Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spring 2011

Spring 2011
The important winter season is past as well as the adventure that was Mark and Katie's wedding. They were married at a beautiful private beachfront property south of Makena and everything was perfect and wonderful from the party at our house, through the sunset cruise rehearsal dinner, to the weather that afternoon, right down to the gorgeous sunset and mai-tais. Then the earth shook causing a huge tsunami in Japan and a warning and coastal evacuation of low lying areas on Maui from the end of the reception until early the next morning. Mark and Katie had three people with them in their hotel room for the wedding night and we had a house full of wedding guests that couldn't go back to their beachfront condo's. There was little damage on Maui from the six foot tsunami that affected mostly the north shores and things were soon back to normal. All of our many guests have gone home now, and we're focused on our trip this summer. We finally have airline reservations and car rental lined up, so we can start putting together a schedule that is meaningful. Here's how it's going to go and pay attention because there'll be a quiz later:

Fly into Detroit May 29th for a week of visiting and packing the car with our toys and camping equipment.
Road-trip toward Denver by way of some friends places in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.
Camping etc. near Rocky Mountain National Park and to visit daughter, Michelle.
Camping near Yellowstone National Park (Camping in National parks is limited to rustic sites only, and Cheri is an "electric lights and hot shower required" kind of camper.)
Road-trip back to Minneapolis to hang with Mark and Katie and to visit friends.
Fourth of July with Katie's family at the Brown family lake estate.
Ferry ride across Lake Michigan and back to Hemlock for a delayed Beyersdorf wedding reception (7/15) and a Cornish wedding in Lansing (7/16).
A week watching freighters and enjoying a house on Drummond Island, Michigan.
Send Cheri back to work on Maui (7/26), while i enjoy a bike tour in Michigan.
8/6 - Life of leisure is over.
None of this is cast in stone as yet, but is a pretty good estimate for right now. If you have suggestions, now is the time. Thnks for tuning in, and I'll talk to you again in a month or so. Aloha.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Road West - 2011

Air Travel – Avoid at All Costs
Thursday, June 2, 2011
We had a real bad time in Chicago on the way to Detroit. The flight from Maui to Dallas, and then Dallas to Chicago were the usual, uncomfortable but bearable to get where we wanted to go. Our first choice would have been to skip Chicago all together and fly Dallas-Detroit, but the vagaries of airfare pricing sent us to O'Hare and we got stuck.
A huge thunderstorm rolled in an hour after we arrived, two hours before we should have left, and soon planes couldn't get where they were supposed to be and pilots were stuck two hundreds miles, or two hundred yards, from their next assignment, and everything went to hell in a hand-basket. Our flight was cancelled and we were standby on two others ten minutes apart (gate-to-gate) so I sat at one and Cheri the other as they delayed first this one and then the other all through the day and into the night. We finally decided to pack it in and spend our own money on a good night's sleep at the Hilton. Great decision since they cancelled both flights eventually and American didn't give away any vouchers.
We had a nice time at the hotel, and the line was out the door thirty minutes after we registered, so one thing went right that day. The next day we thought we were in for more of the same but we finally got on the plane and into Detroit. I hadn't called about the rental car and who knows how much that might cost me at the end of the trip, but they had the vehicle we wanted and we made our get-away to the next night-mare.
We were to visit Cheri's parents, and we got there just fine but the power was out; the storm had blown down trees and electric poles and the whole town was without power, and their back yard was littered with tree branches up to six inches in diameter. We ignored it that afternoon and all went to visit Cheri’s brother in Clinton and had a nice evening, but came home to darkness and flashlights. Tuesday we cleaned up the yard and then cleaned out the freezer and refrigerator after the power came back mid-afternoon. Fun, fun, fun. All day the running joke was talking about the migrant labor all the way from Hawaii, but the joke was on us.
Wednesday morning we managed to escape Mason and got to the farm about noon. Hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes for lunch, just to remind us we were back home on the farm, then it was back to work for me to get our toys out of storage and set up the tent to sleep in since Mom had two grand-daughters also staying a few days. It’s been a nice time so far though the wind last night kept us awake and in doubt of our safety for a few hours.
Today we’ve got errands to run; Cheri needs to visit a weight-watchers meeting and I want to visit a bike shop for some parts. Cheri has reached her goal weight and is a life-time member of weight-watchers now and gets in for free, but she has to weigh in once a month to keep that status. Its okay, the meeting is held close to the bike shop, also close to Olive Garden where we had dinner last night: boy was that yummy!
It’s about 7:30AM and I’m the only one up. So I might have to get on that bicycle for a little ride; at least as far as the cemetery to visit Dad. Eighteen years gone and I still miss him. I hope as many people mourn my passing and remember me so fondly when that time comes. See you next time.

Another Storm
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Our errands on Thursday work out well all around and in the evening the families gather at Mom’s house for a celebration of Cheri’s college graduation, which was very nice indeed. We had some wine and talked and laughed just as families should. Friday morning, Mom had a procedure on her eye and is supposed to rest quietly the rest of the day so Cheri and I take the bicycles out to the Saginaw Valley Bike Trail and do the fifteen mile round-trip to St. Charles, with lunch thrown in.
Friday afternoon we pack the tent and start packing the Durango for our departure Saturday. Later in the day the bike shop calls and they have finished the cog installation on my new wheel, though I’ll keep the lighter weight wheels on for the first part of the trip, I make the drive to Bay Road yet again. Kari brings her kids over having missed last night’s shindig, and later Skip and I go out for a crop tour.
Saturday we get loaded up and leave the farm close to 10:30 and go to Hemlock to visit Kelly to repair Cheri’s manicure, and I get a haircut in the bargain. The trip to Indiana goes well with good weather and we arrive in Greentown to look around about 3:30PM. The apartment where we first lived looks the same as it did, still clean and neat though the courtyard is much nicer with the trees having matured nicely. The house we used to own at 626 Elliott Court also looks good with a new front porch and upgraded siding. It’s pleasant to see the care these properties have received since we left. We stop at Windfall on the way to Mike Floyd’s place and arrive to see him lighting up the grill.
After a tour of the house we chat over a beer and watch the hummingbirds congregate around his feeder which seems to support at least four individuals, they are beautiful in flight! Scott Gunning drops by to join the fun and we enjoy wings, brats and steak off the grill with a bottle of Oliver wine, a small winery nearby. As we’re finishing the meal the storm starts with very heavy winds, up to 70 MPH we are to hear later, and we are able to watch from the porch because of the many trees surrounding Mike’s house. The power goes out soon after the first winds came and stay out all night and the next day. As darkness falls the rain starts and we get about an inch before it slows about bedtime. Mike, Scott and I had a great time renewing our friendship and watching the storm.
Sunday morning we breakfast on more delicious meat off the grill, steak, bacon and sausage, along with some melon and strawberries, and Cheri reports that the Kona coffee made with Mike’s French press is fabulous, and she drinks three cups. Mike and Scott run off, supposedly to get some water for toilet use and are gone an hour and a half. In the meantime Cheri and I pick up branches all over Mike’s lawn, another bout of migrant labor. We leave about 11:30 and head toward Kokomo just to see how that town has changed, and then it’s off to Gifford, IL, to visit Clyde and Skip German. We get a tour of the house and town, and their beautiful church before a good farm supper of roast beef and all the trimmings including apple cobbler with ice cream. We spend a quiet evening talking and I catch up on the blog and some reservations for later in our trip.

