Sunday, August 30, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: A Bike Hike for Rick and Not Home Alone

If life was "normal," meaning what we had planned for this summer, the week of August 30 is would be a very different week. I would be baking cookies like a crazy woman to take to Cleveland for the cookie table at the wedding of my cousin David's daughter, Heather. In the time of Covid, things change. I'll write more about Heather's wedding soon, but I will be missing this occasion we've greatly anticipated.

Meanwhile, Rick would be leaving on Saturday, the 29th or sooner, ride his bike, packed with his tent, new camp pot, and sleeping bag; take the ferry to Canada at Marine City, Michigan and continue across Canada, up to Ottawa, down through New York and the Adirondacks, into Pennsylvania and wheel up in Cleveland the day before the wedding.


Well, neither of us are at the wedding. And since
Rick, can't cross the Canadian border, he decided to take a bike hike to a place of the greatest social isolation -- Michigan's UP.  He began planning the trip not long after we were certain we wouldn't be able to attend the wedding and when he learned the Canadian border closing was extended to September 21. 



Eight days in the UP would not be without his challenges. He planned to meet up with an old work colleague from his Vista days, but most time will be in the wild. He would camp on the shores of Lake Michigan or in the woods. There might be bears, it could be cold or rainy. Michigan weather is dicey at this time of year.

He practiced using his stove and fuel to see how long that fuel would last. And where do you get more while you are in the middle of nowhere?

The phone was charged. It's only helpful if there is a signal -- and if he can recharge the battery.  If there is a bike malfunction, there would be little chance of finding a bike shop.


I don't know why he does it. It totally freaks me out. He's a terrific rider and as he pedaled off, I had no doubt he would be safe. but I get worried about bad drivers, weather, and yes, the bears. But it's his thing, just like my painting little watercolors and taking pictures of birds and Lizzie is mine.


He was off, fully packed. Lunch in the back pocked (banana and leftover pasta); and everything else -- mask, sanitizer, dry socks, crossword puzzles, sleeping bag and tent, clean clothes, bike kit, extra food...every item carefully considered, because it adds weight to the back of the bike.

And finally, he took off Saturday morning on a damp, cool day.

There was one little hitch he discovered after getting on the road -- and that was crossing the Mackinac Bridge to get to the U.P. Bicycles can't cross unattended. But there is a number for cyclists to call and someone will drive you and your bike across. Makes sense. Sounds good.

 

Except that what he didn't know was that service was suspended due to Covid precautions. So, when he called, I gallantly said, "I'll drive you across the bridge and back. Meet you at Mackinac City in a couple of hours."

Now, this was a tough call for me to make because I have bridge-terror. I'm OK on many but the Mighty Mac freaks me out, partly (but not entirely) because in 1989, I was on that bridge in high wind conditions five minutes before a Yugo car lost control and was blown off the bridge. It took eight days to find the car in the 150-plus foot deep water.

What I didn't think about when I said, "Sure!" was that the day's winds were considered high (exceeding 29 miles an hour) -- not enough to close the bridge but enough to require that vehicles like those pulling trailers or boats and many others, to be "escorted" across. The speed limit was 20 mph. I was completely freaked.

Well, I met him. And we talked. And we both ended up back at the cottage. I felt guilty (Rick said I shouldn't) and he was deeply disappointed.


We stopped at a roadside park (aka roadside porta-potties, which I have to say were cleaner than a lot of inside bathrooms I've visited in my lifetime). The view was glorious as the waves crashed on the rocks.


It looks like there will be another bike hike this week -- staying in the Lower Peninsuala.  Wish him well, won't you? Wish him safe travels, no Covid encounters and no bad weather? I'll miss him and be a little lonesome while he's gone. While we're both truly in social distance mode, and even from each other, we'll both be more or less in solitary!


 Bon voyage! 


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Friday, August 28, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: A Few Birds and Other Assorted Wildlife

I breathe a sigh of relief when after not having been at the lake for a week or so, I look out and see the Quackles -- all eight, plus Mom -- hanging out on the beach.


We've had quite an array of ducks -- the other night I counted a group of 25 on the shoreline between our house and the one next door. Duck Covid party waiting to happen.


