Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Trip has Ended....................Ferry Trip and Back Home!

Continued--Sunday, September 9 (61 biking miles, 328 total miles)

The bikers saved their longest ride for the last day.  The route today was all on roads, and it varied from nice shoulders to ones with fairly narrow shoulders.  They stayed mainly along highway 22 and made it to the campground around 3:00 pm.

The ride was beautiful…along Lake Michigan’s shore, often in view… along some inland lakes which were also beautiful.  There were quaint towns and much of it felt like Door County in Wisconsin.  The dunes along the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore were also visible from the route.  We had a couple crucial decisions to make… whether to take inland roads or keep to a busier highway along the shore (M22).  We decided it would be less hilly taking the shoreline route, and we were right.  We had several really long pulls up hills, but not one of us walked!!  Slow and steady!!
View of Sleeping Bear Dunes along highway 22

All the riders were in pretty good shape for these longer rides… nothing sore, except Bec made a bee-line for the chamois cream once she rolled into camp!

I drove to Platte Lake Campground at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park first, and was able to get two sites together—though my experience with the forest staff was not that good.  They were not too helpful and seemed abrupt with me.  When the bikers got in, they had a good rapport with the same headquarters staff, so it must have been just me……………………………..  We set up camp and then all headed to shower—the first pay ones of the trip… 50 cents for 3 minutes.
Campsites at Platte River
We headed into Frankfort about 5:00 to find the Packer game.  We found that and good food at a cute hotel called Sleeping Bear Inn.  They had a big screen TV in the bar area.  There were only a few others in the place, so while we watched the Packers lose, we were not hassled by Lions fans!  Pat was happy to find Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, her favorite wine of the trip!

We talked about not biking on Monday and spending the morning exploring the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  We needed to head for the ferry at 1:00 on Monday.  When we got back to the campsite around 8:30, it was good night John Boy, good night Mary Ellen and off to bed we went.

Monday, September 10th—no biking so the total miles biked was 328

We were up a bit after 7:00 and decided that we would pack up the bikes and the car, then drive to the area we wanted to check out.  Pat made her usual great coffee and breakfast was hot cereal with fruit—we are trying to clean out the cooler and food bin.
Rebecca was sad on Day 8 to see the bikes were going to be loaded to the car.
As we got into the car, we commented that it was starting to smell like a boy’s locker room with some of our gear needing a good hose-down!  Nevertheless, we kept the windows open and drove on.  We drove along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.  Pierce built the road, starting in 1961, and it opened in 1967.  It was a 7.4 miles with 11 stops along the way.  We checked out a few of the overlooks and saw the sand dunes as well as awesome lake views.  The drive went from dunes to cottonwood trees, to a beech-maple forest—all within the 7 mile trip. 
Views from the overlooks along Pierce Stocking Drive

We ended back in Glen Arbor and spent some time checking out the shops—everyone made a purchase or two.  We were on the road by 1:00 and headed south to Muskegon for the Lake Express Ferry back to Milwaukee.  It was a bit windy, so Rebecca is by the window with a pillow trying to forget she is on a ferry!  Alas, that strategy didn’t work… that ferry ride was horribly choppy, with 5-6’ waves.  You couldn’t walk easily on the boat.  Despite taking two Dramamine tablets and wearing seasick bands, the choppiness got the best of Bec, and she spent the last hour of the 2.5 hour trip in the bathroom.  You can guess the rest..........

Rebecca driving the car onto the ferry in Muskegon
Rebecca looks OK now by the window, but wait a bit.........
This is where she "was" sitting, but now can be found in the bathroom

We arrived safely at 6:30 pm, and spent a few minutes sitting at a picnic table outside the ship’s exit, waiting to get our land legs back.  After getting back to our house, everyone settled in to watching some TV, eating pizza for supper, and discussing the great adventure.  Bec was taking a hot bath and trying to recuperate from the ferry ride!  I have been trying to talk her into going on a cruise for years… I think this pretty well “sunk” any possibility of having those ideas come to fruition!

Tuesday morning, we got up and had a smoothie and espresso for breakfast.  Everyone got their gear loaded back in their vehicles.  Bec and I dried out tents and hung things up on the line to dry.  A couple of loads of laundry and things back in their place… now we can start thinking about the next trip!! 

