Saturday, July 28, 2018

we go rogue

As I was setting up my tent (final time: this time I got it right which was needed as it poured the next night), a plane made a huge circle above us

the harbor in Harbor Springs. In back you can see a 90 foot yacht owned presumably by the Jimmy John's owner. I looked in the windows the next day. Crystal chandeliers. As for the springs, there are several that you can drink directly from. Handy for my run in the heat on the final day

our cross state rogue route. The supported route had us go up to Cross Village and then back down. How many times have I been on that road? Too many though it seems easier going north. Our cars were back in Cheybogan where the red dot is. The west to east line, 31 miles, has only one business on it midway. We had no idea of the road conditions (good as it turned out and not as hilly as I thought it was going to be) No phone service what so ever until we got to the red dot. Still we figured if one of us got a flat (I did have supplies except for tire irons), the other one could go get the car. We did this as the final day of riding snaking in between all those lakes was going to be filled with thunderstorms, which didn't happen. So I went for a nice run along the water on the last day before heading home
Hemmingway spent a lot of time in various places in Northern Michigan. Look at his cat's paw..lots of polydactyl cats running around Key West even now


I liked this poster for a book fair in many of the windows

famous Octagon house made by the architect Shay. They were having some Shay days celebration while we were there

gardens are so lush. They get much more rain than we do

the beach from my car window

lots of fancy houses. The one on the right has a stream going through the house

On the way home, I stopped by the fish hatchery that I had passed on when I had a bike

Lots of trout

Our first night in Harbor Springs was quite pleasant. I had been trying to get along without a sleeping bag (space hog) and just use a down blanket but froze one night. I could have kept Naomi's after she left but it got warmer and she left me a sweatshirt so I was fine. Food was better here and the cafeteria ladies not so crabby. We walked to town after dinner. Lots of street musicians all around. The town is very cute. We found an outdoor bar where several riders joined us. it was nice.

All through the week, various people kept telling me I look just like so and so. I guess my bland features make me look like about anybody or there are lots of doppelgangers out and about.

We had been lucky with the weather but that was going to change. Thunderstorms and high winds were forecasted for the last day plus they were putting us back on gravel trails which are even less fun wet. And it would be a long day. Looking at a map, we saw that we could get our car a day early just going a few more miles. Turns out another 25 people had the same idea though we didn't see them while we were biking. We did see them as we drove our cars back on the same road.

We were to go up and down M-119, the infamous Tunnel of Trees considered the most scenic road in Michigan though usually in the fall when all the leaves have changed. Naomi and I took the car up it the day before. I first went on it towards the end of a 110 mile ride when I was younger (Lansing to St. Ignace with the final 5 miles over the Mackinaw Bridge) the infamous Dalmac ride..400 miles in 4 days. Steve and I had biked on it too. But once its enough.  We stopped again at the cute art gallery (my friend hadn't been there) and off we went off the map. No problems though and the road was is in good shape. We did stop at the half way point gas station for some cold gatoraid to fuel us through the last 16 miles. Then we were able to get a table in the gardens at Leg's Inn (which involves a wait, Naomi didn't have time for that when we went)  It was very nice. Our ride was over so no need to rush back, just sit and relax.

Before the rain started, I went back to town. For some crazy reason, they didn't want us parking anywhere near the school (though there was plenty of parking)  I got caught in the downpour walking from the remote site and hunkered down in my tent.  The deluge stopped before dawn. After packing up, I went for a run along the fancy houses facing the beach later going back by car with my camera. A walk in the drizzle at the fish hatchery and then the long drive to home. I did get stuck in a downpour in which we all had to slow down to 30 as there was little visibility. Fortunately the car problem I had coming up didn't repeat itself. We are thinking some sort of electronic malfunction. Everytime the orange wrench goes on (ominous sign), a code appears in the control center. I just need to take it to a code reader and see what havoc I am in for.

So another shortened ride. I've been trying to make up for it by riding a lot after I got home.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rock hunting

Naomi showed up Wednesday at noon minutes after I returned from my morning ride. Fancy crepes in Bay Harbor it is.

