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 cousin David's daughter, Heather. In the time of Covid, things change. 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 cookpot, 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 would 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 on a damp, cool Saturday morning.

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. 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 Peninsula.  I wish him well, with 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!

53 comments:

Linda Sue said...

Oh mY, this is a scary story and that bridge is a nightmare! NO WAY!! You are wonderful for trying. but I am so glad it all turned out the way it has, there really is no need to go very far away, pretty sure there are bears in closer forests to camp with... Stay safe, stay well.

gretchenjoanna said...

Well, he seems very much the Normal Man to me! They need to go adventuring, to brave the elements and The Unknown, to prove that they can be resourceful and brave when needed. I'm sure he was very disappointed, and it's lovely he could reschedule something more workable.

You're a trooper for jumping in to help in spite of your reservations. What a great duo!

Joyful said...

The story about the bridge is scary. I'm glad you both decided to return to the cottage as that is a mighty long bridge. I'm sorry that two of Rick's planned bikes didn't happen but I have no doubt he will get away next time and I send him good thoughts for a safe journey. I'm sorry that you will miss the wedding too. I find weddings a lot of fun but I've only been to a very few in my lifetime. I found that many of my generation never bothered to get married.

Valerie-Jael said...

Sounds like a rather scary adventure, I don't think I would have wanted to cross that bridge, either! Stay safe, both of you! Hugs, Valerie

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

It never fails. You plan for every single contingency, then you find you haven't planned for the one thing that derails you. I have a friend who biked across Kansas one year. It was his thing, too. Not the same as the U.P., but the summer heat and nasty weather were taxing, as was the fact, there was no place to bathe or shower for five days. I wish Rick luck with his new adventure. Sorry about the bridge. I had NO idea.

Mae Travels said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Rick's trip didn't work out. You were very brave to try to drive across the bridge, but it still sounds dreadfully risky to bike in such high winds.

I hope the alternate is a lot of fun!

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Iris Flavia said...

So sad you could not attend the wedding.
But I love that pic with the banana 🍌 Ingo takes one to work every day.
I´m with you. My parents let me go to Australia with a man (Ingo) i´d been with for 6 months only. No mobile phones, just monthly paper letters from my side and when they arrived we were 1000s km far away already.
Trust in our skills it is, right, no to bears! (No Australian problem).
Oh, boy, horrible bridge-experience!!!
Good luck with a good ride next!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Where there's a will, there's a way, and one way or another Rick will get his bike trip. We all have to make adaptations now, and probably for some time to come. I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to drive that bridge in high winds!

Deb in Wales

DUTA said...

Yes, everyone has "his thing". Rick inspires confidence; he knows what he's doing whether it's bicycle riding or bread baking.
The bridge looks menacing!

eileeninmd said...

Hello,
I am sorry you and Rick are not able to attend the wedding. Covid has changed travel plans for so many people. I can only imagine Rick is not happy his ride through Canada had to be cancelled. I know many people who are afraid of bridges and heights. I drive over the Chesapeake Bay bridges 4.3 miles long here in Maryland. It looks similar to the bridge you shared. Safe travels to Rick on his next bike/hike trip. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a great new week!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Too bad about Rick's wilderness ride having to be cancelled. He is not lacking in the spirit of adventure is he? I hope he enjoys his new route - I am sure he will - and you will probably be a little more sanguine knowing that he is not playing Lewis and Clark in the Michigan wilderness. I had hoped Rick would have been able to make the Canadian trip and we could have coaxed him to Waterloo en route. There will be other opportunities, perhaps. There is talk now that the border may remain closed until the end of the year.

R's Rue said...

Cuties

shoreacres said...

I have an aunt who has bridge anxieties, so I know better than to laugh at that. We also have a high bridge I cross every time I head to east Texas -- one built to allow ships to pass underneath -- and it can be nerve-wracking. I've not known it to be closed for winds, but in winter it can be problematic with ice.

I was curious about one thing. You mentioned recharging phones as an issue. Surely Rick carries a portable power bank with him. I have two, and each can charge both my phone and my iPad several times. In fact, after the threat from Laura became real, I picked up a rechargable fan with a five-six hour run time in case of power loss, and discovered a power bank will recharge that baby, too, with power to spare. Knowing Rick, he surely has one, but I just thought I'd mention it. (And you have one, right?)

Joanne Huffman said...

Sorry Rick had to change his plans; but, also, a little relieved. I'm sure he'll find a suitable route in the lower peninsula. The bridge can be terrifying - and I've only been on it once (back and forth in the same day) in really nice weather.

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm sorry the virus restrictions mean you first have to miss Heather's wedding, and then Rick had to cancel is cycling plans. I hope the new plan goes off without a hitch, he enjoys his revised trip, and you can distract yourself enough while he's gone not to worry constantly.

The French Hutch said...

Oh my goodness, this is terrible for the both of you! So sorry Rick you missed your ride but sounds like for many reasons it was the best decision. Jeanie, I wouldn't want to drive across that bridge in windy conditions either so don't feel bad. I get how Rick loves nature, our son and grandson are mountain bikers and live in the woods. I worry about bears too! Rick, I know you will look forward to planning another ride hopefully when conditions are better. Y'all should celebrate the smart decision you've made.