Deb, Pat, Rebecca and Barb on Tuesday morning before saying good-bye

It’s a little sad to have this come to an end.  The people that shared this adventure have been woven into the fabric of our lives (Bec and Barb’s) together for many years… Pat and Deb had not met before this trip, but each of them have such a kind and gentle spirit that we knew they would get along famously… and they did!  We talked about the one that was missing on this journey… Schar.  Though she wasn’t there physically, her spirit kept reminding us that she was but a thought away, and we felt that she was keeping a watchful eye on us from above.  This whole adventure has just brought us closer as friends.  Thanks for being part of our journey!!  We hope you enjoyed some of the highlights we shared.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Heading to Sleeping Bear Dunes

Saturday, September 8—41 miles today (total is 267) :
Raining in Traverse City, but heading out on Day 6

It was raining in Traverse City, but the bikers headed out…………………..  There was a paved trail through town, though they lost it a few times.  On the west end, they followed the trail to Suttons Bay, a cute town along the lake.  As I drove along the lake to meet them, I was amazed at how low the lake was.  There were a number of boats on lifts and the water level looked to be 3-4 feet low and I am not sure how they would ever get the boat down.

When I met the bikers at a park along the lake, I asked a guy who was loading his sailboat how low the water was.  He said 2 feet and he had never known it to be so low. 
The sun is shing, but they still have their rain gear on in Suttons Bay
The bikers headed out and I drove to Leelanau State Park to get our sites.  It is right along the water and we got two sites with wonderful views.  The bikers rolled in around 3:00 and we set up camp.  There is a lighthouse on the grounds, but it closed at 4:00, so we were not able to tour it.
Camp at Leelanu State Park--Lake Michigan is on the left, just across the road.

Supper was a “must go” night—things in the cooler and tub must go away.   Pat and Deb had some pasta with butter/cheese while Rebecca and I took out the pudgy pies for grilled cheese with sausage—the only bread we have left is cinnamon, so that was an interesting taste……………..  We had a couple of games of Rummie-O before heading to bed.

Sunday, September 9

Heading out on Day 7 of Biking


Pat is always the first one up and makes the coffee!
Our view from our campsite this morning.

I am in Glen Arbor, updating the blog while the bikers are about a half hour back.  We are headed to Platte River Campground which is along Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline.  I am headed back to meet them for lunch and then will head toward the campground to get the sites.  The plan is to be all set and head to Frankfort and find someplace to watch the Packer game at 4:25 this afternoon.  So, supper will be out tonight!

I hope to get online tomorrow morning to update our last night of camping.  The bikers will ride as far as they want and I will pick them up.  We just need to allow enough time to pack everything up and get to Muskegon by 4:00 to load the ferry to Milwaukee and Home!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Traverse City--Rainy Morning

 Day 5 for Deb and Rebecca, 4 for Pat (until we got her new tires!)
Friday, September 7 (29 miles biking, total miles 226):
An early morning today……………………  It started raining about 4 am and yes, the tent was dry!  Pat was at our tent a little after 5:00 and asked if we were awake—well……now we were...  Pat had looked at radar and it was to rain all day—but, it showed a bit of a lull and she thought maybe we should pack up the car and head out while it was drizzling.  Rebecca was in a dead sleep and said she "did not want to talk about it," but decided after looking at radar, it might be a good idea to pack up.

Tents were packed up and bikes put on the rack for us to be on the road by 6:00 am. It was still raining when we found a Big Boy in Petoskey for a great breakfast.  Rebecca kept reminding Pat she thought it was going to stop raining and we would have packed up when the sun was up.  :)   It did stop raining around 8:30 when we were driving south toward Traverse City.  We found a rest stop and unloaded the bikes so they could ride into town.  Pat’s bike was low on air again, and we decided there must be something still in the tire making it flat, so she decided to ride into town with me to find a bike store.  Bec and Deb started biking from this spot at 9:00—their usual time for hitting the road. 

