Monday, August 1, 2011

Short's Brewery

Skye, Andrew, and I kayaked down the Jordan River today. It was a good 3.5 hour trip at a leisurely pace. We took a little break after a bridge where Andrew and I body surfed through. Afterward, we drove to Short's in Bellaire where we met our friend, Liz, and had a few to drink. I decided to take part in 'planking' for the first time so here's my picture from that...


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hobo's Tavern

Just stopped at Meijer in Grand Haven for donuts and peace teas. Mmm! Yum! Were heading to Hobo's Tavern in Muskegon to watch the USA women kick some French butt and a celebratory drink... or two.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Almost there...

We left Warren Dunes state park this morning eager to make it to Saugatuck and only have one more day of riding. It was much cooler today, which was nice, but yesterday's heat had taken it's toll on us. The going was a bit slow today and we made several stops to refuel. On of the first we made was at a Meijer gas station (we both did a fist pump when we pulled in... Definitely made us feel at home). We grabbed a pre-made sub, some fruit and a Gatorade. T'was delicious! The rest of the day we pretty hard with the wind in our faces and our legs feeling like jello. Not to mention our hands are going numb and malfunctioning - is this a common problem for bikers? We have no idea, but hope it goes away soon. We got to Saugatuck around dinner time and as we rolled into town we were both taken aback by the wonderous smell of barbecue. We had to stop. The place that we smelled was called The Hickory Pit and while it was no Daddy D's it sure was good. While we were there we realized that all the hotels were either booked or outrageously expensive, so we decided to head for Holland. We got some frozen yogurt before we left of course.. Yum! We made it to the camp ground a few miles north of Holland just as it got dark. Another close call day. 82 miles in all today gives us about 44 miles to end tomorrow. :-) couldn't be more excited to sleep in our own bed, eat tons of food and chill with the fam!

Monday, July 11, 2011

IL-IN-MI... We made it back.

Hooray!! We made it back to Michigan. We rode 85 miles through two states! After some much needed relaxing we were ready to put Chicagoland to our backs. But when we woke up it was "monsoon" raining and thundering. So we delberated about whether to stay or go... Obviously we decided to leave. The storm had stopped and the weather report showed mostly cloudy skies. After our wonderous rest in Chicago our legs were feeling great. The biggest problem we faced was the heat. But we made sure to drink plenty of water and stopped in the shade as much as possible. We made it to Indiana Dunes state park in good time so we decided to press on. But when we got to the place we decided to keep going. We overestimated the daylight left a little and rode in the dark for a while til we got there. We used our flashlight to let cars know we were there. Not recommended! But we made it just fine and our currently listening to a raccoon rustle around in the woods next to the tent. Hope he stays in there! Two more days of riding!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Windy City

After a good nights sleep, a great breakfast and quick trip to WalMart we set out for the big city. We only had 50 miles so it was going to be the shortest riding day we'd had in a while.yay! We started off on some pretty busy roads, but found a bike path that went south which is where we needed to go. We took that to Evanston where we ate delicious Jimmy Johns. It was 8 miles from there to Surf St where Stevie, Kolt, Deanna, and Jordan live. We took the Lakeshore trail part of the way which was very busy but nice. We got passed by lots of road bikers who clearly had not just their bikes 750 miles with 40lbs of stuff on them.:-) we made it to Surf St around 6. We took showers, went to dinner with Deanna and Kolt and watched a movie. It was a not so typical night that we thouroughly enjoyed!! Took the day off today... Heading for Michigan tomorrow!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mmm!

Roof over our heads, bed last night, and waking up to choices for breakfast. AMAZING! Thanks again, Monica and Scott.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Chicago bound.

We started today headed for Milwaukee. The campground we wanted to stay at between Milwaukee and Chicago was closed due to a big storm. But we decided to head south anyway and hopefully figure it out. A little while later we found out that Ethan's cousin and family live near where we wanted to stay...about 50mi north of chi town. It was out of the way a bit but after careful consideration we decided a bed, showers and clean clothes beat all other options! We stopped in Milwaukee for pizza and to check out the art museum. It didn't take long for us to realize that We really liked the city. Got a few pics at the museum then headed for Illinois. At this point in the trip our muscles started to disagree with the extra 35miles to get there but we pressed on. It was about 80 degrees and the heat off the pavement made it feel like 90. It was a long 35 miles. But we made it! Showered, put a load of laundry in and had some delicious Chinese takeout. A great end to and very long, but rewarding day. Thanks are in order to Monica and Scott - you're generosity is greatly appreciated! Chicago tomorrow for some much needed R and R!

Give me a break...

Okay. Neither of us have a kitkat, but we are taking a break and consuming massive amounts of calories with our two candy bars. 480 for me and 440 for Skye. 26 miles to go to make the total today close to 90.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Breakfast and lunch.

