|After we finished in Frankfort|
|me crossing the finish line. Pitbull cheering everyone on has done this for 25 years. Alas he is moving on|
|we had a rest stop near Lake Ann at this pretty organic farm|
|chickens at the farm|
|sweet peas and the East arm of Grand Traverse Bay|
|my friend in the clear waters off the Elk Rapids beach|
|bicycle mobile in Sutton Bay|
Tandem Cidery on our way to TC. I could have tasted their many ciders with alcohol but not wise with biking. Instead I tried their artisanal sodas: ginger beer though I liked the Cherry Republic's better and a strange one that had vinegar in it
I know many of these photos are out of order but I am too lazy to make things right. We crossed huge hills out of Leland to get to the other side of the Peninsula though of course, it was mostly downhill once we got close to Sutton Bay. The weather forecasters were wrong most of the week. The night before we were told that a storm would move in right when we would be packing up and leaving, not good. But the storm turned south and we were told we'd have another day of clear skies. Once we were in Sutton Bay though with 20 miles left to TC, the sky turned black. We were on the paved Leelanau Trail by then, I biked as fast as I could but then the sky turned blue again.
Of the towns we stayed in, I liked Traverse City the least. It is busy, busy, busy. We camped next to a big noisy road, M-31, that never grew quiet. The few 'good' toilets were far away meaning portapotties and the shower truck. We ate in an ice arena that was very toasty. There was a nice beach 10 minutes away walking though the second day, we rode our bikes downtown for the biggest beach. I did not go to the downtown area this time, a 2 mile walk, less time but lots of traffic biking. I just chilled out while my friends went.
We had signed up for a fundraiser about a mile away on the Bay at a college. Sort of pricy but the wines were unlimited and tasty. There were lots of appetizers too. It was a very pleasant night sitting on the bay as the sun went down. Nice music in the background. Yeah I drank way too much and it was a long walk back.
The next day would be our warmest so we had an early start to head north to Elk Rapids. I had gone there with Steve 2 months ago to take photos of cherry blossoms. Well they all are ripe now. Lots of cherry trucks on our road that we took both there and back. I did not like that part. Plus we had bicyclists going both ways enraging the locals who would drive too close to us. I did like biking the TART trail along the water until we had to head up (UP!!!!) the hill to get to the road to hell. Elk Rapids has a very nice beach and crystal clear water. The town is very cute too but I couldn't convince anyone to stay to walk around it. I had just 2 months ago. So back to Traverse City . Lunch at a Thai restaurant across the street (hadn't had Thai since I started The Big Diet) and then on to the big city beach. I fell asleep in the shade after being in the cool water for a while. We stopped for ice cream, Mackinac Island Fudge, another forbidden substance on The Plan. After our dinner (food was supplied by the same caterer all week and they were quite good; chicken piccata and roasted vegetables, we went to a Mexican Cantina and had great Perrin's Cherry IPA ad the best salsa while various Latin music played in the background. I will remember to go back there if they send us to TC again (we seem to go there a lot on these trips). Another big rain was forecasted. Yuck. But it only drizzled a bit in the middle of the night. Unfortunately it started up again after my friend took off the rain fly and I hadn't packed yet. so thanks, my stuff is all wet and I was left to pack up my stuff and our communal stuff by myself.
What I hate most about camping is getting up in the middle of the night to pee. Sometimes I didn't have to but one night, the last, I got up twice to the horrendous portapotty. My new tent in the dark is not distinctive looking (some put solar lights outside of theirs) After one trip, I crawled into what I believed to be my tent to find someone on my side (the new tent has a door on each side to get out of) Why is my friend on my side? Why is she suddenly bigger? Why is she a man? Ooops. Sorry . Wrong tent. In Leland, they had plenty of nice toilets but not much space to camp so one had to negotiate a bunch of tent stakes and ties to get to them. Not pleasant to run into. While we were setting up camp, a woman told us that we shouldn't camp there because it was close to the hose people wash their bikes with and our tent would get flooded. Fine. We moved way far away (long walk to toilets). Later I noticed she took our spot. Bitch and disliked her strongly for the next few days. Towards the end, I noticed her breast cancer scars. Yep she is a survivor too. another woman piped in she was too. So, so common. so I cut her some slack and we became at least friendly acquaintances.
Most people were very nice. We at least had in common the ability to ride all day looking at pretty scenery. We shared our mutual travails and joys. This is the second year we 've had this ride director and she has vastly improved over last year. Most everyone was happy with her changes. Better markings, more food at the rest stops, better food. 400 people were on the ride of all ages.
The ride back to Frankfort was the second longest day. We started in the rain but it went away before we were out of TC. It is impossible to leave TC without going over some huge hill which we did. Again I did not walk. Before I became fat, I never walked except for the climb out of Marquette Michigan (3 miles straight up and I had a road bike without low gears). I biked a lot in California with bigger hills (mountains!!) but I did have a lower set of gears and I was much younger. I am in my sixties as I keep forgetting.
Anyway, we did cover some new ground crossing the base of the peninsula though I know I did some of that once by myself years ago. Pretty lakes and farms. We did the trail for the umpteenth time along Crystal Lake between Beulah and Frankfort but it is pretty.
Finished. 275 miles, 15 miles less than last year. In the early days, all rides were well over 300 miles with much rougher trails. I had energy to spare no thanks to minimal head winds and smaller body. We showered, tried to eat at Stormclouds but that was impossible as there was a nearby Art Fair and Saturday. We went to an Asian Fusion place on the water that was the only place open a few years back when Steve and I came in the spring. It was tasty. We made an unlikely stop for very good coffee in Mesick and gas in Cadillac and 4 hours later, home with no traffic unlike the stupid route I took up on 1-75.
Need to find something else to amuse myself.