Pat and I stopped at Einstein’s Bicycle Shop and she got two new tires and tubes.  We drove back and met Rebecca and Deb along Bates Road.  I left and drove to the hotel in Traverse City, and asked if there was any chance to get into at least one room by noon so we all could shower.  They said one would be ready for sure and maybe all three would be ready by the time the bikers arrived—and they were!
The area Deb and Rebecca rode through was filled with fields of apples, grapes, sunflowers and many other crops. 
Rebecca along an apple orchard
I headed back to Traverse City after dropping Pat off, and took a shower—that felt so good, and it woke me up a bit.  That, along with the 4=shot latte I got while Pat was in the bike store!  The bikers rolled in around 12:30 pm after a 29-mile ride.  Minutes after the bikers arrived in the parking lot, the clouds that had been threatening started to rain.  It continued to rain throughout the day.

Everyone was able to get into rooms, shower and then we headed to downtown Traverse City for a late lunch and some shopping.  Deb got a new helmet and we had a great lunch at Mackinaw Island Brewing Company.  I think it will be an early night for everyone and will be great to sleep in a bed!

Here are the total miles the riders had each day:
Sunday—51 Miles                Monday—46 miles              Tuesday—54  miles
Wednesday—no riding       Thursday—46 miles            Friday--29 miles
I will also go back and add this to the total each day.
Thanks for following along with our ride in Michigan!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Harbor Springs

Today I am checking in from Mary Ellen’s Place in Harbor Springs-and here is the update from what has happened…………………………..

Wednesday, September 5 (no biking):
This was an "off day" for the bikers, and a morning that we enjoyed waking up from sleeping in a real bed (hotel).  We met Deb and Julie out for supper last night and had a wonderful meal—a couple had whitefish in a bag and it was yummy.  I had baked whitefish on a plank surrounded by some form of mashed potatoes—awesome!  Got to catch up on laundry after supper!

We had breakfast in the hotel and decided our camp breakfasts have been better than the “free breakfast” we had this morning.  We drove over the Mackinac Bridge—Deb drove as I had made mention that they might hear “little girl screams” if I drove…………………….  We took a ferry over to Mackinac Island and spent a few hours there.  None of us can imagine what that place is like on a summer day—it is plenty crowded for us, and this is no longer "high season."  We were all looking forward to a pastie, and found a place on the island—Millies on Main.  They had two left, so we split them.  They were OK—we all thought they were bland, and needed more spices.  Pat mentioned that they were not as good as she remembered her grandma making.  We did not even buy any fudge even though every block had 2-3 stores on each side of the street.  I did get a sample though, and that was enough for my sweet tooth.

Mackinac Bridge from the ferry
Pasties, but not as good as Grandma made!
Rebecca had her bike tire along to try to find a new tire as well as a couple of tubes.  She had two flats yesterday and the tube that she borrowed from Pat was also getting low.  The tire had a bulge in it, and caused an odd sensation when riding.  We left the tire for repair at one of the bike shops.  If you are not aware, Mackinac Island does not allow cars—bikes are everywhere, and horse drawn carriages are the other form of transportation.  After a few hours, we got back on the ferry and got caught in a bit of a downpour... though it lasted only a few minutes.  We made a quick stop at a grocery store and headed to Wilderness State Park.  We found two great sites, facing the water.  Set up camp and we really were not hungry, so supper was cheese, sausage, and crackers; hummus and chips. 

I think everyone had a relaxing day though we all felt more tired tonight then on a day when biking……………………

 Thursday, September 6 (46 miles biking-total 196 miles):

Day 4 Riders
This morning, everything was a bit damp from the humidity yesterday.  Everything was packed and the bikers hit the road about 9:00.  I drove to Petoskey State Park to check out the sites, as we did not reservations here.  The park was pretty empty, but I found a couple of flat sites with a bit of sun to dry our gear out.  I then stopped to get ice and a latte (only the second one of the trip).  I then headed back toward the bikers along 119—also called the Tunnel of Trees.  It is about 30 miles of beautiful canopied trees with great views of the lake along the way.  I met them about halfway and we had a quick lunch.  After this quick meeting, we planned to meet in Harbor Springs for some ice cream.  I found a cafĂ© to start blogging, and they came along shortly after.  Pat had a flat tire today, so we found a bike shop for a new tube.  Since we were only 5 miles from the park, I left and was headed to the park.  However, Pat's tire went flat while we were at the bike store, so Pat went back in the store and had them change the tube and check the tire.