Got up early and peaced out of the park headed for the town of Two Rivers. Both phones were dead so we needed to chill for a bit to let them charge. We found a place and got some breakfast. But we needed to stay longer, so we ordered lunch. Brilliant plan eh? We wanted to end up in Milwaukee tonight, but after an 80 mile day sometimes your body has other plans. Our legs were dead and by the time we reached Sheboygan we knew we wouldn't make it. Of course after a delicious lunch at the Piggly Wiggly and a good rest we kicked it up a notch. But it wasn't enough to make up for our measly pace this morning. Staying at Harrington Beach state park in Belgium. No rain fly sleeping under the stars. Glorious!

Green Bay = not our favorite

So left Oconto early and grabbed some Mickey D's before heading toward Green Bay. The ride was good and we made it to Packer land around lunchtime. We located a Subway right next to historic Lambeau Field. Sweet! We had a sub, stared at the wall of the arena and planned out the rest of the day. Once we realized we had another 50 miles to get the nearest campground we got a quick Yzerman pic for Eth then headed out. Getting out of that town stunk! Note to self and others- green bay = not so bike friendly. We finally made it out and a few hours, some tears and a few detours later we made it to Point Beach state park. We rolled in just as the sun set. It ended up being an 80 mile day. Sheesh! Very nice place btw!

Cheese heads.

Day 8. We rode from Escanaba to Oconto. It was 76 miles. Overall it was a really good day. Our legs were feeling better and our pace was increasing. Yay! The days began to run together so the details are a bit fuzzy. But we made it to Oconto just in time to get dinner made and the tent up before a big ole summer t-storm rolled thru. The tent weathered the storm well (it was $450 after all!). And the storm passed just before bed time... Thank goodness! 23 and still scared of storms? Yep!

In Sheboygan...

Here's a picture from yesterday in Green Bay. We went 80 miles yesterday and 76 the day before so our legs are tired. We were hoping to make it to milwaukee today, but a strong headwind says otherwise.

We haven't been able to post much because my phone is dying and we haven't had electricity.

Hopefully Skye can get a detailed one in tonight.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bald Eagle!

Were in menominee getting mac and cheese and pear halves for dinner later. Also got some raspberries for a snack right now.

And we definitely saw a bald eagle earlier. It was bald... and awesome. Still not sure where we are staying tonight though...


Central Time Zone

We crossed over into central time a few miles back. There was a sign for it, which is good because my phone was on eastern time and Skyes was on central and we didn't know which was right. So now we do. :-)

We have gone 23 miles so far and just stopped for a gatorade and samich. Menominee is another 26 miles still which is the spot of our next longer break. There's some bad weather around, but we have managed to escape it to this point. Let's hope we can continue that streak. Wish us luck.

What does this look like?

This was in the bathroom stall and I think it looks like a distinct creature. What do you think it looks like?

Notes to self: bring a better bike pump and get a rear view mirror for my helmet or handle bars to keep an eye on Skye.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Escanaba in da moonlight?

So we woke up at the buttcrack of dawn and headed out for Escanaba. We found a place to fill up water barely a mile from where we stayed. And wouldn't ya know?! This couple comes up and wants to know every stinkin detail of our trip. AND they took a pick of us (2nd person!). Small annoyances aside we really like that people take an interest in what we are doing. It seems that they come to respect us in a way that older ppl don't usually show younger folk such as ourselves. Not to mention none of them think we are nuts!  They love us! Enough to give us free ice cream, take our pic, give us insider info on places to stay and eat and even let us camp on their lawn. Who knew!? Anyway, we rode 65miles today to bring our total to 399. We are awesome! Coincidentally that is the number of saves Ethan racked up during the entirety of his college soccer career. We made it to Escanaba pretty early so we ate at a place called Drifters (coincidence? Nope. We feel like drifters sometimes) and showered. At the end of this blessed day of independence from those crazy tax raising Brits we watched a total of 6 different sets of fireworks going off across the bay. Great way to spend the evening. Time for bed. Wisconson here we come! -SkyEthan

For the record...

We went 69 miles yesterday and 49 the day before. We are about to take off on day seven. Earliest start yet and 55 miles to go. Note to self: don't need as many clothes next tour.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Longest day ever. Ever.

Welllll today was super long. We met this dude from Wyoming who was doing a cross country tour. If was shirtless and he clearly did not bring his toothbrush on his journey. Hello gingivitus(sp?)! Anywho we chatted it up with him about our tour and blah blah blah and said our goodbye's, but not before my bike slipped off the curb sending me flying off. Embarrassing? Yes! He came back to check on me, which was nice of him. Thennn if went on our merry way ridging along the beautiful coast of northernmost Lake Michigan. Pulled into a rest stop to pee and met another dude (who shared the same beliefs and the Wyoming guy about oral hygiene. Hmmm) who was also doing a LK Mich tour. Very odd bird but nice. We told him we'd see him in the Windy City and if took a picture of us. Weird? Then we rode and sweat and took breaks of rode and sweat and got scortched by the sun. It was one of those days where on amount of SPF was going to save us. We FINALLY made it to Manistique and asked the owner of a motel about camping. He didn't know of any place so he let us tent in the yard of the motel. Hooray! We dropped our crap and went to the grocery for some gourmet food in cans. T'was delicious! Getting an early start tomorrow so we can have plenty of time in Escanaba to celebrate the independence of this wonderful country. Til then -Skye

US-2 has our morale low

US-2 is straight, flat, and boring at this point. We have about ten more miles heading west on 2 before it turns south and we can't wait for that. We needed a little pick me up so we stopped at a little "dive" bar in gould city for lots of water, tacos, and pizza. Still have 32 miles to manistique.

Close to a milestone!

In one mile we will reach the northernmost point of lake Michigan. Cool.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lake Michigan

nothing to say. just wanted to post this picture.


Made it across the bridge

We had to ride on I-75 for a mile after the bridge to get to US-2, but were now on 2 safe and sound. 15-20 more miles of riding today.

Paradise

Just a quick post for a quick break at a public access to Paradise Lake. 7.3 miles to B.C. Pizza in Mackinaw City. It's kinda a tradition of ours to eat there. Great pizza! Not sure where we are staying tonight. Our place in Mackinaw more than doubled their price for the 4th so were going to look at St. Ignace and down the road on highway 2.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our "days off"

We've wanted some "days off" on our trip and I think were counting today and tomorrow as those. We 'only' biked 47 miles today to bring our total to 217 miles in four days. Not sure what it was about today, but the riding was much easier. We played around with drafting and had some really nice hills with the wind at our back which helped. I even got up to 36 mph today and we averaged 9.6 mph. We went from Torch through Charlevoix and Petoskey and are currently staying at Crooked River. There is only one other couple tenting here, the rest are RVers, and they have two blow up mattresses stacked... so jealous.

Tomorrow we have a short 25 miles to Mackinaw City so its another "day off." Come see us!!!!!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cornrows and Crocs.

We rode 57 miles from Turtle Lake through Traverse City to Torch Lake. We are staying with my buddy tonight so we got a chance to go to the grocery store and get some burgers and a bottle of wine to celebrate our four year anniversary. We sat on the beach of Lake Michigan at beautiful Barnes Park and watched the sun set to our right and a thunder storm to our left. Pretty fantastic day! Have a great night all!


Traverse City...

A brief stop in Traverse City for our first view of Lake Michigan! It's weird to think we haven't seen the big lake until now even though that's what were biking around. We've seen enough smaller lakes though. We filled up our water bottles and had a granola bar and are good to go. 13 miles to elk rapids for another pit stop and 16 more to the northern tip of Torch after that.


Am I not turtley enough for the turtle club? Turtle, turtle!

We stayed the night at Turtle Lake Campground, but we definitely cut it close with the sunset. We got here just before ten and had to set up the tent in the dark. We rode through Crystal Mountain Resort yesterday before being forced onto some creepy seasonal, dirt roads. One of them turned into a two track. The sandy parts of it were tough to ride through, but I have never seen Skye bike that fast before. We made it though and have 53 miles to bike to my buddy's place on the north shore of Torch Lake today. We went 51 miles the first day and 61 miles yesterday.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Change of plans... but just for tonight.

We stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom and there was a fire truck hosing down the ground because a motorcycle pulled in on fire. Odd. I swear the weirdest things happen on trips like this. So we got a five dollar sub to split and ate it at this nice little park on bear lake. Currently taking a decently long break. We were planning on heading to Benzonia tonight, but I found a cheaper place slightly further so were heading there. 19 miles to go and its on turtle lake.


Hills, headwinds, and flat tires... nobody said this is going to be easy.

We started the trip in whitehall and saw a turtle in the first mile. I thought that was a good sign, oops. I'll just briefly sum up yesterday. We were on a rail trail for a while but got bored because of the flat and straight terrain so we hopped off at shelby. From there, it seemed like it was all uphill with the wind coming straight at us. It made for a tough day of biking. We got to ludington and stopped at a grocery store to get some chips and cook dinner in the parking lot. Of course, I spilled half of the noodles while straining them. So Skye ate the good half and I had a granola bar and peanut butter. We made it to a campsite ten miles north of there, but not before I got a flat. Pumped it up and it held the rest of the way, but was flat when we woke up this morning. Changed the tube and made it to manistee today! Currently eating lunch at TJ's.

Pirate girl...

Test to see if I have enough service to blog. I wrote a long one last night but it couldn't send. Skye's blog nickname definitely suits her well.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Maps, Maps, and more Maps...

