UP (Upper penisula, Michigan)

Again, the curse of free time and no internet vs internet access and friends.

Back up: Synopsis:Thurs. I finally rode the John Muir trail portion of the collective Kettle Crest trail. I camped @ Pinewoods inside the state park for a shower. Fri I drove to De Pere, WI just outside Green Bay to visit w/ friends Dave and Rebecca who own the Bike Hub. I spent 3 nights in their drive way covering 2 days of riding. I left this AM bound for Marquette, MI in the UP. I checked out the shop Dave recommended, Downwind, where a helpful and knowledgeable sales person gave me directions to a ride. I rode it. Met a local for future ride. Drove to campground. Paid for a camping spot @ Tourist camp almost inside city limits. Shower then down to  The Vierling for brew pub beer and dinner. Back to camp for night.

Thurs I drove to the John Muir TH. reader board read: trails closed to mountain bikes. darn. I saw 2 riders coming in from the trail after having ridden the closed trails. The park ranger caught them and either blistered their ears or gave them citations. He said he would evaluate opening the trails.

I sat in the parking lot. I researched oil change service. Scored 1 w/ local shop. I arrived. I was told that even though she said they worked on Sprinters she lacked the required synthetic oil and was shaky on  the fuel filter. But, she made an appointment for me @ the local Chrysler shop that used to be a Sprinter dealer. All right. Van serviced for next 10,000 miles to next fluid changes.

I dashed back to John Muir hoping it was open for a fast ride to get to registration for another camp night and eat b4 10:00PM. Trail was opened. I took off. Almost immediately I rode thru shallow, slippery mud puddles. Trail seems too wet to ride to me but ranger said OK. I do not know the back story of how the trail came to be to be able to evaluate it. It lacked soul or imagination. Got it done. At the TH a bike wash station awaited my bike and me. Mud removal required a brush from my equipment. I washed mud off my legs. I paid for camp spot b4 dark.

Friday I made the drive to De Pere. Rebecca greeted me at their shop b4 I shut off the engine. Greetings. I am visiting you on your home grounds after 2 Sedona visits.  She toured me thru their shop. This started my social visit for 3 days. I camped in their short driveway in suburban neighborhood where nobody was ever visible in the front of their house except when they mowed their front lawn . Sat AM the lawn mowers split the air.

Sat I drove Rebecca and bike to 7:00 AM start to allow 2 shop riders to make work on time. Bards Creek is right inside city limits of Green Bay. Small patch treed hilly plot of land. Rooty. Lots of little tech moves over off camber roots. Tight and twisty. Pieces of trail have been rerouted for sustainability.

later Dave told me about a retail store for memory foam as I wonder if my pad is sacked. I drove to the shop and talked comfort. I compared my pad to their new and decided that mine was as good as theirs. Avoided expense.

For dinner Rebecca treated me to deep fried perch which I haven’t had since last Lake Erie fishing trip back in maybe 1962. Nice treat. Someone else caught, killed, cleaned, descaled, breaded, deep fried: all for me.

Sunday was a 10:00Am ride @ Reforestration camp. . Seven yo Luke would be leading his dad, Tom, Rebecca, and me on his 20″ wheel bike. 1 hr 39 mins later back at the TH. Kid can pedal. we only stopped for him to drink from his bottle. Lincoln. Great kid.

Rebecca and Dave hosted a dinner party.

Monday AM came the hardest part of every visit: saying good bye. I waved goodbye and headed to the western shores of Lake Michigan. Along the way i stopped @ a roadside picnic site right on the shore of the lake. Windy w/ white caps. I took some pics. Pretty sky waves scenes.

I made Marquette and Downwind sports seeking trail info. What I knew was Dave saying this was a place to ride. Armed w/ directions I drove to the TH. I planned a route from the large trail map. I started w/ the longest climb since Pisgah. Then a rude awakening to UP woods. hemlocks w/no adelgids killing them. Tight. I scooted between rather than ride because of how tight they either were or were perceived to be. I rode the 7 mile red trail. Lots of elevated trail to avoid wet ground. Nice trail, worth riding again. I rode back to the TH then took off riding the green trail. Trail was rideable both ways but it seems that I rode uphill onto the bermed turns that allowed great downhill banked turns. Almost at the end I rider from the opposite direction and I met, He asked if that was my van next to his car. Yes I said. A local and he furnished lots of inside stuff. Seems he just returned from an 8 month road trip. We made arrangements for tomorrow same place different trails and maybe some local knowledge trails.

I drove to XG. I am camped @ a non electric site up against the border fence keeping town activity separated from us recreaters.

Back in eastern time zone again.

These trails are to ride again, maybe after Copper Harbor to the north.

Just driving

Life as seen thru the windshield of a slowly motoring Dodge Sprinter. Tues AM I headed north to WI in the heat and humidity. I drove back roads until I hit the interstates that usurped the local roads. My goal was Palmyra, WI, for the Kettle Moraine trails. The GPS sent me thru the heart of Chicago. I overrode its plan by going well around Windy City. I made El Paso @ I-39 after dinner time. I checked out city camping spots. I picked my spot behind a closed restaurant and an on going medical building construction site. B4 bed time I saw headlights in the rear mirrors. I stuck my head out the driver’s door to see a rig blocking my exit. I didn’t make out what kind of rig. It didn’t leave. I got out and walked up to the driver’s door. It was a local law enforcement person. He was running my license. I asked if I was OK. He said I might want to park @ a mega hotel chain parking lot as they did not care and that the construction would wake me up. I declined his offer. He said he would contact dispatch to report my vetting. I went to sleep in the heat comfortable that I had already been found out and approved which was almost as good as sleeping in a paid for site. I did keep the door and window closed. 75 degrees when I woke up.