The Tunnel of Trees on Hghway 119
Deb, Rebecca and Pat in the middle of the Tunnel of Trees 
After another new tube for Pat, we headed to the campsite, set up the tents, showered and came back to Harbor Springs so I could get some Wi-Fi to finish this post.  Before we left, a little black squirrel came walking through the campsite, with a mischevious look on his face.  We decided we needed to put everything away... then we went back into Harbor Springs.  While I blogged, the rest of the crew browsed through the cute shops and went grocery shopping.  There must be some money in this areas as the cottages along the water are pretty amazing,and we are seeing lots of BMWs, Cadillacs,  and ladies that look like Mrs. Howell III.

We headed back to find that the little squirrel did manage to make it into one of our closed plastic bins, and helped himself to the top of our new loaf of bread!!  Guess we should have put this one back in the truck too (instead of just putting our heavy water jug on top of the container)!  

Squirelly liked the purple cover and the bread inside!

Bec, Pat and Deb got groceries to make our pasta for tonight's supper.  It was GREAT!!  We made mini-meatballs and added canellini beans to the red sauce (along with about 2 cups of red wine)... also made garlic bread.  AWESOME!!  Everyone hit the rack early... no Rummi Kub tonight!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And the Rains Came............. And the Tents were Dry!

Tuesday, September 4th (54 miles biking-total is 150)
I am sitting in Java Joe’s in St. Ignace, waiting for either a call to pick up the three bikers just outside of town or that they are at the hotel.  Our room will not be ready until three, but in the meantime the tents and canopy are hanging on a tree in back drying out.  Did I mention we had a storm roll through last night?

Yes—first night of rain and the tents stayed dry for the most part—no leakage!  The campground last night was Big Knob State Forest, right along the north side of Lake Michigan.  It was a rustic site and that was after the 6 mile drive in on a gravel road!  I drove in and checked out the place as it is "first come, first serve” for sites.   By the time I headed back to pick them up as I knew they would not want to ride on the road, they were about 2 miles along.  Pat and Rebecca loaded their bikes on the car, but Deb wanted to ride in—she was close to 100 miles for the trip and wanted to reach that milestone!

The place was pretty empty, so we picked two sites and set up camp.  They did say chance of scattered showers for the afternoon.  We walked to the beach and Rebecca did go all the way in the water, while the rest of us waded. 

 On the way back to the site, there were some rumbles of thunder—but it seemed far away.  A bit later it started to sprinkle and we were glad we had the Wisconsin Badger Canopy set up over half of the table—Thanks Tony and Kate! 
Then, sprinkles turned to downpours along with lots of thunder and some lightning.  Supper was a salad followed by garlic bread—the planned spaghetti will be another night!  Pat did decide that wine is better out of a bottle than from a box!
It rained for probably close to 2 hours.  It stopped about 8 and we went for an hour walk along the road.  We got into the tents and they all seemed to be dry.  The tent Bec and I have was new last year and had not gotten wet yet—however it was dry inside this morning.  Most things were damp inside and out, which is why they are all hanging on a tree right now.  I guess it is good timing to get rained on the night before you stay in a hotel—provided everything dries out!

We loaded the bikes on the back of the Suburban this morning to take out to the road for the start of the biking day.
The bikers are doing a great job—no issues with the bikes or the bodies yet!  Tonight we are meeting some friends who are up here and going out for supper. Then a night in a Real Bed!  I am sure a shower will feel much better here too.  Tomorrow, we head over to Mackinac Island on the ferry and the plan is to all four of us to take the bikes.  The weather report is for 70% chance of rain tomorrow, so that may change.  Tomorrow night is camping at Wilderness State Park; we are driving there after the island trip.
Start of Day 3 on the bikes at the end of the gravel road and Highway 2

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Check In!

We have not been able to get Wi-Fi until this morning--so Barb is at a Hardee's in Mantisique and Pat, Deb and Beb are riding off toward out "rustic campsite" tonight--I am sure there will be more about that in a later post................

So--here is the wrap up so far:

Saturday, September 1st:
 We headed north for Escanaba by 9:30am Saturday morning. It took us awhile to get all four bikes loaded, with socks placed among the bikes to prevent rubbing.  Barb and Pat got the gear loaded early, so after the bikes were on, we were ready to go!