How much longer…?
Thursday, June 09, 2011
We leave for the long road west about 9:00AM after a pleasant visit with Clyde and Skip and set the Garmin for Blair, Nebraska, about halfway to Denver. My old friend Mike Claywell has a very comfortable home in Blair, and we meet his wife, Kathy and one of their two children, Cameron, just out of college. We feast on good Nebraska beef hamburgers and later Cheri scores a ride with Mike on his Honda Gold Wing touring motorcycle. I’m hoping for an offer to drive it, but I’m not surprised that it isn’t offered, it is a beautiful machine and he is right to protect it from a rookie like me. I haven’t ridden a motorcycle in thirty years and it wasn’t anywhere close to the size of this bike.
We have a very comfortable night and hit the road about 7:30AM the next morning, find a Starbuck’s for Cheri and head west again, or still. We get to Gothenburg about 12:40PM and meet Celeste Nelms, another old friend from Monsanto, for lunch at Walker’s Steakhouse. We gain another hour at the Nebraska line, not having seen a tree in fifty miles, and enter eastern Colorado where most of the land appears to be used for grazing. We arrive at the Safeway store near Michelle’s place to shop for supper, having received the news that her apartment was a no-food zone until we arrived. She has a cold but we have some wine and pupus before going out to the Noodle Factory for dinner. She has given us her bed, and it is wonderfully comfortable, and we sleep very well indeed.
Wednesday is sunny and warm and we have a relaxing morning before going out for a bike ride to Michelle’s workplace a few miles away. She is holding down the fort alone so we wait for her to finish signing up a new resident before we can see the model of the apartment she is going to rent beginning in August. It’s a bit smaller than her current apartment but $100 cheaper and they appreciate that she is willing to move to the property she has been assigned to. She also helps me with some scanning I need to send back to Kihei. That night we go to Baker Street Bar and Grill for dinner where she has many friends, and have a very nice meal, and a free drink.
Thursday we find a beautiful bike path along the South Platte River and ride twenty miles on the bicycles before lunch at Gunther Toody’s Diner (I swear that’s the name of the place) and we drive to a winery called Balistreri’s about eight miles away. They are in the middle of a construction process but we have a nice time tasting some wine and talking to the vintner’s granddaughter. We buy only one bottle because it’s a bit pricey but we want to collect a few bottles for Drummond Island later in the trip. Later tonight we’re going to meet Michelle’s workout buddy, Darrell, and go have some sushi. We haven’t met the boyfriend yet, I guess he’s busy. We catch up on laundry getting ready for the cold weather camping we’ll start tomorrow. See you in the mountains.

Rocky Mountain High
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Michelle has Friday off to attend the wedding of the boyfriend’s friend, so we have a leisurely breakfast with her and pack up the truck. It is a pleasant drive through Boulder and on up to Estes Park and we roll into the KOA in early afternoon to find a tiny campsite, barely able to hold our two tents leaving the truck in overflow parking or in the way of other campers, but nothing else is available so we set up and head into town to lunch and buy provisions. We find some very good, very big sandwiches at a place called Great Shakes and save half for dinner later and get out groceries in Safeway and head back. I reconnoiter on the bike and then Cheri and I ride to the visitor center, which I found to be very commercial, with little information about the park, and much about town and the various businesses. It turns out that this is the visitor center for the town of Estes Park, and not for Rocky Mountain National Park.
They didn’t have any blueberries at Safeway so we have raspberry pancakes for our first camping breakfast and they are great. Michelle is supposed to come up this afternoon after work, so we go for a bike ride and go out to the Park visitor center and start planning our visit and use of the park, and buy a couple guides for information on easy hikes and the Trail Ridge Road. Michelle calls and cancels because of her cold, so instead Cheri and I go out for a wine tasting at Snowy Peaks Winery and then out for dinner to a place called The Other Side for Rocky Mountain Trout and have a very nice dinner; they have the best onion soup I’ve ever had. I’ve had trouble sleeping at night, I think, because of the air mattress we use; the little pump doesn’t get it hard enough for me to be comfortable in my favored position.
Michelle calls again Sunday morning and now she’s remembered that she had promised to accompany Corey and Logan (boyfriend and his daughter) to the zoo so she won’t be here until just before dinner. We decide to put the kayak into Estes Park Lake, and the gal at the Marina lets us do that for ten bucks and we have a real nice paddle, at one point going through a five foot culvert under the highway to another part of the lake; the views are incredible. Got the kayak back on the truck without much trouble now that I’ve done it once, and all locked down with all the straps secured; they sometimes rattle against the roof at higher speed. Michelle arrives and we have wine and pupus and I cook steak on my little gas grill along with some foil pouch potatoes and veggies and we have a nice meal. Latter we borrow a fire pit at a nearby unoccupied site and have a camp fire.
Monday we decide to drive the Trail Ridge Road which goes over twelve thousand feet of altitude and gives a wonderful view of much of the park, not to mention the many different environments represented here including sub-alpine, above the tree-line, seldom accessible by automobile. There is still ten feet of snow in some places and we take a couple short hikes in the cold and wind before hitting the Alpine Visitors Center which is beautiful and has the most shopping of any in the park. We continue on to Grand Lake and in the process come across a baby moose with her mom about fifty feet away from our vantage, and then later, a bull moose who decides to cross the road not ten feet from Cheri’s camera. We continue to see wildlife and grand views of the Never Summer Mountains on the west side of the park, and marvel again at the snow still left high up. They usually hope to open the road and Alpine Visitors Center on Memorial Day, but received snow and drifts up to twenty-two feet in mid-May, so just opened last week. We take Michelle out for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant right on the river here in Estes Park and have a wonderful meal before we send her back to Denver to earn a living, it’s so nice not to have to worry about that for a while.
Tuesday was our day for a hike up in the park and the unusual season again gets in the way as many of the better trails are snow covered and impassable still, but lower elevation routes are available and we do two shorter hikes (Bear Lake and Alberta Falls) totaling three point one miles instead of the three mile route I had chosen earlier. We do more site-seeing before returning to the KOA for some work that needs to be done by each of us, not least of which is to update this blog to keep you up to date. We’re going to do the steak and foil wrapped veggies again tonight, so I’m going to close this and get busy with the grill. Aloha for now.

