Negwegon Sunrise

Good morning from Alpena, just north of the 45th Parallel.

After breaking camp, today's ride started with a grueling 5 miles on Sand Hill Trail north out of the Campground

I thought about staying another day on the bay at Negwegon and relaxing. But the pull of Bob-Lo is strong.

Tomorrow I think I'll take a rest day on the island. I'm feeling a bit knackered today.

I've decided to stay south of The Bridge and really explore the west coast of the Mitten the rest of these next two weeks. I'm feeling good about my fitness level and how much ground I can cover in a day. Now I want to spend more time at each stop, reading, journaling, meditating, practicing Yoga, and visiting.

Ahhhhh………, Jim



Day 7 – Pinconning to Black River

I'm safe and sound at Negwegon State Park. My hammock is hung in a beautiful, remote backcountry site just of the pristine, sand beach. I have the place to myself.

After 102 miles, I rode the 2.5 miles of Sand Hill Trail that leads to the park entrance. The gravel park road is then over a mile long.

After riding those two roads out first thing tomorrow, I will be warmed up early for my ride to Cheboygan.

I think I'll take the last ferry to Bob-Lo tomorrow, then take a relaxing day at the tip of the Mitten on Sunday while I decide if I want to make a foray over the bridge next week.

Thank you, Tom for the generous offer of your cabin near Greenbush tonight. It was awful tempting as I rolled past at 6:30, but I just wasn't ready to stop!

Sweet dreams, Jim

Asana (Yoga pose) of the day:
Boddha Konasana (Cobbler)

Day 7 mileage: 106.8
Total trip mileage: 495

Song stuck in my head:


Another Huron Sunrise

Checking in from Au Sable after a refreshing swim and a little downtime in the shade.

Two shots here from my campsite outside of Pinconning this morning. This was  another spot I had to work for, riding a couple miles of single track before pushing the last sandy hundred yards.

Yesterday I discovered I could resize photos on my phone after importing them from my camera. So I decided to shoot only in high resolution today. Now I'm only able to resize these two. Hmph. I wish I could share more of this morning's spectacular sunrise!

Feeling refreshed now and heading north again. I may stay near Greenbush, or push on up near Black River.

Pedaling away, Jim

Song stuck in my head:
The Three Refuges in Sino-Korean


It Ain’t Easy Being Cheesy

So I'm rolling out of the Pinconning Mobil after filling my water bottles and pounding a small bottle of chocolate milk (I know, I know. More on this in a minute.) when I catch a flash of movement across the street to my left. A little girl of about five years with white blond hair in short pigtails is flying down the sidewalk in my direction on a little purple bike with training wheels. Her head is down between the bike's highrise handlebars, ears at hands level. Her face is forward and showing great determination. She's really cranking! When our eyes meet, I sense her joy at being noticed. But just for a moment. In a split second she grimaces and increases her cadence, feet and pedals now a blur. It was as if to say, "Come back later, old dude, and I'll kick your ass in a city limit sign sprint!"

I wish it was possible to buy raw milk in Michigan. I know, "You gotta buy a cow share." Got one, thanks. At home I enjoy a gallon of raw milk per week delivered by Kevin Hicks of Hicks Dairy. But that doesn't do me any good on the road.

For the last few years I've converted my milk to yogurt. But this Spring I read an article by Mark Sisson touting chocolate milk as a post workout recovery drink for athletes. I've been consuming most of my milk the chocolatey good way since, making my own with raw milk, fair trade chocolate, and local honey.

No such quality on the road, but if I can find it with whole milk and no corn syrup or artificial flavors, I'm drinking it out here. My body agrees.

I wonder if raw milk cheese is available here Pinconning, the Cheese City? I'm down to my last 1/2 pound from home.

Tonight my hammock is hung just feet from Lake Huron. As I lay here writing this I'm trying to decide who's loudest, the  mosquitoes  or the frogs!

Should get some nice sunrise photos as I'm breaking camp early to beat the heat in the morning.

It ain't easy being cheesy! Jim

Day 6 mileage: 88
Total trip mileage: 388

Asana (Yoga pose) of the day:
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). Unless your bike affords an absolutely upright seating position, your neck and head are arched back to compensate for your leaned over position. The more aerodynamic your position, the more this arch is accentuated. Try looking up at the sky for an extended period of time and you'll get the idea. Sarvangasana is the perfect antidote for that type of neck strain. It should always be followed its counter pose, Matsyandrasan (Fish).