We walked on the pier. Clear turquoise water

who does this boat belong to?

multimillion dollar mansions surrounded the bay, some with 2 yacht garages

all northern towns have flower baskets. These were big

We took the car to Charlevoix where I had ridden to and back that morning. These are the Earl Young mushroom houses, a self taught architect. There is probably 30 of these spread through the city

She wanted to go to an inland lake, preferably Torch Lake which we had ridden by on a bike ride when she was 13. Torch Lake is beautiful, the 2nd biggest lake

For dinner, we went to Short's brewery in Bellaire. She doesn't like beer so she could choose 2 ciders. 3 beers for me.

Naomi in Torch Lake

waterfall on my path to Harbor Springs the next morning

The trail runs from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix along the Bay. Nicely paved

The next day we headed north after I dropped my bike off in Harbor Springs (only 12.5 miles ). We stopped for breakfast in Good Hart, population 10

I liked the sun filtering through the leaves

Inside was an art gallery and a tea house, Outside was a crepe truck. You could eat on the patio or on little tables near the road

cute porch

me and my blueberry, almond, goat cheese and maple syrup crepe. Note new sunglasses

drove further north through the tunnel of trees to Cross Village which has a long, fairly deserted beach

lots of rocks and clear, cool water

Up on the bluff, is a Polish restaurant, Leg's Inn, chock full of carvings and gardens

One advantage with the school so far from town that there was little competing light for the stars. Someone else took this photo. And I was up on a higher level without any lights from the school. Only my trusty solar stake. I'd get up in the middle of the night and just stare at the skies

Naomi playing with focal lengths. Crepe

And the crepe sign

my Petoskey stones
Legs Inn gets its name from the stove legs that form a frieze along the middle. It gets very busy despite being in the middle of no where

after lunch, a stop at an art gallery in Cross Village featuring northern Michigan artists. Yes I got something

Naomi came up for a bit more than a day. I had some relatively free time so it was a good break and we had perfect weather. I had assumed her route had taken her along the Bay, which is quite spectacular. Nope no water but as we headed down the long hill from hell towards the Bay, suddenly it was in view. She wanted to take a picture immediately though I assured her we would be much closer later. She isn't a map reader and relies very heavily on her phone for directions. Some problems with that: no service between tiny towns up North and her battery was dying. I since got her a car charger.

I had gone downtown with my new friend the night before to try out different beers while overlooking the Bay. Good times.  She wanted to go to Torch Lake which the phone said it was 49 miles away. Well plenty to see in between. First stop, fancy recently built enclave of mansions complete with fancy stores though the pancake house was reasonable. My bike tour doesn't include lunches and wasn't going to  include dinner that night as we were in a 'restaurant town'. The Petoskey school had particularly nasty food which they doled out in very meager servings. Fine with me as I didn't want any of it but the man who hung around us wanted a bigger scoop of eggs (powdered...yeck) Nope, one serving per person. A woman nearby told her that he could have her eggs as she wasn't going to eat them. Nope, no bending the rules. So she took them and dumped them on his plate. We have a new ride director who needs some feed back if she wants return customers. 

We walked around the harbor looking at yachts and mansions before visiting Charlevoix. Steve and I have stayed there several times in the past few years so I know where most things are (though not the mystery rest stop that the bad map wouldn't show us the way there, had to google its location). Showed Naomi the mushroom houses. Of course they have a nice beach right there (though crowded) but she wanted Torch Lake.

We went through the cute town of Alden whose bakery makes the best cinnamon buns using a recipe of my hairdresser's aunt. But as they only make them on weekends. No a muffin won't do. I did get a cinnamon bun later on in Harbor Springs though this is a 'forbidden' food. Naomi was quite happy in Torch Lake which had clear, warm turquoise water. I had my beach chair to sit on the shore though I did go in for a while.  Instead of driving back to Petoskey right away, we went to the cute town of Bellaire which we had stayed in on the 2nd ride I did with her. Shorts Brewery now is a major destination place but we got there before it was crazy busy. We had a nice selection of ciders and beers and I had an artisanal pizza. I offered to share it with her but no, it was covered with cilantro which tastes like soap to her. There is a gene for that, which we obviously don't share.