Wildlife Galore
Sunday, June 19, 2011
The nights are chilly up here and I’m still not sleeping all that well on the air mattress. We’ve decided to put the kayak in the water this morning, so we paid the marina’s fees and put in about 11:00AM , and there is already a breeze kicking up a bit of chop. Cheri gets splashed a couple times, but we still get around the lake, including ducking through that five-foot culvert into the south channel. We chase some ducks and geese and have a pretty good time. Later we drive to the Wild River Basin portion of RMNP for a short hike and drop in at the Long’s Peak trailhead for a half-hour hike up that daunting climb before getting back to Estes Park. We pick up some Rocky Mountain Brook Trout and sweet corn at the market and I pan-fry it and it is really good.
Thursday was scheduled for a bike ride before heading down to Denver to spend an evening with Michelle, but the weather is just windy and nasty right from the get-go so we just load up and head down the mountain about 11:00AM. We stop at Target for Cheri to get a CD burned with her photos to date, and pick-up a new gas grill since ours wouldn’t accept a new bottle last night. We get into Denver and stop at the supermarket to pick up supplies and I cook seared ahi tacos tonight, and we get to meet the boyfriend, Corey who I find to be a very pleasant dinner guest and we talk about motorcycles mostly; I used to race enduros and he is the retired world record holder in the quarter-mile drag bike, pretty impressive.
Friday we want to ride more of the South Platte Bike Trail that we were so taken with last week and we drove into town to Confluence Park, but couldn’t find a parking area and finally after many twists and turns, pull into REI’s huge store downtown that also abuts the path. After some shopping we head out and have a very nice ride, though it tends to be pretty industrial down by the river, then on the way back we get caught in a shower and spend half-an-hour under a bridge before continuing on. We finally got good and wet, but still had a nice ride before coming back to the store for more shopping. That night we met our old friends Don and Jackie Dolin with daughter Ashley for dinner at Lodo’s bar and grill and enjoy renewing our friendship. We were planning to drive back to Estes Park afterwards, but cooler heads prevailed and we accepted another night on Michelle’s wonderful bed where I sleep like a baby.
Saturday we return to the park about 11:00am and Cheri wants to shop, so she goes off to town and I head out for a bike ride. Everything is either uphill or down up here and I don’t go too far, but get an hour and a half in before coasting back through town to catch Cheri at the Starbuck’s; surprise, surprise. Afterward we meet back at camp for our usual lunch of turkey sandwiches on diet bread and spend kind of a lazy afternoon before going back into town for some wine tasting at the Colorado Winery and have a very pleasant time for an hour right there on the river which seems to have risen half-a-foot since Wednesday. Michelle comes up for dinner of salad and hamburgers which I had to fry because I couldn’t get the new grill to light, but they were delicious anyway topped with sautéed mushrooms & onions and cheese.
Father’s Day was to be a hike and though Father got little sleep, it was primarily due to a cough I picked up, we went through with the plan. We wanted to do the Bear Lake-to-Bierstadt Lake hike that we missed on Tuesday and against the advise of the rangers who claimed lots of snow, we had a wonderful time, even though we were racing a storm toward the end of the hike, we stayed dry. We had a lovely picnic at Sprague’s Lake, watching two elk just across the creek, and on the way home saw some bulls with big racks out in Moraine Meadow. Afterwards I needed a nap and the girls went shopping and I started to catch up on this blog. Tonight will be more wine-tasting at that same place, and dinner out. They just got home and showed me a gift they picked up for Skip, and one for me; a T-shirt with an elk and the inscription: “Here Elky, Elky.” a play on our moose-calling two years ago in New Hampshire. I’ll close now and head of to dinner. Tomorrow we leave Estes Park behind for a few days in Yellowstone National Park area in Wyoming; see you then!

