Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mistakes Happen, Wee Roll On

 Hola Mis Amigos y Mi Familia,

I am happy!

Not because I made a mistake, but that it wasn't fixable.

Not because I peed my pants, I have a story to tell there.

Not because it is 90 degrees again, hurray for air conditioning!

But because:

  • I am on 104 days straight of practicing my Spanish on the Duolingo App.  
  • And even thought it is too hot to hike, I have four lines of cell service and a cool little space in my Weeroll in which I can write to you.
  • I was able to get to an Anytime Fitness and workout today.  Since our muscles start to atrophy shortly after a workout, it is important that if I want to make progress of my fitness goals that I not neglect my workouts or I will end up starting back at the beginning.
  • And tomorrow I head to Stow, Ohio where I will meet up with Regis and Cindy who are part of my biking family.  I am so looking forward to hearing about their summer and just hanging with them.

Before I tell you about my mistake and my urethra malfunction, ha ha, let me tell you about my last two campsites.

On the upper left of the Michigan mitten is Petoskey State Park.   It has hiking trails over old dunes, and fences to try to keep the many many campers off the new dunes. 




 

There are about 180 campsites and most of them were full of families, extended families, and groups of friends.  Right behind me and next to me were at least three families with many small children.  At nights the adults would play music and laugh and talk well past 10 p.m.  I didn't need the air-conditioner at night, but I used its fan to drown out  the noise.  And all the fun reminded me that I missed laughing and chatting with my friends.

As soon as the crowds left on Sunday, the campground had a totally different feel to it.  The sites were spacious, many surrounded by a line of vegetation.


There is a nice mulched path from the campground to the Little Traverse Wheelway.  I chose this campground because of its access to the trail.  On my first full day there I rode the whole trail. 

I bought the RidewithGPS App so I could save my mileage.  I did 57 miles!



The trail went right through Petoskey's waterfront park.  It is beautiful.  Historical markers had pictures of when the area was a cement factory.  The markers showed an ugly, industrial place.  Someone had the vision to make it into a beautiful neighborhood.



Part of the trail was closed because of an avalanche of dirt and rock caused by water erosion.


I came across a local group, Top of Michigan Trails, doing a survey of trail users.  I readily stopped.  I know that good data of how we riders support the local economy was important.  I was all the way from Florida and came specifically to ride the trail.  I was spending money on my campsite, groceries, and snacks.
The guy taking the survey found out I was camping at Petoskey State Park and told me to stop at the check-in and say "Hi" to his wife, Susan.  He said to tell her he was flirting with me.

I took his picture.

Part of the trail goes on a sidewalk near the street, but I ended up loving that part of the trail because of all the beautiful 100 year old homes.


In places there were lots of driveways and roads crossing the trail.  This neighborhood had learned that not all bikers stop.  Most of us slow way down and look, but there are a few of us just ignore those stop signs.


The trail is part of a US bicycle highway.  If it turns out I like biking and camping in my little tent, that might be something I would want to do.




 




Not far from the sign about this area being a former nuclear power plant, there was a very long long board walk.  Thought it didn't look like wetland under it, I wondered if it was contaminated land.


 The second full day I was at Petoskey I didn't want to bike as far and I had discovered an Anytime Fitness in town.  There is a trail that goes inland from the Little Travis Wheelway that would take me close to Anytime.

It took me across a rushing creek.  And up up up away from the Michigan shore.

And past a man who had a flat-screen TV attached to a tree in front of his house so he could continue to watch while he was mowing his lawn!   On my return trip I took a picture.  He had a Trump 2020 sign on the inside wall of his garage.  Not that that means anything.


The wires in the area are held in place by things that look like dead chickens... or dead ducks?

On the way back to the campground I took a few pictures of the beautiful old homes.  Some of them are B&B's.



It was hot that day so when I got back to camp and after lunch I walked into Lake Michigan with my clothes on to cool off.

On day three, I drove about 25 miles to Indian River and rode the North Central Michigan Trail.  It has a crushed limestone surface and goes all the way into Mackinaw City.  I aimed for it, but didn't push too hard.  

At one point it looked like I was going to bike into a tunnel but it was a lovely tree canopy.



After I stopped for a coffee and snack, I was pedalling on when I heard a runner behind me.  A young man was going to pass me!  I pushed hard for a while, but then decided he wasn't going to give up and he didn't even seem to be breathing hard.

My RidewithGPS said I was going about nine to 10 miles per hour.  He must have been going over 12 miles per hour.

Not much further and I realized I wasn't going to make it all the way to Mackinaw City to stick my feet into Lake Huron.

I turned around. It then hit me I was exhausted.  

So when the trail turned a few blocks from Lake Huron and I had an opportunity to go stick my feet in yet another Great Lake, I passed it by.  (I regret that now, my sister tells me I will have to make another trip.)

I turned on my audio book, keeping in mind the ice cream shop I saw across the street from where I parked.

There was quite a line for ice cream.  When she asked me what size, I said "Large".  OMG, what was I thinking!

I scooped some in my thermos to have the next day.


Driving back into the campground I stopped at the kiosk and showed the pretty lady there a picture that I took of the guy on the trail doing surveys.  I asked if she knew the guy in the picture.  She laughed.  I gave her my card and told her I was going to write about it on my blog.  So here it is, Susan!

She then wrote down the name of the organization that was doing the survey.  But I lost the little piece of paper!!!  Sorry Susan!  If you or your husband is reading this, you can comment below with the name of the organization.

When I returned to camp it was quiet.  It was a totally different experience.  I kind of regretted not staying further into the week.  The celebrations and reunions were gone.  

I had a quiet couple camping behind me now.  I told them, "I am glad to see you!" And told them about the noisy group that they had replaced.   

