We have an insane calling to be where we aren't

Showing posts with label cycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cycling. Show all posts

Saturday, March 31, 2018

We're baaaack...

On the road again!

The temperatures were rising to the 90s, making it a good time to make our exit from Mesa, AZ. We were finally able to find a campground on short notice with so many snowbirds leaving the area. We found one in Camp Verde for 3 nights. Finishing our jobs a few days before we had planned was fine with our bosses.  Besides, it was my birthday week, or as I call it, a holiday!

We said our good byes and could not forget Oliver. He is one cool dog that rules the roost next door.

Mike had ordered a small black forest cake for my big 60 day. The bakery made a large, which gave us more than enough to share with friends.
Birthdays often make me reflective, making me look back at this life. I am so thankful for every birthday I get to have.  Our lives are made up of the choices we make both good and bad. I feel lucky those choices brought me here and that we are strong and healthy. Too many people we have known didn't get this many.

 Tyler and Kyle had time for a visit and bocce ball during their visit for Spring Training. It is  a joy to spend time with them. They are growing up so much.
While in Mesa, we  had been riding our bikes on mostly flats with some hills this winter. We sure felt it on the hills when we arrived in Oak Creek. It was so good to be back out enjoying some new scenery.

I wasn't sure if I was feeling the Chapel Vortex or just the hill that we had just climbed.

It had been a long time since we had last visited Montezuma's Castle. We stopped on our way back from a hike and geocaching.
Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved dwellings located in Camp Verde, Arizona from between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. 

 The sycamore trees are so interesting with their varied color of bark.

Montezuma's Well
The constant supply of warm, 74 degree water was the life-blood of the people who made their home here. Over 1.5 million gallons of water flows into the Well every day, a rate that has not fluctuated measurably despite recent droughts throughout the state of Arizona.
It is good to be on the road and we have some great plans ahead for this spring and summer. Just slower this year than last.

Until next year friend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The ghost town of Mystic

The Mickelson Trail

Imagine a path where the ghosts of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane still roam; where bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders can explore spruce and ponderosa pine forests; and the very young, the very old and people of all abilities can enjoy.

The George S. Mickelson Trail is in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. Its gentle slopes and easy access allow people to enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills. Much of the trail passes through National Forest Land, but there are parts of the trail that pass through privately owned land, where trail use is restricted to the trail only.
The trail is 109 miles long and contains more than 100 converted railroad bridges and 4 rock tunnels. The trail surface is primarily crushed limestone and gravel. There are 15 trailheads.
We had ridden part of the Mickelson Trail towards Crazy Horse the last time we were in Custer. Our neighbor from Florida was familiar with the Mickelson Trail because he had ridden the entire 109 mile trail in the past on his bike with the help of a shuttle. He mentioned that the most interesting section in his opinion was from Rockford south to Mystic.
Most of the Mickelson Trail is without shade. We decided to wait until a cold front came in and drove to the ghost town of Mystic. Mystic was established when gold was found. There were several active mines along the way.  It was down a dirt road with very little traffic or buildings. Since it is an old railroad track, the grades are not more than 3-5%.
There were trestles.
Three tunnels on our section
The old church that was part of the gold mining ghost town of Mystic.

Beautiful walls that had been blasted for the train tracks.
and a waterfall to keep our interest and our peddles turning.

We enjoy geocaching but some of our favorites are caches that are gadgets. This one was easy to find but took a bit to figure out how to get the combination for the lock so we could get the log out and sign it.  I think it is ok to post this since I am not identifying where this cache is or which one it is.
Below are the instructions.

This is no normal bird house though. This bird house has metal objects protruding from it. What do I do you ask? Well first let us look at a few FACTS:

FACT: This cache uses electricity.
FACT: Electricity WILL flow through your body in order to complete the circuit.
FACT: You have to make the choice of which two bolts to grab and squeeze! Being afraid to squeeze will result in no smiley!
FACT: DC voltage can be felt at as little as 5mA! How much will this cache produce?
FACT: Calling 911 will get you medical emergency help if needed.
Before attempting this cache, ask yourself this! Is there enough electricity (voltage) in this cache to cause me pain! After completing the circuit, the cache will provide you with the necessary combination to the lock, as long as you are looking at the cache correctly! To complete the circuit, you will need to select two of the protruding metal objects and squeeze one with each hand. Continue to choose combinations of metal objects until the cache reveals the hidden code. The combination lock can be opened by entering the first 4 letters of the middle color the cache revealed when you completed the circuit.

