8th Day on the Road: Evart to Kalkaska, MI (70 miles)
I am now at a total of 470 miles and am about a day and a half ahead of schedule!
I noticed Mark Pope's recent comment about practical matters. Mark is right, I find it difficult to think big thoughts on this bike trip because it is so demanding of my continuing focus and effort. There is just a lot to get through every day. It reminds me of Forrest Gump and his three years of running. When people asked him for his big thought toward the end of his run, he said something like, "I'm pretty tired, I think I'll go home now." I find I need to just focus on coping with the various changing riding conditions every day, planning the next days ride and get organized for it, and there is not a lot of time left over for processing the meaning of it all. On the other hand I do like the simplicity of it - the ability to maintain a close focus on what you are doing and not deviate from it.
Now, regarding today's ride. Chuck rode about 50 miles with me and then Mary picked him up and they left to go home. It was a wonderful time to ride with him and to see my sister, and now there are no more planned social events or people riding with me. I made a decision to leave my sleeping bag, my pad, and my tent with Chuck and Mary instead of carry them with me. This is to lessen the weight that I am carrying, hoping that I won't need these items as I move into a more touristy area. There *should* be motels, I hope.
Along the way, today, (and I think I've seen this before) a person can buy almost anything because along the roadside so many things are for sale. Cars, boats, farm equipment... It's like a large roadway garage sale.
The temperature is in the low 60's. It's fairly nippy, so I must be in the north. The weather over the next three days is forecasted to have showers. This is not particularly welcomed in my view, because today I rode through about 25 miles of steady rain on the way to Kalkaska. Kalkaska, itself, seems to be kind of a drive through town. Many lanes for traffic so cars can just speed through, or so it seems to me. The big thing here that I've seen is the national trout memorial. A large statue of a rainbow trout leaping from the water that was dedicated in 1966 by the assistant Secretary of State.
Last night in Evart, Chuck, Mary and I went to the Relay for Life event (an event that Suzanne was in last spring at UC). There were maybe 100 luminaria bags, each one inscribed with expressions of rememberance and love for someone who has died of cancer. For example, "I love you grandma". Some people walking were cancer survivors. It was quite moving. I noticed in Kalkaska today that they are also having one of these events coming up. Here are some other events that Kalkaska has scheduled for the summer, and they may be similar those in other towns in the north: Free Fishing Weekend, Strawberry Social, Celtic Festival, Bluegrass Festival, Area Horse Pull, Pie Auction and Music, Fireworks for July 4th, Sidewalk sales, Area Antique Tractor Gathering, and County Fair.
As for my health, I have been logging a lot of miles and hours on the bike. My PMR seems to be quite in control, surprisingly. I think my legs are getting stronger so taking the hills is somewhat less fatiguing, but this is hard and demanding work at times. Nothing wrong with that!
Tomorrow, I plan to head to Charlevoix or maybe beyond to Petosky or Harbor Springs, depending on traffic, terrain, weather, etc. It's possible up in there somewhere I may take some extra time to look around, see what's there, and be a little bit of a tourist myself. We'll see.
Till next time, Bob.