Good News from Canine Companions for Independence

Barb and I are very happy to share the following news from Paul Mundell, National Director of Canine Programs for Canine Companions for Independence, regarding their efforts to support America’s Wounded Warriors:
I am pleased to share with you that Canine Companions for Independence has been chosen to participate in a study sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to determine the benefits of canine support for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As you know, Canine Companions is always at the forefront of canine assistance and therapy. This study is the perfect opportunity to support our veterans and provide insight into the benefits of a highly trained assistance dog for individuals living with PTSD.

After an initial placement and evaluation of 6 dogs over several months, we could ultimately place over 100 teams over the next several years. We will continue to work collaboratively with the VA in what we believe will be a ground-breaking and mutually beneficial partnership. As we move forward with this study, we will continue to share our findings and success with you.

Thank you for your support and dedication to Canine Companions.

Sincerely,
Paul Mundell
National Director of Canine Programs
Canine Companions for Independence

 

 

Day 71: The Erie Canal

July 30, 2014

Lockport, NY to Brockport, NY

Day: 45 miles; Total: 3,537 miles

Lockport where we started our day is on the historic Erie Canal. The canal runs from Lake Erie at Buffalo to the Hudson River at Albany. The canal, dug by hand by Irish laborers, was completed in 1825. Barges were pulled by horses or mules walking along a towpath that runs the length of the canal. The canal is no longer used commercially but is a great recreational resource for boaters, cyclists and hikers. Our route today took us along the gravel surfaced towpath. Throughout the morning we had a great time riding the flat towpath enjoying views of the canal and some historic small towns along its banks. At one point the canal crossed over a deep river gorge. The canal was contained in a specially formulated concrete bridge over the gorge – state of the art engineering for the time. At another spot a road ran through a conduit under the canal. This was all very impressive and fun to see. Also, Barb and I could ride side by side on the towpath and talk in normal conversational tones – a huge improvement over yelling back and forth over traffic and wind noise as we usually do. We asked a sailboat motoring past us where he was going to sail. He said he was headed for the Hudson River then the Atlantic down to North Carolina – very impressive.

Our happy time on the towpath ended when some severe storms and torrential rains moved into the area and turned the towpath into muck. Our progress slowed to about six mph and felt like biking in beach sand. After struggling a couple of miles and getting the bikes and ourselves filthy, we headed for a normal road. We stopped at a gas station to warm up with hot chocolate and pizza slices – yum – then headed for the canal town of Brockport to finish our day.

View of canal from the top of a bridge

View of canal from the top of a bridge

 

Traveler sees the canal

Traveler sees the canal

Barb rides the towpath

Barb rides the towpath

The canal crosses over a river

The canal crosses over a river

Sailboat on its way to North Carolina

Sailboat on its way to North Carolina

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Day 70: Niagara Falls and Crossing the Border

July 29, 2014

Fort Erie, ON to Lockport, NY

Day: 50 miles; Total: 3,492 miles

 

We rode from Ft. Erie up along the Niagara River on the beautiful Parkway that passes some very nice houses with views of the River out their front doors. As we approached the Niagara Falls Viewing Area, tall hotels came into view on the Canada side, and the white mist of the falls rose in the air. We spent a lot of time taking photos and taking in the atmosphere of international visitors enjoying the amazing views of the falls.
We went further up the Parkway to the much quieter “Downtown” area where we got lunch in the cute old fashioned shopping area and then headed further north to our route’s crossing into the US. We were to use the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and were told that we were to ride in the car lanes, like a car. So that entailed about an hour, once we rode onto the bridge, of creeping slowly up to the Customs booth in our lane, and trying not to get asphyxiated by the exhaust from the cars ahead. I can’t imagine how this would be if the weather were stormy or worse, really hot. Anyway, we made it through and wound our way from all the busy highways to a 2 lane rural road towards our current spot, Lockport. A missed turn led us down a lovely sweeping hill ( and then a nice slog back up that hill to get back on the route. ) Maybe too much standing around on the bridge….

Now we are riding through rural NY farms and small towns, eastward and near Lake Ontario. We have completed Adventure Cycling’s Lake Erie Connector route and are back on the Northern Tier on Map 10 leading us to Fort Ticonderoga, NY. The link below will take you to a detailed description of our route on the Adventure Cycling website.

From yesterday in Ft. Erie, the bridge to Buffalo

From yesterday in Ft. Erie, the bridge to Buffalo

Ft. Erie, captured by the Americans in the War of 1812

Ft. Erie, captured by the Americans in the War of 1812

 

From today, coffee before heading out on the Niagara River Parkway

From today, coffee before heading out on the Niagara River Parkway

A modern house on the Parkway

A modern house on the Parkway

And something more traditional

And something more traditional

As we approached the falls from the River

As we approached the falls from the River

LOTS of water running to the falls

LOTS of water running to the falls

Traveler cautiously looks over

Traveler cautiously looks over

Another view

Another view

Traveler meets some new friends from Michigan at the falls

Traveler meets some new friends from Michigan at the falls

The PPR's at the falls

The PPR’s at the falls

Further up the parkway , the School of Horticulture public garden

Further up the parkway , the School of Horticulture public garden

In line to go through customs back to the US

In line to go through customs back to the US

NY farm scene: crayon colored tractors in front of the barn

NY farm scene: crayon colored tractors in front of the barn

A lot of water

A lot of water, one more look

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Day 69: We see Buffalo ( New York, that is)

