To Michigan…and beyond!

Sunday, July 29, Ludington, MI

We’re in a junior high school. We have internet access but much of the internet is blocked. WordPress is blocked, YouTube is blocked, MAYCO is blocked. I’m not sure how or when this will be posted. (Hah! I found a workaround!)

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I rode into town for breakfast at the only cafe I could find open (besides the one where dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow are scheduled).

I ran into Porter, one of our mechanics, and asked him about plans after the ride. He said he might return to the west coast to wrench for another coast-to-coast tour starting a couple of days after this one ends; or he might ride self-supported down the eastern seaboard and back home.

After one week of riding the question was how to sustain this level of activity for eight more weeks. After six weeks, it is how to give it up after only three more weeks.

Will I have to ride the long way to work, going around the lake? Yesterday’s 40 miles felt like a warmup; we were all ready for more. My riding style has changed; in the distance of my normal commute to work, I am now just getting warmed up and ready to get up to speed for the day. Since riding hours correspond with my normal working hours, will I want to go for a long ride after work, or will I be done for the day?

The Door County Century is in September and on a day off; maybe I’ll ride that this year if I can still find a campsite this late. A Century Ride used to be a Big Deal; now it’s just another day at the office.

After breakfast I rode back to camp and walked to the laundromat, where there was a steady stream of cyclists. Back at camp, the dew still isn’t off the grass, so I can’t spread things out to dry yet after packing up wet on Saturday morning.

In the midst of writing this, Robin and Wendy invited me to join them to see a movie. They didn’t mention that it was three miles out of town on a five lane expressway.  I needed the exercise. We saw the new “Mission: Impossible” film and the theatre manager invited us to stash our bikes in the box office. There were six of us all together.

Cycle America lingo

A few weeks ago at dinner Ed referred to me as an EFI. I had no clue what he was talking about, but it seemed complimentary so I smiled and nodded. A few minutes later he called me an ELK. That also seemed complimentary, but my ignorance must have been more obvious this time, so he explained that it meant “Every Last Kilometer” (as in, that’s what I’m going to ride). EFI suddenly became clear.

Terry refers to those who sleep on gym floors in lieu of camping as “floor floppers”.

About ½-⅔ of us (in any given week) are riding coast-to-coast. Beth refers to the others as “weeklings”.

Thanks

Thanks again to Mikko, Rosebud, Tim, Jeremy, and Sarah, who all came out to see me during the Wisconsin week. I understand special thanks are due to Noreen, for a heroic but failed effort to find Cytomax for Sarah to bring to me. Thanks again to Tyler for taking on my duties, and to everyone else for picking up the slack (and for caring enough about what I’m up to to read this). Deb, if you lack for ideas for the Friday song, I’ve left enough links to keep you in music for more than nine weeks. I hope the new residents are learning the ropes.

Next week

The first half of the week we’ll be crossing Michigan. On Thursday we cross the border into Ontario and continue across it to Niagara Falls. We’ll have our next day off there before crossing back into the US on Monday, August 6.

Also next week: If you’re in Madison, WI, go hear MAYCO (the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra) on Saturday night at First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Avenue, at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10, students by donation.

If you can’t make it Saturday, you can go to the Chazen Museum Sunday. Concert starts at 12:30. Be there by noon to get a seat. It is live-streamed, so they don’t like to seat people late.

If you’re anywhere else you can go to https://www.chazen.wisc.edu/index.php?/events-calendar-demo/event/sunday-afternoon-live-at-the-chazen-8-5-18/ to find the live-stream link.

4th of July

Notice how this is the only holiday we refer to specifically by its date? Why is that? 5 de Mayo is also referred to that way, but not in English.

So here I am, in the great and sprawling west. 4th of July out here makes me think of US history, westward expansion, and manifest destiny. If you have 10 minutes to spare (9:15 to be exact), here is a better history lesson than I had in school – more accurate and more entertaining to boot. “Temporarily Humboldt County” by the Firesign Theater. Listen to it. I’ll wait.

 

Some years ago I spent the 4th at the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore. I took some great pictures but, due to software incompatibility, I may not see them again. (Don’t ya like how we were sold the idea of digital photography so we could keep our pictures forever with no need for restoration? I have 100 year old photos of my house but can’t recover 12 year old digital photos.

