Day 67 – Kritters Campground to Tahquamenon Falls (Total Miles = 1053.5)

Our sweet Kritters Campground was hard to leave!  The day still looked iffy as far as the weather was concerned, but we had to move on.  Our goal was Tahquamenon Falls.  I had heard so much about the falls over the years that I lived in Michigan, but I had never seen them before.

We arrived at the campground, where they only had a site available for one night. We took it, and to our pleasant surprise, B&B (Brad and Betty) were our neighbors.  We had last seen them when leaving Grand Marais headed for the gravel road.  We all talked for a bit, then Betty drove me over to the store on the back of their Spyder trike!  We bought wood for a fire and marshmallows, then settled in for the night.

The road to Tahquamenon was another Michigan county road that had no shoulder.  I have hesitated to write about our adventures on these roads.  I am not sure why…maybe it is because I don’t want to scare our families and friends, I don’t want to dissuade others from trying it, I don’t want to put too much negativity into my blog unless I can make it amusing…and this topic is far from amusing.  But, I think I should share our experiences on these roads, and maybe provide a lesson in passing a cyclist.

We are getting used to these roads.  We put ourselves out on the road enough that the cars have to go around us.  If we don’t, they will not move at all and buzz us.  The shoulders that are there, have rumble strips along the edge, making them unusable.  When there is a suitable shoulder, we happily use it!  The problem is, drivers do not think of us as another car.  They will pass us going uphill, going downhill, around a curve, beyond a bend.  It doesn’t matter if a car is coming in the other direction, they speed up to get around us before the other car arrives.  There have been times when the other car has arrived, and they will be the ones forced to stop and let the passing car go by.  It is extremely rare when a car will actually slow down and wait until it is safe to pass.  And, we just won’t talk about the logging trucks!  Somehow, I think, they think, we are small and insignificant to pass.  But, with our panniers, we are as big as a motorcycle.  Cyclists must follow the same rules as a car.  Cars should treat cyclists the same as another car.  The thing they don’t understand is, the air rush from their cars affects our bikes, making us unstable.  We could fall at any time anyway, due to debris, a pothole, an animal, or any distraction that could cause us to fall or swerve, that a driver can’t see themselves.  Cycling uphill really makes us wobbly, as we struggle to watch the road, and keep the bike moving.  Cycling downhill we are holding the bike against natural forces, such as, wind and gravity.  All the drivers need to do is wait, check to see if it is clear, then pass.  As with any vehicle, you do not pass going around a corner or going up a hill.  It is worth the few seconds it takes to wait to avoid an accident.  I have said my peace…


Brad and Betty

Day 65 & 66 – Muskallonge Lake to Kritter Campground (Total Miles = 1030.15)

In our short, overnight stay at Muskallonge Lake, Ken and I met some great folks. We met some road angels that stopped to talk. They know what a trail angel can do to raise spirits, because he hiked the Appalachian Trail and was blessed with the special deeds these angels can deliver. We never did get their names or pictures, but they gave us beer that evening and that really helped lift our spirits after our day in the desert.

The next morning, just before we left, we met Kevin and Cynthia. We talked bikes, running, diets, and Christ. Cynthia, especially, has leaned heavily on her faith. She had a congenital hip problem that was not discovered until she was in her 50s. Both hip sockets/joints had been giving her so much pain. The doctors kept telling her it was arthritis, because she had never had the pain until she got older. She fasted, and prayed, and found a doctor that properly diagnosed the issue. She had surgery to fix it, and has been pain free ever since. It is hard to imagine going through life without the love of Jesus. Having Him as your rock, your confidante…having Him living within you feeling your pain, and understanding the anguish, makes it possible to hold on to hope. Kevin and Cynthia prayed for us before we left. We felt that umbrella of love and were ready to embrace whatever the day had to bring.

And, the day was grand. Warm, sunny, and paved! The time and miles were syncing today. It felt like no time, before we reached our goal for the day. We had nowhere planned to stay, so we were winging it. We came to the intersection of our turn, and about a quarter mile down the road we spied Kritter’s Campground. We rode into the park and Larry, the owner, said he had a site open. He also said, even if he didn’t have a spot, he would make one for us. Larry, his wife, and daughter, call Kritter’s their home. It is a beautiful park, small and cozy, clean, and homey. His wife has a gift for gardening, so flowers abound in the front yard, where the hummingbirds play.  Both, Larry and his wife, were so very good to us with many small gestures that meant so much!  We can’t thank them enough!

We had ourselves a fire and marshmallows, then headed to bed. That evening I was awakened by the sound of, what I am sure was, a wolf. It was 3:30am and both Ken and I, heard the howling. I know a coyote yelp, and this was much deeper and eerie. I also remember the howling of the wolves at DeYoung Zoo, and it was the same. Larry said they do get the occasional wolf and was not surprised I heard it.

We woke up to rain, cold, and thunder…maybe that is why the wolf was howling! It started to pour. We checked with Larry to see if we could stay another night. We had to move, but we were dry for the day. Actually, he put us right next to an enclosed pavilion where we were able to store our bags, and I was able to catch up on the blog.

