Monday, August 31, 2015

Followup Stress Test

Today, I went to the cardiologist's office downtown for my followup stress test. I haven't been on a treadmill for a month, so I was really concerned about how I would do. Any issues now would spike the September travel.

The technician, a pretty young lady named Jamie, wired me up and got the baseline readings. On the treadmill, I started slow. On level three, I got to 112 BPM where I encountered trouble in May. No pains. No shortness of breath. On level 4, I hit my target rate of 132 and held it for 30 seconds.

I won't have the official results until I see Dr. Hourtovenko on October 13th, but it was a successful test for me. Much better than the last one. Then again, I have had six stress tests, several different types, over the last two years so this is getting to be old hat.

Eureka Springs, here we come!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Interlochen Michigan to Sudbury Ontario

We were up and rolling by 7:25 this morning. It was another clear day, ideal for traveling. I almost forgot my Kindle under my pillow. I know, that's a bad place to put things in a motel room.

Traffic was light as we took West South Airport Road and Three Mile Road to bypass the waterfront. Cherry Capital Airport. I love the name. We stopped at the McDonald's where US 31 and M72 split. This was where we had planned to take 72 east and meet Gary and Dianne in Grayling for our trip together to North Carolina. Instead, we were returning home following US 31 through Charlevoix and Petoskey.

The drive to the Soo was uneventful. We fueled the truck at the Crist station just before we crossed the International Bridge. We were back in Canada at 11:15 and there were only two vehicles ahead of us in the Customs line.

Flowers in Charlevoix

Over the Big Mac

Back in the Soo

We grabbed some food at McDonald's in the Soo and then stopped at the brand new Esso station in Blind River. They didn't have coffee. There was a long line at the single lane bridge in Webbwood and traffic was heavy after we crossed Highway 6, plus I was really feeling tired, but we got safely into our driveway at 3:30 PM.

It was just a short trip but the first since May and it felt really good.

Today's Route (377 Avalanche miles):

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Interlochen Michigan - Old Mission Peninsula

We slept in a bit this morning and didn't get away from the motel until almost half past eight. Rather than a sit down breakfast, we got coffee and a few nibble things at the Blarney Castle store at the corner gas station.

Seen at the gas station

Tim, Dee and Sandy look ready to go

Gearman is heading home today

Roseman and Lana brought this unusual setup

Today, we would explore the Old Mission Peninsula, visit the lighthouse at the point and check out a restauarant Big Jim had heard about. I tried to get someone else to lead but that wasn't going to happen.

After a stop at the gas station in Interlochen, we rode north on Long Lake Road and ended up following Silver Lake Road to US 31 in Traverse City. Traffic was heavy but we were lucky with lights. There was a little bobble making the left onto M37, the road that goes out the peninsula, but we all got through after a few moments. From there, it was a straight shot all the way out to the Mission Point Lighthouse. Unlike the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Park at the tip of the Leelanau, this park is free.

Together on Silver Lake Road

Betty and Big Norm

Tim and Dee

Me making new friends

Sitting on the 45th parallel

A pretty and well maintained building

Hessler Log Cabin

We're here

Taking advantage of the very nice beach

Tim and Dee getting feet wet

Gnarly looking group


Some days I feel like this tree

The restaurant Big Jim wanted to try was the Jolly Pumpkin on the west side of the peninsula. I found it in the GPS and set a destination. After skipping one right turn due to a gravel road, we turned off M37 and moved over to Peninsula Drive, following it to the restaurant.

Orchards on Old Mission Peninsula

West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay shore line

The Jolly Pumpkin was hidden in some trees with a very understated sign out front, but we found it. Inside, they were able to seat us right away. They advertise handcrafted artisan ales and we could see racks of samples being delivered to other tables. The food menu featured artisan type selections as well. I had something called a Cheesy BLT:

"applewood smoked bacon, fresh tomato, baby greens, Leelanau raclette and Swiss cheeses on grilled sourdough bread with amber ale mayo on the side"

 It was very good, well worth the $11.00 I paid for it, and I will stop here again when I'm in the area.Sandy had a smoked turkey sandwich on multi-grain bread. She liked it too, but wasn't a fan of the sauteed kale they put on it. Who would sautee kale anyway??????

