|Our gray fox. It was just a foot from my friend though I was nervous about stopping given his boldness. One of our bar friends took this|
|Harbor Springs on Little Traverse Bay|
|Big white pines|
|classic cars with Minnesota Tim We never did figure out what the orange one was|
|Clear water of Lake Mullet|
We saw the gray fox within the first hour of our ride crossing our path. We first saw its long black tail. I first thought it was a large cat but it was too big. A very long tailed coyote? A cross between a raccoon and a coyote? But when we drove up to it , it was clear it was a fox but we have never seen one with its coloration. It was injured. I was nervous that it didn't bolt away from us. Later riders said it was running in circles so someone called the DNR. I see a fox maybe once a year but they are always red and look smaller. Googled image of it and it is clearly a gray fox though some gray foxes are reddish and some red foxes are grayish. Red fox have white tips on their tails versus black.
Pre-Europeans, all there were was gray fox. It was thought that the red fox was brought over for hunting purposes. Now in some parts, it seems that there are much more red fox but it could be due to their habits, they are easier to spot. Red fox keep to fields and really aren't all that afraid of humans. During one Moms group, one slowly walked across my friend's yard despite the noise we were making. Gray fox keep to the woods along with coyotes. They are able to share the same space despite the fourfold weight difference because gray fox can climb trees and coyotes can't. The gray fox is also known as the cat fox.
Other animals spotted: lots of deer but maybe less per mile than I see on my trips back home. We did see triplet fawns so that was rare and cool.Turkeys, a bluebird, flickers, no loons though I heard them again. Heard all kinds of birds that I couldn't identify or see. We went through the Kirkland Warbler Sanctuary, the only place in the world that they are found but again, no warblers.
The day we rode the 70.3 miles from Traverse City (elev 510) to Hartwick State Pines (elev 1350) I dreaded. Knowing that it was important to get some sleep that night, I stayed awake. I just could not sleep. Since most of the route was east, I thought be would have the prevailing west winds on our back. No such luck. Winds were SSE, tough on the southern leg where we had to pedal going down hill. And it was not scenic. There was a town at 10 miles and one at 62 miles. The 10 mile town specifically asked us not to stop at its restaurant. The worst point for me was at 30 miles. I was already hot, tired, and weak and discouraged because we had 40 miles more to go. How could I make it. Fortunately they had SAG wagons every 10 miles to give us snacks and water. I craved salt and ended up eating these cheesy crackers stuffed with yellow salty paste. I felt better and rallied. The last 10 miles, we had the wind on our back which was helpful. Also shade for a change. For a 4 to 5 mile stretch, I kept smelling manure. When was this going to stop? Maybe I stepped in something? Later I was told that there were several pig farms over the hills. Then we came upon miles of natural gas wells and their noisy pumps. They smell worse that the pig manure. They want to put these in Washtenaw county against the wishes of the locals. Fortunately the test wells have come up empty.
We camped amidst the pines. Very pretty and they had an excellent caterer set up dinner. Good as no one had lunch. Also they was a keg of Fat Tire beer which helped. Two groups of musicians played. Finally was able to sleep.
Still adjusting to coming home...lots of work to do here.