Day 20 – Jackson to Brighton

There are two beautiful ladies waiting for me at home. And though it's now been three weeks since I've laid eyes on either of these lovely creatures, I wanted my last day on the road to linger.

Once I cleared Jackson eastbound in cool morning air, I called loved ones while rolling along quiet country lanes. I was then drawn to stop in the shade of grand Sugar Maples and chant the Three Refuges while looking upon a stand of dark green Norway Spruce set against the deep blue western sky.

The town of Grass Lake rolled up quickly. It's been a few years since I've been here and I was surprised at how well place cleans up. Rolling past the local diner, I noticed a familiar blue pickup truck parked in front. I stopped in for a quick visit with good buddy Ol' Danny Hovater.

Earlier I thought I'd stop in Chelsea for a good cup of coffee, but as the roads became more familiar I rolled right through. Dexter passed quickly and I entered Huron River Drive, the classic route for local cyclists and one I've pedaled hundreds of times.

I happily rolled this sun dappled asphalt ribbon winding through the cool woods, enjoying views of the river, as I approached my birthplace of Ann Arbor.

Soon I was riding north away from the river and into downtown floating up the steep climbs on Main and then Fourth streets.

I pulled up in front of home away from home Cafe Verde and was soon greeted by several friends including Deb and Sudo, both fellow cyclists. It felt comfortable to relax here and chat under the umbrella of one of the outdoor tables.

After sitting for a good, long time I was feeling the pull of home, only 18 miles away to the north. But first, a nap. I spread my beadroll in the shade at a nearby park and relaxed and snoozed for over an hour.

It was late afternoon when I set off on my usual, backroads way home. The long steep climb to the top of Sunset St. ranks right up there as one of the most challenging of my trip. Then a nice long coast down Newport Rd. before crossing the Huron north and another steep climb. This time up dirt Maple Rd.

As I strained up the last 100 feet of the grade in my granny gear, a flash of red caught my eye and I watched a young woman on a cyclocross bike hurtle past on Stein Rd. I wanted to meet this powerful fast rider and I poured on the coals. She was moving fast and it took all I had to close the gap as we skimmed over the dirt at 20 mph before I finally pulled along her side.

"Hey Jimmy!" My cousin Wendy, wearing her Team Kenda uniform astride her titanium bike, was surprised to see me as she rode home after work at her day job on an organic farm. "What's with all the gear?" It was nice riding together as I shared the story of my travels. But soon it was time for me to split off her route home, toward my home just 6 miles to the north.

Rounding the final curve, I stopped in the road in front of my house and quietly observed my local body of water,  South Ore Creek. Three muskrat dove for dinner as a duckling paddled nearby. Feeling gratitude for living in such beautiful surroundings, I snapped a few more photos before turning the bike up the final climb. Up my driveway. Home.

And my ladies. Kit Kat, the aloof one, walked right out the door past me as I first entered. Her displeasure at my absence was clear. Quickly Hershey appeared and immediately began circling me, rubbing her furry body against my shins. As soon I was settled she slid into my lap, purring contentment.

I intended to take one more sunset photo tonight, but I forgot that it gets dark a little earlier here inland than on the Lakes. When I arrived at Sunset Ridge, overlooking my local Maltby Lake, the sun had already slipped behind the trees, soft orange and pink hues of clouds and sky reflecting on the water.

This has been the journey of a lifetime. And a reflection of my life! What now? Settle in for a while. Enjoy time with my kids. Reconnect with friends. Work on my new Yoga business. Explore the natural beauty right here around me. Within me. Be still.

I'll keep this log active. Over the next week I'll post more stories of this journey. And over the months and years ahead I'll share more of my life.

Thank you for coming along on the ride! Jim

Asana of the day:
Uttanasana (Standing nose to knee)

Day 20 mileage: 67.36
Maximum speed: 34.9
Total trip mileage: 1,444!

Song stuck in my head:
The Distance by Cake



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