Be There In A Jiffy

Hank – Awaking from our slumber under the pavilion in the city park, we quickly packed up and went to the Depot Diner for breakfast. We really enjoy the routine of having tea and a light snack first thing in the morning and then having a meal after an hour or two if riding. But the next town, Chelsea, we would pass through was 30 miles away so we had to eat first.

The back roads were quiet with little traffic. We crossed paths with a couple of people out for a bike ride. We happened along the Dewey School where we stopped to take a break. The school building is a museum and has a history going back to the mid-1800s.

The remainder of the ride to Chelsea was on a state highway. There was a little more traffic but we had shoulder to ride on. We found that Chelsea is the home of Jiffy cornbread mix. Cool! We stopped at the Chelsea Bakery and treated ourselves to a blueberry muffin and an apple and cinnamon crunch muffin. They were fresh out of the oven and boy we’re they delicious. I resisted the urge for gluttony and followed my Apple muffin with a chocolate iced chocolate cake donut. You want to be careful about over indulging, right?

We left Chelsea and covered the last 12 miles to REI in Ann Arbor. We returned the faulty sleeping pads and Kathy bought a different replacement. My shoes we’re pretty shot and the same ones were on sale so I got a new pair. Both of my bike shorts, which I’ve had since last year we’re shot so I replaced those, too. Our WarmShowers host have two young boys and they’re leaving soon to do a tour on the Hart-Montague Trail. We picked up dehydrated meals, dehydrated ice cream, and two spoons for the boys. We bought a bottle of wine next door for the parents.

As we left REI we had two miles in light rain to our host’s house where Christa and her son, Carsten, gave us a warm welcome. Andreas, the younger son, is away at camp. Christa said he was sad he wouldn’t get to meet us. He had determined we were nice people based on the photos of us on our blog. After meeting Carsten we are also sad we won’t get to meet Andreas. Bright and joyful children are wonderful to be around.

We also hit it off with David, who works for Ford Motor Company, when came home from work. Christa and David have done their share of touring and they’ve worked hard to make it fun for the boys now that they’re old enough to pedal along. Last year’s tour with the boys was a hotel venture. The upcoming trip involves camping the entire way, which the boys are excited about.

Christa treated us to a delicious meal of sausage casserole, which Carsten described as a really good Mac and cheese. I disagreed. It was way better than any Mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

We talked with Christa, Carsten, and David until bed time. David is an engineer who works on sound and vibration. Thanks to him I now understand what’s going on with the loud  vibrating air when you drive with one window open. We mentioned our possible plans and that we hadn’t decided on them yet. They offered to host us another day so we could take a rest day. Plus, David works across the street from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. He offered to drop us off in downtown Dearborn in the morning. We could leisurely explore the city and visit the museum and catch a ride with him back to the house. We thought that was a great idea and we’re very appreciative of their generosity.

Kathy – Seeing all the lightning bugs (or fire flies) in the park last night was pretty sweet. I remember them all over the Midwest growing up in Southern Illinois. We don’t have them in Washington state so it was a welcome sight to enjoy them again.

I blew up both our sleeping pads (with the defective valves that cause the air to leak out in the middle of the night) and stacked them on top of each other to try to keep my hip and shoulder bones off the hard ground as I slept. It didn’t work too well. Hank bought a new sleeping pad a few weeks ago at Dicks in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Mine was still working then, but failed soon after we left La Crosse. Looking forward to visiting REI and getting a new sleeping pad today.

Our 52 miles today was pretty good. The temps were in the high 70’s but the cloudy skies made it very comfortable. We had rolling hills the entire time. I was thankful they were gradual rather steep climbs. All in all it was a good day of riding.

Our WarmShowers host Christa, David and Carsten are fantastic! They are terrific people we are so grateful for their kindness. Too bad we don’t get to meet Andreas, but no doubt he is having fun at camp. Christa prepared an absolutely wonderful dinner for us and we had great conversations throughout the evening. We just really clicked with this beautiful family. When they offered to host us another night I was concerned about overstaying our welcome and inconveniencing them. Christa and David insisted they were good with it. I am looking forward to seeing the Henry Ford Museum tomorrow and spending more time with this fabulous family. We have so much to be thankful for today…and everyday.

The Place To Be

Hank – I took in the sunrise at the lake next to the campground and that’s how I met Steve who was in the same high school graduating class as me. We packed up and headed south where a bridge was closed for resurfacing. The construction guys didn’t bat an eye. They offered to carry our bikes over the regards, wire, and jagged cement and wished us well for the rest of our trip. They saved us about five miles.

We stopped in Charlotte (pronounced shar-LOT) for breakfast. I noticed the old courthouse was a museum so we went there after eating. It was closed but there are private offices inside. Janet Phillips offered up her husband, Bob, to give us a tour of the first floor. Bob showed us a huge array of photos take of locals who went into the service during WWII. There were over 600 of them. Recently they had a ceremony for the remaining veterans, 12 of them, and posted photos of them as well. Studying the pictures I could see faces full of life and hope, a few that looked battle weary, but all showing the youth and vigor that I still feel in mind even though my body has faded.

From Charlotte we cruised on quiet back country roads and then onto a state highway passing through Onondaga and then arriving at Leslie, whose motto is “The place to be.”  It looks like we’re where we’re supposed to be.

We checked with the police and the city office about camping at the city park. Everyone thought that would be okay for the night. Carrie, the woman at the city office, offered to have us tent in her back yard but we opted not to. I kind of wish we hadn’t turned her down because this is all about meeting people.

Kathy – Our 45 mile ride today was quite quaint for most of it. The vast countryside and farmlands filled our day as we travelled up and down the long rolling hills throughout the day. It was comfortable temps most of the day until the last couple hours of riding when it was sunny and in the mid 80’s. Overall it was a good ride today.

We enjoyed some really yummy ice cream in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. Upon arrival to town I stopped and ask a man on the sidewalk where is the best place to get ice cream and he sent us to Turtle Tom’s Ice Cream Shop. I met Angel who bought this cute little ice cream place last year. I told her it was fantastic and she needed to raise her prices based on the low cost and large servings. She just laughed at me. This was a nice find and the ice cream hit the spot on the hot afternoon of riding.

It’s been a good day. The temps are cool this evening and not too many bugs out to devour us. We each have 15-20 bites on us from the mosquitos and black flys. I have actually had three black flies bite through my bike gloves. Every time a few bites heal we get more to make up for them. We still haven’t found anything that really keeps the bugs off our sweaty skin. The bugs just love us! Anyway, a good day of riding. Followed by an enjoyable and relaxing (bug free) evening in the park as Hank plays his ukulele.