Wed I finished my drive to Janesville, WI to Micheal’s bike shop for ride info. Forecast called for 100 degrees, too hot to ride even for me. I grocery shopped lingering in the cool air conditioning. I bought a forest map and set out to find a camp spot. The map was lacking and incorrect. I found the John Muir TH and searched for a camp spot that the map showed. Not there. I studied a different map @ the TH, one created by the public office. The plexiglass window was foggy that blurred the map behind, even after cleaning the glass. I found Ottawa Lake XG and made the map get me there. I paid for a campsite in Pinewoods XG. A clerk there called out the errors on the map. She selected to her the best campspot. I accepted her choice. Great spot in a deeply wooded area under tree canopy. No internet coverage. Hot night but I kept the door and window open. No weather forecast knowledge. I went to sleep on top of the covers. Some time between the awake and sleep time I heard rain drops on the roof. Cool sound. Wait, that’s rain falling and my bikes are not covered. Shit. I jumped out of bed and put on my head lamp to over the bikes. rain was falling that the tree leaves were absorbing, mostly. I crawled back onto the bed. Shortly lightening, thunder , and mass rain fell. A piece of an overhanging tree hit the roof w/ a big bang. Torrents of rain fell. I closed my fresh air openings and surrendered to the heat. The rain amount caused fear that the trails I want to ride today would be too wet and be closed.

Central time zone means 1 hour later. I am still living on east coast time.

The rain fell for just a short while. In the AM the skies were dry. Amazing that the ground showed little puddling. maybe dry trails.

Plan is to ride John Muir trails, do my wash, and drive to Green Bay to Dave and Rebecca’s shop. I found a laundromat in Palmyra b4 the trails. I did laundry while rain evaporated. A local guy visited who told me little rain fell here as the storm was to the north. The trail is south of here. Might be good.

I noticed that the trails have facility for closing them if conditions warrant. A short drive from here will reveal the conditions.

Temp is cooling to 90.

Drought conditions: I noticed as I got north of El Paso that the state was actually mowing grass. Places the corn is stunted.

Laundry done. I do my wash on Thurs., because. At Phil’s he washed my riding clothes after each ride. Today it was only one set that I wore on my 2nd BC ride. I hang my riding clothes to dry inside my van. By counting the number of shorts I know how many days I rode that week. One! that’s all. Wait that’s not right.

I have poison ivy I believe on my ankles and tops of my feet from somewhere. Itching it brings temporary relieve followed by more itching.


Driest place is in the cool shower

Sat back @ Phil’s in time for our 5:00PM post heat of the day ride on Nebo Ridge in the Hoosier NF behind his house. Maybe it was cooler. Rode in Phil’s air conditioned 65 degrees Subaru to the TH. Open the door to the riding world. Our ride took us on deteriorating dirt road to where we jumped onto the trail out to the end. Old style trail taken over from perhaps hikers, the trail ran the top of the ridge up and down, the downs were great for speed, the ups were short and gruntable. Nice time of day to be riding. 14.47 miles.

back in the air conditioned car back to Phil’s house. His wife, Allison, is working late. I offered to bachelor cook my black bean burritos and he accepted cooked and eaten at my house tempered by outside temp.

Fri night I pulled my blanket over me, felt good to sleep in 63 degrees.

Sun Phil drove us down to French Lick for our ride. Big resort & golf course. We were there for the freebies of the trail. Our 2 wheels shared the trail start w/ 4 wheel golf carts. Who had less body fat?

Another machine cut trail system consisting of 2 loops, all in leafed out broad leafed trees w/ no vistas. Short mileage but more tech than Brown County. Designer played w/ the land creatively. The trail climbed up, down, and around in a small drainage.

Phil cooling it

Our route took us by fields of corn and beans and lots of woodlands. Somewhere along the way we saw corn fields stunted by lack of rain and baked by the sun. Interesting that it wasn’t wide spread.

About 15 mins into our ride I looked down to my computer for data. Data was null as the computer was not there. Shit, fell off. I turned around and rerode out route. I found it laying face up in the middle of the trail. Karma to find it. I neglected to firmly attach it to its mount. Like I did last year on the Alpine trail in OR.

Phil and Allison continued to offer me comfort of an air conditioned bed room that I continued to decline to sleep in my outside air temp condition.

Today I bid adieu to Phil and Allison. Phil’s mom gave me a goat’s sac tomato. See the name, see the tomato.

I drove state roads to the west entrance of Brown County State Park in the Hossier national forest. I am riding by myself. My plan is to ride the same route Phil lead. trails are well signed. Choices are various loops or a big out and back that I choose that included some loops. Deserted trail except for 4 riders going the other way. Dry as seen by ridden dirt dust.

I crossed a creek back on Green Valley. I smelled dead odor. I caught motion as 2 vultures launched into the air. One returned to the creek bank. I studied what was up to discover a dead raccoon in the creek bed that the vultures were feeding on. Deep tree cover, how they spotted the carcass w/ their eyes is beyond my human sense.

Towards the end I turned the wrong way that took me back out instead of back in. I added more miles. I bailed on a fire break. Hot day, 94 degrees.

I sat parked in the shade in the park. I decided to spend the night in the XG. The registration person sent me to the furthest camp ground where the sites were in tree shade. Shade helps. 98 degrees down in Nashville 400′ below.

Tomorrow I will drive to Indy to visit Scott then prolly continue to Kettle Moraine rides. Heat is forecast to drop. I checked Spokane’s weather: day time temp was 61 degrees.

Cane Creek head set still creaks. I am seeking a King headset.