Hello Friends and Family Members,
Wish you were here!
"Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to. I'm in an awful way." These lyrics from Another Saturday Night by Sam Cooke come to mind.
Moments like these are bound to happen when traveling solo or living solo.
I think it is happening today for a few reasons. I just came off of a whole bunch of time with my sister close by and her friends and my new friends and some old friends visiting and family visiting...
Then I had a wonderful visit with my friend Diane in Marquette, MI. I have some fun stories to tell about that experience, so hang on through this first part.
The second reason I am probably feeling alone is that I arrived here at Petoskey State Park near the upscale town of Petoskey. It is a beautiful area on the coast of Lake Michigan. But the campground is so full of families and extended families and couples meeting up with other couples. The air is filled with smoke from the many campfires, the air is filled with laughter and conversations of which I am not a part.
So anyway, I am looking forward to meeting up with Regis and Cindy Hampton next week (Linda T. had to cancel out due to car repair scheduling). After that I will be spending some time with Jean Hawks and Keith May riding trails in Pennsylvania.
In the meantime I am adjusting again to being solo. I expect it won't take me long, especially when all these weekend campers go home and the world around me quiets down.
Don't feel sorry for me. I have been having a great time most of the time.
In fact I have so much to share with you that I am going to have to pick and choose the moments and stories. You won't want to see the zillions of pictures I took. Each one I took I thought of you and how I would share that moment or that story with you.
So let's get you up to date!
Bye Bye Wisconsin 2021
On my last day in Rhinelander area I went for a nice ride exploring. The spring where my sister used to fill jugs for her drinking water has been damaged by a tree, I think.
I took a road I have passed many times thinking I should ride it some day. Well it was someday. I think I avoided it because it was called High Tower or Fire Tower Road and that probably meant a challenging hill. Sure enough, there was a big steep one. I stopped on the way back down to take a picture of this welded figure sign.
Does Payton live on the hill or does he run or ride up the hill? It was a tough hill, worthy of a name.
That evening Mary and Arky came to visit. While we were sitting there sipping our wine, Lisa and Mark Tepp, my seasonal-camping neighbors from my 2020 time at Camp George Campsite, popped in to say "Goodbye" and "Safe Travels".
In the morning I it was foggy out. Google told me I only had a little over three hours of driving to get to Marquette. At the rate I go, I knew it would take me most the day.
The day before I had checked the air pressure on the tires and the lugs. I can't believe this, but this is the first time I checked the lugs even though I have been carrying around a big lug wrench since I got the Weeroll.
Just when I crossed into Michigan I stopped at a small wayside park. I stretched my legs and saw that a spider had made it's web on the back window of Lilac and it had traveled with me to Michigan.
When I got back in the car, the car would not start.
You know how an gas engine goes re re rrrrrr when you start it? Like the gas cyclindars are turning slow, one and then the other and then they get enough momentum to fire at the right rhythm. It's like the engines says, "one, two, threeeeeeeeee" and then the engine hums. Well I have had this periodic problem with the van for about a year. I turn the key and it goes "re" and then nothing.
Once I called my mechanic and he came to tow the vehicle he got in and it started right up. We took it to his shop and he replaced the starter. He was sure it was the starter.
But it happened within a week of getting the new starter. Before I left on this trip I had my mechanic (highly recommended and used by several friends) look the van over and get it ready. I mentioned the problem. He said he had no clue what it was.
I said it was OK because now I knew that if I waited a bit it would start. Sometimes waiting long enough is the problem.
So in this remote wayside in Michigan I tried the tricks that I have tried before. I am sure it is just coincidence that it started once after I had opened and closed the door. But I tried that a couple times.
I finally gave up and tried to calm myself because I did buy AAA roadside assistance before I left. I called them... but while I was on hold I was trying to figure out where I was so I could tell the clerk. They don't seem to put addresses anywhere on the "You are Here" maps. At least they had that map.
I arranged for a tow. Walked around a bit, then tried it again. The car started! I canceled the order. Now I had to drive the rest of the way without stopping for gas or to pee or to eat (and I hadn't had anything to eat yet this day).
I had a reservation at Marquette Tourist Campground. It was a great location, right on the trail close to downtown. After I got Lilac situated I noticed the tree next to it was split all the way down to the roots. I sure hoped there wouldn't be a storm while I was there, I was not re-hooking the trailer up to move it.
After eating a bit I rode the trail to Anytime Fitness. It was the first two-story one that I have been in.
Diane had recommended Tourist Park and while I was there I thought of how much Regis and Cindy would like this park. It has lots of dirt bike trails and is an easy ride to downtown coffee shops and Lake Superior. Most the spots are well shaded and roomy. I was in site 100.
Diane was going to come camp one night with me and said she would arrive Monday morning so we could ride. While I was waiting for her on Monday, I called a well-rated auto-repair shop nearby and made an appointment to drop my car off on Wednesday.
Diane arrived and we had a great time. It was like having my own personal tour guide. She had it planned out.
The first day we got both bikes on her back bike rack and we drove up to Negaunee. I say up because it is pretty much all downhill from Negaunee to Marquette. It was a good idea, we were both a bit worried that my van wouldn't start when we got back to camp so we could go pick up her car that was parked in Negaunee.
The Iron Ore Heritage Trail has a lot of information about the iron ore mining in the area. We ate our picnic by a nice park made next to an old quarry, I think.