And I finally got a not-great photo of the elusive bald eagle that seems to have at least two favorite trees -- two doors down, either way. I've seen the eagle often, mostly when I am out swimming (it's fascinating to watch him fish.) But I rarely have my camera and he flies too fast for me to get it. Trust me, even though you can't see his white head and yellow beak, this is Eddie!


Here's a very fuzzy photo of him in one of his favorite perches. Look for just his white head sticking out of the branches on the upper right of the photo.


Another rare sighting on our lake is this loon. He was floating along, far from shore, on a beautiful day.


I love loons and this was a real treat for me. He's more elusive than the eagle and moves more slowly! As he went by, he was singing his loon song, which I find incredibly beautiful and haunting.


One of Harry's cousins dropped by to pay us a visit at twilight. 


He was having a grand time strutting in front of the cottage, fishing, till the (Bad) neighbor's dog saw him and set forth to attack. Needless to say our grand bird is a little jumpy (I took these photos leaning the camera out the door so to not spook him.) I hope he comes back.


This little flicker was checking out the beach for -- well, I don't know what for!

 But he seemed rather happy with his pecking!


 The wildlife action isn't only animal but in the ground as well. I am fascinated by the strength of the fungi as they push through hard dirt and moss to emerge.


This is only the beginning of what I call fungi season. These are all very large.


I'm wondering what other interesting varieties I'll see soon.


My other bit of wildlife was taking a break, "flirting" on the pretty chairs we were given by our (Good) neighbor. That cute little bag behind her is from Patti at Pandora's Box. I was delighted to win it in her blog drawing. Thank you, Patti!


Fall holds such promise but I'm certainly content to wait awhile for it. 


 I want more late summer days with hours on the porch with my Wild Girl and our lake birds. 


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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: So Much to Love

Life has been so nice lately. Before we took some time off from the lake to head home for a few days, there was more fun at the lake, and a lot more beauty too.


Isn't this one a charmer? She actually posed for me!


 I love painting on the porch and looking out, seeing something like this!

Speaking of painting, I've done a bit lately. 


I'm starting on Christmas cards...


Guess who inspired this one!

 

 Thanksgiving cards...


...and a few larger pieces including the squirrel I saw at the Ditch...

...and this owl from a trip a few years ago to the Berkshires.

We also had some visitors! These two are always welcome! (Yes, they had their masks -- you can see Kev's on his neck)

Alas, these two were too asleep to play!

Rick got our cottage sign hung up. This was a birthday gift two years ago and it had been sitting on the mantle.

And we enjoyed another terrific dinner -- soy marinated chicken and pineapple on the grill with orzo salad.

A little withering waterflower for some beauty.

These days, we find sun puddles...

...and we relax. (It's extra fun to relax in the lovely chairs one of our Good Neighbors was throwing out and gave us first refusal before they hit the curb. We didn't refuse and now we have to fight Herself for a seat!)

We're back at the lake now, reveling in those last lovely days of real summer. Some of the flowers Kevin and Molly brought for my birthday are holding up. Look at that beautiful hydrangea!


Days are shorter. Rick works till five or so, then hits the road on his bike. Or, he might take a just-before-sunset kayak paddle.


Meanwhile Lizzie is thinking thoughts she shouldn't be. Nothing new there.

And we smile.

Because life is really good right now. So we grab while we can. Covid hair and all.

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Postcards from the Lake: Mural Monday

Whenever I take my walk at the lake, I pass by this cottage. They have quite the mural on their chimney.


Gaylord, MI, where my cottage is located, calls itself the Alpine City. These people went with that motif.


Their last name begins with "P" -- I hope that's not painted on. It would be a shame to lose it if the house ever sold.


They also have a small mural on the side of their garage.


They definitely get into the theme!


The guest house is cute, too, with the lake's bald eagle crowning the door.


The painting is quite nice -- they've really captured this remarkable bird.


Finally, a note -- I took these photos early in the summer. The other day I walked by and saw this.


Looks like it may have been sold to people whose names don't begin with a "P'.


Joining in today with Sami's Mural Monday. Check the link for more fun murals. 

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