Special thanks to Big Jim for finding this place.

Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Traverse City Michigan

Leaving the Pumpkin behind us, I led the group back along the Traverse City waterfront. It was about 2:00 PM and I had to admire the park and beach areas teeming with people. This is a very nice place to visit and, probably, to live.

Traverse City waterfront

West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay

We stayed on M72 and then took M22 along the west shore of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay to Suttons Bay where we stopped for gas. As the bikes were fueling, Ray and Lisa rode by heading south. They honked and waved but Flatop, Too Tall and Linda, who were following, pulled in.

Tim admiring Flatop's flat black GoldWing
(it looks like an F6B but meaner)

With our expanded group behind me, I went to the north side of town and then turned west on M204 to the top of Lake Leelanau. From there, we headed south on South Lake Shore Drive to the village of Cedar. Flatop was right behind me and I know he wanted to open it up, but I held to the pace I had been doing out of respect for the group. From Cedar, we continued south across M72 and followed the west shore of Long Lake to Interlochen where I peeled off to top the bike up with cheap US gas.

It was good to note that I didn't have any serious disorientation or anxiety episodes yesterday or today.

Back at the campground about 4:00 PM, we kicked back and took it easy.  Soft ice cream is a Cycle-Moore tradition and some went to partake. Tim and I continued our discussion, touching on books, movies, music and politics. About 6:45, the cornhole boards came out.

Lisa and Sandy on an ice cream rum

We were pleasantly surprised when Kevin and Steph pulled in from Middlebury, Indiana. They hadn't been on the list of attendees but found they could get away at the last minute, so they jumped in the truck and came up. It sure was good to see them.

Steph, Kevin and Rosie
Must be a Middlebury thing
Eventually, it got to be time to hook the trailer up and load the bike. Everyone wanted to know what they could do to help but I pretty much have it down to a one man operation by now. If I don't hit anything or fall off, I count the procedure as a success.

Tim and Dee watch as I load the bike

The rest of the evening was mostly talking and laughing as the cornhole challenge raged on. Rosie and I swapped stories about work and play while we don't know what the ladies were plotting.

The ladies of VROC

Rosie looks like he's wearing out

Again, we didn't stay too late. We made the rounds saying our goodbyes because we'd be heading out directly in the morning. We were back at the motel by 11:00 PM. Facebook evidence shows that the party went on quite a bit longer.

Today's Route (105 motorcycle miles):

Friday, August 14, 2015

Interlochen Michigan - Sleeping Bear Dunes

We were up and showered shortly after 7:00 AM. It was 70 degrees out with 92% humidity. The forecast called for the humidity to drop to the mid 50's as the temperature went up to the high 80's in the afternoon. On the bright side, atypically, there was no rain forecast for the weekend.

We drove straight to Dilbert's Restaurant where Ray, Lisa, Gearman and The Grouch had already ordered. We took a table next to them and were soon joined by the Indiana Three (Jim, Tim and Dee). I had an omelet but the piece de resistance was Big Jim's order of biscuits and gravy.

Rainman Ray, Fireball Lisa, Gearman and Big Grouch

Sandy and her decaf

Big Jim, Tim and Dee

Serious biscuits and gravy

Big Jim tucking in

Back at the campground, I unloaded the bike from the trailer. Since I hadn't replaced the stabilizer jack that got destroyed on our way to Arkansas last year, I had to dig out the jack stands so the trailer wouldn't tip up when the bike hit the ramp. In all the sand here, the stabilizer jacks would have been a pain anyway.

Big Jim had planned to show Tim and Dee the Old Mission Peninsula today. This is the spit of land that protrudes into Grand Traverse Bay, dividing it into its East and West segments. Since they hadn't been here before and Sleeping Bear Dunes would probably be the other must see place, I suggested we do the Dunes today since they would be much busier tomorrow. For my suggestion, I won the privilege of leading.

The group headed west on US 31, stopping at the first gas station we saw. Then we rode into Honor and took Deadstream Road across to M 22. The ride north to Empire is pleasant, with a few areas of winding road. In Empire, we parked at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Visitor Centre, where we found surprisingly few cars in the parking lot.

