Day 13 – Petoskey to Norwood

After fond farewells with Timmo and Nellie, I turned downhill and coasted away from the Back Forty and into Petoskey.

Stopping at the Grain Train, I bought pieces of nice raw milk cheese and other provisions, plus enjoyed a leisurely dinner from their hot bar. Before leaving town I did a little exploring of Petoskey's outstanding bike path system.

Finally in the cooler early evening, I was southbound along the coast of Lake Michigan. Now I was traveling another bike path, the Little Traverse Wheelway. This paved path parallels US-31 on the west, or coastal side of the road to the outskirts of Charlevoix and is in excellent shape. Once south of the Charlevoix County line, many views of The Lake open up that motorists pass in the blink of an eye. The bicycle's slower speed affords a much more enjoyable experience. Next time you're in the area, get on a bike and ride this trail!

With body, heart, mind, and soul singing I could have ridden for many more hours, but impending darkness forced me to reign in and find a campsite.

Turning down a two-track splitting two low dunes I raced for the shore, snapping one handed photos while my high pressure street tires squirmed in the sand. I could hear Tim's admonition, "Do not drop this camera!" I made it to shore just as the magenta orb slipped below the horizon, then retreated back over the dunes to hang my hammock between two stunted Cottonwoods.

Good night, Jim

Asana of the day:
Ardha Chandrasana (Half moon)

Day 13 mileage: 36.89
Maximum speed: 33.2
Total trip mileage: 788

Song stuck in my head:
Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key by Woodie Guthrie with the help of Billy Bragg, Jeff Tweedy, and Natalie Merchant


Day 12 – Journeying Inward

You would think that after riding 80 miles on Tuesday, I would want to slip into my hammock at sundown. But I felt drawn to the nightlife energy of Petoskey and sat in City Park Grill past midnight, eating a very late dinner then logging the day's post.

You would think that after making the big climb east out of town and finally (1:00 a.m.) getting hammock strung amongst the Cottonwoods on Timmo's Back Forty, I would sleep soundly.

But I found myself awake much of the night. Agitated. Was it the full moon, our the yips and yaps the local coyotes? A bigger meal than I'm accustomed to, much later than usual? And what was this need to be surrounded by people, while keeping quietly to myself earlier?

With daybreak, I felt out of sorts. Ungrounded. My head was fuzzy as I boiled coffee water and thoughts roamed the day ahead.

I've been on a dozen or more tours in the U.P. with Timmo and feel a deep connection with this old soul. And even though I've never been to his place, I felt welcomed camping there that night. When I first entered his home in the morning, the first thing I noticed inside was a typed Bike Camping list on the shelf in the foyer. Familiar. I felt myself relaxing. Agitation dissolving. Fuzziness receding.

Timmo was making the long drive up from Chicago, having a two week break in his Yoga teaching schedule. He would not arrive until later that afternoon. I spent the rest of the morning organizing gear and studying maps. And early afternoon I set off inland, uphill, and into the midday heat for a very special destination.

Fun road riding here with steep climbs and 40+ mph descents. At the top of each big hill I was rewarded with a view of another sweeping vista.

Once over these big ridges I settled into an easy 18 mph clip on flat US-31 heading east, threading my way between huge inland lakes.
I stopped at a market in Alanson and picked up a generous bag of peanut and tree nut-free candy and snacks. Half an hour later I arrived at the best destination yet.

As the young adult counselor escorted me into the great wooden dining hall, Kylie's face registered confusion. But just for a second, until she realized this really was her dad standing here for a surprise visit.

For over an hour we sat in the shade of the front porch. Intermittently talking softly, and sitting in silence. Enjoying our presence together. It warmed me to hear of her friends and experiences so far during these three weeks away at summer camp.

I quietly pedaled "home" to Timmo's into the blast furnace wind, stopping once for a refreshing dip in Crooked Lake, and once again at the sight of a lone cyclist approaching. I thought maybe Timmo had made it home and had pedaled out to meet me. But no, it was a young fellow on a classic orange Hillborne touring rig. Billy was riding up from Cincinnati to his parents house, just three miles down the road. And while I was feeling a sense of accomplishment, going for a 40 mile ride in that heat, Billy was logging a 130 mile day.