During this time we met some super people. Ed came in the same night we did on his shiny Gold Wing, pulling a camper. In the morning, he drove to town and brought us back bagels. Then went out later and brought us back much needed coffee, honey, and pizza. We went to his place and ate the pizza, and I cuddled up to his little space heater to get warm. Ed is newly retired from his job as a firefighter. His love is for his daughters, and traveling. He lost a son to drugs, and so he treasures the joy that his grown daughters give him. He shared stories of some of his adventures and life at work. Ken enjoyed his company today, especially, while I worked on the blog. We were unprepared for rain and really couldn’t have done the day without Ed!!

I met these youngsters in the park.  They rode their bikes all day long.  I don’t know why, but they just liked talking to me.  Probably, because I loved talking with them!  You never know if a short conversation with a young person, could change their lives for the better.  At the time, they didn’t know I was traveling on a bicycle.  Once they found out, they wanted me to ride the park with them, so I did.  What a blast!!

We also met Lorraine and Tom. Lorraine is a runner and cyclist. She has toured before, too. Both love to travel and these two had some amazing stories to share. Listening to them made us want to travel the world! But, our own country, this northern portion of Michigan, is perfect for now.

Cynthia and Kevin


Larry!  He Had The Greatest Smile!!


Hummingbird Garden





Our Pal, Ed!

Lorraine and Tom

My Cycling Buds

So Much Fun Riding The Park With These Future Cyclists!

I told the kids they need to wear helmets!!  I related the story of how I had fallen a few weeks ago, while just standing over my bike.  My head hit the pavement and I had a huge knot on my head for weeks!!…And I had my helmet on!  Thank goodness, if I had not had the helmet on, it most certainly would have been a bad situation.  I sure hope they will take my word of advice and get some helmets.  To my own dismay, I was having so much fun, and I was so busy packing, I never thought about talking to their parents about the helmets until I had already left the park.

Day 64 – Grand Marais to Lake Muskallonge (Total Miles = 1006.65

The day we left was pretty hectic! As you all know, we don’t move too fast in the morning, and we had to be out of the campsite by 10am! I wanted to do laundry before we left, too. So, we woke up and passed on our coffee, and our food. I was getting laundry started, Ken was breaking down camp, and we were still struggling with what route to take for the day. The designated Tour Da Yoop route had 13 miles of mixed gravel roads with parts of it being soft gravel (sand). You know us and gravel roads!! We are to say “No” to gravel roads. Our friend Mike even offered to drive us over the gravel road to bypass it. I didn’t feel comfortable with that…it felt like cheating. Eugene weighed in on the situation and gave an emphatic, “Don’t do it!” He knows all the roads around here, and he was truly worried about us attempting to ride our bikes on this particular one. He pulled out his maps and laid it all out for us. He strongly encouraged us to take the longer paved route that would essentially double the distance.

We also met Brad and Betty that morning. They were another couple touring on a trike. They had this fantastic camper that they pulled and I wanted a glimpse of it. That was the start of a new friendship and a conversation that was hard to ride away from. But, they too, knew what the road was like and said to stay away from it!

We exchanged information with Brad and Betty, I said goodbye to my sweetheart Eugene, and we headed out of town. By this time, it was 1:30 in the afternoon!! We rode one last time through Grand Marais central, then turned down H-58, the dirt road. Look, we thought, if the tour could ride that route on their road bikes, we should be able to do it with our touring bikes. It was logical!

It wasn’t too bad, at first. There was hardpack, which is great to ride on. But, about a mile in, the washboarding began, then the hardpack gave way to gravel, then the gravel gave way to dirt, then the dirt turned to sand. We stopped and considered turning around, but we kept on going. We had another turn of fate, though. Coming toward us was a huge truck, with lights flashing, and blades grinding…a grader! A grader, on this day!! He drove past us, and left behind him a cleaned, graded road!! About 20 minutes later, he came back up the other side of the road! I don’t know how often the graders are out cleaning up old gravel roads, but our grader was out the day we needed him!! I blew that guy kisses from my sandy lips and he waved back to say, “No problem, happy to oblige!” We were able to navigate the road pretty well for about 8 miles, then we had a sharp left turn and were back in our nightmare world. To our joy though, we saw the most beautiful fox run across the road.

The fox long gone, we had to make our way up the road for 5 more miles. We lost count of the number of times we each fell to the dirt. We would attempt to ride, it would be okay for a few cycle turns of the gear, then fall down in the deep sand. Cars would drive by and not even slow down to give us some relief. Actually, we were quite dismayed at the behavior of the majority of the cars, trucks, and campers. A few slowed down, most just throttled on through. It amazes me that people don’t consider the fact that their car is throwing rock, and dust, and dirt everywhere, in particular, on two misguided bicyclists. We walked most of the 5 miles to the pavement, and then rode a mile to Muskallonge Lake and our campground for the night.

Thank goodness, the campground had showers!! We were a total mess. My blue shorts were white from dust, my skin chafed and bleeding again, poor Honey Badger was no longer green, but gray. Ken busted open his knuckle, and his drink bottles were unusable from the dirt and grime that covered them. But, it was all over. No one back in Woodland Park Campground knew which route we would end up taking, so I texted Brad and let him know we made it over the gravel road safely in 4 hours…and would he please let Eugene know, because I knew he would be worried about our fate.


