and the cars, campers, etc were really close. I was hoping that the bad weather would keep people away. We did stop at a winery that was very pretty but we still had to ride to town.

We hastily put up the tent between bouts of rain. Too hastily as it turned out as the rain fly was put on in such a way it caused tent collapse. Then the much anticipated warm shower and the putting on of warm, fuzzy clothes. Ah!. Much better. After dinner, we explored the town, very pretty. Did wine tasting and then off to the bar again..the Bluebird. The rain had stopped. And except for a few minutes of drizzle, not to return for the rest of the trip. Yay!

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

One very wet day is not toooo bad. But isn't a warm shower bliss?


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