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Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 37 - Ludington to Mt Pleasant, MI - Local Food





Back on bikes again...


Flat Michigan, but 113 miles today...






I get a bump up in the van so I can have time to enjoy the scenery.

Dew on the windshield

Not something we ever saw in Wyoming.






We stop at an old barn lit by the rising sun to watch the riders go by.




The first riders are pretty intense.








The later riders - more relaxed.





We have guests along the way.

Tall Margo has her uncle and cousin biking with us today.





And Dan brought two friends from Indiana in their new RAIN jerseys.

It's hard now to imagine biking 160 miles across Indiana in one day even though I've done it five times.

I used to be a strong biker.

What happened?




Deb drives ahead to the first SAG stop and drops me off under this shady tree...



What's this crop I ask.

Asparagus Deb says.

Oh, Tom loves asparagus!






















And it is beautiful glistening in the sun like Christmas lights.



I love biking along with a variety of crops.

Yes, there is still the corn and soybean army.

But added in are some new characters...





Like the lovely orange flowers of a pumpkin patch.






I love the big crinkly blossoms.












But Michigan's first crop was her trees.

Wherever the land isn't mowed, plowed, or paved this land turns into forest.





The ground fills with rich ferns...






The dark plants flicker with the occasional dragonfly...













And the low areas light up with bright red cardinal flowers.





Around the turn of the century Michigan thrived on her timber market.

Towns bustled with lumberjacks and sawmills...

Then the trees ran out.

No jobs, no work...

It was a sad place until they began farming and auto making...




The secondary forest is coming back...








....but it's a shadow of its former self.







Biking on - my friends begin to pass me now...



Rick is always in the lead....

He always slows down enough to talk a bit before he zips ahead of me...



Many of the bikers are more relaxed now.

As the bike leaders say - it's not about the biking now.

We all know we can do it.

The trip is more social once we get in Michigan and we know we only have two weeks left.





And I can do my shopping along the route...

Want to buy a bed?









Only $400.







I love this mailbox!




We have a SAG stop under the smile of an angel...





Our friends from Indiana are there...










And Nan is there with her Koochaloo.

I don't know if biking makes people a little crazy...

...or if you have to be a little crazy to do a bike ride like this.

I'll ask Koochaloo.





Biking on, I hit a detour...

Big monster machine fills the road.




Trees are just a nuisance now...

...to be knocked aside.




I remember when my husband Tom cut down a tree on our land during the summer.

He later found a crushed nest and shattered eggs in the fallen branches.

He no longer cuts down trees during the summer.



I bike down the road and notice friends from home along the roadside...

A few big bluestems...

This land was all forest - a squirrel could cross Michigan on trees and never touch the ground.

But there must have been prairie pockets here and there.




Swamp milkweed with its bright buds...









...that burst into fireworks in the afternoon sun.







As we get closer to town, we begin to pass the farmers' markets...

I love the trust of leaving the can out for payment.







He is selling the most amazing Hibiscus...













Across the street someone is living in this old stone school house.

Their grill on the front porch...

Bird feeders in the side yard.


I enter the Isabella Indian Reservation.

We've passed through many reservations, only noted by a small sign - often overlooked.



The Chippewa River - clearest stream I've seen in the midwest...

It still meanders.

The water is very clear...


..brown with the tannins of the oak leaves.




Our rivers are so often ditched and straightened...

Trees cleared...

The water chokes with dirt - no sunlight to feed the water plants.

No water plants alive to make oxygen.

No fish.









I need cheering up.

Look at the sunflowers growing next to that farmhouse!






And the vegetable garden growing behind them...









Mmmm. one of my favorite crops...











My Indiana friend wonders why I'm hiding in the sunflowers...






The ride comes to an end...

We enter the small town of Mt Pleasant, Michigan.








Lovely parks...









...signs promoting local foods.









And speaking of local foods, look what the hotel has waiting for us!

Warm and home made.



It's been a good biking day in Michigan.

I look forward to tomorrow...
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