Grand Beyond Description
Friday, June 24, 2011
The winery was closed so we went to a place called Poppy’s Pizza and Grill and had good salads and individual pizzas and each carried away half, while a storm raged outside including small hail, and the forecast is for more tonight. We had a respite from about 8:00 until 9:30 and built a campfire, and were just about out of wood when it started sprinkling again, and we trooped off to bed. It rained steadily through the night but dawned beautiful and warm in the morning. However there was a pond between Cheri and I and Lake Michelle in which floated Michelle’s bed; the old tent leaked pretty badly, so badly that we decided not to pack it up but just roll it up and toss it in the dumpster. We’d been talking about replacing and this will force us to do so.
Monday is a travel day and Michelle had to leave early for a doctor’s appointment so she’s gets away and we pack up and head out despite my cold. Last evening I had plotted out the distances and decided we would stay the first night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, there being little other opportunity for lodging close to Yellowstone, and we could see Grand Tetons the next morning before going on the rest of the way. We had a pretty good driving day, about an hour of bad weather and Cheri did most of the driving due to my illness, We drove through some gorgeous scenery across lower Wyoming, then came into the Jackson Valley (known as Jackson’s Hole) and saw the Tetons for the first time, still dressed in their winter finery and were blown away. Driving the few miles south into Jackson Hole, we also saw a tremendous herd of bison, and another big herd of elk along the road. We stopped and Cheri walked to within fifty feet of one buffalo who strayed close to the road. The town of Jackson Hole and our lodging for the night at the Snow King Resort were lovely as well and we had a great evening.
Tuesday morning we started at the Grand Tetons Visitor Center with a nice film introduction, and a ranger talk about the wildlife in the park. There is also a pretty bike trail that we see on the way out and we make the scenic one-way drive on the east side of Jenny Lake which also supports bicycling, so we get the bikes off the truck and take a short ride. Jenny Lake is just magnificent and its sister String Lake is a lovely stop for our picnic lunch. We decide that we want to see more of this park before leaving and forego our plans to see much of Yellowstone. We find a campsite at Colter Bay that is perfect, complete with a bear locker, and make plans for kayaking and biking on Wednesday after a trip up Signal Mountain on our way to camp. There is a nice camp store and not many restaurant choices, so we’ll cook our own dinner despite Cheri’s misgivings about attracting bears, just some soup and a sandwich this evening. We’ll sleep in the screen tent and store everything with any kind of odor in the car or locker.
We feast on blueberry pancakes Wednesday morning before driving back to String Lake to put the kayak in. The paddle around String Lake is glorious with a new and more beautiful facet of the Grand Tetons seen at each new angle. We get the kayak loaded just in time for lunch and take it (lunch) with us as we bicycle back toward Jenny Lake again, and we find a flat rock on which to dine with the most beautiful pictures God has ever painted vying for our attention on every side. This day has been what our trip was meant to be; filled with beauty and adventure, and of course, togetherness. We get some good Wyoming beef for hamburgers tonight, cooked over the wood fire, just like the mountain men use to do. The only problem in this park is that there are just four showers for the whole place, (300 sites) so the line to get one is outrageous notwithstanding that they charge $3.75 per shower, so we make do with sponge baths back at camp. Another camp fire concludes our limited time here and we’ll start the arduous trip back east and on to Minneapolis tomorrow morning with just a scant drive-through of the eastern part of Yellowstone National Park.
It rained overnight a bit, though we stayed dry and it’s a good day to break camp. We break our fast on cereal, fruit, and yogurt, then we’re on the road again. We had gotten into Grand Teton on a day they were not charging the entrance fee, but we got caught for the week-long pass just to enter Yellowstone on our way out; but Grand Tetons has been worth every penny. We made a poor decision not long after leaving the park as we drove east through the wilds of Wyoming, when we disregarded the Garmin’s instructions to turn north to Billings and I-94 when we both thought the faster way would be to continue east toward I-90 at Buffalo. The topography and road construction on our route cost us three or four hours and will make us half-a-day late to our rendezvous at Minneapolis, but we feel confidant of Mark and Katie’s forgiveness, particularly because we know that Mark has a poker game scheduled that evening too. We found a good meal at an Applebee’s in Gillette, WY. and slept at a Day’s Inn nearby.
Friday is another beautiful day though poor Cheri has taken over the cold bug that I got from Michelle, but we are making steady progress eastward, with Cheri driving, and me in the passenger seat with a blanket enclosure so I could see the computer screen to bring the blog up to date. We stopped for lunch at the Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota, a huge combination tourist trap/emporium that was entertaining in and of itself. I think every person in South Dakota was in that place when we were, but we got a sandwich and left only footprints on our way out. See you when we get to Minnesota.

Minnesota, eh?
Monday, June 27, 2011
We made Albert Lea (a city south of Minneapolis) on Friday night and had dinner in a nice place called Trumbles, and got the last room in the city by all accounts because of some “Red Power” thing going on (International tractors, I guess). It was only $50 including breakfast, so not too bad. It was only a few hours up to Mark and Katie’s place and we were there by 11 :00AM and enjoyed catching up with them a bit and watch the wedding video they got less than a week ago. We went for a bike ride all together to Minnehaha Falls in southern Minneapolis and rode back downtown on the train, then went out to dinner at their favorite restaurant called Café Maude and had a really good meal.
Cheri and I were up first on Sunday and walked to Caribou Coffee six blocks up the street for an oatmeal breakfast. When we got back, folks were starting to stir and we just hung out until 1:30PM when we were to leave for the graduate party of Katie’s cousin, on her Mom’s side, and Cheri and I had been invited to come along. Her Uncle Rick and Aunt Linda have a lovely house in Coon Rapids and there was good food and drink and conversation until about 6:00PM when we headed back to the city and grilled chicken wings and teriyaki steak for sandwiches, one of our favorites. We had a great time together and slept well on the airbed on their living room floor.
Monday was another travel day and by 10:00AM we were on the road again for Bemidji to camp and visit some old friends from church that moved there years ago and we haven’t seen for quite a while, Mark and Vickie Wangberg. We had to stop enroute to shop for a new tent, and found a Gander Mountain in Maple Grove and bought one. It’s only eight by ten and Cheri is accustomed to bigger, but I impressed on her that the problems we encountered with the last one were exacerbated by larger size (difficulty in assembly and rain-proofing). We arrived in the beautiful park about 3:00PM, got set up and went back to town for supplies. I cooked a nice spaghetti dinner here at camp before we called Wangbergs and made plans for the next day. I’ll go for a ride in the morning and we’ll meet them later in the afternoon. I’m disappointed we won’t be able to see the girls, Hannah and Katelyn, but they are both away for the week. It rained much of the time we were setting up and eating, but turned off dry and cool for the night. See you tomorrow.

We’ve Been Kicked Out of Better Places Than This!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday was as beautiful a day as it could be with the sun shinning and high seventies for the temperature. After pancakes with both raspberries and blueberries, I set out along the Paul Bunyan trail that runs seventy miles south from the park, all asphalt and beautifully out in the woods most of the time; I rode about twenty miles south before turning around. I saw some of the city of Bemidji in addition to a little red fox, and a good sized white tail deer along the way. It seems amazing to me that they have such a trail this far north, but probably it gets more use in the winter by snowmobiles that by bikes in the summer. When I got back to camp, Cheri was out so I took the opportunity to have a short nap after getting cleaned up and shaving, etc. About four-thirty we drove to the Wangberg’s home, right on Lake Irving, and after catching up a little, we took some cold chicken and salad out in their boat and toured the lakes and had dinner just floating. I didn’t realize that the mighty Mississisip’ flows north from Itasca State Park, through Lakes Irving and Bemidji, before turning southeast toward Grand Rapids, then south through the twin cities and on down. Later we boated up the Mississippi to its northern-most point before coming back to Lake Irving, and we got some wonderful pictures of loons with their young, very close to the boat. I’ve always been fond of loons and it was really great to see them up close as we did. It’s unfortunate that we’re not going to get to Itasca State Park this trip as we had hoped and had even reserved a camp site; more about that later.
Wednesday dawned clear and bright again though poor Cheri can’t shake her cold, now thinking it has become a sinus infection, so we take a very short ride out to Bass Lake and then find a medical facility for her to walk into to see about some medicine to help her, and we find a very nice clinic and the doc agrees with her and prescribes Amoxicillin. Later we go back to Wangbergs for a kayak trip with Vickie up the Mississippi and bean soup for dinner, which is very good. They have a beautiful view from their back porch that we enjoy before an early exit so Mark can get back to his office; they are leaving town tomorrow and he needs to prepare.
Thursday is the day we got kicked out. The Minnesota legislature and the governor aren’t playing well together right now and they have allowed the state to run out of operating funds, so they are closing the state parks. The one time during the year when the state parks operate at a profit, but the ranger came around today and said everyone had to leave, even Hawaii visitors, which I thought was rather rude, but there it is, and our Itasca trip will have to go by the wayside since that park is also closed, and the gates locked. We arranged with Mark and Vickie to take over their house in their absence, so we have a place to stay, but after we ride the 18-20 mile round trip into town for coffee this morning, we spend the afternoon packing up the truck and we move into the Wangberg home, which is lovely. We’ll get our laundry done and have a very comfortable camping experience indeed, thanks to the generosity of our friends.

