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! :-)