Saturday, July 13, 2013

The finish, Petersburg to Luna Pier

June 30, 2013

Our hotel accommodations were greatly valued, especially as we heard  the rain and thunder last night.  Roger was tucked in nice and dry in the camper, so we were all blessed.  It felt so good to have a leisurely and  PRIVATE, shower before bed.

Ariann was riding with a group of new friends today, so she wasn't around for a group picture. We'll change into our raspberry shirts before the parade.

 Tammy smiles bigger when this guy is around.

The morning spread sunshine, mixed with cotton ball clouds before us.  Our trip today is a short one, 28 miles.  The parade will line up at 11:30 AM, so we will still need to book it.  A sea of raspberry shirted cyclist will pedal the 2 miles to the school.  Our shirts are more like a hot pink, bit guys probably wouldn't appreciate wearing the shirts if they called them that, so raspberry, it is.  

We weren't very far along when we rode past this playground, a child's dream come true.  I could picture our grandchildren climbing about and exploring every piece of equipment.  A sword fight to defend the castle would definitely need to take place.

This is the first white barn with a green roof i've seen.  Of course, it owned by a family of  Irish descent.

Luna Pier
Luna Pier, population 1436 , in Monroe County is located 6 miles from the Ohio border. It has a unique crescent shaped pier, about 800 feet in length. The pier extends into Lake Erie 200 feet.

Luna Pier was at one time 2 lake side communities, known as Lakewood and Lakeside. Lakewood was a town of privately owned, wood framed, summer cottages, and Lakeside was the place to go for rental cottages. In 1963 Luna Pier incorporated into a city.

By the late 1800's and early 1900's, it was a resort destination. Before the days of the automobile, an interurban passenger railway system moved folks from one place to another and connected both Toledo and Detroit, allowing families to spend the summer months enjoying the lake shore, while the wage earner commuted, back and forth. Parts of the system are still evident today on Harold Drive which runs parallel to Lake Erie. A bridge structure remains visible where Harold Drive dead ends at LaPoint

In the 1920's an outdoor summer dancing area was constructed by the Lakeside Resort and Amusement Company. The structure, around 1000 sq feet. extended into the Lake, had a ticket booth, terrazzo dance floor, lighting and a band shell. Dancing the “”thing”, to do in the 1920'a and this unusual set up attracted many big name bands, including Guy Lombardo and Benny Goodman. A 1954 fire and ice storm destroyed the dance floor.

Luna Pier we have arrived.

This is what we saw when we turned toward Lake Erie.

Tony and I with Lake Erie in the background.   My trusty map is around my neck. Ddid I mention that we missed our navigator from previous years?

 Time to line up for our ride to the school.

This parade is about ready to roll.

Even after we were at the school, the riders continued to arrive.

  Some friends from PALM

Thank you once again to all the PALM volunteers that made this a great tour, and thanks to the Lord for his provision and hand of protection, upon us. Hope to see old friends and new on another PALM.

Day 6 Manchester to Petersburg

Tammy and Ariann have brighter smiles today.  Bock (Hubby and Dad for these 2,) is flying  into Grand Rapids this morning.  Tracey will pick him up at the airport and he will drive the Cargo trailer,  meeting us in Petersburg.  Tammy has hotel reservations in Dundee.  We have been invited to share the room, and will likely do so.  It will be wonderful to have a private shower, especially for Tony, who has  been finding his way around a different shower room each night.  I can't imagine. closing my eyes and trying to find my way around a locker room/ shower once, much less six times.  It is the hardest part of PALM for Tony.  God sends him helpers, but it is still a challenge.  One night, after his shower,  he was looking for his bag that had all his stuff in it. )  He had several guys helping him.  They asked him what his bag looked like and he had no idea.  (my bad, for not describing it to him.) Then they asked him what clothes were in his bag, again he had no idea.  (another bad on me.)  From there on, I made it a point to tell him what he was wearing each day and what clothes were in his shower bag.  If we do PALM next year, we may  try to sign up a list of volunteers to help Tony in the shower each day.  It would make life so much easier for him.

