Working North

Two days ago i left Alex’s hospitality, today i am in Cadillac, MI.

Going back Alex networked me to Rick up in Grand Rapids. He invited me on a scheduled ride on Merrill trails that Alex built. Turns out Rick’s group turned out to be a mtn bike race team sponsored by Founders beer. They were dressed in full kit. They dropped the hammer from the get go that my ability fell short very quickly, I dropped back. Merrill is a tight twisty trail layout, kind of like a dog chasing its tail. Quite a few riders were out but there were no conflicts, at least from me. I got to were I was seeing myself from where I had been. Finished back @ Rick’s for post ride gathering. I spent the night in his driveway. Rick is a race promoter for the Lumberjack 100 and several gravel crusher races. Again more info gained and  participation on my part.

I left GR and headed to Cadillac to ride the Red Bridge portion of the North Country trail. Mtn bikes are allowed on this section. Out and back. Trail is a hiking trail, one that gets hikers to where they want to go vs a mtn bike purpose built trail. Long flowy segment. Tread was sand spiked by roots. I miss the rocks of the Appalachians.

ski slope on horizon looking east, forests & flat topography
ski slope on horizon looking east, forests & flat topography

Today I am back in Cadillac doing my wash then heading north to Bellaire. Camping where there is no internet access.

Somewhere back in IN I became the host of perhaps over 50 chigger bites mostly on the left leg with sites added to my groin area, several found the shaft of my hooter. Maybe the 3rd night after I could not sleep even w/ taking a pain med. I don’t itch as badly as 2 years ago in AR. I asked a pharmacist for suggestions to curb the itching. He suggested Benydryl for an all over relief. I followed his advice which gave me relief.

The creek did rise

I’ll see you tomorrow if the creek don’t rise. Well, this early AM a hellacious thunderstorm struck among other places, Phil’s house outside Norman, IN where I have been hosted by he and his understanding wife, Allison. And the creek did rise. Lightning and thunder then pounding rain. My skylight leaked, a new leak occurred where the solar panel wire enters the van that was only discovered by seeing water run onto my “dresser”. Lasted maybe 1/2 hour of pounding rain. I was connected to their shore power. I heard the fridge click an error code showing that I lost power and so did they. Switched to propane. I fixed my breakfast enjoying self sufficiency. I offered to fix their bfast at least coffee. The power was restored for their caffeine fix. Yesterday evening I laid on their bridge over a shallow stream remarking on how clear the water was. The downpour muddied the water and surged the flow.


Going back upstream I arrived his place Friday PM after riding Versailles trails. I spent the previous night in the state XG. That evening rain fell. By 9:00 AM riding time the skies had cleared. Nice trail system built by Alex as was the next 2 rides. 9.63 miles of dirt. Previously I rode this trail on the same path to Phil’s. Took a campground shower then headed west.


Free flowing creek:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStarbucks frappacino


At Phi’s we had 3 possible rides to do, Nebo Ridge behind his house inn the Hoosier NF, Brown County, and French Lick. We talked each other out of the first ride then scheduled the other 2. We were playing the forecast which called for Rain in some storm form.

Friday we drove to Brown County park. The back roads are even trickier than like NC’s as there are big rollers and even narrower pavement. Brown cty trails were built by Alex also. Very popular, well designed IMBA standard system, machine built. Put much effort into the 19.33 miles in pedal time of  2hrs 42 mins climbing 2156′. Another trail w/ no sustained climbs, just one small punch after another. Phil fell on this bridge last year and really smashed up his shoulder, today he was returning to the accident scene to get the monkey off his back. He rode it in each direction and the monkey trotted off into the woods looking for the next rider’s back to climb on.


Yesterday we drove down to Larry Bird’s home town of French Lick for another of Alex’s trails. We counted 5 box turtles on the trail. We did move faster than them. Nice trail. Green trail is a green level, the blue is blue ability. Hardly any tracks on the Blue.

Harvested hardwoods, not Phil
Harvested hardwoods, not Phil


Blue trail climbing out of creek waterfall
Blue trail climbing out of creek waterfall

Alex really worked to cut bench cut tread from steep hill sides. 8.25 miles climbed 879′. Very nicely conceived and built trail.


Cutting short to drive to Indianapolis to visit w/ trail builder Alex.

WAIT, there’s more

Left off heading to Wilmington, OH to a Radio Shack store to buy new charging appliances. Bought 1 for the phone / jetpack and one for the edge then put the fear of charge in each. The computer got a refill also.

Tuesday after breakfast I left other sister Lise’s house and headed south. Plan is to drive to John Bryant SP and ride their trails then drive to Caesar Creek SP for the night and ride there today. I drove down US 42 which is a 2 lane highway going in the same direction as I-71. Found the forest. Hot and humid. Ride was 8.53 miles and climbed 315′ thru tight trees. Many gloppy mud holes.

john bryant shrunktrail saturation.

Ohio State parks don’t allow adult beverages.

left there and continued down US42 to Waynesville and Caesar Creek SP. I paid for a camp spot and the free shower. Hot sleep as temp stayed in 70s. Need cooler nights to catch up on restful sleep. ABout 6:30AM sprinkles wetted the windshield as a precursor of the main stream which it was. Bummer. Skies wanted to deliver more. I bailed on the ride and headed to Indiana for Versailles SP trails.

Mohican: Rode it for the 10th time. GPS data recorded a shorter ride attributable to the dense tree cover blocking satellite acquisition. Technical difficulties were primarily roots and roots. Issue is the trails are mostly ridden in across the slope over roots. It’s the off camber angle crossing them just begged for slide out. I managed to pick my slow lines carefully remaining upright. Took a short break @ 1 hr 8 mins then rode the remaining 1 hr 52 mins straight. Again the wheels were very beneficial. I like this trail.

mohicanText in upper left corner: Muskingum… Namesake of my Alma mater

I stayed 3 nights at sister Lynn’s house in Woodland neighborhood in Mansfield. Just remarkable stately old homes on treed lots. What the economy was like back when the houses were built. No strong enough economic engine to attract buyers for the for sale houses. Mansfield is a rust belt city as it lost Tappan, Westinghouse, National Seating, Fischer Body, and Ohio Brass to name the big ones.

I am hunkered down in Versailles SP listening to rain dripping off the leaves after several down pours. May the trails drain well for a ride tomorrow.

What happens when a 1,000lb 4 hoofed animal w/ over weight rider  chews up the wet earth

chewed up horse trail mohican