Adventures in up-state Michigan, with Dr. Peter T.
Peter and I had been planning this trip for many moons now, down to minor details. Actually, most of the planning was actually done by Peter, and he did a most masterful job of it, even with the foibles that will be noted below. I had arranged with AirCaddy.com and shipbikes.com to get my Randonee touring bicycle back to Michigan. I didn’t want to take my better bicycle, the CoMotion for fear of anything happening to it untoward. The bicycle arrived in Harbor Springs in mint condition.
I arrived in Harbor Springs in far less than mint condition. Two weeks before I was to fly out to Detroit to meet Peter, I was in a bicycle accident. I went for a bicycle ride along the Orting Trail with Betsy, she riding her new Stromer e-bicycle, and me on another bicycle. She was experiencing some discomfort in her buttocks, as is usual when one climbs on a bicycle and rides for 15+ miles, and so decided to call it quits. I ran ahead to get the car. After coming back to where she was waiting for me, I decided to ride the e-bike home and let her drive the car home. Without thinking, I jumped on the bicycle and started pedaling before I was situated on the bicycle. The bicycle power assist kicked in unexpectedly and threw me quite violently down onto the pavement. I noticed some shoulder pain and pain in the side but didn’t think much of it. I soon realized that I was a touch more injured than I thought. After a quick shower, Betsy took me to the hospital ER, where they found my shoulder in a subluxated (partially dislocated) posterior position. It was the same shoulder that I had anterior dislocated several times while rock climbing, and subsequently had a Bristow repair. It worked at preventing an anterior dislocation but did nothing to stop a posterior dislocation, which can be a bit more serious. The ER doc got my shoulder back in, and during the next week, I discovered massive bruising over my entire right side, especially over my thigh and leg. I could barely walk. The ER doc told be to leave my shoulder in a sling, something which actually increased my pain, and so I removed it. When I arrived in Detroit, I was on Oxycodone and in serious enough pain that I was only sleeping 3-4 hours/night. Peter didn’t realize that he was taking a total train wreck on an adventure.
Peter was waiting for me at the airport, and our first stop that evening while driving up to Harbor Springs was at Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is a little vacation village north of Detroit with a distinctly German theme. We stopped for German food, which was given to us in excess, but fitted the bill of being delectable. Quite late that night we arrived at Summerview, Peter’s vacation home in upstate Michigan. My bicycle arrived intact via FedEx (see shipbikes above) and was easily reassembled.
29JUN – trial run – we rode our bicycles from Harbor Springs to Petosky, and had lunch in Petosky before riding back. The weather was cool, but with very few clouds. The week before was quite rainy. Final preparations were made for our adventure. We did a short paddle kayak ride on the bay to help warm up our feet.
Peter in Petoskey
30JUN – Day #1, Harbor Springs to Beaver Island
The ride initially paralleled our ride yesterday to Petoskey, after which we headed south. After rounding several large lakes and crossing a small ferry, we arrived in Charlevoix in order to catch the ferry to Beaver Island which left at 14:30. Beaver Island by ferry took over 2.5 hours.
Boyne City, on Lake Charlevoix
Peter in Boyne City
Ferry ride #1 of 5
The Beaver Islander ferry
01JUL – Day #2, Beaver Island to Indian River
Because the ferry didn’t leave the island until 11:20, Peter and I had some time to explore part of the island by bicycle. Most of the roads on the island are dirt roads, and not very stable, with a lot of loose sand and gravel. Once the ferry brought us back to Charlevoix, the ride was at first the most beautiful of all along the lower lip of Little Traverse Bay en route to Petoskey. Past Petoskey, it was another story. Pickerel Lake Road was a bit hilly for my traumatized corpse, but then we hit some gravel road, which was truly not nice. Gravel can be fun to ride on, but this wasn’t. It was loose scree and quite unstable, while the last thing I needed was another fall. We finally made it to Indian River, and not having had lunch, had hoped for a restaurant or store close to our reserved cabin. The cabin ended up being five miles out of Indian River. We arrived there about 6 pm, and everything was closed. It was a resort with cabins beside a lake. It looked great on the website, and was quite adequate for us, but not exactly what the webpage pictured it as. Everything was closed, and dinner would have meant a 5 mile ride back into town. So, dinner became a whiskey sour, gummy bears, and a good cigar. We survived.
King Doug’s place on Beaver Island
The cycle route to Petoskey
Little Traverse Bikepath was well marked
02JUL – Day #3, Indian River to St. Ignace via Mackinac Island
The ride to Mackinaw City was quite pleasant, being either quiet country roads or well-graveled rails-to-trails paths. Cheboygan was our first stop for breakfast at Bob’s Big Boy. We then stayed on the highway to Mackinaw City, caught the ferry to Mackinac Island, and did the obligatory loop of the island by bicycle. Mackinac Island does not permit automobiles or motorized vehicles, and so there were many bicycles and horse-drawn carraiges on the island. It was a beautiful tourist trap par excellence, but that did not lessen the delights of beer and ice cream on the island. From the island, the ferry took us to St. Ignace, where we stayed at an old historic hotel, the Boardwalk, right across from the ferry terminal.
Breakfast with Bob
Ferry #4 to Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island street scene
Mackinac Island horse carraiges
Ferry #5 – a fast ferry
03JUL – Day #4, St. Ignace to Harbor Springs
We had breakfast at the hotel and headed off. They do not allow bicycles on the bridge, and so we had to identify an obscure point where one caught the shuttle. The Garmin map shows us doing a few loops in search of a wooded footpath that took us to the toll gate at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge. Back in Mackinaw City, we headed west along upper Lake Michigan to Cross Village. On the way, we encountered some beautiful sand dunes where we stopped for a rest. From Cross Village, the road went inland and hilly, but never steep. It was typical forest and meadow as is seen in upper Michigan.
Awaiting the shuttle to take us across the Mackinac Bridge
04JUL – rest day, not doing much. I re-packaged my bicycle, as Peter went to pick up Tina. We went into town to watch fireworks. I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode, a thing of the past, with lots of American flags, and red, white, and blue banners decorating the homes. There were many families out for the evening, eating ice cream cones and walking the streets.
05JUL – sailing. Peter decided to get out the sail boat and go for a ride. Tina and I haplessly accompanied Peter on an adventure across the lake, having no clue as to how to sail a sailboat. Fortunately, Peter knew what to do, and we had a marvelous as well as very sunny time on Little Traverse Bay. It’s amazing how peaceful it is on a sailboat.
Admiral Peter takes the helm with Tina watching
Full sail into the bay
First mate Ken
06JUL – it’s never easy to say goodby when one has had a great time. I was feeling better, and the bicycle ride actually removed most of my aches. The Detroit area had many boarded up homes, and the airport was rather empty. It was nice to see Betsy again as I hit down at SeaTac Airport.
Total Ride Statistics
Day #1 69.56 km, time 4:38, 467 meters elevation gain, 2265 cal, 15 km/hr average speed
Day #2 85.29 km, time 4:57, 665 meters elevation gain, 2658 cal, 17.3 km/hr average speed
Day #3 74.07 km, time 4:00, 345 meters elevation gain, 2086 cal, 18.8 km/hr average speed
Day #4 69.83 km, time 3:37, 569 meters elevation gain, 2353 cal, 19.9 km/hr average speed
Total 298.75 km (186 miles), time 17 hours and 12 minutes, 2046 meters climbed (6713 feet), 9362 calories burned up just from riding.
It is interesting that it appeared that our performance seemed to improve day by day, and since I was slowing down Peter, probably suggested that I was recovering from the trauma several weeks ago.