Fueling up on US 31

Interesting exhaust choices

I had been explaining to Tim and Dee about the National Park Service passport book. I stamped mine again and they got one for themselves. We bought park passes so we could explore the Pierce-Stocking Scenic Drive, the best way to get a taste of the dunes in a short time.

Riding north out of Empire, we followed the road to the gate of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This is a single lane, one-way road that winds up to Lake Michigan and back. Usually we get stuck behind some painfully slow car driver but today there was nothing ahead of us. The first stop was at the Dunes Overlook and the second was at the Lake Michigan Overlook.

Riding north on M22

Pierce Stocking covered bridge

Dune Overlook

Tim and Dee

Rainman, Sandy, Grouch and Fireball at Dune Overlook

Intriguingly short diesel pusher (Allegro Breeze)

Where did the other folks go?

This is a fun little road

Wow, there were parking spaces at the Lake Overlook

People at the top looking down

Fair warning

That is over 450 feet down

Same photo, full zoom

Having seen the wonders of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, we had to decide on the next step. We could go on up and around the Leelanau Peninsula. Or, since it was near lunch time, we could head back south for a meal at the famous Cherry Hut in Beulah. Lunch won out.

The group followed me south on M22 all the way to Crystal Lake, where we turned left on Crystal Lake Drive and traced the lakeshore all the way to the village of Beulah.

Crystal Lake

The parking lot at the Cherry Hut was quite full but they were able to get us all seated at one table within ten minutes. Many of us ordered cherry pie a la mode, but I had a BLT on rye. The sandwich was excellent while all the pie folks seemed happy as well.

The Cherry Hut in Beulah Michigan

Big Jim

One table, happy group

Big Grouch's manly reading glasses

The sun was baking down on us so the next request was to head back to the campground. It was a straight shot across US 31 through Honor, getting back about 2:00 PM.

Sandy and I walked over to the campground office. The overnight rates are very reasonable but we aren't camping. However, we are here during the days and the trailer and bike are staying here, so I wanted to see about paying some kind of day rate. I was told not to worry about it, just enjoy. These are great folks. The also have some strange machines laying around.

Back at Cycle-Moore

This was an odd machine

Honda SilverWing Interstate (mid-80's vintage)

What is this?

We spent the rest of the afternoon swapping stories and just visiting. Big (OK, not so big these days) Norm and Betty showed up on their Voyager trike. They were moteling too, but at another place on 31 because the Interlochen Motel was full when they called. They were only paying $100 but had no AC or TV. I had a chance to have a longer talk with Tim. It's funny how you will cross paths with someone for years and yet never get a chance to sit down and get to know them. We set some of that right today.

Dee and Betty

Tim and Big Norm

After an afternoon sitting around visiting, we started to wonder about supper. It was fish night at Rico's. In fact, Friday was fish night at most places here, suggesting to me a strong Catholic influence back in the day. Rico's it was. We took Tim and Dee with us in the truck while Grouch, Rainman and Fireball rode.

Rico's was hopping so it took them about twenty minutes to set up one table for all of us. While others ordered pizza or fish, Sandy and I took advantage of the ample salad bar and the clam chowder that went with it. I had more than enough and enjoyed it all.

Waiting for a table at Rico's

After supper, I took Dee and Tim for a drive down Silver Lake Road and back up around Long Lake. Returning to the campground, we found they had set up the cornhole boards. Watching the first few games made me realize that we had some serious players here. Then I remembered that Big Jim had won the tournament at WWR in Bryson City last year. One different feature here was that, as the sun went down, rings of blue LED's lit up to illuminate the holes. Nice. Knowing I have no skill at this game, Sandy and I watched and visited with the other spectators.

We left the bike at the campground for the night and were back at the motel by 10:00. I guess we are just not the late night folks that we used to be. One other thing, though, is that this is a camping rally. Moteling at a camping rally takes you outside the mainstream activities. The same can be said for camping at a motel rally. But both are still better than not being there.

We were in bed and asleep before very long.

Today's Route (78 motorcycle miles):