La Table De Nana said...

That bridge!
That guy!
That gal!

I don't know how he does it Jeanie..
I am glad he came back with you.


Karen said...

I've only done one bridge and it rattled me to my very core. Hope Rick gets to do a tour before the weather turns. Hopefully he will make it through here next year. :D

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I hate riding across that bridge, not sure I could drive across it. Sorry Rick had to change his plans...twice! Staying in lower MI should still give him a nice ride.

You didn't mention Rick having a solar powered phone charger. They are made to hook on to back packs or whatever will get them in the sun. I just weighed my DizAul and it was 5.8 oz including the cord. I keep mine in the windowsill for powder outrages, good peace of mind for only $15.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Darn, not sure if you'll get my comment about the solar powered phone charger. If not, come ask me about mine.

Buttercup said...

I'm sorry the bike trip didn't work out, but wish Rick a great alternate trip. The bridge would have totally been beyond me and if any year is a time of prudence, 2020 certainly is. Take care!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Oh, my gosh, Jeanie ~ I do wish him well. I am with you on the bridge issue. They totally give me the creeps and that one definitely would. Tell Rick, I suggest he take up playing cards. It is much safer. I well know that guys seem to have to do their thing - but why does it have to be something scary?

Keep us posted. Have a great week and stay well!

Bella Rum said...

Rick is an adventurer, and I wish him safety from all possible harm. I have to say that the Mackinac Bridge looks pretty intimidating. I have a friend who is afraid of bridges.When we lived in Maryland, we were about five minutes from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. On windy days, she called ahead to make an appointment for someone to drive her across to the Eastern Shore. I'm sorry that you're missing the wedding. So many things that COVID-19 is taking from us.

Hena Tayeb said...

Oh wow.. that does not sound fun at all..
But to each there own.. so I wish Rick a very safe and fulfilling journey..

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh I know he was disappointed but I always feel like things work out when we are forced to change our plans. We don't always know what danger we avoided. And he'll go again as you said! And he'll do great! Hugs to you both, Diane

Jenny Woolf said...

How brave of you Jeanie, and how selfless. Rick must be glad to feel so loved. I am not qualified to comment on long distance cycle trips, I have done a few but at such a leisurely pace that a cyclist of Rick's calibre would barely recognise them as actual trips at all :) But I do understand the joy of a challenge. I also believe that there is not any way to realistically challenge branches hurtling out of nowhere at you, or freak gusts of 50 MPH tossing you off the bike...so I really applaud his wise decision to pull back at the start if things seem wrong, and wait a bit so he can enjoy the real challenges of this exciting trip.

Soma @ inkTorrents.com said...

The bike hike was quite adventurous, but the bridge would scare me too. I am glad both of you decided to go back to the cottage. Stay safe!

-Soma

My name is Erika. said...

That would have been am ambitious trip Rick planned. I am impressed. And I have bridge fear myself and I can't imagine driving a bike across that bridge. Not that he could, but I get the heebie jeebies just looking at that bridge. Wow. My daughter and I were talking today about all the things changed with Covid this summer. It is a long list. Hope Rick wasn't too disappointed.But good luck on this week's bike hike. Wish him well. Hugs-Erika

Susan Kane said...

You are one brave woman. Bridges. I hold my breath.

What an adventurer your sweet one is.

CHERI said...

Oh, wow! He is one brave man!!! I can't imagine setting out alone like that. I totally understand the bridge thing. A few yrs. back a group of high school friends were getting together at St. Simons Island. To get there you have to go over a VERY HIGH bridge. I don't like heights and I definitely don't like high bridges!!! I drove alone and going over that thing was soooo nerve wracking. All the way over I said over and over and over: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Had a great time but then had to cross that danged bridge again to get home!!! I do hope your hubby has a fun time since this is his "thing" and I wish him safe travels.

Rain said...

Hi Jeanie :) I remember crossing the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. It was a very windy day and the speed limit was greatly reduced for safety...I was TERRIFIED...I have to say though, that shirt with the back pockets is pretty neat. Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog! I wanted to let you know, Alex and I moved into our new home in May and we haven't had time to change the locks yet...that's why it's important for us to do it! One of us is pretty much always home and we have the dogs, but you just never know who has keys out there! :) Oh, and guess what? Alex got up on the roof this afternoon and we THINK he got the leaks all tarred up! Fingers crossed, and hopefully we can cross THAT off the list!!! :)

Lynne said...

Keeping you both in my thoughts and caring . . .
Safety and discovery for you Rick, calm and trust for you Jeanie . . .
And soon you’ll be enjoying autumn days together . . .

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I am not a fan of long and high bridges...they freak me out. I am so sorry you all will miss the wedding, hopefully there will be some pics you can share. Wishing Rick a safe and fun bike trip. Happy September!

ellie said...