Fireworks Galore!
Thursday, July 07, 2011
We catch up a little on the Women’s World Cup and the Wimbledon Final and get our suitcases repacked for the trip to Cushing and the Brown cottage at Pine Island Lake for the holiday. We really enjoyed the Wangberg’s beautiful house on Lake Irving for the past two days, and ate every available meal on the lanai overlooking the lake. Such good friends!
We head out Saturday morning after doing some shopping to make sure we have enough food to contribute to the festivities and arrive at Cushing to find only a post office and a few houses, where we had expected to buy ice, but we go on and close to the lake there is a bar that sells us twenty pounds of cold-in-a-bag, and we find Velda’s cottage without much trouble. We decide that we’ll be more comfortable if we set up the screen porch for our bedroom, and get that task done along with unloading the bikes, refrigerator, and kayak. Mark and Katie are out skiing and when our tasks are done, I catch a ride in the boat to watch the action up close. Katie is successful in dropping a ski to slalom a bit, while Mark still hasn’t mastered that skill.
Sunday morning, Cheri and I are up earlier than many in the group and have a nice paddle on a perfectly calm lake before breakfast. Mark and Katie also get a ride in the Freighter Racer before the skiing and tubing create too much wave action. We have a quiet day reading, napping, and watching the skiers until a communal supper in prelude to the fireworks display. There are three or four people at this lake that buy illegal aerial fireworks, one of which is Steve’s Uncle Andy, and Steve helps out with setting things off, so Mark secures the boat for us to go out on the lake for the best view. It’s a heck of a competition and Uncle Andy is crowned the champion but there were five competitors in total and three of them each set off more rockets than we usually see in a community sponsored show, so it was a tremendous show around this little lake in the wilds of Minnesota.
Monday morning, I’m out earlier than even Cheri and have a short paddle all by my lonesome on a less-perfect lake surface, and find a little cove full of water-lilies that is accessible via a three foot wide channel through the trees, which is fun, but I wonder if I’ll make it back out, the lilies are so thick. I have no luck finding soccer on the TV, so read until it’s time to take down the tent and load the truck; Cheri is hoping to get back to Minneapolis and stay with the kids one night before we camp outside the city, while I suspect it will be difficult to break away from Curt and Gail Holt’s in time to do anything but bother them tonight, and I turn out right this time. We arrive in Osakis about 3:30 and Curt is just so excited to see us that it is impossible to get away, and poor Cheri finally accepts their offer of a bed for the night rather than the long drive in traffic just to bother the kids. We take a boat tour of this huge lake, over ten miles long covering some 6,000 acres. Curt had a fast boat and we get back to their place right in town, and on the water and have Swedish meatballs for dinner with them before trying our hands at fishing for northern pike or walleye. I told them that taking me out in the boat was the same as conceding that no fish would be caught, and I was right again, unfortunately. That night the town was putting on their fireworks display so we got another helping of last evening’s entertainment, sitting out in their boat for fireworks. It was very pleasant as we went back to the house and watched a video of a concert they had gone to in Branson, MS of six brothers named Knudsen who do acapela music. It was a great show but kept us all up late.
Tuesday morning we had a light breakfast before Curt had to get out another favorite video of a comedian they had seen, to show us “just one clip” and we ended up seeing nearly the whole thing. Curt’s enthusiasm was so endearing that we couldn’t disappoint him. We finally got on the road on this gray kind of Tuesday for a couple hours driving to the campsite I had reserved in Carver Park near Victoria, MN but it turned out that “rustic” means no showers here and Cheri gets on the phone and gets them to switch us to Baker Park near Maple Plain where they have showers, matter of fact, they have the nicest showers we’ve ever seen, and the rest of the park is beautiful as well, with big well maintained sites and ice & wood available. We get set up and head into Minneapolis to see Mark and Katie and we go to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, with Kelsey along for the ride. It’s a very nice evening, and we got to watch some more of the wedding video, including my performance of “This Is the Moment” that I was pretty pleased with overall. We gave Kelsey a ride home and found our way back to Baker Campground for the night.
There are really nice bike paths around the campground and around neighboring Lake Katrina (6.2 miles), and we take a ride after apple pancakes for breakfast. Later we read and nap before going shopping for the dinner we’ll make tonight when the kids drive out to visit. Curt gave us a big filet of northern pike from his freezer and we add to that with some steaks, potatoes in foil, and grilled asparagus after fire toasted bruschetta and a couple bottles of wine. Everything is delicious, if I do say so myself, and we have a great time visiting around the campfire. They have work tomorrow so about 9:30 they are on their way and Cheri calls Michelle while I retire early.
Cheri wants to spend a day at Mall of America which is about twenty miles away and I prefer to do just about anything but that, so she takes the truck, and I ride my bike into Maple Plain to a diner that has Wi-Fi and hook up the computer to update this blog, and touch base with my team back in Kihei. Things appear to be going fine without me, understanding that this has both good and bad connotations. Mark calls and invites me to join him for disc golf and I look at possible routes to get there by bike, and I’ll probably try to join him for that. I'll talk to you'all later