I arrived at Back Forty to Timmo preparing dinner and his daughter Nellie seated at the dining room table. We enjoyed a macrobiotic meal while solving all the problems of the world. After Nellie left, Timmo and I talked late into the night.

When I started writing this it was early morning, cool with thundershowers. Soon I had to put this device down and I joined Timmo for meditation, chanting, and a long Yoga practice on the deck. It's now early afternoon, sunny, hot and humid. It feels so comfortable here, I'm going to wait until later this afternoon and cooler temperatures before pedaling back to The Lake, then south.

Tonight I'll hang my hammock on the beach somewhere between Charlevoix and Elk Rapids. To my Traverse City friends and family: I imagine I'll be in downtown TC early Friday afternoon.

I'll keep you posted! Jim

Asana of the day:
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved head to knee)

Day 12 mileage: 41.4
Total trip mileage: 751
Maximum speed: 45.7 mph

Song stuck in my head:
Bloodshot by Trampled By TurtlesĀ 


Day 11 – Bob-Lo to Petoskey

Downtown Petoskey is alive tonight! I thought I'd try something different so I'm having a late dinner out before making my way to camp. Tonight I'll be camping on my friend Timmo's Back Forty farm, a couple miles east and uphill from downtown.

My ride started on another linear trail, AKA rail-to-trail. I headed west out of Cheboygan and took this crushed gravel trail all 17 miles to Mackinaw City. The trail parallels US-23 and is well maintained and well traveled. I would ride it over the road every time.

From The Bridge, I followed the Shoreline Bicycle Tour route (In reverse.) all the way, except I also rode the length of Wilderness State Park. Thanks for the Shoreline Tour map book, George!

Besides the spectacular views of Lake Michigan, riding the 20 mile stretch from Cross Village to Harbor Springs, The Tunnel of Trees, was a highlight.

Over the next few days I'll be riding with Timmo, who's driving up from Chicago in the morning. It will be nice riding with my old U.P. touring pal. Timmo teaches Yoga full time, so I'm excited about sharing my teaching journey as well.

Besides riding and visiting with Timmo, I'm looking forward to visiting friends and family in Indian River, Traverse City, and Empire over the next few days.

Now it's time to clip the LED headlight I packed to my handlebars and get to the Back Forty.

Good night, Jim

Asana of the day:
Chakra-asana (Wheel)

Day 11 mileage: 89.58
Total trip mileage: 710
Max. speed: 35.1

Song stuck in my head:
Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show


Day 10 – Rest Day on Bob-Lo

After a restful day I awoke from solid sleep to raindrops tickling my face and thunder massaging my eardrums. It was well before dawn so I got up and attached the rainfly to my hammock. Rain coming harder, I remembered hearing folks at Hawk's talking about heavy rain all day today. Before falling back to sleep I wondered if I should stay on Bob-Lo another day, or if I should roll on.

As I slept, the rain quit, but the overcast persisted.Without the assistance of the sun to wake me, I slept later than planned. Upon awaking I decided to go and really had to hustle to get packed and ride to the ferry dock for the 8:00 boat.

The Kristen D, the Bob-Lo ferry boat operated by Kurt Plaunt and family has now docked in Cheboygan. I'm sitting in State Street Coffee, utilizing the wi-fi and topping of my phone battery. And enjoying a delicious Americano.

After I log this post I'll pedal for Mackinaw City on my way toward Petoskey. These photos are from my restorative day yesterday.

Enjoy! Jim

Day 10 mileage: 19.98
Total trip mileage: 620

Asanas of the day:
Surya Namaskar – classic Sun Salutations

Song stuck in my head:
Should I Stay, Or Should I Go? by The Clash


Day 9 – Rogers City to Bob-Lo

Good morning from from Hawk's Landing General Store on the south shore of Bois Blanc Island (Bob-Lo)!

Yesterday, the ninth day of the tour, I was treated to another vivid sunrise, also witnessed from my hammock. After capturing a few images to share, I snapped the lens cap back on and snatched a couple more hours of needed sleep.