Here are two maps showing our trip. The map on the left is the first four to five days and the one on the right is the remainder of the trip. There is no time frame that we are following, except that we want to get the trip done in 3 weeks. If we hit our 70 mile average goal, it will take us 14 days, but we want to take days off and will probably have some shorter days. I think it is a very reasonable time to allot for the trip. We don't have any plans as far as getting to a certain place on whatever day, we're just going to go with it. The first map can be viewed at Google Maps HERE and the second map can be viewed RIGHT HERE! Oh wow, estimated time of departure from Whitehall/Montague is 16 hours away!

Test!

After I publish this post, I would really love RSS Graffiti to repost it to my facebook page. Please and thank you!!!

Packing!!!!

video

First Bike Tour- Summer 2010

I got really into biking last summer. It started with a trip to Mackinac Island and then a 30 mile out-and-back from Paradise to Tahquamenon Falls. I started researching a lot about biking while going on daily trips around the Lansing area and places up north. My countless hours on the internet looking up stuff about biking led me to discovering bike touring. The website, downtheroad.org, helped me out a lot and I really liked the idea. Before investing too much money into the idea, although it sounded awesome to me from the get go, I wanted to take a trial tour. I came up with this tour after finding a few really cool spots for biking in northern Michigan. I wanted to see the Tunnel of Trees overlooking Lake Michigan and found a cool rail trail that went from Mackinaw City to Gaylord. I brought those two together and came up with the route you can see in the picture on the right. The different colors represent different days.

My awesome girlfriend always joins me on my crazy ideas and this wouldn't be any exception. She seemed very excited for the trip too, which makes me happy. I love her to death for that. Always supporting my craziness, but manages to keep me somewhat grounded.

Petoskey State Park
Anyways, just a quick overview of last year's trip. We parked our car at our friend's place on Torch Lake and camped there for the first night. We left on 8/9/10, didn't realize that until now, and were headed towards Petoskey. We weren't even 5 miles into our trip when we stopped at a grocery store we knew of to get breakfast. On the way in, we ran into another bike tourer who has been traveling all around the United States for years. What are the chances? I thought it was a sign right away. He was disappointed that we didn't have helmets at that point though. We stopped in Charlevoix for lunch and made it to Petoskey State Park for our first night's stay. We followed the Little Traverse Wheelway for most of the trip. It was a beautiful stretch right on the lake. We also ran into two retired teachers at a rest stop along the way where we stopped for water and a snack. We had a nice conversation with them.

Tunnel of Trees (M-22)
The next morning we left Petoskey with Mackinaw City as our next destination. We went through Harbor Springs, which Skye absolutely loved, and then got onto M-22, the Tunnel of Trees. This was a beautiful stretch that hugged the coast of Lake Michigan. We camped out at a place in Mackinaw City that we had stayed at before, Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground.


We started the next day not sure of where we wanted to stay. We hopped on the Mackinaw City to Gaylord Rail Trail and took that to Cheboygan where we stopped for some food. We headed south on the rail trail towards Gaylord. We ended up stopping at Burt Lake State Park for the night. We didn't even make it 40 miles because the rail trail was crushed limestone, which was tough to ride on. It was also very hot out.


Short's Brewing Co.
We made up for the short day by following it with a long day. We made it all the way to Mancelona, which left a short ride back to Torch the next day. However, the long ride made it so we were riding right up till dusk. We made it to a spot where my gps on my phone said a campground should be, but there wasn't anything in sight and Skye was starting to get nervous (as was I.) We talked about our options and we decided we would go around the next bend and if it wasn't there, well it better be there! And it was, and the owner was absolutely awesome. Gave us a good deal and then drove us into town so we could get subway. Whispering Pines right outside of Mancelona. I definitely recommend this place.


The next day we headed home. We stopped at Short's in Bellaire, Michigan. It was an awesome microbrewery. The food was great and the beer was even better. However, it was probably a little too good because it made the home stretch of the trip very long. Haha. It was worth it though.


We made it!!!
The trip was awesome. It is one of my favorite vacations that I have ever been on. If you call a 230 mile bike ride a vacation. I do. Skye, on the other hand... I don't think she looks at it as a vacation, but she still loved it.  The trial tour did exactly what it was intended to. It showed us that we both like touring and it led to the trip that we are leaving on tomorrow. 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan!!

Is this all going to fit?

Test 2 from phone. This is everything I'm taking. Tent, sleeping bag\pad, cooking stuff, clothes, water bottles, helmet, etc. Except for the bike, of course. Now it's time to make sure it all actually fits. Wish me luck!


Test

This is a test post from my phone. 24 hours till we are on the bike path from whitehall\montague and starting our 1,000 mile trip around lake michigan! :-)