Category Archives: Uncategorized

You call that a ride?!?!?!?!

Hrrrrmph…..not even 12 miles and only 8 mph. WTF?!?!?! Excuse my language, but, really? Is that a ride?!?!? Does that even count?!?!?!

Sigh…today the humans declared the need for a rest day. Say, what? Apparently, they are not only old and slow but require rests. Sigh…but I suppose it was nice that they took us a long for the day at least. I suppposse.

Today we were in Traverse City. So we toodled…I mean really toodled…8mph toodled along the lakefront, sat and watched the water. Then strolled into town for lunch and hung out while the humans sipped some cider. Again, not a bike event, but Edwin and I were tickled that the host took one look at us and said to the humans, “So, you want a table outside so you can keep an eye on the bikes?” Such service. She clearly knew her fine bicycles….and, yep, inside, parked against the back wall was a very nice bike…carbon, but we aren’t speciest. It was a nice bike.

I have to admit it was a very lazy day. Tomorrow, the humans promise a longer ride and…pssst…no panniers to drag me down. Luxury.

Lake to Lake

We have, dear reader, reached a Great Lake. After climbing and climbing and climbing, we travelled down a wonderfully, luscious downhill we were greeted by a classic wind off the lake. While the day wasn’t particularly hot, knowing we were, oh, so very close to the lake told us we’d almost made it to the end of our ride.

Today was a longer day with a couple of good sized climbs. When riding loaded with panniers a ride like this could have done us in….well, not us bikes, but the humans. Still, when climbing I really don’t appreciate the human telling me I’m a bit heavy on the back end. Hrrmph…it isn’t *me* that is heavy, it is all the junk the human considers basic necessities. Yesterday we met a newbie bike-packer on the trip. He wisely shipped home many of his “basic necessities.” If *he* could learn, why not my human?!?!?!? Hmmm?

But, today’s ride was another awesome day. Pleasant with a slight headwind. But such a pretty day. We started by riding around Lake Cadillac, then breaking off and heading north to Traverse City. From an inland lake to Lake Michigan. From this point on we follow the lakes…Michigan, Huron and then back to Michigan until we hit back home. Water therapy at its best.


Yes, dear reader, water does, indeed seem to be the theme for this trip. But, today’s water was nice, well-behaved water. Water that flowed down rivers. Water that travelled down creeks. Water that made lots and lots of small inland lakes (although ponds might be a better name). And water that made big lakes. Now, we haven’t gotten to one of the great lakes, but, definitely we visited water today. I sssssooo much prefer when I can visit water on my own terms, eh?

The day started by exploring Big Rapids. It is a college town and a tourist town. The river front is lovely and we took our time leaving town. Okay…we should have visited it on the way into town yesterday, but….as I might have mentioned, maybe just a little bit crankily, yesterday’s water was not polite well-behaved water and by the time we reached town the priorities were clean up and warm up. So today, we made up for it and explored before we left town.

The road today was 100% paved rails-to-trails…and that means flat, flat, flat and no gravel today (happy dance). Sure we gained 1200′ in 40 miles but when the maximum gradient is 1.5% it really doesn’t matter. I was so very, very glad to see no gravel today. Still, I picked up a piece of glass and put a hole in my new tire. Sigh…but, that’s the first on-the-road flat in several thousand miles. I cannot be blamed for it…although I did hear one or two disparaging words from the humans. Sigh….and all that I do for them.

But, it was an awesome day, dear reader. If we could be so lucky as to have days like today for the rest of the trip, I might actually stop being a snarky bicycle…naw…that’ll never happen, will it?

The Trip’s Theme is…

…water. Apparently. Yesterday we took the ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon. Never got a drop of water upon my tires. Today? Grrr…today we road through the water. Water fell upon us. Water splashed up at us from the road. Water waited for us in puddles. The water, my dear reader, was out to get us today. And…I am afraid the water won.

We’ve ridden in the rain before. So much that we have terms for wet. For instance, when travelling with Cycle Italia, it isn’t raining until the dots on the pavement connect. Meh…no worries there today. The dots had long connected before we even left the hotel. So, what about PAC Tour wet? There, you haven’t gotten wet until your human’s socks are going squish, squish. Meh. That degree of wet we hit before we’d even gone a mile done the road.

Today, we coin, “Michigan Wet.” That is a wet that starts when the ride start and will continue into tomorrow. At least we’ll dry out a bit tonight in the hotel, but our pal NOAA says more rain tomorrow…yeehaw! (not).

To make the ride more “interesting” today was also a day on gravel. Blech. One stretch of gravel and my rear brake and saddle bag were coated in mud. Could have been worse and was….miles down the road the trail was shared with horses. Maybe now the humans will think about buying me some fenders, eh?