We rode right into downtown Marquette to the Food Coop. Diane had brought me some fresh basil pesto, and I got some veggies to make a pasta-veggie dish for supper.
We rode a loop through town and along the lake front. These lovely condos were across the street from Lake Superior and covered in lovely flowers. It was a perfect day.
After supper we went down to the lake to watch the sunset and we got to sit in the Lifeguard chairs. I started yelling at the imaginary swimmers. "Stop throwing sand!", "Get back inside the ropes!"
Diane had built the fire so it was ready to light. While she was taking on the phone, I took the liberty of lighting it... and whoosh! It was huge, the wood was dry. Diane was on the other side of the trailer by her tent and saw the sparks flying.
There is flooding in Florida. My friend Connie had to pump water out of her yard in Florida. But here in Marquette the grass is dry. Next fire would be smaller.
Talking about fire, that reminds me of another story from my time with Diane.On Tuesday morning Diane showed me her nifty kayak holder. If you are getting weaker and want to continue kayaking, consider this gadget to help you get that heavy awkward kayak on the roof.
The next day we rode right out from the park and went right to Presque Isle because they block off the roads to car traffic in that park on Tuesday mornings.
We passed a ship getting loaded with iron pellets from the one remaining mine in the area. We would see the ship several times during our rides by that area. It took all day for it to load it seemed.
It was lovely and quiet. Diane told me about how the college kids come up on the rocks and jump in. There are lots of jumpers, she told me.
Diane said it is one thing to get the courage to jump, it is another to survive the shock of the cold water. Lake Superior water is very cold, though by the shore today it was nice. Diane said that is due to climate change, it never used to be this warm by shore, and in some places they are getting vegetation in the shallow waters because it is getting so much warmer. Arg! There is that Climate Change again.
I told Diane about my Climate guilt. Flooding in parts of the world, record temperatures, rampant forest fires, and here I am driving around adding to the green house gases. She said that some mutual friends of hers said they used to feel responsible and tried altering their life, but then they looked around at the world. Those who don't have enough and are desperate to have more, and those characters they see in Walmart and they realized we are doomed. So they are living their lives like they want (traveling). "Party like it 1999," I said, quoting the song by Prince.
As we were leaving the black rocks area some woman walking by said, "Is that smoke?"
We looked and it appeared a stump just inside the edge of the woods was sending up a stream of smoke. Diane investigated and it was burning! Someone had taken hot coals from the grill and dumped them onto the hollow of this dried up stump! I grabbed my water thermos and put out the fire, but the smoke remained a bit. The woman called someone to tell them about the fire. Diane and I biked away and met up with the fire truck as it was entering the park. Diane waved him down and gave him directions. "Hey we saved Presque Isle from a forest fire!" I said. Wow, we wouldn't want what happened out west to happen here!
trail took us to many beautiful spots along the big lake. Then when
the trail turned away from the shore into a congested area, we turned
around and headed back to downtown Marquette for lunch.
While we were there we happened to run into Diane's sister! How serendipitous is that? Her sister lives down state but had visited Diane just before I arrived in town. Her sister was exploring and enjoying Marquette a couple more days. We were all amazed that we happened to be on the same street at the same time.
Afterward I suggested Diane and I bike back to Presque Isle to see if any jumpers were there.
I thought about jumping, but when I got wet near shore I experienced the shock of that cold water and I decided to leave the fun for the rest of the crowd. Instead I just jumped up and down in the knee deep water so I could tell you I jumped.
Diane and I said our goodbyes until we see each other in Florida this fall. Diane might get there before I do!
That evening I was walking the campground and I saw this cute camper. It looked like a woman alone was camping, someone to talk to. I asked about her camper and she said it was a 2007 and the company no longer makes them so it is hard to get parts.
We chatted a bit and I talked with her lovely poodle mix (Labradoodle I think.). She said she was going on a tour the next day and is nervous about leaving Baily in the trailer in the heat for so long. I started to walk away after our conversation when it hit me that I could let her dog out for a walk and check on him. I turned back and offered, she accepted.
So Wednesday I took my car into the repair shop nearby and rode my bike back to the campground, where Baily and I hung out much of the day.
When I picked up my van the owner didn't charge me anything. He said it was a loose battery connection.
Marianne was very grateful. She brought over a tea towel she had made as a gift, but told me I could refuse it if I don't want stuff. It was adorable, but I refused. I wished I had taken a picture so I could show you how cute it was. She also painted her trailer. She is an artist.
The next day I was sorry to leave the area, there was so much left to explore. My route took me through Munising where I found the coffee shop that Diane had told me about. It is attached to like an art gallery. The picture below was in the bathroom. Next time I visit I will do the glass bottomed boat tour. There are a lot of wrecks at the bottom of Lake Superior.
It wasn't long and I was at the northern shore of Lake Michigan. Kind of muddy looking in that area.
I got to my campsite in Petoskey State Park with the car only refusing to start twice. But each time it was only one try that failed. The second turn of the key and the engine rumbled to life.
The bike trails are great hear and I have at least one story to tell you about my time here, but it is getting late and I am driving further south in Michigan tomorrow.
In the time it has taken to write this (I started last night and rode my bike most the day today) my mood has lifted. It might be that the weekend campers are gone, the place is quieter with less noisy parties that I am not invited.
I will be in touch. Thank you for your comments, your emails, and for being my traveling companion.