The memorial was begun in 1948. There is no estimated completion date. It is all privately funded. For comparison, Mount Rushmore took 14 years to carve and Crazy Horse’s face is 50% larger than the Mt Rushmore faces.

from crazyhorsememorial.org
from Atlas Obscura – model of finished sculpture (foreground), actual sculpture (background)

On the porch of our lodge in Deadwood, the evening of July 3, 2006, my son improvised a mournful viola solo which became the basis for the adagio movement of his “String Trio in G”. He completed the movement for a summer composition project. It was dedicated to one of his academic mentors, Ted Widerski, who died while we were on that trip. That project moved him to alter his career plan from composition to orchestral conducting. Next month I’ll have a link to a live performance of his orchestra, so you can see where that led. If you can’t wait that long, here is a performance from a few years ago of Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915”.

Aside to the conductor: Did you know you were born on the anniversary of Samuel Barber’s death?

In July of 1976 (the US Bicentennial) I rode the Sparta to Elroy bike trail. I saw a sight that seemed to embody the spirit of the US to me. There, in the trail, side-by-side, were two vending machines – one for Coke and one for Pepsi. I took a picture that was to be the start of a photo essay called “Freedom is…”. I never completed the project because satire became superfluous the day I saw a two page centerspread ad in the daily paper. There were red, white, and blue bunting across the top of the page, stars sprinkled (liberally?) about, and the giant header “The Great American Buycentennial“. I don’t remember what they were selling. For those who were around in 1976 you likely remember the grotesque attempts to cash in.

I’ll leave you with one last bit of Americana. While I may have quibbles with the tempo, who am I to question the New York Philharmonic?

They don’t call it Wind River for nothin’

We spent the day crossing and recording the Wind River, riding through its valley. Here is my friend Keith’s song “Wind River Crossing”

We rode out of Dubois with the same 25 mph tailwind with which we entered. At our first water stop the wind shifted and we spent the middle half of the ride pushing through a strong headwind.

We entered Riverton to darkening skies and increasing winds. It is blowing about 40 mph now. Pitching tents has been fun. The sun is out but the wind shows no sign of abating.

This was supposed to be a recovery ride between yesterday’s 17 mile climb and Thursday’s steep climb to over 9600 feet and 94 total miles. We were supposed to be riding downhill with a tailwind. C’est la vie.

Early on we rode through beautiful red rock canyons.

We spent a few hours riding toward an isolated butte. I kept wondering when I should stop for a picture. Shortly after I did so, I came upon a historical marker.

The butte is Crowheart Butte, so called because, after defeating the Crow in a battle for the surrounding land, the Shoshone chief is said to have displayed the heart of one of the Crow warriors on the point of his lance. The town of Crowheart is nearby.

For an alternative view of this ride, see Terrysspokereport.blogspot.com. While we are all on the same route, we each have our own ride.

Summer Solstice

Today is the first day of summer, the longest day(light) of the year. The solstice arrived here in Spokane while I was asleep. To honor the day, here is “Summer” from Astor Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” (not to be confused with Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, but I don’t think you’ll confuse the two). It was recorded in Trondheim, Norway, where sunset last night was 11:38 PM and sunrise today was 3:02 AM.

The midnight sun, courtesy of visitnorway.com:

Midnight-sun-Lofoten-122015-99-0004_be9c3c94-8b38-46b6-8d0d-261d1ee4c57bSummer from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” was on the first program of MAYCO in June of 2011, featuring Suzanne Beia on violin.

Day 4 (5 by Cycle America’s count): We’ve arrived in Spokane and are staying in a dorm at Gonzaga University. Between yesterday and today we’ve ridden just a hair under 200 miles. I haven’t ridden mountains in 25 years, but I do remember two essential lessons about mountain riding:

1. Don’t worry about the top, it will be there when you get there;

2. Keep your feet moving in circles and all will be well.

As always, keep the rubber side down. I prefer mountains to headwinds. While both require work, you can see progress climbing a mountain. The vegetation changes, the mountain changes. You can look back and see where you’ve been. Headwinds on the flats lack all of that.

Everything is fine, except that my feet are on fire. I just spent 20 minutes soaking them in the coldest water I could find; some ice cubes would come in handy about now.

We started the day at the base of Grand Coulee Dam (if you want facts & figures, or pictures, Google it). A couple of miles up a 10% grade made us earn our breakfast. Local folks told me the first 20 miles would be the toughest. On-the-road selfie #2 is from the summit. (Look! He’s smiling!)

After miles of wheat fields, no trees or buildings in sight, we came upon this house: That’s a copper roof, either very new or sealed to keep it from weathering.

Tomorrow brings a new adventure – 85% chance of thunderstorms for much of the day as we ride 95 miles and cross the border into Idaho.