The rain that started last night has continued, although thankfully,  not as heavy as it initially was.  We donned our rain gear and started out.  The rain was a steady drizzle, but not cold, still,  riding in the rain, isn't the most enjoyable thing, on my list of things to do.

My glasses get water spotted and I have to take them off.  Can't see as well, without them.  After about 2 and a half hours the rain stopped.  Clouds remained, which was good, because the humidity was building.  Hopefully our day will be over before the heat of the day arrives.

The next 2 days should be mostly flat with down hill grades, so the miles will be easier.  Rollin is happy on this type of terrain, eating the miles up quickly with his  66t gear ring. The rain would have seemed worse if we were making the slow progress we did yesterday morning.

I neglected to mention earlier that a friend from WA, that I met  on an online cycling forum, came to MI to do some riding and is doing PALM.  Fun to get to know him, after the many emails we exchanged while he was planning his trip.  Roger has been kind enough to haul our friends gear each day, making life easier for him.  Otherwise the gear would have to be loaded on and off the truck each day, this way it is easy to find after a day of riding, and he has been camping by us.  Anything that can make life simple on PALM is good.

I wondered what the history of this little stone building on the edge of this farm was.  Was it used as a milk house,  housing for a hired hand, or maybe with walls so thick, it was once a spring house to keep milk  and butter cold.

Had a stop by the railroad tracks as the train passed by.

This old barn wasn't at this was my camera.

Not sure this picture goes with this day, but here we are, taking a break with Tammy and Ariann.
 We turned a corner, and saw this boat for sale, another unlikely sight in the country, when there are no lakes nearby.  Looks like a floating camper.

A little further up the road we saw this flowery peace sign.

 The bathroom quest seems to be an ongoing thing as we ride, we pulled into a  cemetery hoping to find this building open and with a restroom inside. .

It wasn't, but to our surprise there was a port-a-john nearby, not something one finds in every grave yard.  We were happy to have it there, and no, it wasn't haunted.

We found a marker for a veteran who served in  the war of 1812.

This also caught our attention, especially since the portable bathroom was right next to it.

Manchester MI , Washtenaw County MI, population 2094, is another place that was influenced by an upstate New Yorker. In 1831, John Gilbert, who had resettled in Yipsilanti MI, commissioned the construction of a grist mill, on a plat of land he owned along the Raisin River. Hiram Burnham surveyed and drew up the original plat of the village of Manchester. The survey wasn't formally filed until March 25, 1835. The location was chosen to take advantage of water power from the river and named after Manchester New York.

In 1833 James Soule purchased a large tract of land 1 mile downstream from Manchester. There, he built a small settlement he called Soulesville. For some years the towns competed with each other, and March 16, 1867, they incorporated into the village of Manchester.

Manchester has 4 parks and located just NW outside of the village is the Leonard Preserve, 259 acres that protect nearly one mile of the Raisin River shoreline. It includes woodlands, wetlands, rolling hills, prairie, and former pastureland. The diverse landscape makes great habitat for wildlife.. Blandings turtles, the fastest turtle in MI, coyotes, blue racers and other animals are likely sightings.

The charm of downtown, preserves the charm of the 19th century, including a historic church and several buildings of Italiante architecture.

 I shouldn't be amazed at the things we see as we ride along, but at times we do encounter the unexpected.  Some beautiful landscaping with huge rocks was worth taking a picture of. It must have taken lots of big equipment to get them in place.

 Once again, we were so thankful that we have had no flats or mechanical issues with Rollin.  last year was the year of all the chain jams.  Things go smoother and our days are shorter when our trike is working well.

As the sky cleared, the day heated up and shady spots were welcome, especially the fruit stop.

This silo beckoned me to take a picture.

Dundee was a welcome sight for all of us.