No pain was felt and we did find the two bolts to grab that show the middle color to get the cache.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

North Lower Michigan

 That's what I call bike riding!

Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes have been on our radar for quite sometime. We had to go west. So we headed to North Lower Michigan's little finger for some bike riding and relaxing.
The Leelanau Peninsula is dotted with small communities surrounded by farms, vineyards and orchards making it a perfect place for stargazing and considered one of the state's dark sky areas. We haven't been fortunate to see the milky way due to the clouds but they do keep us cool while out and about.

After catching up on our sleep, we pulled out the road bikes and map to plan out our routes for the ten days we were here and got the rubber on the road.

The rails to trails paved path from Sutton Bay to Traverse city between lakes was a great 30 mile ride. I have found riding flat or rolling hills sometimes painful on the butt. this ride did not disappoint, delightful with a touch of discomfort. Actualy, it hurt.
The fish tacos were just right.

Our ride from Glen Arbor to Sleeping Bear Dunes along Glen Lake on the road was so pleasant returning on the Heritage Trail. 

One of the museums in the Dunes.

It took a while to climb in the sand with a few calf cramps.

This part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is very steep. People were crawling back up on their hands and knees. 


 Northern Michigan's commercial fishing heritage remains alive today in Leland's Fishtown. We walked along the docks, amongst the weathered fishing shanties, smokehouses, racks of drying fishing nets, and fish tugs on the Leland River, and we could imagine what it would have been like in the early 1900s to live and work in this small fishing village, nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan. Fishtown still operates as one of the only working commercial fishing villages in the state of Michigan. Many of the shanties now house gift and clothing boutiques, art galleries and specialty food shops.

 We took a ride around North Lake Leenanau stopping in Fishtown in Leland which was a favorite of ours. The ferry to the Manitou Islands leaves from these docks daily at 9:30 and returns at 5:30. 

While living in Colorado Springs, we often enjoyed riding with the Colorado Springs Cycle Club on their Saturday morning  Latte Rides. This stop at the end of our ride made us think about those rides and our friends. We think they would have enjoyed this ride on  a perfect day around the lake.

Since our bike rides often end with a stop for "coffee", we often meet interesting people. There is something about being on a bike that makes people stop and talk. While stopped in Lake Leelanau at the end of one of our rides, we met a young lady that was touring along Lake Michigan on her mountain bike. She was riding 30 miles a day for 10 days and enjoying the lovely sunshine and blue water.
After our  Sutton Bay ride, we met a man that is spending the summer sailing the lakes in and around Michigan's lakes. He  had walked from the marina for coffee and a treat before heading over to the grocery store. He had stories to tell.


The Traverse Lighthouse that over looks Lake Michigan is said to be haunted by Captain Nelson.  Danish ship captain Peter Nelson, was the lighthouse keeper at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse from October 12, 1874 to July 11, 1890. He died two years later.
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum accepts applications for volunteer lighthouse keepers for the season, April through December. You’ll work hard during the day greeting visitors, spouting historical information and helping with maintenance of the buildings and grounds, but, hey, it can’t be as grueling as the work of the 1880’s keepers, who spent their days
filling lights with sperm oil, trimming wicks, polishing lenses. You can watch panoramic sunsets in the lighthouse tower at day’s end, and tuck up in your own bed in the northern apartment of the lighthouse. Volunteer keepers live at the light for one or two weeks.

 Along the country roads were self serve stands selling produce, pastries and jams along with anything else they want to sell. On our return ride from the lighthouse, we stopped for some great peaches and a piece of apple pie.

We did get a hike in to do some geocaching but the mosquitoes were insane in places. That just made us keep moving while we did the loop. We did find the caches and stopped at the overlook to enjoy the view.
This strange looking creature had just come out of his cocoon while we watched.
This part of our Michigan trip was better than we could have hoped. Riding our bikes to visit the small towns along the country roads with temps in the low 70s and very little rain was a perfect way to enjoy our summer or at least a small part of it.