Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And They Call the Wind Mariah

A short way into today's ride---Manistique to Escanaba 52 miles---we began to see a break in the clouds and a little bit of blue sky peeping through. Turns out we were trading out the rain for wind.

We bucked a headwind a good portion of the day. Mike and I took off so we could get to Escanaba in time for Mike Roon to take us to the airport to catch a 4:52pm flight to Detroit, then home to Salt Lake City. The leaders of our church were being changed, and we wanted to be there.

Breakfast at Big Boy. This is the third dressed up moose I've seen standing outside of a business.

A charming centerpiece. Do you think Martha Stewart can see the decorative potential of bike helmets?

A message to the Rain Gods... Maybe we should have been more specific.

Loren and I are twinners in our Maine jerseys

Why don't we just sit and chat a spell?

The Escanaba Airport. Our plane had room for 22 passengers.

Escanaba Standard Time?

For more photos go here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today...

But, pretty much nowhere else. It rained again on us---almost the entire day. We did have a few intermittent clear spells, but then the rain would start up again. To our left there was a tiny patch of clear sky trying to poke thru, but ahead of us and to the right of us were black clouds. Lake Michigan was on our left all day, but we didn't acutally see it very much because of the fog. I needed windshield wipers on my glasses. At one point, I was telling Joy just to follow the sound of my voice. (It was a joke, but not that far from the truth.)

Today's ride: Mackinaw City to Manistique---88 miles. We had to be shuttled across the Mackinac Bridge in the Michigan Coast Riders van. They only allow cyclists to actually ride across the bridge a couple of times a year. Here we are, giddy to start a new day.
Joy, JB and Loren in the front seat. Jeanne and Mike in the back.

The 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. It connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, and bridges the Mackinac Staits which connect Lake Huron with Lake Michigan.
And yes, it was already raining.

A popular food item in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is a pasty. Rhymes with nasty, I've yet to try one. They look to me like a cross between a chicken pot pie and a turnover, but drier. Any kind of meat can be used and a variety of vegetables. (I even saw a sign advertising bison pasties.) My postcard says pasties "taste best with ketchup and margarine or gravy on the side." I, also, saw a sign for "pasty pizza." Maybe we'll consider adding that to the Pier 49 menu....um, probably not.

Joy and I looking for a potty...and a diet coke.

When in this part of the country, be sure not to miss the Smelt Fest.

The Yoopers (folks who live in the U.P.) are very friendly.

Do you think this looks like a columbine? That was our best guess.

The rain really is getting ridiculous. To pass the time while riding, Joy and I were singing any song we could think of with rain or clouds or sunshine in the title. Some of our Top 40: "Sunshine on my Shoulders" by John Denver; "Singin' in the Rain", of course; and "Blue Skies Shinin' on Me, Nothin' but Blue Skies Do I See"---we were beginning to hallucinate. Can you think of any others to add to our medley?

I, even, remembered a poem by Shel Silverstein that ends with "So pardon the wild, crazy thing I just said, I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head."

After dinner, the skies had cleared a bit and it was really quite pleasant for a walk along the beach.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mackinac Island

But you don't say the "c." It's "Mackinaw", not "Mackinack."

Located part way between the mainland portion of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there are no motorized vehicles allowed on this island, except for emergency vehicles---police, ambulance, and fire trucks---and pick-up trucks used by the utility companies. You get around by foot, bike, or horse. In the winter, an ice bridge forms and you can ride your snow mobile across the ice to St. Ignace. Kids over age 12, after completing a saftey course can drive a snowmobile.

It's about a 20-minute ferry ride to get there. After riding our bikes almost 70 miles, it was nice to get somewhere by somebody else's power.

This weekend the 44th Annual Wheelmen Meet is being held on Mackinac Island. The Wheelmen are a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping alive the heritage of American cycling, promoting the restoration and riding or early cycles (1918 or earlier), and encouraging cycling as part of modern living. I think they sound like very nice people :)

Here are a couple of their members out for a spin on the island.

600 of them will converge on Mackinac Island. There is a parade, and a 100-mile ride. To ride that far you have to circle the island about 12 times.

The bikes with the big front wheel and the small rear wheel are called penny-farthing, high wheel, or high wheeler. I've never seen one being ridden in real life, but because the Wheelmen were gathering they were all over the place. There were lots of other kinds of old bikes, too.

Not old bikes, just a lovely picture.

Another way to get around town.

I bet the people who live here are very nice, too.

A cousin of the lilac?

Tourists are called "fudgies" here, because there are so many fudge shops and who doesn't like fudge?

Here are two tourists buying fudge now. They look a lot like Mike and Joy.

The misty, foggy view from the ferry.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rain, rain, go away!

We started the misty morning with birthday wishes for our Maine man JB. There will be 50-something candles on his cake.

JB and his wife, Loren, ride a yellow-orange tandem named "The Mango." When referring to their bike do not forget "the." You should see them zoom downhill.

Most of the morning we rode in the rain. As a result, I took very few photos today.
Then it rained harder.
Then it hailed.
Then we saw two lightening bolts.

Joy and I took refuge next to a truck in some nice person's yard. It was POURING! 

When it let up a bit, we still had about 5 miles to go before we reached the tourist area of Traverse City for our scheduled breakfast stop. We rode along the bike trail along the water front. We were so happy to make it to McDonald's. I don't really like hot chocolate, or egg McMuffins, but I had the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life, and my first Egg McBagel. Just happy to be out of the rain for a minute.

Along the bike trail at Traverse City

 Note to self:  When planning next bike trip, consider Miami.

For more photos go here. Thanks Mike, Shane, and Brad!