The  40 miles were good today and we even had time to look around in this bead shop.

 Petersburg school was about 5 miles form here.  We drove back later and did our laundry, meeting Bock at the Laundromat.  He said he drove through such heavy rain, that he had to pull over because he couldn't see anything. Looked like the storm was headed our way.  We'll share the hotel room tonight and let Roger sleep in the trailer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 5 Dansville to Manchester

June 26, 2013

Each school we stay at offers some type of nightly entertainment,  It is hard enough to muster up the energy to attend the nightly meetings, much less go to the gym or auditorium afterwards.  I hear others talk about what fun the magician was,  what a great comedian or the good music they heard.  but we are just too tired to go, plus it seems there is much to do to get ready to ride the next day.  Each time we are getting ready to do pALM, we say, This year, lets go to some of the entertainment."  Oh well, maybe next time.

Today we got a later start, taking time to have breakfast in the cafeteria.   If we take the camper to our next PALM,  we won't bother to buy  the breakfast meal plan..  It is just as easy to have a quick bowl of cereal and get an earlier start.

Our 51 mile trek will take us past a lake and a winery, but it should be our last day of serious hills.  Silvery sun streamed through the trees, wild flowers stood in lines along the roads,  while butterflies fluttered past.  Most butterflies fly about the level of a car grill, which explains why I sometimes see their remains there.  When we are triking, they are about eye level with us, and are intriguing to watch.  I once had one hitch a ride on my shoulder.  Riding really lets us see the world at a slower and more personal pace.  I narrate the scenery for Tony as we pedal along, letting him see the world through my eyes.  He is so grateful that he can mentally identify colors, the shape of a barn against the sky,  the white sparkle of a gulls wings and, the leaves moving in the breeze. We've often talked about what would be harder, never having the vision to see these things, or having the vision and then losing it.  Tony's  conclusion is that although the experience varies, it is the attitude that counts.  Tony chooses to focus on what he has now, and what he can do today, instead of the things he can't do or see. There is a blind girl on the ride this year, and her attitude is the same.  She keeps her attitude positive and is another  great example of how a person can overcome difficult things in life. She and Tony had some good laughs and we all enjoyed getting to know her better.

Bunkerhill store had a porta-pot that we were glad to see, plus Jack, a friendly dog.

Many beautiful flowers and plants to choose from here as well.  Not conducive to a cycling tour, but if you live in the area, it is well worth the trip.

Tony and I couldn't resist a custard filled Long John, a decision we would later regret, when we had a sugar crash.  The hills were  the long drawn out kind that takes us eons to conquer.  Fortunately, I had some Tuna and crackers in the pannier, plus Tammy's wonderful Power bars, which gave us a much needed boost in our protein.  The winery, with a shady arbor and vineyards was a good place to stop and take the 20 minute break we needed to get us going.

We met up with Tammy and Ariann at a rest stop and welcomed a  spot to cool down.

It was also a good place to look at the map.  We  have missed having Kiersten as our navigator.

Tammy, Ariann, and I  posed for a 3 generation picture.

Here are the 4 of us, so blessed to be able to share the experience of this ride together.  God is so good.

Lunch was at the Grass Lake Diner, they have the 3rd best breakfast in the state, prepared by a chef that used to work in big fancy restaurants.   Of course we had the breakfast,
we had, minus the meat.  It was the best breakfast/lunch we've had in a very long time.

We had to wait a bit for a table, and found ourselves well rewarded for it.  Bites of buttercream topped muffins sent us on our way when we were through.

Some riding days are easier than others, today was definitely one of those days for us.  Our choice to have the sugary pastries so early in the day didn't help matters any.  The hills seemed bigger and the miles longer today.  We were glad to arrive at the school.

A storm was rolling in tonight, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued, but nothing that required evacuation into the school.  I skipped the meeting tonight to get things ready for tomorrow, when the other 3 came back, it was pouring.  Hope Roger stays dry in the tent tonight.