My Sweetheart Eugene!!


Brad and Betty – B&B

Muskallonge Lake

Muskallonge Lake

Missed getting a picture of the fox.  No other pics for this, thankfully, over day…

Day 62 & 63 – Kingston Lake to Grand Marais (Total Miles = 987.65)

Woodland Park Campground was expecting us, sort of. When Matt drove us to Grand Marais for dinner, we had made a quick stop into the campground to check out the situation. I bounded out of the car and bopped over to the camp host, who was riding his golf cart. He looked at me sideways and asked what I wanted. Like a kid, I explained we would be riding bicycles into town, but will be too late for the first-come-first-serve status of the campground. Could he keep a site open for us?…Pretty Pleaasse??? He looked me over sideways again, half grimaced, and grimly said there would be one here for us. I think Eugene liked me!

So, we packed up in the morning and, as we left for Grand Marais, Matt left down the North Country Trail. A super easy ride, we made good time and arrived at Woodland Park around 2:30. As promised, we had a beautiful sight with Lake Superior in view. Eugene drove over to greet us and we were both happy to see each other. Eugene is old. I don’t know how old, but he is old. Eugene is not a Yooper, but he knows the U.P. He has been coming here for over 30 years, mostly to snowmobile in the winter. His wife passed away a few years ago, but he still comes up north every year. I think Eugene’s wife was a tough lady. He talked about how she had to have her own snowmobile, she wasn’t riding on the back of his! She loved the outdoors as much as he did. They would travel the back roads and trails on their snowmobiles, sometimes going out for several days at a time. Too cold for me, but I love that they shared adventures in the snow.

We had barely entered the park before Julie and Jeff came over to talk. Like so many others, they wanted to know our story. Yet, unlike most of the others, they insisted on getting us wood and delivering it to our site. Not too unheard of, except that they had no vehicle to drive either, and the wood was about a half mile away at the convenience store in town!! No, no, we said it was too much. They related a story of how his mother had told him to be gracious when someone offered something. How, it’s not really about you, it’s about the giver, and they wanted to do this for us. So, Julie and Jeff walked a half mile to the store, split the load of wood between them, and hand carried it back a half mile to our site, along with some items for kindling. I cry as I relate this story to you. Do you know, they did that for us, we talked a bit, and we never saw them again!

As soon as Julie and Jeff left, Bob and Pam, Collin and Ineike, our neighbors, came to talk. As it turned out, we didn’t burn our hand-delivered wood until the next day, because these 4 friends invited us to share their fire. We talked and learned a bit about each other, before we all headed to the beach to watch the sun set.

While at the beach, we met Dominic, and some other young folk getting it done on the beach! They were building a cool beach getaway made of driftwood. They had been building this special place for 3 years, coming back every summer to keep adding on. They fly the American flag and are very proud and respectful of their American heritage. They spoke of the appreciation they have for veterans, and how they thank them at every opportunity. When the flag is weathered and torn, they reverently burn the flag and replace it with a fresh new one. True Yankee Doodle Dandies!! We were asked to carve our name in a driftwood table for posterity. We did and Dominic filled it in with sand, then burnt it so our names were visible. So awesome! Our young!!

The next day, our neighbors on the other side of us came to talk. Mike and Deb are active retirees, too. Mike loves to bike and was heavily involved in the Michigan bicycle trail committees, along with his father, so it was all in the family. Deb is a walking fanatic. We related different stories of our athletic adventures, and trail concepts, and the like.

A day off the bike was nice, and I was able to work a little on the blog.

Roadside Wildflowers

Roadside Wildflowers

Roadside Signage!



Julie and Jeff Our Campground Angels

Bob, Pam, Ineike, and Collin Our Neighbors

Lake Superior Beach and Sunset







Rock Art

Beach Haven


Bringing In More Wood For The Structure

The Haven Architect Taking A Rest

Dominic and His Groupie

West Bay In Grand Marais

West Bay

Mike and Deb




Day 61 – Munising to Kingston Lake (Total Miles = 969.65)

While we were in Munising, we met a great couple from lower Michigan. Cheryl and Gary were touring on trikes and had a reference to this Bible verse on a side panel; John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. That, is a spiritual revival statement! But, as I think of that verse I am reminded of our servicemen, our police officers, our firemen, and rescuers. Ken and I are grateful for their courage to lay down their life everyday for others. Thank You!

Cheryl and Gary each had their own Gold Wing Trike, and were pulling trailers behind them. Ken and I have thought seriously about getting a trike to travel on. Optimum word here, ‘A’ trike…not two. I imagine myself sitting comfortably on the back with my sunglasses on, listening to music, pointing out the sights, and waving as we pass others…while Ken drives. Ken has a slightly different vision…he too, sees himself sitting comfortably on the trike with sunglasses on, listening to music, pointing out the sights, as the sun is setting ‘afore us…while I drive. Yeah…we have some kinks to work out, but the dream remains.

We had a nice little climb leaving Munising. The hills are getting easier to ride, but they are less steep than on the western portion of the peninsula. Nonetheless, we are able to ride longer days and take less breaks! My bottom is healed and the last seat I bought is feeling pretty good.

The day we left Munising, August 21, was going to be the day we would be watching the Tour Da Yoop, Eh? participants riding from Marquette to Grand Marais. We wore our Tour Da Yoop jersey’s and rode in anticipation all morning. We finally stopped at a store that advertised…ice cream! Just as we started slurping up melting ice cream cones, the first group of riders rode by. We screamed, and waved, and encouraged, as they flew by us at breakneck speed! The route that day was 107 miles, and was day number 8 of their 10 day tour. We are riding the same course (1200 miles) in 3 months, that they do in 10 days. Keep in mind though, that they are fully supported and stay in hotels each night.

We finished up the ice cream cones and continued onward. The rest of the day we had riders passing us, some stopping to chat with us, and the support vehicles stopping to check on us. Our pictures were taken, and promised to be put on the tour website. What a fun experience!!

We rode 30 miles that day, to Kingston Lake State Campground. This was a first-come-first-serve campground and we arrived late, around 3:30. As we suspected, all the sites were taken. As we have before, we began discussing our options, thinking we would have to finally stealth camp, when a young man asked us how we were doing. We told him the campground was full and right away he offered his site to us.

At 47 years old, Matt is a master hiker! He can work from anywhere, so he takes advantage of his time to hit the trail. Him and his family have a stellar setup. His wife also works from home, and his son is a senior in high school with options for football scholarships to attend college next year. We wish we could have met his wife and son, but Matt was on his own this time. A very active family, Ken and I were blown away by their deep faith and strong moral foundations. Matt drove us into Grand Marais for dinner, a beer, and some great conversation. We exchanged phone numbers in the hope of meeting again. We want Matt, and his family, to come hike in North Carolina! It was another day where God’s grace was bestowed upon us, by giving us a road angel in Matt the Master Hiker.

Cheryl and Gary

Tour Da Yoop Riders

Gone In A Flash

Matt The Master Hiker and Official Road Angel

Kingston Lake

Kingston Lake

Kingston Lake

Kingston Lake

This Little One Calls Kingston Lake Home

Day 59 & 60 – Gitchee Gumee Campground to Munising (Total Miles = 939.65)

It is August 19th. I guess I should have been keeping track of the dates, too, because I am lost in time! I was pondering on my ride to Munising the fact that time is moving so fast, but the miles so slow. Riding a bicycle around the U.P. reveals the full effect of this phenomenon, but I really discovered this when I was chasing the sun to charge up my solar panel. I would lay the panel in a nice sunny spot, only to turn around and find the panel already in the shade. A distinct method of being able to watch time for anyone who has a penchant for it.

We did have another nice ride into Munising, but there was some rain. It was actually refreshing, though.

I have been loving staying at the nostalgic mom and pop motels. We found another in Munising. We paid $43 a night ($2 less than our last campground) for a room with a roof, shower, bed, tv, and plenty of sentimentalism. Scotty’s Motel even had, what appeared to be, the original neon sign flashing its’ name.

If I survive this tour, it will be a miracle. Ken is ready to leave me behind and get ‘er done. I don’t blame him…sometimes. Now, I have been doing all this heavy reflection on time and seeing it move with my own eyes, right? I’m thinking how fast time is passing us by, so we need to fit all we can into one measly 24 hour period!! Let me step back and fill in some blanks…

This Covid-19 is wrecking havoc on our time schedule! People are everywhere, lined up here, lined up there…waiting for this restaurant table to open up, waiting for someone to pass to keep the 6 foot distancing, trying to make reservations for campsites or tours. Wasting precious time! Most restaurants won’t take reservations, but Tracey’s in Munising does. So, my efficiency expertise kicks in! I will make reservations, and we will not have to worry about getting a table to eat somewhere before they close. That will open up the entire day for touring!! I tried to make reservations to ferry around Pictured Rocks Shoreline, but of course, they were all full so we were on our own.

Ken doesn’t really like touring. He wants to ride. But, as usual, I can always convince him that we need to sieze the day and make the most of it!! We may never pass this way again!! We’re here, we might as well see what this town has to offer! We could be gone tomorrow, and miss it all!! You get the picture…I can be very persuasive.

So, with the convincing complete, the reservations in hand, we got on our bikes to ride 5 miles to Munising Falls and Sand Point. What’s 5 miles to us, anyway. We rode to the falls and completed the short hike to see them. It was beautiful. The rock formations were beautiful. Totally worth the trip. Then we headed to Sand Point because I wanted to see Miner’s Castle. It is part of the Picture Rocks shoreline and one of the key area experiences to see. I calculated that once we got off the bikes, the hike in would only be 3 miles, and we could trail run making it a quick in and out sightseeing tour. I was very excited, as usual, to be able to run and I could hardly contain myself. When we arrived at Sand Point, we saw the mileage sign…4.9 miles to Miner’s Castle. Again, I began calculating how long our run in would take, how long to view the castle, and how long to run back…get on our bikes…ride to the motel, shower, and bike to the restaurant. We could certainly do it, I was sure, with minutes to spare!

So, again, with some convincing…yes, a lot of convincing, we headed down the trail to Miner’s Castle. No sooner were we getting warmed up, when we saw a guy on a bicycle with 80 lbs. of packs. He was biking the entire North Country Trail system!! This trail is rugged, steep, rooty, and muddy. People think we are crazy! Actually, I had to laugh because he thought we were the nutso’s riding our bikes on the road!! He had this entire flight of stairs to go up with that bike, too! Who’s the crazy one here, I ask you?! I just can’t believe, that again, we never got a picture or got his name. Just a fun conversation with a crazy dude…an old one at that! We took off again knowing we would see him on the return trip.

I felt like a deer running through the forest, free as could be! I put some distance between Ken and I on the way in. We made ANOTHER cardinal sin, we hit the trail without water. Ken needs his water while running. I train without it many times, just to be able to pass the water stations while racing, so I can adapt. But, secretly, I was worried we weren’t going to make our precious dinner reservation. I calculated…I could get there and take the pictures, then once he arrived, he could get an eyefull, then we would turn around and run back. That’s planning! Lo and behold, I got there and they had a working water fountain!! In every single park, campground, roadside stop, the water fountains have all been shut down due to Covid. This one was working!!! I took my pictures, got a drink, and then Ken made it in, like clockwork!! It had taken almost 2 hours to get there. He was so thirsty, so hot and tired, but he filled up on water, checked out the rock formation (which was awesome, BTW), and we headed back.

Now, this is Ken’s forte!! I am a fast short distance runner, Ken is a powerhouse long distance kind of a guy. This time I was the little doe chasing my buck!! He led us out of there in just over an hour! We skimmed past our cyclist and called out, “Great Job! We have dinner reservations to maaaake!” We didn’t stop until we reached our bikes. We glugged down the last of our water, climbed on the bikes and rode the 5 miles back to Scotty’s. A day that had a 10 mile bike ride and a 10 mile run! And, Yes! We still had time for showers! In my utter appreciation and awe, I let Ken take his shower first, because Scotty’s shower drained so slow, that the next person had to step in a water filled, old metal, shower stall. Nostalgic, I tell ya.

I had one more surprise and show of my admiration for my handsome buck…I found a shuttle to drive us to the restaurant and pick us up. It’s all in the calculations people…all in the calculations.

Who Is Breyanna And Kristopher?


The U.P. Does Christmas Right!!  Passed Through Christmas, Michigan

Wildflowers Everywhere…Everyday!

Munising Falls

Rock Formations At Munising Falls


A Cute Mushroom!

A Portion Of The Stairs The Crazy Guy Had To Go Up With His Bike!

Inviting Trail For Running Isn’t It?

Views From The Trail

Miner’s Castle

The Rock Seen Through The Clear, Clear Water

Day 58 – Marquette to Gitchee Gumee Campground (Total Miles =906.65)

We gave up the turbo powered Nissan Rogue for our humble, but loyal, bicycles.  It was a great day back on Honey Badger and Traveler.  I am sure they were wondering if we would come back for them, given the really cool ride we had, because Honey Badger was very obedient and seemed quite pleased to have me back in her saddle.

We were able to ride the Iron Ore Heritage Trail all the way out of town and directly to our next destination, Gitche Gumee Campground.  The trail was both paved and crushed limestone,  and flat, which made for a very nice ride.  We didn’t get lost, no flats, no falls, no fumbles.

Gitchee Gumee Campground is privately owned by a sour, old codger.  He just wanted his $45 for the site (an astronomical fee for a plain, no-fancy spot in the woods, next to a highway), with no questions or comments appreciated.  The campground was terribly run-down, but had soooo much potential!!  All the buildings were made from old rustic logs, and there were large boulders throughout the camp with pictures artfully carved in them.  At one time, there was a community building for campers to gather in, laundromat, and showers.  There used to be a fudge shop, but that was closed down.  Apparently, though, a small tiki bar is in the process of replacing it.  I could just invision this campground all up and running…wth trails, access to Lake Superior, ice, a small camp store, the tiki bar with music, showers, water. The codger is obviously ready to retire…if not, he should anyway!!

Sorry, we didn’t take any pictures today!!

Day 53 – 57 Marquette (Total Miles = 893.65)

Getting to know you…getting to know all about you.  Anyone remember the lyrics to Julie Andrews’ song Getting To Know You?  It reminds me of living in, and then years later, touring Marquette.  What a fantastic place!!  Seriously, if you ever have a chance to get to the UP, Marquette is a must see.

As a young adult, I don’t remember a lot about Marquette, but the one thing that sticks was its rustic charm.  No doubt, Marquette has grown, but that same charm can still be found.  The old buildings, laid-back lifestyles, and the iron ore heritage still remain.  I just love that they didn’t tear down old historic buildings, they just grew around them.

We arrived and settled in for a stay around.  We did get to our car rental in time to pick up a nice Nissan Rogue.  We dropped the bikes off at an established bicycle shop for some TLC.  The Quick Stop Bike Shop has been a mainstay even since I was there in the 70s.  It is the areas oldest and longest running bike shop.  They took us in on short notice and gave Honey Badger and Traveler a needed spa day.  Bought new tubes for our bikes, too, so we will be good to go if we get anymore flats.

Was it ever nice to drive a car!!!!!!  Woo-Hoo!!  And I hate driving!!  Ken did most of it, but I loved passengering!!  We got places!

We checked out Little Lake where the little trapper shack was.  Little Lake was about 25 miles out of Marquette.  The shack was gone, but we actually spoke with the new owners of the exact same property where it once stood!  The woman I talked to grew up in Little Lake.  She remembered the shack and the great grandfather trapper who lived there.  Another of my stories…when I moved into the shack, a small shed was there that held an array of old handblown bottles that were full of different scents to use in trapping.  I still had my dorm room at the college that I never attended classes to…so I took those old bottles and cleaned them out in the wash room at the dorm.  It stunk the whole place to high heaven!!  I still have those wonderful old bottles at my home today.  My niece Angie will appreciate that the old trapper had bee hives in the attic.  There was a tall, old wooden ladder that leaned up against the shack outside, when climbed, led to the attic and beehives.  Of course, at the time, I climbed back down very quickly and ignored the whole thing!!  When I moved to Little Lake, the city girl that I was, laughed because the only businesses there were a store that was combined with the post office and meat market, Brown’s Bar, and a laundromat.  Today, it is exactly the same!!  Only Brown’s Bar is now called The Throttle Bar (but still has the same old Brown’s Bar sign on the roof).  The laundromat building is still there, but empty.  The only thing missing was the telephone booth…the one I remember calling my grandmother on to find out how to cook french fries.  I told Ken about how I got arrested at the store, as we drank a beer at Throttles.  I hit a car in the parking lot of the little store…yes, really.  The po–lice were called and they found out I did not pay for a speeding ticket.  They handcuffed me, put me in the back of the caged po–lice car, and took me all the way back to Marquette, the scene of the crime.  I was fingerprinted, my picture was taken for posterity, and they threw me in jail.  A true story…could have been straight from an Arlo Guthrie kind of song!!

We left Little Lake and DROVE to Negaunee.  It was so surprising, on the way we passed the ski area I used to ski at, and it did not change one bit.  Wish I could have gotten a photo but we were moving too fast in that car!  I had moved from Little Lake to Negaunee, where I lived in a small apartment above a television repair shop.  It was there that I had Sarah.  The entire block of buildings have been torn down and just one new one put in its’ place.  The little laundromat, King Koin, where I hauled my laundry in a wagon with Sarah in tow, was still there exactly as I remember.  Negaunee was bustling when I lived there, but is now nearly a ghost town.  Most of the buildings are empty and falling apart.  Very sad.  It was so small though, that Ken and I drove around and around the same block just trying to understand it all.  Ken is so good!!  I am sure he was like…we are driving around the same block over and over again…what more can you see??  But, he just drove and smiled for my benefit.

We made a quick drive to Ishpeming where we had moved just before leaving Michigan for Colorado.   I could not find the duplex we lived in.  What I remember about living there…1.  Sarah was bitten by the owner’s dog between the eyes.  Went to the hospital to have it sown back together  2.  Sarah took off on her tricycle to the busy street…I could not find her until she was getting ready to cross the busy street!  3.  Sarah took a bag of her dad’s marijuana and threw it in the toilet and had fingers full of oil paints  4.  Because I would stay up all night painting pictures on canvas and then sleep until noon.  5.  Sarah repeated the F word here  6.  I felt like the devil was in wait for me.  7.  Time to leave and change our life!!

We spent a day in Marquette touring the old lighthouse and Lake Superior Maritime Museum.  This was such an amazing tour.

We were able to see an iron ore ship coming into the Presque Isle Dock to fill its’ hatch’s with iron ore.  9.5 to 10 million tons of ore are loaded and shipped from this dock.  The ore is transported to the dock via railcars, loaded into large bins, and emptied into chutes that lead to the ship.  It can take up to 4 hours to fill the ship.  We did not watch for that long, but it was very cool to see the ship dock, and the bins full and ready to load the ship’s hatches.

After watching the ship, we took off for a 4 mile run into Presque Isle Park.  It…was…so…wonderful…to…run!!  Run!!  We stopped along the way to take pictures, but I really needed to be running.  We saw some great views of the Lake and some deer, then headed back to the car.

We enjoyed the restaurants in downtown Marquette while we were there.  Found some good coffee.  Checked out the beach.  Just had some great downtime off the bike in a fantastic, rustic, yet modern, college town.  I really hated to leave!

Iron Ore Heritage Trail

Blue Heron On The Iron Ore Heritage Trail

U.P. Strong In Hard Times

Can You Tell Me What The Flags Say?

Love This Picture.  There Were So Many Ship Wrecks, That These Fellows Had To Patrol The Beaches Day And Night

Life Saving Crew Using A Lyle Gun

Life Saving Apparatus Used To Retrieve Men From The Water

Marquette Lighthouse

Lilac Bushes All Over The Lighthouse Property.  They Have Been There A Long Time As Seen By The Thickness Of Their Stalks.