Back home to Michigan
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I ride back to camp and look at the route to Bryant Park and decide I’d better leave right away. It looks like about 25 miles, but I’m going to use bike paths that tend to be slower and less direct. It’s a lot longer than I had expected and at 5:30, the appointed hour, I’m still a few miles away and I call Mark to let him know, then fifteen minutes later, I can’t find the right place and he has to come find me. His friends Jeremy and Billy are there and the course is packed but we find a hole to start on and things go well after the first couple of holes, especially when I hit a lucky toss that lands a few feet from the pin for the first birdie of the day (all holes are par-3 on this course). We play until about 7:30, not quite a full eighteen holes and Mark drives me back to the campground and we have a sandwich around the fire Cheri has going, another good night, but I’m beat.
Friday night we’re going into the city to take Mark and Katie to dinner and we have a paddle in Lake Independence in the morning. It’s nice though the lake is greenish with algae, we do see some loons and enjoy the time on the water, especially as the sun warms up and we take shelter under overhanging trees close to shore. Skip’s kayak cart comes in handy as we had parked a hundred yards from the launch. It’s back to camp for lunch and to clean up a bit before going into town. We arrived about 3:00 and waited in the skyway for Mark to get home. We walk to Target to meet Katie and go to a shop for pedicures for Mark and I, both pedicures and manicures for the girls. They have decided to try a new place for dinner called Chino Latino, which sounds Latin, but is actually based on food from around the world and close to the equator, so there are some Polynesian dishes included. The food is served family style and is great; jerk chicken, Asian ribs, pot stickers etc. We leave pretty early since tomorrow is a long day.
The big thing today is the Minnesota Reception in Coon Rapids, and Cheri and I have orders to arrive at 5:00PM to help decorate, but we take a bike ride in the morning on the Luce Line State Trail that I was on for a while Thursday. It’s a gravel surface but still pretty good for bicycling and my wider tires do well on it (Cheri's are wider yet, perfect for this application). We ride about 10 miles which is probably equivalent to 13 or 14 on pavement, and then head back to camp to rest and clean up. We’ll be packing up tomorrow for the trip to Michigan, so we consolidate the coolers into one and throw away some stuff we won’t be using and clean up the back of the truck, then head north and east for the party. Decorating takes only a half hour or so, and we go over to Christi (Katie’s sister)and Bill’s place for pizza and to dress for the occasion. Mark uses his wedding shirt and fedora, while Katie has a white dress and a bird-cage veil to mark them as the happy couple. They have a group playing Hawaiian music the first hour or more and then Mark’s friend Jayder has his band “Church of Cash” which is a Johnny Cash cover band on stage and it turn’s into a real party. They had planned not to serve any food, but Cheri and I counseled against that and agreed to finance meatballs and chicken wings for the latter part of the party and a good time is had by all though I don’t drink anything because of our need to get back to the campground which is a forty minute drive. We help clean up and get everything loaded in Mark’s truck and get them safely to Christi’s house for the night, and head home about 1:00AM.
Sunday we load up pretty leisurely after sleeping late; it rained early in the morning, but by the time we got up is was sunny and nice. We used the last of the pancake mix, syrup and fruit for breakfast and headed into Minneapolis one last time and spend some time in the pool which was just what the doctor ordered for all of us. Then about 5:40 we left for the ferry some five hours distant in Manitowac, WI. We tried a Taco John for a bite to eat (just like Taco Bell) and saw a lot of deer, one ran across our path a few seconds before we got there at 60 MPH but the Garmin took us right to the ferry. We had booked a stateroom for the extra fifty dollars and it was well worth it; we were asleep before we were out of the harbor.
Monday started early when the steward knocked on the stateroom door twenty minutes before Ludington. Cheri got a picture of our truck being driven off and a half hour later we were in the Big Boy for breakfast on our way to Traverse City to visit friends. We stopped for a catnap as it rained on the truck, then on to find Gail. Not surprisingly Garmin couldn’t find the right house because Gail had handed the phone to ten year old Jordan to repeat the address and there are 17 streets named “Incochee” something or other and that’s all we had been given. We met Gail where she was shopping and followed her to Heather’s place, a gorgeous new home and pool with four kids and we had a nice afternoon. Later we went to Nikki’s for BBQ chicken and sweet corn supper after I’d had a short paddle in her kayak.
Tuesday breakfast was bacon and eggs thanks to Gail, then we were on our way to Hemlock with a side trip into Traverse for some shopping. Back in Hemlock we mostly caught up with Grandma and Uncle Rob, then the big deal was dinner at The Farmer’s Home tavern that has been recognized for many years as the best hamburger in Saginaw county, and they are good! We started out with just the four of us, and somebody said “Why don’t we call Uncle Skip, then Kari called and was to meet us, then Kelly and Matt and their kids, so by the end of the night it was fifteen people at dinner together. Uncle Rob had offered to pick up the tab back when it was just four folks, and I think he got stuck for the whole bunch of us, poor guy!
Wednesday was a great day for rest and relaxation, and Rob and I watched the Women’s World Cup semifinals with the USA beating France, and Japan over Sweden in two good games. It will be the US and Japan in the finals on Sunday. Tonight was to be dinner out and we chose Sullivan’s, an old family favorite that we hadn’t visited in a while and is under new ownership, and we had a really good time, and good food.

Wedding Bells and Island Hopping
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thursday was devoted to getting the farm ready to host the party tomorrow, so I was on the riding mower all morning, while Rob did the trimming. I came close to dropping it in the ditch but managed to get stopped and had to enlist Rob and his truck for a rescue, but otherwise business as usual. I also set up our tent and air beds for use tomorrow when Mark, Katie, and Michelle would all be here to sleep. I’m sure we must have eaten something, but I don’t remember any of the meals that day.
Friday was again devoted to getting ready for the party, and to welcome Mark and Katie about 9:30AM, they having followed our lead, arriving on the overnight ferry into Ludington. When they awoke from napping, Rob and I took them to the Farmer’s Home for lunch and then bought some beer and supplies. Kari, Sam and Charlie were the first to arrive well before time pleading the need to leave early and we were shocked and overjoyed when Leslie came in the door, having been told repeatedly not to expect her. Attendance was excellent with a number of cousins coming to wish the happy couple well and renewing long over-due acquaintances. We counted forty people all told, which surprised me.
Saturday morning, Michelle arrived safely at about 2:30AM as expected and later I cooked sausage and pancakes for the crowd. We watched Mark and Katie's wedding video before caravanning to Mason for the wedding of nephew Chris Cornish to long-time girlfriend Aliyah Shusterman, who we know very well from previous camping trips. About 150 people gathered at the Michigan State University chapel, where Cheri and I were married exactly a month short of 38 years ago. It was a nice ceremony including both Christian and Jewish traditions with a swanky reception at the nearby Kellogg’s Center on campus a few miles away. We ate well, drank some, and danced until the wee hours before trooping back to Bill Sr.’s house in Mason.
Sunday we’re on the road again having said good by to Michelle and her whirlwind visit at about 2:30AM, and again caravanning with Mark and Katie to Drummond Island where we have rented a house for the Cornish family get-together. I listened to the World Cup Final via satellite radio and hear Team USA lose in a shoot-out to the Japanese women. Bryan and Cheryl catch us in De Tour waiting for the ferry to Drummond and get settled in with a dinner of Texas BBQ brisket.
Monday is bacon and blueberry pancakes before heading up to Potagannissing Bay for a day in the kayaks; Bry and Cheryl have their own and we rented a tandem for Mark and Katie. We take a lunch and have a perfect day on the water, just warm enough and calm as can be. Grandma and Grandpa arrive about 6:00PM and we have a nice dinner of whitefish steamed with vegetables in foil packets (similar to fish en papillote).
We have a very restful Tuesday watching freighters and reading. Friends; John and Patty show up about 10:30AM and we spend the day talking and enjoying this beautiful place. Bryan brought fajitas for dinner all the way from Texas by way of the freezer, great flavor if a bit chewy. All in all a relaxing day.

Yak, Yak, Yak, Bike
Monday, July 25, 2011
Wednesday dawned breezy and cool and I skipped my bike ride to hang out with John and Patty after a short yak-paddle in the Potagannissing Wildlife Flooding, and to help Cheri with her new pastime; to record freighters seen from the deck, trying to see the names with binoculars and looking in the book for the year they were put in service and the length. We log in a 1,004 foot long ship which is the longest allowed through the Soo Locks just up the river. We talk about driving up river on the de Tour side to Neebish Island where the shipping channel is very narrow, so you can see them closer up and eat in a bar John’s customer owns, but John decides to get back home earlier to be ready for work Thursday. Kevin, Sue, Rachel, Bill and Debby all arrive later and we have spaghetti dinner and good conversation.
Thursday we load the bikes on the truck and head to the east end of the island where there are flat roads with no traffic, and a good chance to see some wildlife. We see one deer and after our twelve miles I let Cheri drive back alone while I add another sixteen miles to the bike ride, and feel pretty good on the hilly terrain across the center of the island. Thursday is pastie dinner, and much of the talk is about the proper way to eat these delicious Cornish (from Cornwall) meat and potato pies. Bill claims to be a purist and advocates only a little ketchup on the side while Debbie and I maintain that gravy is required for the most enjoyment.
Friday is another day for yakking and we convince Bill, Deb, Rachel, and Sue to rent a couple tandems and join us (Cheri and I with Bryan and Cheryl) for a day on the water and we head to Scammon Cove to see a couple of ship wrecks, and we have a great time, and even I have a bit of a “red opu” (sunburned stomach) after. Back at the house some wine is opened and smoked whitefish dip is passed along with seared ahi before the steak and chicken kabobs that brother (in-law) Bill has prepared.
Saturday we are going to lose two families; Bry and Cheryl need to get started back to Texas, and Kevin, Sue and Rachel decide to bail out too. I’m not much for drawn out good-byes, so I head out on the bike for a few hours and return around noon just in time to see Kevin and Sue leaving. Later Cheri and I go for one last yak attack at the county park. Dinner was good grilled burgers and a very pleasant evening.
Sunday we load up and hit the ferry at 9:10AM by fiat of Northern Properties (out by 9:00AM). We stop in Mackinaw City at the Hush Puppy store where Cheri buys new shoes every year. We arrive back in Hemlock about 2:30 to unpack and swim in the pool. It’s back to the salt mines for Cheri early Tuesday so that’s the focus for tomorrow as well. On Thursday I’ll begin my short bike trip so I won’t talk to you again until that’s all done. Aloha.