Love your adventures! So sad about the wedding. Sounds like such a great time. Thanks for the post. In spite of social distancing times, so great to see some adventures happen.

crackercrumblife said...

Good luck to Rick! He will be great, I am sure of it. I understand your anxiety though. :) And driving across the bridge always gives me anxiety too!! I prefer to be the driver rather than the passenger but it scares me either way. Lol. I remember reading about that Yugo! We went on a northern Michigan family vacation that year and it was after that accident occurred, maybe a few weeks later.

Are you watching the Tour? We are behind this year, it coincided with back to (home)school and repainting our family room. We hope to catch up tonight though!

Sandra Cox said...

Oh gosh, Jeanie. Bridges scare me at the best of times. I can't imagine being on one when another car goes over.

Evi Erlinda said...

Wishing Rick enjoy and safe in his new route, sometimes weather is unpredictable.
The bridge looks very long and scary, especially when cloudy and windy.

Take care, Jeanie!

Jacqueline said...

Oh what a disappointment to miss out on the ride. Hard to know what is open and what isn't, but I am glad you both stayed safe! That would terrify me from ever going on a huge bridge again too. Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Divers and Sundry said...

It's always an encouragement to me to see people who can be flexible in the face of disappointments like these. It can be hard. I trust the changed plans will still bring some fun :)

Rita C at Panoply said...

Oh my, Jeanie, yes, I would've freaked out too, and pleaded for my guy NOT to go! Those seemed to be signs from the universe telling him it was not a good idea. Glad he has a Plan C, and I'll say a prayer it's a good trip. Is that a picture of your niece, Heather, as a little tot? How sweet, and how sad you couldn't go. COVID really has been the worst on relationships. I hate that. Happy September. Enjoy your last days at the cottage.

Mary Rose's said...

Oh, Jeanie!
I whispered "I HATE bridges!" before I read you're afraid of them too.
That was brave of you to volunteer to drive Rick across, and SMART of both of you to consider the winds.

(How do you feel about tunnels under rivers or bays? I theorize there's no way out if "Something Happens." Terror.)

Here's to his happy safe return and some reasonable level of serenity while you wait. Hey, I'll wait with you.
XOXO

William Kendall said...

Hopefully all of this gets sorted out in time for next summer.

Pam said...

Wow...Rick is sure healthier then I am!! lol....Great going and best wishes to him.

HAPPY RETIREES KITCHEN said...

Hi, I found your blog on Sherry's Kitchen, and how interesting to see what you are all doing despite Covid in the states. As we can't travel it's great to travel vicariously and what a bridge, oh my. The closest thing to that in my experience is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So sad you can't get to your family wedding. That is when it all hits hard.I am going to check a map and see where you actually are. I live in North Queensland in Australia, and enjoying Spring. Stay safe, Pauline

Arti said...

Hats off to Rick's adventurous spirit! What courage and what preparations. BTW, love your masks. Do you make them yourself?

Sami said...

That bridge does look scary, so I can imagine it would be worse with wind.
Hope all goes well with Rick's cycling trip, he's very brave.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Oh goodness, this is quite a story!! First of all I am impressed that Rick goes on those long treks by bicycle, and I don't blame you for being freaked out! The world is no longer the safe place it used to be and I'm not referring only to Covid. Your bridge story would have me terrified too, and seeing a car blown off would have done me in forever! I'm glad Rick and you made the safe decision to go home and regroup. I wish him safe travels and a great ride. I hope you can enjoy your me time with painting, reading, blogging and Lizzy!

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh my! That sounds a scary adventure, I certainly don't think I would have wanted to cross that bridge, either!

Please take care and stay safe.

All the best Jan

Laurie said...

Oh my gosh, I don’t blame you fir your apprehension, I know that bridge well, I remember that car going over,, I can’t even imagine. Your hubby is certainly inspiration and I hope his ride goes well, , it’s terrible windy here today, turning cooler, take care my friend,

Prims By The Water said...

Try going over the bridge on a bus. I hate this bridge. It was so sad when that girl died. So very sad. As for Rick, even when the Canadian border does open, the ferry in Marine City where our stores are will NEVER re-open. You can thank our border patrol for that and the ferry owner has already sold one of their two ferries. Still looking for a buyer for the other one. Janice

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That is a bummer that he had to change plans but that is the theme of 2020 right? That bridge sounds scary and crossing it on a day with such high winds would have been so stressful. I am glad he was understanding but am not surprised he is - that’s why you guys are together!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I know that the cancelled plans that you both had been looking forward to was a disappointment but I think it was the right thing to do. I know if it was me, I would have been so worried about the original bike trip. There is safety when traveling in numbers but traveling and camping in the woods alone is very worrisome. Alls well that ends well comes to mind, I hope Rick enjoys his altered adventure.

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

Wow...That bridge is a long one and looks like I would be a little nervous to cross it on a calm day! Sorry his trip was postponed, but BEARS? that would also scare the bejeebers out of me!! Glad you got the bag and I feel honored receiving one of your beautiful watercolor cards. Watercolor is my favorite from of painting and yours is stunning!! Thank you!

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