July 28, 2014

Dunnville, ON to Fort Erie, ON

Day: 42 miles; Total: 3,442 miles

 

The rain that started last night continued this morning as we stood in our motel doorway, bikes loaded to go, and glumly watched buckets of water come down. After about an hour of this depressing fun, it began to lighten up so we hopped on and rode a mile to breakfast. We ate at a little place suggested by our motel and the food was very good and even better, the cook was a biker himself. He related to the “food is fuel” thing and insisted we take a loaf of his good bread with us when we left, so we did!
The morning’s ride involved fairly light rain, but blustery winds blowing us around and a navigational error (mine) that put us on a much busier road than we’d have liked. Who knew that there were two roads marked as #3? I certainly didn’t and both went eventually to the Lake Erie city we were looking for, but one carried many more trucks- ugh… Anyway, we got to Port Colborne on Erie and found our way to a bike trail that led through trees, but near the lake, to Ft Erie. The rain picked up a bit while we biked for several hours on the trail and we both were taken by surprise as the trail opened onto Niagara River and we could see the New York side. Cool! We can see NY!
We stopped to ask directions of a nice couple walking along the shore and they directed to the road to our motel and gave us suggestions of places to eat. Thank you!
After we dried out a bit, we walked around near the Peace Bridge that connects Canada and the US through Buffalo. We will be riding tomorrow up the Canada side to Niagara Falls and then crossing into the US there.
Photos are stuck in a clogged wifi tube I guess so we will post those tomorrow assuming we have better connections.

 

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Day 68: Waterfront Trail

July 27,2014

Port Rowan, ON to Dunnville, ON

Day: 61 miles; Total: 3,400 miles

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast at the B&B and good conversation with our hosts and guests. On the road among the lakeside farms, we met Tai,  a bike tourist heading west. He’s been traveling around the US and now Canada, from his home in Oregon, since LAST July ! His bike computer broke so he doesn’t know his overall mileage but said that he decided that this was about the journey, not the miles.  Very cool!
Most of our ride today was by close to the shoreline, still among crops but now more summer homes/ recreational cabins. We’d heard about one huge home being built on the shore and were suitably awed when it came into view. I guess some farmer made a killing growing something ( we heard that there is gensing  cultivation here and our hosts last night told us that it’s very expensive to grow, but with great profit to be made). Our road dipped down right onto the shore in a number of places, including one called Port Dover. The big news today there was the marathon swim across Lake Erie being done by a 16 yr old girl to raise money for a camp for children with cancer. She had also been the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario,at the age of 14! She was aiming for Port Dover today and I think she made a close point ( and raised $130,000 for the camp I believe) here’s an article about her http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/annaleise-carr-lake-ontario-conqueror-ends-lake-erie-swim-1.2718938
The afternoon was spent right along the coast, passing mostly recreational homes and cabins. It looked very idyllic as families were playing on the shore or hanging out in the porch in the cool lake breeze air. Erie does have an odd odor at times that we noticed as we went along but must be something organic we assume…
We ended the the day at the Riverview Motel in Dunnville, chatting with the nice hosts and enjoying the view of the Grand River that runs into the lake.

Tai, who has been biking for a year around the US and now Canada, and is headed home to Oregon. Whew!

Tai, who has been biking for a year around the US and now Canada, and is headed home to Oregon. Whew!

Minions by the road

Minions by the road

Amber waves

Amber waves

Tobacco

Tobacco

In the barn series

In the barn series

This plaque is behind a church in the small town Port Ryerse

This plaque is behind a church in the small town Port Ryerse

Ore boat on the lake

Ore boat on the lake

A conveyor belt running from a freighter to a steel mill on the shore near us

A conveyor belt running from a freighter to a steel mill on the shore near us

Along the shore

Along the shore

A very big "farmhouse" on the lake edge

A very big “farmhouse” on the lake edge

Power plant by the shore, so we've seen all sorts of power sources

Power plant by the shore, so we’ve seen all sorts of power sources

Cottages and coastal beaches on the lake

Cottages and coastal beaches on the lake

Traveler meet Zina at the Riverview Motel

Traveler meet Zina at the Riverview Motel


  Support Canine Companions for Independence. Donate at our event page. See details about our route.