The Bike Path North and West and Back
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Skip volunteered to give me a ride to Midland so he could ride the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail with me for a while, as he hadn’t seen it yet. It was perfect early; the rain had stopped and no wind to impede our progress. We started at the Tridge and rode northwest all the way to Coleman, including a tour of the Arbutus Bog along the way, before Skip turned back and I forged on toward Traverse City. There is a five or six mile gap in the trail at Clare so I have to ride M-115 to the trailhead. Then I stopped in Farwell for a Coney dog, and drop in at the same Rite-Aid store as last year to buy a notebook that I’d forgotten to pack, same as last year. The path after Farwell is great; no highway noise and enough tree cover to blunt the southwest wind that has picked up lately.
With the fifteen mile head start, I figured to make Reed City today, and would have, but fate intervened. There were a couple guys just turning around eight miles short of Evart and I rode and talked with them into Evart, particularly about the trail surface of the White Pine Trail north from Reed City. I thought that we might have a beer together in Evart, but they decided to bail and I stopped at O’Malley’s alone for old time’s sake. While I had a Killian’s Red beer, I called ahead to the Reed City Motel to find no vacancy, and no other lodging options close to my route, so I booked a $48 room with the bar-keep, figuring a shorter day might serve me better for the remainder of the tour. I went upstairs to shower and change before heading back to the bar for dinner of potato and leek soup and Irish Boxty which is potato pancakes with cheese, bacon and scallions. It’s a small room and twin bed with a shared bath, but good enough for who it’s for; I take a long walk down to Riverside City Park by the beautiful Muskegon River before I hit the hay.
I’m up Friday around 7:15 and start my morning routine, which is to pack up my shit and get out of Dodge. First stop is Foster’s Supermarket for a long john, a peach, and Gatorade for breakfast before I hit the trail. The light west wind is still with us but I enjoy the ride. There is a really nice overlook of the river a few miles out and a minute after that, I see a deer on the trail ahead. I take the advice of the two guys yesterday and turn north at Hersey to take 180th Road, aka the Mackinaw Trail, north and immediately start in the hills. I begin to think that the surface of the trail would have to be really bad to make me choose this route up hill and down dale. At Slaybaugh Corners there is a nice park and I take a break, and just up the road I come across an aid station for a ride out of Traverse City for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and the first riders are just arriving at mile 70 in three hours of riding; awesome!
At Leroy I detour to see what the trail surface is like for myself, and find that it is paved, and I ride that into Tustin where the girl in the store tells me it’s paved from Leroy into Cadillac, much nicer than the road I’d been on. The trail is great until it disappears without a trace in Cadillac and I’m on my own. I find my way through town and stop at a Mancino’s for a sandwich and eat only half of the half-size I’d ordered and save the rest. It’s 3:30 and less than forty miles left so I decide to go all the way into Nikki’s tonight. The Garmin wants me to pickup US-131, even though that is limited access, so I take Mitchell Road north to Manton, it’s somewhat hilly but not too bad and then 131 becomes available and I’m in Fife Lake about 5:15. I play phone tag with Nikki and find that she will be out of the house all night celebrating her birthday instead of welcoming me; off I go. Fife Lake Road starts out with some small hills, then levels out, and Supply Road is not as bad as I expected, just a couple big steep ones, but I persevere and arrive at 7:15, after about 12 hours on the road. I clean up, eat my left-over sandwich, and settle down to read with the ball-game on TV.
After the long day yesterday, I need one to just rest and relax and I start with a leisurely paddle in the kayak after a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. Gail and Nikki come out for lunch at Peegeo’s, and I decline an invitation to join them at Heather’s to avoid the noise and confusion, so they leave me alone for the rest of the day. I have another half sandwich left over from lunch and I supplement it with a couple brats, sans bun, that I find in the fridge. At sunset I go back out in the kayak to see if any loons show up to feed, but Daisy (the dog) follows me out into the lake, so I turn around to call her back in and leave her and Molly in the entryway of the house. When I return, I find that the dogs jumped against the doors setting the latch which I had left locked, so I was locked out of the house, no phone, no key, just my own ingenuity. I notice one window around back that is unlocked, so I take off the screen and open the window to climb inside. I go on line on Nikki’s computer to reserve a room in Cadillac for Monday evening and fill the evening the same as last night, the Tigers winning again.
Sunday I opt for a ride into Traverse City and the TART path that runs all the way up to Sutton’s Bay in the Leelanau Peninsula, and follow it about halfway out; I don’t want to abuse myself too badly, and going back through town, I’m surprised to have Nikki and Heather pull up into a parking lot in front of me, and we chat a while. They suggest a better route to the house and I make it back in one piece and stop at Peegeo’s again for lunch. Later Gail and Nikki take me to the Bayside Tavern between Traverse City and Acme for dinner, which is very enjoyable. Later a young man named Dave, that Nikki is seeing comes out and steals her away for a party, and Gail and I drive into Traverse for the free film showing of “Mrs. Doubtfire” as part of the film festival. We all go separate ways after the movie; Heather to her place, Nikki’s brood to Grandma’s, and Nikki and I to Chandler Lake.
When I awoke at 8:00AM, Nikki was up so I started packing and she insisted that she cook my breakfast; a strawberry smoothie and scrambled eggs that were very good. She left to go walk some hill with Heather, and I left to ride some alone. It went well back to Fife Lake the way I’d come, and then to Manton where I had lunch in a Subway. It was almost 1:00 and I wasn’t so much hungry as in need of a rest and to take off my shoes. There were more hills than I had remembered south of Manton, but soon enough I get to Cadillac and used the Garmin to find the road along the north shore of Cadillac Lake, then toured Mitchell State Park. It’s about as I remembered from camping here years ago, not one of my favorites. I used the Garmin to find the Rodeway motel and for a budget room, it’s clean and “good enough for who it’s for”. I grab my book and walk toward town for dinner and go on past the Chico’s Tacos to a park about a mile from the motel and sit down to read a while and look at Lake Mitchell. There is a nice restaurant nearby and I ask someone that had just exited if it was any good, and he said it was their favorite, so I went in to just look at the menu. It looked really good so I went in and ordered bruschetta and a bottle of wine, then the wall-eye with mushroom sauce and corn and potato hash. It was delicious and I stayed until the wine was gone and my book about half. I walked home and enjoyed the book some more, and called a budget motel in Farwell that had a vacancy. We’ll see how the Surrey Motel is tomorrow.
I woke up about 7:30, my usual time, and watched the news as I packed and ate two pieces of left over bruschetta (it wasn’t as good as the wall-eye). The forecast is heavy showers and winds from the south gusting to 30MPH, just what I didn’t want to hear. I venture forth anyway and it’s calm and dry along the south shore of Lake Cadillac, then onto the beautiful White Pine Trail. The rain starts, nice and gentle still without wind and I enjoy it into Tustin where I stop for breakfast at Julie’s grill. I eat only half of the half-order of biscuits and gravy, and they are definitely not up to Aunt Debbie’s recipe. The rain has stopped as I return to the trail and continue south, enjoying the cool, overcast conditions. About halfway from Cadillac to Reed City, at Leroy, the pavement ends and I continue on the gravel surface. It’s pretty smooth and my tires handle it okay. I stop for Gatorade in Ashton, and the surface gets looser and less pleasant to ride on as I get closer to Reed City. About three miles out, I notice a road parallel to the trail and transition to that route into town.
It sprinkles on and off, mostly off, as I make my way into Evart where I find Mishler’s Drive-In complete with car-hops and frosty mugs of draft root beer. I have a good Coney dog and really good onion rings with two mugs, and I even borrow a hose out back to wash off some of the mud from the trail. The bike path takes me all the way into Farwell and I have to back-track two miles to the Surrey Motel, and I wonder as I’m arriving if I’ll have to go back to town for food, but the girl at the desk calls a place called the Birchwood to make sure they were open, about half-a-mile away. It’s still raining and getting on toward 5:30 so I go down there before cleaning up and have good meatloaf and a surprising BLT soup with bacon and tomatoes in the broth, garnished with lettuce, better than it sounds. Back to the motel for reading, writing and watching the Tigers on TV, a throw back to my past as a Tigers fan.
They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’m rolling a bigger gear today, but that may just be the tail-wind for the first time this trip. I’m on the bike path a few miles, then on M-115 into Clare, and back onto the bike path down to Coleman for breakfast about 9:30AM. I get the corned beef hash omelet and it’s good, though the chocolate milk tastes a little funny, not bad but funny. I figure with breakfast at 9:30, I can forego lunch, and Mom likes to eat early. I’m guessing that I’ll be in Hemlock by 2:00 or 2:30 and it’s quarter of when I walk in the house. I get a coke out of the fridge and prepare to jump in the pool. I wish I could figure out why I go on these trips; it can’t be just because it feels so good to come home, but that may be part of it. I’m going to take the bikes into a shop this afternoon for some adjustments and a new chain on mine, and just a check-up for Cheri’s. Then I have to hang everything up in the garage and think about packing for the trip back to Maui. It will be good to get home to Cheri and the dogs, and even the folks at work, but what a great trip this has been. Thanks for coming along. Mahalo.