They probably thought I was crazy, and avoided eye contact after that.  ha ha.

***

On Monday, I drove down to Ionia State Recreation Area in Michigan.  I chose it because it was on my way to Ohio and it had a trail that ran through the area.

After setting up camp, I rode over to the trail, but the path to get there was large loose rock that I had to walk my bike over the the mosquitos were out in full force.





The weather prediction was for a very hot day.  I went for a walk early to a pond where I got to see two great egrets, a big white egret or heron, and lots of other birds.   It was lovely, and I thought about bringing a chair and a book and spending the day.  I watched a deer come down to the pond and get a drink. 

My folding chair is too heavy to carry such a distance.  Instead I found a patch of shade at camp and read.

 

 

 

A couple came by to see my trailer.  Byron and Ina are from Lansing and come up to this campground often.  We chatted a bit and then Byron asked how I like my Governor.  I shook my head.  Ina wanted to know what specifically I didn't like.  I am not a good debater, I don't retain facts and sources.  I was going to start talking about how Desantes is forbidding school districts from putting into place mask mandates for their students.  But I had just met these folks.  Obviously that is what they like about him. When it appeared that Byron and Ina were fans, I said, "Let's not talk politics, we aren't on the same page."   

Later Byron came back and invited me to their campsite for hotdogs.  I was eating already, but said I would bring my beverage and join them later.

A storm was rumbling in the distance when I walked over to their place.  They were getting things ready for it and for their departure in the morning.

Ina told me about their grandchildren (they have two).  Byron had just retired from an Assisted Living Facility and was feeling kind of weird about it.  I know the feeling, a loss of purpose or loss of direction.  He said he was handy and liked to fix things like mowers and small engines.  

I said if you are a handyman you will be very busy, you just spread the word.  I was going to dash back to Lilac before the storm hit, but Ina insisted I stay and go inside their bigger/heavier trailer.

The storm was short, we said our goodbyes.  

Ina later dropped off their business card.  They own Lakes RV Storage.  Then she started talking to me about how she supports the police and that all the protests were violent.  I told her she was watching the wrong news channel because there were a lot of peaceful protests.  She told me she grew up in a diverse neighborhood and that she thinks there isn't any racisim anymore.

I told her I have read the Black Lives Mater website and they though their slogan about "defund the police" wasn't what it was all about.  I told her how my county has added a mental health person and a social work person to go along on cases when such a person is needed to help de-escalate the situation.  I told her that I wouldn't want to be a black person jogging in a white suburban neighborhood. 

Travel is full of interesting encounters, isn't it?  We listened to each other.  No minds were changed.

My last day in Ionia, I did finally ride just the paved part of the trail that goes through Ionia.  That was very nice.  The city trail was full of debris after the storm.



 At one point there was a sign saying that there was chemical contamination and stay on the trail.  A bit further down the trail I saw a deer laying in a muddy patch, probably trying to stay cool.  It was another 90-degree-and-humid day.   The deer didn't read the warning sign.

It was a nice 20 mile bike ride, then I had the afternoon to do some re-decorating.  I bought new grey plastic drawer systems at Meijer's.  Then I took the old plastic dressers to a thrift store.

One of them had a drawer busted out if it and it bugged me.  So now I have new looking digs.

Pictures of that will come later.

***

Ok.  Now for the mistake.

I realize that planning this much camping and moving around I am bound to show up at a campsite without a reservation or something.  Well it turned out that I was checking out of Ionia on the 26th but I wasn't to be at Stow, Ohio until the 27th.  So I had one night without a reservation.

In normal times that is not a problem, but lately there have been many more people camping and traveling this way due to COVID.  So I began searching and got worried after only two rejections.  But I kept looking and found a Fairgrounds in Adrian, Michigan that brings me a bit closer to Stow.  So tomorrow's travel day won't be way too long.

And what was good about this change was that I could stop along the way at an Anytime and workout today.  So the mistake turned out to be no problem and a blessing.  I got to workout and I was in an air conditioned vehicle today instead of trying to stay cool in my sunny camp spot.

***

I am sixty eight and I peed my pants, what's the big deal?

Here is what happened.

I arrived at this Fairground and unhooked Lilac and set up for one night stay.  I had to pee, but I really wanted to do a few more things and then wash my feet and clip my toe nails.  My feet were getting disgusting because they hadn't been tended to in awhile.

A storm was rumbling, the wind was picking up.  I didn't know if I would be able to have the luxury of washing them outside later.

So I sat outside with my feet in a bucket and an old tooth brush and clippers and worked away.  I am the only one in the Fairgrounds, but I am visible from the houses across the street.  I wondered if they were disgusted or if this kind of thing is no big deal for them.

After the cleaning I stepped inside my Weeroll.  Now I will use my little toilet and go pee.

I quickly opened a few curtains a bit for some light.  I pulled down my pants as fast as I could because once I decided to go, man it sometimes starts.

I am on my way into the squat to sit on my toilet when I see a truck pull up close next to my trailer.  I rush to pull my pants back up, but my pee doesn't stop.  There is a knock on my door.  

I open the door and I bend over so my butt is back in the trailer and my head is sticking out of the screen.  It is a man that works at the fair to let me know they will be leaving the bathroom open so I can take a shower.  

"Good, cause I am going to need one now," I think.

So that is my pee story.  Maybe it is my coming of age story.  Ha ha.

***

May you find opportunities to laugh at yourself and let things roll.




What is in the news now?

Some Florida hospital ICUs are full of COVID patients leaving no room for any of us if we get in an accident or have a heart attack.


And as of today 100,000 people have been evacuated with very few casualties from Afghanistan.  An amazing accomplishment.  Interesting times for sure as I continue traveling in my little bubble.

Heather Cox Richardson sums it up well in today’s newsletter.









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