Day 67: Port to Port

July 26, 2014

Port Stanley, ON to Port Rowan, ON

Day: 48 miles; Total: 3,339 miles

 

After our long day yesterday, we took it easy this morning, enjoying the wonderful breakfast at our B&B and then spending some time walking around the town. It is a cute tourist/beach area, with families hanging out in the sandy beach and some fun shops and cafés in town.
Our route took us along the shore, still through farmlands but sometimes within sight of the lake. It is odd to see a field of corn, with a sailboat and a farm house in the rear. The farms today seemed to be growing more diverse things so for today’s farm report: we saw in addition to the miles of corn and soy beans, there was asparagus, cherries ( we think) potatoes, tobacco, chickens peering out from some huge chicken houses, peaches, apples and wind turbines ( oops, those aren’t a crop but they were scattered about and in all directions rose above us doing their slow whirl in the wind).
We stopped a farmer’s veggie stand ( just to ogle what they had and to ask questions about what we’d been seeing). We met some nice locals who bike ( and fly planes!) in this area and got some info on why they call this area Ontario’s garden.
We also stopped in Port Burwell, another resort/beach town but this one also has a Canadian sub on display as a museum. We had seen its sister ship in Quebec when we did our “shakedown” bike tour in eastern Canada in 2012.
More riding through farms, this time on very quiet roads that seemed like they were taking us right into the middle of some of the farms, brought us to Port Rowan, which seems to be a small resort town. After dinner we found out why the busiest place in town was the local ice cream shop. Yum!

The Windjammer Inn in Port Stanley. Seriously good food using local ingredients

The Windjammer Inn in Port Stanley. Seriously good food using local ingredients


Bill in the lake

Bill in the lake


Traveler checks out the good looking produce

Traveler checks out the good looking produce


Traveler and the wind turbine. We visited an info center with explanations about this Ontario wind project

Traveler and the wind turbine. We visited an info center with explanations about this Ontario wind project


In the barn series, with copper cupolas

In the barn series, with copper cupolas


Branded corn, which we've seen quite a bit of here

Branded corn, which we’ve seen quite a bit of here


The sub in the river by Port Burwell

The sub in the river by Port Burwell


This is a big birding area and part of the Atlantic Flyway. We passed this wetlands area created in large part by a local farmer

This is a big birding area and part of the Atlantic Flyway. We passed this wetlands area created in large part by a local farmer


 

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Day 66: Across Ontario’s Farms to Lake Erie

July 25, 2014

Sombra, ON to Port Stanley, ON

Day: 99 miles; Total: 3,291 miles

 

Looonnngg day but we are on the shore of Lake E! We started along the St Clair River, past cute waterside homes on our left and the river and docks jutting into the river on the right. We stopped for breakfast at the Parkway Diner in tiny Port Lampton, and our nice host actually wouldn’t let us pay for our food! We thanked her profusely, introduced her to Traveler and told her about CCI. Very generous of her!

We rode for the rest of the day across Ontario farm country, heading southeast to the shore of Lake Erie. At one point we were in Dresden, which was a part of the Underground Railroad helping slaves to escape. We rode through other farm towns, and corn, hay and soy beans as well as several big apple farms as we got closer to the lake. It was late when we arrived so we will go see Port Stanley in daylight in the morning!

An island in the St. Clair River

An island in the St. Clair River

At Breakfast!

At Breakfast!

One country had wind turbines and solar panels dotting the fields, and the next county did not ( and had "No wind turbine " signs)

One county had wind turbines and solar panels dotting the fields, and the next county did not ( and had “No wind turbine ” signs)

No idea what this giant greenhouse is ( hydroponics?) and it had no name but it was huge

No idea what this giant greenhouse is ( hydroponics?) and it had no name but it was huge

We've been seeing  multistory brick farmhouses recently and here's a nice example

We’ve been seeing multistory brick farmhouses recently and here’s a nice example

Traveler meets the baker at our lunch stop...

Traveler meets the baker at our lunch stop…

...and the nice young woman at the produce stand where we bought some berries

…and the nice young woman at the produce stand where we bought some berries

One of several big apple farms we passed

One of several big apple farms we passed

And some Canadian sheep

And some Canadian sheep

https://pedalingpuppyraisers.wordpress.com/

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Day 65: Oh Canada!

July 24, 2014

Yale, MI to Sombra, ONT

Day: 47 miles; Total: 3,192 miles

 

A cool sunny day greeted us as we rode into Yale for breakfast at the Red Dog Cafe. Things were swinging into set up action for the Bologna Festival starting later but we needed to head on. Our route included a couple of nice bike trails, and a few pretty busy no shoulder roads (ugh) as we headed to Marine City where we would be crossing into Canada. Ships come down the St. Clair River from Lake Huron, heading eventually to Lake Erie. It’s hard for a California brain to grasp the concept that during the winter, the river freezes and ice breakers are needed to get the freighters through!
We took the ferry over to Sombra, so we were now in Canada and we biked a few miles through nice riverside homes and some farms, to our motel. Today we are riding to the shore of Lake Erie and will probably be camping.

At the Red Dog, with yummy food and walls covered with photos of puppies!

At the Red Dog, with yummy food and walls covered with photos of puppies!


Decorated for the Bologna fans

Decorated for the Bologna fans


Barn in the morning sun

Barn in the morning sun


A big trestle on the bike trail

A big trestle on the bike trail


A nice gravel trail through farms

A nice gravel trail through farms


Traveler met Tracy, who has toured all over the country and stopped to talk to us about our trip and CCI

Traveler met Tracy, who has toured all over the country and stopped to talk to us about our trip and CCI


A freighter on the river

A freighter on the river


Coming into the Canada side

Coming into the Canada side


Traveler crosses the border!