The car was all packed, but I am not sure Rebecca had checked the sandals she put on......

Got to our campground in Escanaba (Pioneer Park) around 3pm, and found our rustic campsite… far away from everyone else (no kids, dogs).  We anticipated a quiet night.  Eventually several other groups came in, but they were all adult, and were not very close to us.  After pitching our tents, we settled down to supper (Pudgie pie pizzas), beer and/or wine.  A Pudgy Pie-making contest was held, and Pat won.  Barb and Bec both ended up scraping off burned tortilla shells. We then made cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing in the Pudgie’s for dessert—Yum!

After a rousing game of Rummy-Kub, and using several flashlights to see the tiles during the last game, we had lights out!  Barb in her brand new sleeping bag, pillow, and thermarest (remember, Barb’s idea of camping is a Holiday Inn Express!)… 

Sunday, September 2nd (51 miles biking):
Well, true to most campgrounds, there was plenty of noise throughout the night.  We had trains (RIGHT next to our campground, or so it sounded…), loud owls, police sirens, and some loud talkers.  We all woke up and heard the commotion from time to time.  Barb however, claimed only an hour of sleep during the night, due to the noise, no cushion, and lousy pillow.

Pat, Deb, and Bec headed out on the bikes at 9 am and Barb headed back to Escanaba to find a coffee shop, grocery store, and store.   She was set to buy a mattress, new pillow and pillow case!  And she did!  We all thought she’d buy a real mattress and tie it to the top of the Suburban—however she did get an air mattress instead at Wal-Mart, along with a "real" pillow!.
Pat's bike, Rebecca's bike, Deb's bike and Barb's vehicle......................

Ready to go and riding off on highway 2 in Michigan!

The bikers had a pretty nice route, fairly flat with less than 400’ of elevation gain over the 50 miles traveled today.  We were on Hwy 2 for most of the trip, which have about 8’ shoulders.  Just needed to watch out for all of the pebbles!  Good views of Lake Michigan early, and then again later around Garden Corners.  We left Hwy 2 and rode on Hwy 442 the rest of the way (not good if any shoulders, but less trafficked).
Barb met us after 2 hours of riding to check on us, at which time we took a break, had some fruit, and then headed on.  When we arrived at Indian Lake Campground, Barb was already there and had the picnic table filled with our coolers, and other paraphernalia.  We relaxed a bit, had some lamb sausage and crackers, peanut butter, fruit, and relaxed.  The lake here is beautiful, beach is sandy, and showers were warm.  What more could you ask.

Supper was corn on the cob and cheese burgers, thanks to “Wishbone,” our cook!!  Popcorn over the fire was the snack before bed!

Labor Day Monday, September 3rd (45 miles biking-total miles-96)
Well, true to most campgrounds, there was plenty of noise throughout the night—oops am I repeating myself.  Little did we know that the noise on Saturday night was nothing like Sunday night—at least until 1:30 am and the group of partiers across from us finally went to bed! 
Campsite at Indian Lake State Park
 When we got up this morning at 7:00, we had hoped to make lots and lots of noise…………… However, we made coffee and hardboiled eggs on toast sandwiches and off we went!
The three were able to get on their bikes for day 2 and Barb headed out to restock the supplies, find a coffee shop--Hardees--and get this blog posted.
  Checking the map before heading out on Day 2!
 Stay tuned for more next time we get online--probably Tuesday night as we are in a hotel in St. Ignace--YAY!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Map of Bike Route

Here is the route we are taking!

The Countdown Begins!

We are getting ready.............................

Rebecca and I are all packed.  Pat is in Wisconsin and should be here this afternoon.  Deb will be here with the vehicle we are taking tomorrow afternoon.  Then, we can start to pack the Suburban and hope it all fits---4 bikes on the rack on the back, camping gear for four people, plus all of the personal items for 9 days--YIKES!

The adventure will start Saturday Morning as we head out and drive to Escanaba, Michigan--it is about 5 hours.  We set up camp that night at a county park--Pioneer Trail Campground.

I will update the blog with notes and pictures along the way.  Hope you enjoy reading about our biking adventure!