Back to our campgrounds. I had gotten up very early (4 am) so off to sleep. She was out and about until it got dark. She tried to take a photo of the stars but needs a tripod and long exposure. She was still in the tent after I finished breakfast. One thing the ride still does right is hiring a coffee lady who makes sure there is gourmet coffee out by 5:30 am. I can overlook a lot of flaws as long as I have good coffee. I brought her some very diluted with cream and sugar. It was time to take down camp so she could help me take down the tent. I was just going to ride for an hour to the next town while she went to the park on Petoskey's long bay area. I locked the bike up and up through the tunnel of trees which she never been on. On one of our rides, we had gone from Mackinaw City to Petoskey but we took the inland route (which was very sandy, now gravely). Very pretty past interesting homes, trees, bluffs overlooking beautiful water. Jutting out the farthest west is Good Hart, a great place for breakfast.  On to the beach at Cross Village. Aside from going in the beautiful much cooler water, I looked for Petoskey stones which if fossilized coral left over when everything was an ocean. For some reason they are found along the coast of Northern Michigan. We did look for some closer to Petoskey at a roadside Park the day before with no luck. Naomi amassed a pile of potential skipping stones. Flat light weight ones work the best. From her years as a fast  softball pitcher, she can spin these things to amazing length and speeds. I tried to upload a video of her handiwork Sometimes they would skip 10 times

Then back up the hill for a good Polish lunch at the Legs Inn. I had the Polish plate full of homemade sauerkraut and mushrooms. Yum.  She found even more crepes. After our trip to the nearby art gallery, I was dropped off  at the school and she went home. but we had a very nice time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Biking coast to coast

Lake Huron glimmered silver in the early morning sun

My new friend. Mackinaw Bridge is in the background but can't be seen with this camera

I posted this by mistake the other day. My watch uses GPS to keep track of where I go. I actually went further as the watch was off for a while. Starting in Cheybogan, we went up the coast (called the Sunrise coast to try to attract visitors...most people head for the West coast)to Mackinaw City. There under the bridge, you could have one foot in Lake Huron and one in Lake Michigan which Naomi and I did years ago. Then a long boring slog through gravel through very sparsely populated areas. We did stop at Pellston for lunch, usually the coldest reported spot in the lower peninsula. Finally we were on a paved path once the path turns west. Unfortunately we turned into massive headwinds. We were back into the heavy tourist district surrounding Petoskey. Slow as the wind made me, I was still going faster than the cars in the massive tourist jam beside me on the road. Then we had to turn north off the shoreline path up a 2 mile steep hill to the school. I would go up a few blocks until I was exhausted, turn on to the flat west streets to recover, tackle a few more blocks, on and on so I didn't walk. It was the only time I had the bike in the lower chain ring all week unlike last year which was every few miles.

I started very early the next morning to ride along the water to Charlevoix and back before Naomi met me

a nice paved path which going out, I had to myself 

art bike in Charlevoix

Had to wait 10 minutes for the drawbridge so rich people could go from Round Lake to Lake Michigan
in their yachts

Rest stop on Round Lake. These were actually stocked quite nicely with fruit, vegetables, peanut butter jelly sandwiches. cookies, candy, water, gatoraid. Usually they have a variety of Kind bars which I have trouble resisting but this year, just chocolate covered banana ones. Saved them for Naomi

train depot. Most of our trails were abandoned railroad lines

turquoise waters of Little Traverse Bay

In the past, we would have to take down and then put up our tents in a new location every day but they got the bright idea of staying in one place for 2 nights. When I got to our camp site Tuesday, my first job was to find my tent and luggage that had been carried on one of two trucks. I was hot and tired and pawed for a long time in one luggage pile with no luck. Backtracked to the school to see if someone knew where my truck's luggage would be. No signs, which would have been useful. Finally someone pointed on top of yet another hill. Way up there were my bags. My new friend, who rode on roads with a road bike, was there before me and helped me with the tent set up, tricky in high winds.The rain fly kept lofting, I thought it would carry the two of us away. Had to stake much more carefully. One advantage of being in the middle of no where is that there is no competing light sources so the sky was just covered with stars when I would get up at night. To find my tent, I bought a cheap solar light to place on the side of the tent as a beacon after crawling into someone else's tent last year as they all look the same.

This school had very bad food which was good in a way.. Wasn't tempted to eat much less overeat. As we were so far from town (yes we had bikes but going up that hill isn't fun and it was dangerous going down), we were shuttled by bus into town. Off to a brewery where I tried a variety of exotic and tasty beers..apricot? rhubarb?  The night before, I still had my car so I drove my old friend from last year and my new friend down for some chocolate cherry stout and their usual blood orange honey ale. Fun at night as lots of the riders end up at the bar and I made friends.

I got up extra early to ride to Charlevoix to be finished with the 44 miles before Naomi came. I made it with 5 minutes to spare (She was early)


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