Traveler crosses the border!


With our innkeeper at Bogie's Motel right on the river in Sombra

With our innkeeper at Bogie’s Motel right on the river in Sombra


 

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Canada: Roaming? Wifi?

Dear Friends

 

We just realized that as we enter Canada for the next 4-5 days that unless we have Wifi, we won’t post each day because data charges may cost more than Traveler can afford. He may also nose around on Verizon when he gets off the bike today…

in the meantime, here he is at breakfast at the Red Dog Cafe in Yale.

image

We’ll be hoping for wifi!

Barb, Bill and Mr. T

Day 64: From Little Bavaria Through the Ivy Leagues

July 23, 2014

Frankenmuth, MI to Yale, MI

Day: 65 miles; Total: 3,145 miles

 

We started our day actually finding the Main Street in Frankenmuth, which turns out to be a cute flower-bedecked riverside downtown with Bavarian themed shops and restaurants and a famous holiday store.  We biked out of town and rode through small farms growing corn, soy, wheat and sugar beets. We went through small towns including Vassar, Brown (City) and Yale and so we asked at several of them why the Ivy League names, but couldn’t find out. Yale, where we are tonight, is hosting their annual Bologna Festival this weekend, but we will have to miss that. Another tidbit of local lore: Brown City is the birthplace of the motor home, built by farmer and engineer Ray Frank in his barn in 1967!
Tomorrow we will ride into Ontario, Canada to head to the shore of Lake Erie.

Russian Sage in town

Russian Sage in town

Part of Little Bavaria

Part of Little Bavaria

Traveler practices his "up" on my drink; or wait! He's drinking my giant latte!

Traveler practices his “up” on my drink; or wait! He’s drinking my giant latte!

The fields this morning. The clouds kept things much cooler than yesterday

The fields this morning. The clouds kept things much cooler than yesterday

Homesteaded in 1865!

Homesteaded in 1865!

Crossing the Flint River

Crossing the Flint River

Three are Amish communities in the area

There are Amish communities in the area

The very scared looking house was surrounded by Bill boards and gas station signs, but it was very striking ...

The very scary looking house was surrounded by billboards and gas station signs, but it was very striking …

Local products for sale

Local products for sale

At the birthplace of the motor home !

At the birthplace of the motor home !

 

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Day 63: More Michigan Things We Learned Today

July 22, 2014

Clare, MI to Frankenmuth, MI

Day: 85 miles; Total: 3,080 miles

 

We were up early for breakfast and were surprised to see the historic Doherty Hotel’s breakfast area filled with golfers at 6:30! Turns out golf packages are a big deal in this area. On the table was a list of 15 courses in the area. Then I ran over to take a photo of the donuts at the bakery ( which is open 24/7 in the summer) but restrained myself from buying any more of the giant treats since we don’t have the room to carry them-rats!
We began our ride with 30 miles on a lovely smooth ( we are becoming experts on pavement quality these days!) flat bike path from Clare to Midland. Michigan is hoping to develop bike/skate trails all over the state. This one was really nice and it ended in Midland, which is set along two rivers and is the home of Dow Chemical Co. Who knew? Well, we certainly didn’t.
Now off the path, we rode (usually) quiet rural roads through small farms. The temperature was heating up to about 90 but a strong breeze helped give the illusion of some cooling. We reached Bay City using a local bike trail there that we struggled a bit to follow, but it did bring us along the Saginaw River that seems to bisect the city. We found a great coffee/ lunch place, Populace Cafe, where owner Lyndsay makes very good coffee and salads. Cooling off in her charming cafe was nice respite from the heat. Bill was so refreshed, he ran next door to a salon and got his hair seriously buzzed in about 10 seconds. Makes the helmet fit better and cooler, he says!
Back in the heat, we headed mostly south, into a pretty good headwind, through more farms. We zigged and zagged (side wind, head wind) to the town of Frankenmuth. It’s supposed to have a Bavarian theme to it, but since we pulled into our motel outside of the main drag, then staggered (walked slowly) to dinner after cleaning up, we haven’t seen much of the this aspect yet. Maybe on the ride out tomorrow …

Donuts anyone?

Donuts anyone?

Early morning on the nice bike path; just us and a whole bunch of bunnies running in the grass

Early morning on the nice bike path; just us and a whole bunch of bunnies running in the grass

Farm in the morning light

Farm in the morning light

One of the numerous bridges on the nice path

One of the numerous bridges on the nice path

At the "Tridge" in Midland

At the “Tridge” in Midland

Lyndsay at her cafe in Bay City, where we also met some other nice folks from the area

Lyndsay at her cafe in Bay City, where we also met some other nice folks from the area

Bill gets his hair cut!

Bill gets his hair cut!

Bay City

Bay City

A farm in the heat, as we headed to Frankenmuth

A farm in the heat, as we headed to Frankenmuth

 

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Day 62: Eastbound and Down

July 21, 2014

Wolf Lake, MI to Clare, MI

Day: 75 miles; Total: 2,995 miles

 

We left our little motel at Wolf Lake early because it was going to be hot and biked 10 miles down the very pretty, quiet wooded road to our first breakfast option, at the bar in Luther. Fueled up, our route took us for most of the morning past nice scenic farmlands. Then later in the day, we got into more wooded areas and saw several canoe outfitters for the rivers and lakes in the area.
We saw a couple of touring cyclists go the other way, and then a group who were crossing the country east to west, on an organized Adventure Cycling supported ride. Talking with others who have been where we are going ( and are headed out west where we have been) helps to bring our focus out of the immediate asphalt in front of our noses and reminds us of the many miles our bikes are going on this trip. I’m not sure this supported group was too envious of the loads we are carrying but we still like the self guided flexibility. Of course we traded suggestions of not to miss places to eat and one of the riders gave us a great tip about a special bakery in Clare; see below.
Clare is located, as we read at our hotel, in the exact center of the mitten part of Michigan. The area is called “Mid Michigan” so that sounds like progress to us! There is an Amish community near the town. The historic Doherty Hotel dating from 1924 is in the center of the Main Street but most importantly, it is just across the street from ” Cops and Doughtnuts” , the bakery I mentioned. In 2009, to prevent its closing, the entire 9 person Clare police force bought a bakery that had been in operation continually since 1896. It’s now very successful and a fun place to check out all the police memorabilia from all over, and to ogle the giant baked goods filling the cases. Yum!

Central Michigan hay fields

Central Michigan hay fields

Lumber from this very wooded area

Lumber from this very wooded area

This farm had fruit trees, veggie gardens and these sheep

This farm had fruit trees, veggie gardens and these sheep

Another barn

Another barn

Some cankers enjoying the river

Some canoers enjoying the river

Food stores are few and far between and not much fresh food to offer. Hate to admit this, but here Mr. T checks out 2 "pizza balls," from one store. We did actually find some fruit at another one later

Food stores are few and far between and not much fresh food to offer. Hate to admit this, but here Mr. T checks out 2 “pizza balls,” from one store. We did actually find some fruit at another one later

Some of the nice wooded roads this afternoon. The stretches of shade helped keep us cool on the warm day

Some of the nice wooded roads this afternoon. The stretches of shade helped keep us cool on the warm day

Some of the police patches from the bakery collection. Imagine the biggest cookies and cinnamon  rolls and donuts and you'll get the picture of what they sell there!

Some of the police patches from the bakery collection. Imagine the biggest cookies and cinnamon rolls and donuts and you’ll get the picture of what they sell there!

 

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See details about our route.

Day 61: Interlochen and Points South

July 20, 2014

Traverse City, MI to Wolf Lake, MI

Day: 65 miles; Total: 2,920 miles

 

Before we leave Traverse City (aka TC) here are a few of the many things about this area that I hadn’t known. The region is known for its fruit ( cherries, blueberries, Bartlett pears, etc) and there are several local food companies who sell many preserves and other products made with these Michigan fruits ( we sampled the yummy wares at American Spoon and Cherry Republic, both based in this corner of Michigan). I’d known about the tart Montmorency pie cherries, but didn’t realize TC considers itself the Cherry Capitol of the world. They also produce wine in this part of Michigan,, as well as maple syrup. One last thing, nearby ( with a car) are Sleeping Bear Dunes, about 30 miles outside TC and advertised as the Most Beautiful Place in America. We were busy getting my bike repaired so maybe next trip…
Onwards from TC, we rode along yet another pretty lake surrounded by nice homes ( Long Lake) then to the town of Interlochen, home to the world-renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts. Beautiful wooded parklands and two lakes are nearby and we stopped for take out sandwiches at the truly busy and very yummy Buds, which was full of families of campers attending the Arts Center summer programs.
From there we rode into gently rolling farmland, then a national forest area and then mixed forest and farms hidden behind tall stands of trees.
Later in the afternoon, we stopped at a convenience store for more water and ate our Buds take out sandwiches ( from the very hopping place back in Interlochen) in the shade. We got a chance to talk with several nice folks from the area who were interested in our ride and CCI. When my foggy brain remembered to let him out, Traveler made some more new friends! Then we continued on to our little motel at Wolf Lake. We’d hoped to possibly meet up here with some Michigan CCI volunteers from a ways south of here but even though we couldn’t work it out, we appreciate their words of encouragement for the ride and they are a reminder of how all over the country there are dedicated volunteers for this great organization.

Some handsome draft horses  we saw in the morning

Some handsome draft horses we saw in the morning


The Interlochen a farmers Market. Having no room for carrying much more, I got a little maple sugar leaf and learned from the farmer about the maple syrup production here

The Interlochen a farmers Market. Having no room for carrying much more, I got a little maple sugar leaf and learned from the farmer about the maple syrup production here


Roadside art and check out the little red car

Roadside art and check out the little red car


Many colored flags line the wooded road leading to the center

Many colored flags line the wooded road leading to the center


The Center has program for grades 3-12, summer camps and apparently brings in all sorts of art, theatre and music to their venues

The Center has program for grades 3-12, summer camps and apparently brings in all sorts of art, theatre and music to their venues


In the barn series...