After my morning bath in The Lake and languidly repacking, I hit the trail. The trail I refer to is the Rogers City Bike Trail. Running from the downtown lakefront, the trail follows the shoreline westward and terminates at Forty Mile Point, about eight miles out. This may be the prettiest paved trail I've ever ridden. A ribbon of smooth asphalt undulating through verdant forest before snuggling the shoreline. Thanks for the lead on this trail, Bruce!

Once back on US-23, the views were equally spectacular. Sometimes Lake Huron offered teasing glimpses through a veil of needles and leaves. Other times welcoming me closer to share her full expanse.

Being surrounded by beauty helped keep me moving forward into the unrelenting wind. Maybe the wind's embrace was my blessing, slowing my pace and suspending time in this sacred space.

Although the shortest mileage day of the tour, this day seemed the longest. I was glad to roll into familiar old Cheboygan and fill me and my depleted water bottles with ice water. I soon found myself in an overstuffed chair at State Street Coffee, sipping an Americano, and waiting to catch the 5:00 p.m. ferry to Bob-Lo.

My odometer hit 600 miles as the wheels rolled from the ferry dock and onto the sweet Earth of Bob-Lo. I headed straight to Hawk's for massive calorie replenishment. Taking a good long time seated in the restaurant, it was nice to see old friends, including store owners Larry and Missy.

Full to the gills, I stopped in at the Wilderness Club to say hi to the Shannons, before beginning the seven mile ride to Dad's property on the southwest shore. I never made it, though. Riding by his house in nearby Pointe Aux Pins, I decided to hang my hammock in the backyard pines. Sleep came with the setting sun.

Today (day 10) I recharge my batteries. Resting, swimming, reading, and just enough riding to warm these legs before a gentle Yoga practice.

Feeling blessed, Jim

Day 9 mileage: 46.51
Total trip mileage: 603

Asana (Yoga pose) of the day:
Savasana (Corpse)

Song stuck in my head:
This Ain't the Mainland by Dan Reynolds


Day 8 – Black River to Rogers City

Leaving Negwegon was bittersweet. I easily could have stayed there longer, but I was looking forward to Bob-Lo, another 90 miles north. This was my first time at Negwegon State Park, and I'll be back! There are just 4 campsites, all of them backcountry. The beach is pristine. I may log another post with more photos of this special place later.

After the first 20 miles to Alpena, I jumped on the newly linked Northeast State Trail (N.E.S.T.) Thanks for the tip, Bruce! The N.E.S.T. is a crushed gravel linear trail that runs northeast inland 71 milesto Cheboygan. I was happy to get away from the traffic on US-23 for the rest of the day, and hoped the rail-to-trail would provide needed shade. I also hoped it would provide shelter from the strong wind from the northeast.

Although I found some shade, riding down this corridor on this day was like riding in a wind tunnel. After a few hours it became clear that even at maximum effort, I may not make the last boat to the Island.

On more than one occasion I've said about this tour, "No itinerary, no set agenda, no attachments". So I then did one of my favorite things to do on a tour. I took a nap. One of the benefits of the hammock is the ability to set up in tent averse sites. As you can see, my trailside nest was high and dry above the lumpy damp Earth. I snoozed and read for a couple of hours. I easily could have stayed the night right there, would have come up short on drinking water by morning. I also wanted to get back to the Lake.

After several more hours of plodding into the wind, I found another peaceful beachside place to hang my hammock. By then I was so tired, I snapped a couple pictures of the sunset while lying in my hammock, and immediately feel asleep.

Thanks for coming along on the ride! Jim

Asana (Yoga pose) of the day:
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-legged pigeon)

Day 8 mileage: 61.35
Total trip mileage: 557

Song stuck in my head:
Four Strong Winds by Ian Tyson

Day 8 – A Different Destination

Just want to let folks know I did not make it to Cheboygan or Bob-Lo. I did make it to a pretty spot on the beach near Rogers City, safe and sound.

I'm now at the part of Lake Huron where the sunrise AND sunset are both visible and I'm watching a lovely sunset now.

Weak signal here so no photos attached. This weary traveler is going to sleep.

Good night! Jim

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: