Jordan River runners

It’s good to have friends in cool places, like those with 40 acres on a picturesque vista ‘Up North’ with all the recreational toys to go with it. Two former DC beltway runners were finally able to make an open invite to unplug at his Michigan 40 acre compound finally happen. It is the perfect last stop on our cross-country journey before heading back to DC. Our temporary backyard is a semi-boondock on the crest of a hillside overlooking the Jordan Valley to the south and Lake Charlevoix to the west. ‘Semi-boondocking’ means that we are camping on BFM land. … Continue reading Jordan River runners

Engineering Soo Locks

It was engineering weekend in the Eastern UP, starting with a class on e-bike dynamics and ending with a 3 hour course on fluid mechanics and the Soo Locks system. Brimley State Park was about 150 miles from Munising in the middle UP, still in the Hiawatha National Forest but only 15 miles from Canada. These Ontarian boys grilled Eric on how the Comos work before racing around the parking lot to see if they could catch him. No shot. Brimley was the only RV park in the Sault Ste Marie (pronounced Soo San Marie) area with an opening. It … Continue reading Engineering Soo Locks

The Grand Island Wave

Grand Island is a National Recreation Area one mile off shore from the town of Munising situated in the 52 degree waters of Lake Superior, the largest fresh water lake in the world. This island is uninhabited by humans and is said to belong to the mosquitos. For a fee, you (and your bike and gear) can be dropped off on the island to explore the dozens of miles of trails, steep cliffs, remote beaches and hidden cabins. The locals say that when they return at the end of the day to pick up the tourists, those still alive can … Continue reading The Grand Island Wave

Boxing with mosquitos

All we want from Christmas is a break from mosquito bites. The Hiawatha National Forest is a world-class mosquito breeding ground. After a few moments, you can immediately tell the locals from the tourists. The locals wear long sleeve shirts and pants; light jackets with hoods; hats with integrated mosquito netting. The tourists wear short sleeved shirts, short pants, and flip flops. We departed for a 40 mile roundtripper to see Spray Falls and the dozen other attractions along H-58 in our shorts and tees, ridiculously and mistakenly confident in the can of Deep Woods Off in the trunk. Heading … Continue reading Boxing with mosquitos

Christmas in June

It’s been two days of weird getting from Altura, MN to Green Bay, WI and up to Christmas, Michigan where Santa is more than a person, he’s an attitude. To our eyes, he looks like a Santa interpretation of Mr. T. “I pity ‘da fool that passes by Christmas in Michigan” It all started with donuts and laundry. Twenty miles east of Whitewater State Park was the 2012 Best Donut in Minnesota. Seven years later, Bloedow’s Bakery in Winona is still touting its epic win and we were all about checking it out. The All-American town with the friendliest bakers … Continue reading Christmas in June

Specialized Como 3.0 Review – one year and 2,000 miles logged

After spending the last 15 years behind the wheel of a car commuting around a beltway 75 minutes in the morning and 2 hours in the evening, we were literally dying for a change. Too much time in the car and on the D.C. Metro was contributing to hypertension, weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle. We decided we wanted to go places we had only seen in magazines, do it all without a car and write about our experiences. So we retired in June 2018 and took off in our Fleetwood Pace Arrow 34W Class A motorhome with two Specialized … Continue reading Specialized Como 3.0 Review – one year and 2,000 miles logged

Gnat Today

Bug Soother repels bugs, gnat-ually. A few spritzs of this magic lemongrass oil with a hint of vanilla on the back of the neck and behind the ears allowed us to hike 6 miles into the broccoli-top forest. It’s like magic. Sure, you smell a bit like fresh baked cake and that makes you kind of hungry for cake, but it sure beats the smell of DEET and it really works. We pieced together a bunch of trails in the park to generally hike up and down to the surrounding ridges. Moving along muddy paths from river to ridge back … Continue reading Gnat Today

Taking Minnesota by storm

After a pop-up trip to the World’s Only Corn Palace in South Dakota, we unfortunately missed the offramp to the 50 foot Jolly Green Giant statue in the vegetable headquarters of Blue Earth, MN so when we saw the ad for the Spam Museum in Austin we had to go. It was a restless night in the Cabela’s parking lot. Between the hard plopping raindrops, the ginormous diesel Forza who ran their generator until 2am and the I-90 resurfacing project creating 2-way traffic, the 310 mile journey across stormy Minnesota to the southeastern town of Altura and Whitewater State Park … Continue reading Taking Minnesota by storm

Corn and Cabela’s

After four days of stalking prairie dogs, crushing on bison, spelunking in Wind Cave, casing the Badlands and hunkering down in punishing rain, we felt satiated by our time in South Dakota and ready to move on. It was a random stop at the Lewis and Clark Rest Area on I-90 that revealed four must-visits in the “Great Faces, Great Places” state: Mt. Rushmore, The Badlands, the state capitol of Pierre and The World’s Only Corn Palace in the town of Mitchell. Mayor Bob calls Mitchell “the best of small town living with bigger-city possibilities.” We were not sure whether … Continue reading Corn and Cabela’s

Badlands bike and hike

If you’ve ever wanted to see the Badlands, go now … they are crumbling. It’s a world of sandcastles on the Crayola plains. Stunning vistas but when you get up close, you experience the effects of extreme weather washing them away. Last night’s lightening infested skies brought torrential rain and thundering wind that shook Betty like a space shuttle re-entering earth’s atmosphere. How the tenters survived we can’t say, but the morning sun shone dry and the campground emptied for the day’s activities. Our Badlands bike and hike would have to wait, as our booked site #4 was unexpectedly petite … Continue reading Badlands bike and hike