In the barn series…


Barn art

Barn art


The local AMVETS post and  it's tank

The local AMVETS post and it’s tank


Bob and Jody, from TC, were among the nice people we met at our late lunch stop. Mr T says Hi and tells them about CCI

Bob and Jody, from TC, were among the nice people we met at our late lunch stop. Mr T says Hi and tells them about CCI


 

Support Canine Companions for Independence.

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See details about our route.

Day 60: Traverse City MI

July 19, 2014

I wanted to get my bike looked at and we decided to stay another day here. Turns out that the recent brake grabbing issue with my rear wheel was caused by a crack in the rim. I’m glad we were near a well-equipped bike shop and I was able to get it replaced with a very sturdy new set. I’d been also hearing some ominous pings from the front wheel so decided to be safe rather than sorry. The roads are at times incredibly rough and with the loads on the bike, it was time for a change. My bike had a lot of miles even before this ride.
We got a chance to stroll around town looking at the nice traditional homes here and then took the bikes out for a test ride on the nearby peninsula known for its wineries (!) and nice scenery. We rode along the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay, past waterfront homes and recreational beaches.
The area is hopping with summer visitors, water sports enthusiasts and bike riders gearing up for local events, including a century ride around Torch Lake, where we rode yesterday on our way here.
Tomorrow we head due south on the route , to Wolf Lake, and from then on we are going east- yay!

TC is known for its neighborhoods of traditional homes

TC is known for its neighborhoods of traditional homes


Another example

Another example


Where my bike spent much of the day; the shop.

Where my bike spent much of the day; the shop.


Along Old Mission Peninsula, a very popular bike route leading to wineries . We just did some coastal riding; we'll do plenty more tomorrow !

Along Old Mission Peninsula, a very popular bike route leading to wineries . We just did some coastal riding; we’ll do plenty more tomorrow !


Pretty beach stretches, clear blue water ( and lots of nice coastal homes)

Pretty beach stretches, clear blue water ( and lots of nice coastal homes)


The coastal road

The coastal road


A canal near down town

A canal near down town


The TC Cycle Pub goes by

The TC Cycle Pub goes by


Families getting in one last beach play in the warm evening

Families getting in one last beach play in the warm evening

Day 59: Exploring Northern Michigan

July 18, 2014

Boyne City, MI to Traverse City, MI

Day: 80 miles; Total: 2,855 miles

 

Boyne City is a nice small lake resort town and this morning we found early breakfast at a bookstore serving coffee. A local biking enthusiast suggested an alternate route for our first 20 miles. It involved a short ride on an historic ferry so we decided to try it. We rode along the arm of Lake Charlevoix and rode the little ferry across the arm and turned back towards our next town, East Jordan. We then crossed the short steep rolling hills through small farms and turned down the nice road that lines Torch Lake. We passed lakeside houses some of which were visible but others were screened by dense trees and could only be guessed at as we looked down their usually dirt roads leading to houses right on the long lake. Each one seems to have a decorative sign and we caught a few photos of them.
Our break came in the charming little resort-y town of Alden where we found a popular cafe, surrounded by flowers. Very cute!
Making our way to Traverse City, we were again rolling up and down through farms ( and suddenly passed by a high end hunter-jumper horse show going on so now I know that “Horse Shows By the Bay” take place near the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. Never knew that!) We road about 7 miles on a bike path into the busy resort town of Travers City. There’s a water/beach scene, nearby wineries (!) , a cherry festival and lots of beautiful historic homes in the downtown area.
I need to get my brakes fixed ( this mileage combined with the loaded bikes makes for serious wear on them so I want to take care of this issue.) We will then do some exploring here before continuing on our way Sunday.

On the Ironton ferry

On the Ironton ferry


Fortunately Traveler did not have to pay at the 1884 " beast" rate!

Fortunately Traveler did not have to pay at the 1884 ” beast” rate!


Some Michigan cows hanging out

Some Michigan cows hanging out


Traveler met Tim, who had stopped to offer directions

Traveler met Tim, who had stopped to offer directions


Flowers in Alden. Everywhere we have seen just bountiful gardens here in Michigan

Flowers in Alden. Everywhere we have seen just bountiful gardens here in Michigan


Lots of house signs , usually with a name for the property

Lots of house signs , usually with a name for the property


Another

Another


One more

One more


 

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Day 58: On to the Mitten

July 17, 2014

Mackinac Island, MI to Boyne City, MI

Day: 70 miles; Total: 2,775 miles

 

Off the island on the 9 am ferry and soon we were biking in wooded countryside on quiet roads in Northern Michigan. We made our way to within sight of Lake Michigan and suddenly came upon the eccentrically decorated Leg Inn, with carvings and leg decorations both inside and outside of the building, and very popular Polish food being served inside.
From there, we turned down the “Tunnel of Trees”, a 20 mile narrow road that wound through forests past lakeside homes, some of which were just spectacular. We later learned that this area is very popular as a summer resort and as we biked further along the lakeside, we came to lovely beach and boating communities. Many of the houses and gardens were quite spectacular and it was fun to ride through these vacation towns.
We are currently in Boyne City with a nice downtown and marina area. We watched the sun set as a bright red ball sinking in to the blue water to the west.

Draft horses on the pier,,waiting patiently while the cart is loaded with food brought from the mainland

Draft horses on the pier,,waiting patiently while the cart is loaded with food brought from the mainland

In the tunnel of of trees

In the tunnel of of trees

Traveler on one of the many carvings at the Leg Inn

Traveler on one of the many carvings at the Leg Inn

A lakeside home

A lakeside home

Traveler shares his story at  Sam's Graces Cafe in Harbor Springs

Traveler shares his story at Sam’s Graces Cafe in Harbor Springs

Beach resort at Harbor Springs

Beach resort at Harbor Springs

 

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Day 57: Travelin’ with Dan

Today our weather was much better; mostly sunny and dry! We got on our bikes and rode around in the morning around the outside and then turned to the interior, following the route of the British attack on the Fort in the War of 1812. It’s pretty and wooded with some houses, both huge Victorian “cottages” and cute small homes tucked away in the trees or along the water. There are also lots of side roads, both paved and gravel leading off to various points of interest, including a pretty golf course, rock formations, view spots and more. It was fun to noodle around there.
This afternoon, we rented a “U-Drive” carriage, with dependable Dan, a unflappable Standardbred driving horse and spent a few hours out on the roads, mixing it up with all the bikes,walkers and other carriages, feeling like gentry from the old days. It was really quite fun and we managed not to run over any random little kids or adults on their rental bikes.
Note: we are told that all the different spellings of the island, the bridge and the city are pronounced the same ” Mackinaw” but the ac is from the French, ack is British and I assume aw is American.
Tomorrow we are off again, heading into Michigan south of the bridge but we will take with us nice memories of our few days here in this special place. Each night we’ve heard Taps played from the fort as horses clop by our window. Very cool.

This is how moving freight is done here

This is how moving freight is done here

You see bikes on the road below Arch Rock

You see bikes on the road below Arch Rock

On our morning bike about

On our morning bike about

Secluded in the woods

Secluded in the woods

A "cottage" along East Bluff

A “cottage” along East Bluff

Getting Dan hooked up for our drive

Getting Dan hooked up for our drive

On the road

On the road

Hay delivery, as seen from our carriage

Hay delivery, as seen from our carriage

Part of the Grand Hotels's carriage collection

Part of the Grand Hotels’s carriage collection

For winter driving

For winter driving

A butterfly among the sidewalk flowers

A butterfly among the sidewalk flowers

Delivering bags; this must take some skill!

Delivering bags; this must take some skill!

Day 56: Off Our Rockers

That should be “on” our rockers, at the world’s longest hotel porch, but more on that later… This morning dawned chilly and then turned rainy. Determined to bike on the car-free state highway around the island, we set off on our unloaded bikes to at least ride the 8 mile circumnavigation of the island. It was of course beautiful, with the gray waters of Lake Huron alongside, and the scenic bluffs and wooded areas on the inside, but very chilly. Since better weather is predicted tomorrow, we plan to do more riding in the interior of the island then and so we bagged it to take warm showers and do some sightseeing.
One must see attraction here is “the showplace of the Great Lakes”, Grand Hotel, built in 1887 ( and you might recognize it as the setting for the 1979 movie “Somewhere in Time”.) We took the self-guided tour that included beautiful dining areas, museum quality artworks and the long porch where we could sit in the rows of white rockers, enjoying the view of the strait and all the decorative flower displays at the hotel. Sitting there watching the horse-drawn carriages come and go is quite a sight!
We are hoping for less rain tomorrow for our last day on the island. There is a round the island sailing race too that we hope to see.

Arch Rock, on our rainy ride

Arch Rock, on our rainy ride


Visitors are encouraged to build cairns and here is a forest of them by the water

Visitors are encouraged to build cairns and here is a forest of them by the water


On the island roadways

On the island roadways


A summer home

A summer home


Grand Hotel, very grand!

Grand Hotel, very grand!


Looking into the beautiful dining room

Looking into the beautiful dining room


In the Cupola Bar

In the Cupola Bar


A carriage in the portico

A carriage in the portico


On our rockers

On our rockers

Day 55: Island Time

July 14, 2014

Epoufette, MI to Mackinac, Island, MI

Day: 29 miles; Total: 2,705 miles

 