Song stuck in my head:
Can't Get It Out of My Head by Electric Light Orchestra


Hot, Ain’t It?

Just checking in. I made it to Bay City before the midday heat drove me off the road. I'm at the library now, soaking up the A.C. and printing some route maps from Rails-To-Trails links that Bruce sent me. Thanks, Bruce!

Bay City has a very nice, well marked trail system. And I see by the wayfinder maps the the local Rotary Club was involved. Rotary has thousands of clubs around the world, all doing great things in their local communities and beyond. Eradicating polio, for instance.

My Rotary Club, Howell Rotary, organizers the Tour de Livingston bicycle tour every October. Last year we raised $35,000 for Livingston County United Way to help local folks in need.

You should come ride with us this year on Sunday, October 14 and enjoy the vibrant fall colors. We have routes for every skill level.

I got about 55 miles logged riding in from Bayport. I'll probably just ride to Pinconning to camp for the night. But first, a jump in the lake! And maybe an iced coffee…

Be cool, Jim

Song stuck in my head:
Hot Fun In the Summertime by Sly & The Family Stone


Day 5 Meander From White Rock to Bay Port

I'm glad you liked the sunrise pictures from this morning. Unfortunately most of that post's text disappeared in transit. Those were the first shots taken with my new Lumix camera. Thanks for the suggestion, Tim!

I took a meandering ride today, starting later than usual after a nice Yoga flow and then catching up on comments from Mitten Pedaler followers and work related messages.

Riding north out of White Rock and into the wind, it seemed hotter today right from the git go.

Due to the bridge north of Harbor Beach being out, I got my first significant taste of dirt road riding. I've done most of my touring on dirt so it felt good to get out there. Even on the high pressure street tires I'm running.

The wind finally shifted direction late morning and began blowing moderately hard out of the west. This occurred at the same time I made it around the northeast corner of the Thumb at Grindstone City, HEADING WEST! Same as it ever was…

I spent a leisurely couple of hours in Port Austin, having lunch, importing photos, attending to some business calls, writing the last blog post, feasting on Mulberries from a local tree, and scouting out the site for Still Point's family retreat this fall. I'll be teaching a class on wilderness survival skills at the retreat and today I was determining outdoor dining fly sizes.

At lunch a young lady asked me about the tour. Nicole (Nichole?) Was surprised to hear I'm from Brighton, as she is as well! She's a customer of Hometown Bicycles and knows Shaun and Dawn.

By late afternoon I was kind of cooked. It felt much hotter today. I took advantage of the beautiful, sandy, and deserted beach at Sleeper State Park and went for a long swim. New motto: Less riding, more swimming!

I passed up a primo campsite near Caseville, but felt like meandering on. Tonight I'm camped a little off the lake, but in the most remote spot yet. I had to work for it! I rode about four miles of sandy two track, then pushed another quarter mile through a stand of Fragmites to get here. My kind of camping!

M-25 has been a fine road to bicycle, with a nice, wide shoulder all the way. But west and south from Port Austin is special. The pavement is pristine, and where it isn't heavily wooded, there are many great views of the lake. I would recommend this stretch to any cyclist.

Looking forward to wrapping up my tour of the Thumb tomorrow and getting some mileage up the eastern shore of the Palm!

Feeling bushwhacked, Jim

Today's Asanas (Yoga poses):
Surya Namaskar – classic Sun Salutations

Today's mileage: 71.29
Total trip mileage: 301

Song stuck in my head:
Once In a Lifetime by Talking Heads


A Hammock With a View

Last night I enjoyed my first swim of the trip, in the little bay where I had hung my hammock. This morning I enjoyed my first Huron sunrise of the trip. I hope you enjoy the view from my hammock!




A little housekeeping:

I appreciate all your comments! I'm unable to respond to them from my phone, though. I will get to them once back home. In the meantime you can post comments on the Facebook links, and I can respond there a couple of times a day.

Tim – I did not bring the underquilt. Too bulky to pack, and it seemed like overkill this time of year.