Seriously, seriously, messy and until afternoon, it was either gravel or a busy highway so we stuck to gravel. Thankfully, after lunch we managed to get some quiet roads. There was lot of road spray because the rain kicked up a notch (of course, why not….we’re wet…throw some more at us Mother Nature….grrrr), but, hey, by afternoon the road were pretty clean and that water helped to get rid of some mud (no, not a silver lining, but one could think that). When we pulled into the hotel, the humans cleaned us up a little better….well…better…but not great…clean enough to hang out in the hotel room. Hoping I get a little more TLC tomorrow with a chain lube, but…then….then…back into the rain, my friends….I fear this trend.

Sailing, sailing, over the ocean…

…when Jack grows up to be a man, a sailor he will be… oh, wait, my name is Edwina and I am clearly a bicycle. A clean, well-tuned bicycle. A bicycle ready for the roads of Michigan….well…maybe.

Today, we sailed across the ocean…a little ocean…ok, just a lake. The humans got up well before the crack of dawn and toodled us down to the ferry dock. Riding the ferry is fun. Lots of motorcycles to chat with while the humans ride upstairs. Touring motorcycles are like bicycles…two wheeled vehicles that enjoy the backroads. I just feel bad for them…sure I complain about the humans being old and slow, but no fossils are destroyed while we toodle along.

Coming off the ferry we road on bike trail and quiet roads to Cedar Springs. The humans gave us a rest when they stopped at a winery; apparently an interesting winery, but, you know, alcohol is nice to clean my chain, but not something I would go out of my way for. But, the views were nice.

Tonight, the humans headed downtown for a beer and veggie burger, leaving Edwin and I behind in the hotel.

Now…about this trip….first, both Edwin and I are riding….yep…Edwin’s human is riding. OK, we’re not doing PAC Tour mileage. Heck, no. Time to smell the roses on this trip. No more than a metric a day. Should be fun….well…if we get through tomorrow….rain, strong winds and gravel…..I fear I may be mucky mess….but…I shall worry about that tomorrow….today, we are happy…we’re on the road.

And Then it Ends

Well, Dear Reader, the riding is now over. My apologies for such a delay but, apparently, they do not have cell towers in the ocean and we were without connectivity. Weird that….here we were back in the land of civilization but no internet connectivity. But, I digress.

Yesterday the human and I rode in with the peloton to Rye Beach, New Hampshire. Woot! The ride that day was made to order. A sedate 50-ish miles in rolling terrain through forest and subdivisions. Gorgeous. Quiet. Little traffic. OK, a few steep gradients, but, hey, it was the last day and none were very tall. Just perfect.

We regrouped 3 miles from the beach and road in en masse. One big peloton of cyclists blocking the road. Well, not really, the roads were pretty quiet and the handful of cars got around us just fine. But, it was a culmination of a long trip and the party atmosphere a necessary catharsis. After the obligatory group picture at the beach it was an afternoon of rest and relaxation. Ahhhhh…..well, let me put it this way….the humans had an afternoon of rest and relaxation in the shade, while I sat on the bike rack baking in the sun! Hrrrmpph….really? Couldn’t find a shady spot?

But, then as the trailers were packing up for the long trip back to Sharon, Wisconsin, Edwin and I hopped in to catch a ride while the humans went to the celebratory dinner. As with every PAC Tour, there is a slide show and awards. Multiple riders crossed the 10,000 miles with PAC Tour and two crossed 20,000. Alas, while my human and Edwin’s were acknowledged for 10,000 miles, I, the bicycle that has hauled my sorry excuse for a human rider 10,000 miles with PAC Tour alone was, sigh, not acknowledged. Sob…we work so hard for you humans and, so rarely get a thank you.

Alas, now it is over. We have seen the country from end to end both from the Southern and Northern Tier. Each is unique. Each was worth the trip. Each had high points and low points. But, quite definitely, a trip worth taking.


Vermont was but a blur and we are now in New Hampshire. Tomorrow is it! The Real Riders are trying not to celebrate just yet…there are still 56 miles between us and the ocean.

This is a pretty area of the country. Rolling hills (OK, some are a tad bit taller than “rolling” but many arrive with a view so worth it). There is more money in the towns we travel through so the older homes have been well cared for. Oh…and the architecture is fascinating — dormers with dormers, turrets of all shapes and sizes, cobblestone construction, brick, wood…they definitely did not build as Malvina Reynolds put it “little boxes on the hillside…and they all look just the same.” Nope.

Yep…tomorrow…a short 56 and we shall see the ocean! It has been a very long 33 days.

Reading List Animal, Vegetable, Junk Mark Bittman. Pulled together many of the books we read during the trip. Well worth the read.