We had a little “biker” crowd at breakfast, with Marty ( from Oregon) and Pam and Terry, and then we all set off toward St. Ignace and the ferry to Mackinac Island. The relatively short biking part was again very scenic along the lake and other than a few “Last chance for Pasties or Smoked Fish”- type tourist places, it was pretty low keyed most of the way to the bridge/ferry.
Bill and I rode through the cute harbor area of St. Ignace and caught the ferry that detoured a bit under the big Mackinac Bridge, built in 1957 and once the longest suspension bridge in the world. After that viewing , we completed the short ride into the harbor on Mackinac ( pronounced “Mackinaw”) Island.
What can I say? This is a really unique place. Originally a fur trading hub, there is a fort here that was lost to the British in the War of 1812, much of the island became the 2nd National Park, then a state park, cars were banned early on and the natural beauty is a reason that tourism has long been a big part of why folks have come here. Today, it has beautiful summer homes and inns, a state highway that only bikes and horse carriages can drive on and many sailing yachts racing here over the summer. Our ferry pulled in past the marina filled with racing yachts with their crews unrigging sails, and we emerged with our heavy bikes into the busy Main Street mobbed with carriages, folks of all ages on rental cruiser bikes and my favorite, the “bellhop” types somehow riding their bikes with huge amounts of luggage piled on a front basket. Gorgeous flower baskets are everywhere, Victorian inns line the streets and fudge shops outnumber the tourists and happy sailers, almost…
And that’s just what we saw in the first 25 ft from the ferry dock. ( actually it was calmer as we left that area and we hear that out on the many roads and trails, it can be very peaceful .)
The current sailing races mean 3 night minimums at the lodging places so we will have several days to explore. The first order of business was to get some work done on my trusty bike, then after settling into our inn, we toured the historic fort. It sits high above the harbor and has very good displays of the fort’s role in the Revolution and the War of 1812, as well as barracks life. The fort and it’s soldiers eventually transitioned from a military mission to running the national park that was established here to preserve the land. Apparently, in the latter half of the 1800’s, it was a pretty nice posting to get to come here and mingle with the tourists.
Action on the Main Street has calmed down as the last ferries are gone for the day but I still hear an occasional horse clopping down the street as I write this. How cool is that?

Marty, whom we've been connecting with on occasion since Minnesota

Marty, whom we’ve been connecting with on occasion since Minnesota


The bridge in the distance

The bridge in the distance


The bridge

The bridge


Traveler and the bridge

Traveler and the bridge


Coming into the harbor

Coming into the harbor


Sails drying, yachts tied up, sailors partying

Sails drying, yachts tied up, sailors partying


Phil, at Mackinac Wheels, installed my "spare" tire because of the wear that showing on my old one. Thank you!

Phil, at Mackinac Wheels, installed my “spare” tire because of the wear that showing on my old one. Thank you!


An inn

An inn


My bike by another inn

My bike by another inn


Carriages everywhere

Carriages everywhere


A view from the fort

A view from the fort


 

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Day 54: Happy Birthday Bill

July 13, 2014

Manistique, MI to Epoufette, MI

Day: 58 miles; Total: 2,676 miles

 

We celebrated Bill’s bday with lovely weather ( cool and sunny) and really pleasant biking along the lake and across some peninsulas. We ate breakfast at a nice local restaurant where we’d eaten dinner last night. Both times there were lots of trucks and cars out front; always a sign of good food. We have been surprised that in both here on the UP of Michigan as well as the Wisconsin Northwoods area, local places to eat are few and far between. The ones that are open though have been very good. I guess we notice these things since eating and taking an occasional meal break are a big part of how we spend our biking days!

Our route today continued on Hwy 2, the main road, which carries lots of traffic but has nice big shoulders. The winds were for the most part favorable and with pretty flat terrain, we clipped happily along. At one point at a rest stop, we met and talked with Ernie, a former Peace Corps volunteer and his nice wife Helene, and later we met Carol, a cyclist visiting from Texas. By midday, we were ready for a break and found one of our favorite places for a stop; a coffee house with yummy fresh foods. How great!
By the afternoon, we were coming along next to the wind blown blue water and enjoying how like the ocean it seemed, minus only the salt air and surf. Our little motel is between the highway and a nice view of the lake and just after we pulled in, we met Pam and Terry, a cycling couple who are from Madison. They’ve toured all over and are currently on a local trip around the lake area. While Bill got a chance to talk with our kids and Mary, I went over and got house-smoked trout from the convenience store across the highway (!) and we all sat out on the motel deck and shared snacks and libations looking at the view. They joined us at dinner and helped celebrate Bill’s bday. A very fun day!

Clearly Traveler is going for Bill's coffee!

Clearly Traveler is going for Bill’s coffee!


Cow art in the field. Look closely at the black markings...

Cow art in the field. Look closely at the black markings…


This is primarily wooded countryside but there are a few farms

This is primarily wooded countryside but there are a few farms


Earnie and Helene meet Traveler

Earnie and Helene meet Traveler


Saunas for sale in a field

Saunas for sale in a field


A bike's eye view of hwy 2, minus all the traffic. Note the nice shoulder and the rumble strip to warn cars if they are drifting

A bike’s eye view of hwy 2, minus all the traffic. Note the nice shoulder and the rumble strip to warn cars if they are drifting


Traveler meets Carol at a pretty overlook on the lake

Traveler meets Carol at a pretty overlook on the lake


Checking out the Lake Michigan t-shirts: unsalted and shark free

Checking out the Lake Michigan t-shirts: unsalted and shark free


Some views of the shore

Some views of the shore


Little Hog Island

Little Hog Island


Beaches

Beaches


Ducks heading out

Ducks heading out


Pam helps Bill count to 6+2

Pam helps Bill count to 6+2


 

Support Canine Companions for Independence.

Donate at our event page.

See details about our route.