View From Lighthouse Of Lake Superior

View From The Lighthouse

View From The Back Of The Lighthouse

Guess Who?

Another Lighthouse View

Lake Superior From The Lighthouse Property

Winding Staircase Inside The Lighthouse

View From The Lighthouse Window

Story Is The Lighthouse Is Haunted By The Child Who Made These Footprints With Fresh Paint!

A Picture Of The Old Foghouse In Winter

Lighthouse Keepers House.  They Are Considering Making This Into An AirBnB!

View Of A Tree

The Police Dive Team On A Training Dive In Lake Superior

View Of Downtown Marquette

Lots Of Cars, But Beautiful Architecture

Love These Old Buildings

City Hall

Old Vierling Restaurant


Firebell Along The Boardwalk

A Later Picture Of The Bell With A Rainbow Captured From Our Seat In A Restaurant.  I Love This Picture!

A Sticker I Saw And Liked

We Saw This Young Couple Walking To A Local Dance.  Cute As Can Be!!  I Had To Get Their Picture!  OMG!  I Just Smile Every Time I Come Across This One.

The U.P. Is A Biking Mecca And Marquette Shows Its Loyalty.  These Are Everywhere With A Different Piece Of U.P. Culture Sculpted Into The Wheel Of Each One.  This Depicts Snowshoeing.

Of Course We Found The Ice Cream At Jilbert Dairy.  We Visited This Mainstay Since 1937, A Few Times During Our Visit

She Was Saying…Are You Back Again?

Ken Keeps Saying How Nice It Is That Lake Superior Is Fresh Water…Then We Found This Bumper Sticker

Town Of Little Lake.  The Store On Left And Browns Bar In The Middle

Negaunee Water Tower

Ski Jump Between Negaunee and Ishpeming.  When I Was There, The Old Wooden Rickety One In The Middle Was The Only One There…Abandoned. Ken, Amazingly, Saw The Same One When He Worked In The U.P. In The 70s…Around The Same Time I Lived There!

The Iron Ore Ship Coming In

Getting Closer.  They Move Pretty Quick.  You Can See How Massive It Is When Looking At The Kayaker And Pleasure Boat Next To It

Ken Running Down To See It Pull Into Dock.  You Can See The Rail Bins On Top Of The Pier Full Of Iron Ore Waiting To Be Moved To Its New Destination.

Ship Pulling Up To Dock.  They Get So Close.  You Can See The Chutes To Deliver The Ore From Dock To Ship.

Views From Our Run At Presque Isle

Presque Isle

Presque Isle.  The Water Is Still So Clear.

People, People, People.  No Social Distancing Happening There!

Presque Isle

Presque Isle

Presque Isle

I Love A Good Trail.  Presque Isle Trail

Presque Isle

Deer Watching Us At Presque Isle

Day 52 – Van Riper State Park to Marquette (Total Miles = 893.65)

So, we were good today.  We stayed on the highway all the way to Marquette.  Well, most of it.  There was a beautiful trail Ken and Maryann told us about that was paved called the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, which we found and took.  The Tour Da Yoop, Eh route had another gravel portion on the route, but we said no way!  Aren’t you proud of us!?

Plus, I was so excited about getting to Marquette.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I lived there from 1975 to 1979.  I had moved there to go to Northern Michigan University.  I was just 18 years old.

That said, the ride was less than prestine.  Honey Badger’s tire held out great!  The Traveler, though, came up lame and we had another flat tire about 5 miles out from Van Riper State Park.  Thank goodness, Ken’s tube was correct and we were able to get the tire changed without fanfare.  Good, good stuff…until we got lost.

So, we found the Iron Ore Trail and it was fantastic.  A rails-to-trails route, I wish we had more time, because the trail had interpretive signs explaining it’s historic role in Michigan’s iron ore and lumber industries.  We were happily riding along, and I was relating some details of my time living here, when a portion of the trail came out on a road.  We missed the re-entry onto the trail.  After we realized we missed it, we looked at the map and saw that we could meet up with it ahead.  So, instead of turning around, we continued on with our newly mapped route back to the trail.  Turns out, the road we needed to use was closed for repairs.  We figured we could get around whatever minor roadwork was going on, after all, we had done it before.  This time our luck ran out.  The road was flooded where they were building a bridge.  No way, no how, were we getting through that road.  Only one other route was an option and it would have been an additional 20 miles.  There was nothing more to do than turn around and go back.

It was at this point, that I began to waver.  The ride from where we lost the trail was hilly.  We would have to tackle the hills..again.  Our easy 30 mile day would now turn into 42.  We would now have to make time in order to get to the car rental before it closed.  We could have been riding the glorious trail right now, but we made a wrong turn.  We turned our bikes around and headed back the way we came.  My lip started to quiver and then full on tears as we rode.  Back up the hills, I pushed as hard as I could to make our mistake go away and be forgotten.  We made it back and easily found the trail again.  But, as soon as we turned onto it, the crying turned to blubbering.  I could not turn off the tears.  I told Ken how beautiful the trail was, and cried even louder.