99 More Hills to Climb

99 more hills to climb, 99 more hills

Summit a hill, Find two more

100 more hills to climb

What? That isn’t the pattern for that song? It should be counting down, not up? Yeah….I don’t think so. I suppose you also think that what goes up must come down, too. Hrrmph….I can attest that sometimes what goes up just goes up some more and some more….and then the down? Scary fast but never fast enough to get up the next hill.

Today’s route started in the Finger Lakes and ended on the Eire Canal. In between there were many, many hills. Our cue sheet called out 28 hills. Why 28? Beats me. Not that the hills had names…just numbers. And, there were hills before the hills that didn’t get a number that felt just as big…and some of the numbered hills were really just extensions of another hill. So, what was up? Well, besides the road, of course…just a way to track, I guess.

We had hoped it would be a pretty day of riding, but, alas, not so much until the very end when we were, of course, vanned. The joy of riding hills comes from the views at the top. It is, after all, our reward. But we were in rolling hills and so once up, we came back down and since the road was busy, you had no time to really enjoy a view. Sigh. And, then by the second rest stop we were way off pace. We got up the hills just fine, but….slowly…too slow. Tomorrow will be better.

Details. 49 miles, 3655 feet of climb

Reading List The Shark’s Paintbrush Jay Harman. Biomimicry for innovation. Interesting, but too much business and not enough biomimicry for our taste.


After finally coming to terms with the state (or lack there of) of my human’s health, we have limited ourselves to riding only into lunch each day. Thus, we ride about 2/3 to 3/4 of the route and then stop. It is working out well. The human is staying healthy and we’ve changed the ride from a challenge to…well….a vacation. Normally, we would have gone home as constant shuttling is not a PAC Tour thing, but Edwin’s human is crew and, while not able to ride, is happy being “The Chef.” So, arrangements were made, plans adjusted, goals rearranged and the trip continued. Real Riders do the Real Rider thing and we cheer them on while we ride our thing. All is good.

But today?!?!!? Today we rode 100% of the route! Woot! Oh, wait. Do I have to confess, Dear Reader that today was an easy day for the Real Riders? That the Real Riders only rode to lunch and that lunch was at the hotel?!??!?!?! Darn…yep…we rode every mile the Real Riders rode, but….it was recovery day for them and a “normal” day on the bike for the human and I.

And a great day it was. We entered the Finger Lakes of New York. We had some climbs but they were pretty roads and we were rewarded with awesome ridge riding at the top. Lots of small, linear towns and a lot of really interesting old architectures. One does not need to read the plaques that state that the town was founded in the 1700’s to recognize that we are in much, much older town. It makes riding through the towns and villages is as interesting as the country side.

Details 71 miles 2549 feet of climb

Reading List White Like Her Gail Lukasik. A woman’s genealogical search after learning that her mother went white.

New York!

Getting closer every day. OK…it was closer the day we rode out of Everett, WA, but when you’re talking one mile out of 3800-ish, it doesn’t feel closer. Yet, today, crossing into New York felt closer. The Real Riders have north of 3300 miles under their tires. Impressive, no? And the last few days have been challenging miles, as well. The hills may “only” last 2-3 miles (some are shorter than that), but they are much steeper. It isn’t unusual to see a 10 or 11% gradient on the GPS and on some hills the GPS has said 20%. Thankfully there are not too many of the latter, but we do seem to see long 7-8% climbs with a kick at the end where, apparently, the road graders just said, “Too tired, to grade, let’s just slap some asphalt on what’s left and call it a day.” OK, maybe not, but the kick at the end just seems cruel.

The day started in the Allegheny Forest and finished in New York. Pennsylvania is now behind us and, quite frankly, I’m glad. Pennsylvania did not have nice infrastructure for bikes. Shoulders were often torn up, narrow, and in some cases blocked by a rumble strip (grrrr….really? And where, dear road engineer do you now expect us bikes to ride?!?!?!?!). To make the memories worse, one of our riders got clipped by a truck, making all of us a little skittish on the busy roads. Now, that said, 99% of the Pennsylvania drivers were great, giving us room and waiting to pass (or for us to find a pull out). This is probably due to the large number of Amish buggies on the roads — drivers are expecting non-automotive traffic. But, still…that one truck driver left a bad taste for all of us. Sorry, Pennsylvania, you had the Allegheny Forest and it was awesome, but some unhappy biking.

Today, again the terrain, was rolling hills. Forest and small towns. One really felt that this was the foothills of the Appalachians with small farms, old buildings, towns that seemed to be laid out linearly along the highway and go on forever. It is hard to imagine that this area was once considered “frontier”.

Details. 69 miles, 3642 feet of climb

Reading List Against the Grain James C Scott. Political Science viewpoint of early states mostly focusing on Mesopotamia. Very academic and often intentionally controversial, but thought provoking (e.g., did the development of the state domesticate humans?). [I continue to clean out my Audible freebie list before buying anything new so the reading list will be scattered from this point on.]