Lisa – the solar charger works ok, but doesn't have much oomph. I now have much greater battery life, having purchased a new battery at the Verizon store yesterday.

I took some amazing sunrise photos with my real camera this morning. When I get to Port Austin, I will make my first attempt at importing them to my phone so I can log them here.

Time to hit the road. Thanks for following!

Peace, Jim

Song suck in my head:
Passenger by Iggy Pop

Day 4: Algonac to White Rock

I ended up spending the better part of four hours in Port Huron, but got some issues resolved, including procuring a new phone battery. I also got a sturdy, waterproof bag, now hung on my handlebar to hold my real camera. This will allow me to take higher quality photos more quickly, since I won't have to wait for my phone to boot every time.

I found Port Huron to be quite nice and I'm wondering if I had ever been in the city proper. I've driven over the Blue Water Bridge a few times. And when Jim Miller first started Willow Winds, he held the first couple of Michigan Outdoor Survival Schools nearby on the Pine River.

That reminds me, I should drop in on Jim when I get up near Mikado later this week. He moved Willow Winds up there probably 18 years ago and the last time I saw him was when I taught an atlatl and dart making class up there for M.O.S.S. about 10 years ago.

Speaking of the Stone Age I passed through Port Sanilac this afternoon. Before knowing I would spend so much time in Port Huron, I had hoped to see the famous Sanilac Petroglyph. Michigan's most well known (only known?) petroglyph depicts a man with a crazy hat, drawn bow, and long dong. Seriously. Look it up. If I had been around back then, I could have been the model. I have a crazy hat, a bow, and uh, Next Topic!

I found my first tool in the road today. On just about every one of my tours I find some sort of tool. (What is the Universe telling me?) I always pick them up and pack them home. That was easy with this dainty little 3/8 X 7/16 combo open-end wrench. Not so easy when you find a decades old 12" Crescent adjustable wrench. I've found two of those heavy suckers. If I find a bench vise I hope it's in 17 days and within 100 yards of home.

I finally left Port Huron at 2:30 with only 35 miles on the tripmeter. But even though I rode into an increasingly stronger headwind all afternoon, I started to find my cadence. I'm finally pedaling in circles.

I picked a point on the map where I thought there might be a pretty place to hang my hammock on the shore of Lake Huron and of rode into the evening to get here. Nice view, eh? I'll be witness to a spectacular sunrise tomorrow!

Good night! Jim

Day 4 mileage: 93.9
Total trip mileage: 229

Asanas (Yoga poses) of the day:
Marjayasana/Bitilasana – Cat/Cow on and off the bike. On the bike, keep the pedals parallel to the road. Do an equal number with each foot in the forward position.

Song stuck in my head:
Sober by Tool


Dead Birds and the Dirty Ground

On the first few days of this journey, I've seen many more dead birds than on any other ride in memory. Why? Is it my perception? Is it due to riding more urban areas than I am accustomed to? I wonder.

I just rolled into downtown Port Huron and caught a glimpse of the Blue Water Bridge and a sense of the Great Lake that lies beyond. I have many fond memories of being in northern Lake Huron while visiting my beloved Bob-Lo (Bois Blanc Island). Maybe I'll make it that far by this weekend? Who knows? Depends on which way the wind blows.

The wind settled down a little overnight, but was still blowing out of the north. Now in late morning it's fairly calm and I wonder if it might turn around later. 11 mph was my cruising speed earlier, but I settled in to a nice 15 mph clip in the last half hour.

By the pavement markings I noticed I've been following part of the Blue Water Ramble bicycle tour route. That was nice since it led me on a more scenic route at times than I may have taken using my map.

I'm sitting at Raven Cafe downtown, which is cool, so that I can charge my phone, which is a drag. Not only am using the phone to log these posts, I need it in case of emergency.

While I'm in town I'll see if Verizon can forward a new battery for me to a dealer down the road a ways. I'll stop at the local bike shop and buy ANOTHER eyeglass mounted rear view mirror. (Note to self – determine a good place to store it at night. Then remember!) And finally a stop at the local of outdoor gear store for a summer weight sleeping bag. My minimalist sleeping gear didn't cut it last night and I was cold from 1:00 on. I guess there is at least one disadvantage to being so lean!

Wishing you happiness on your journey, Jim

Song stuck in my head:
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground by White Stripes