Everyone has a story and the plot of my entry into adulthood began here.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I came here to get away from home.  My childhood was wonderful early on, but later it all fell apart.  I was ignoring the hurt and emptiness I felt by filling it with drinking and drugs.  My mother wanted me to go to school in Detroit, but NMU was the only college I applied to.  She reluctantly agreed, and I readily flunked out.  I was drinking, smoking pot, playing pool, skiing, and was the happy-go-lucky party girl.  I met a yooper guy who worked at the ski hill…he would let me ski for free.  We were soon married…I was just 19.  Him and I moved to Little Lake and lived in a trappers shack, with no electricity, a pump for water, a woodstove for heat and cooking, and an outhouse for a bathroom.  We had a waterbed that lay on the floor and the walls of the bedroom were used as the frame.  When winter came, the pump froze, the waterbed sloshed with ice, and I was gathering snow and melting it on the stove for water.  By this time I was 6 months pregnant.  We moved to Negaunee and soon the wonder of my life came along…my daughter Sarah.  At that time, when you were on welfare, they put the husbands to work in order to get the subsidy.  My husband worked for the welfare check, while I toted the laundry in a red flyer wagon to the laundromat, with Sarah propped on top.

The memories of my years in Marquette were overwhelming me.  They weren’t sad memories, although I had never been proud of my younger self.  I guess I was just letting them go.  It dawned on me as I rode and cried, that I have always wanted more for myself, but mostly for Sarah.  It was during these early years that the Lord carried me.  I remember as a child when the Lord entered my life, but He had long been forgotten in my childhood strife.  Yet, He never let me go.  If I was giving up on my life, He wasn’t.  My life motto has been:  Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish.  That is what I did.  I may have been bawling because, with God working behind the scenes, I was able to pull myself out of a bad place and make something of myself.  Sarah is the finest proof of that.  She is a woman who loves the Lord, cares for others, and works hard.  She makes a difference in people’s lives.  Had I not been in Marquette, there would be no Sarah.  God’s plans for us are perfect…If you Trust Him, you can trust them, then you can trust yourself.

Day 51 – To Van Riper State Park (Total Miles = 851.65)

We said goodbye to Sam, who was hanging back a bit to enjoy a swim, and headed to our next destination, Van Riper State Park.

Right out of the gate we saw two bald eagles hunting.  Of course we stopped, and gaped, and oohed and awed, over the wonder of another eagle.


You all are going to be so disappointed in us!  We did it again.  We followed the tour route and it lead us to Herman Rd.  The route guide warned us, but we decided to do it anyway.  We thought, since this road is in the middle of nowhere, we might see some wildlife…a moose, a deer, wolf, bear, a chipmunk?  Nothing.  I think we saw one bird!!  We endured a wretched 8.5 mile gravel road for nothing.  No reward at all!!  Why?  Why did we do it again?  Why, oh why??  Let me just say again, it was wretched.  I swear!!!…we won’t do it again!

It was probably the stupid Herman Road that caused my flat tire.  We had finally come out to the highway, the one that was smooth, flat, and had a roomy shoulder…that we could have been riding aaalll this time, but nooo…we wanted to see the non-existent wildlife…forgive me…I was saying, I had a flat.  No problem, we prepared and expected this would happen eventually.  We pulled into a small parking lot across from a convience store to change the tire.  We unloaded Honey Badger and turned her upside down, then removed the old tube and pulled the new one from our repair kit.  Except the new one had the wrong valve.  It was a valve for a mountain bike and was too big to fit in Honey Badger’s rim.  Okay, backup plan, repair the tube.  We looked, we listened, we could not find the hole in the tube.  Ken walked over to the store to see if he could fill a sink with water to find the hole by the bubbles, but the sink did not hold water.  Second backup plan…new road angels to the rescue!  Well, no, it wasn’t planned, but God came through again!!  He sent Ken and Maryann to our aid.

These two knew something wasn’t going according to the plan.  They had stopped at their local convenience store for…wait for it…Ice Cream Cones!, when they noticed our situation.  They graciously offered to take us and all of our gear to their house so that we could fix the flat.  We packed their truck full of our stuff, our bikes, and ourselves, and were ferried to their home to make repairs.  Ken and Ken were able to find, not one, but two holes in the tube, and repaired it in short order.  Maryann and I talked family, work, and retirement.  Maryann is a math teacher and plans to retire in a few years.  They both mountain bike for pleasure and enjoy a wide variety of local trails.  To us, they were our rescuers, our road angels, and we know that their hometown has 2 special people in their midst.  They opened their hearts and home to two strangers needing help, and we so appreciated it.  We decided to take Ken up on his offer to drive us to the campground which was about 4 miles away.  Once there, I cooked dinner and we promptly went to bed.

Two Bald Eagles.

One Eagle On The Lookout Post

While The Other Gets Ready To Fish

The Only Wildlife I Saw On Herman Road!

Honey Badger Waiting For A New Tire

Ken And Maryann Our Road Angels.  They Have A Beautiful View Don’t They?