Weekly Update 01/11/2010

01/13/2010:  Updates on Tim Leeper’s ride across the United States 

          Jan. 12:  Tim spent the night in Salome, AZ.  Along the way, he met a gentlemen from northern California who had ridden from Washington to Maine, then down to Florida.  He was heading home to California on the same southern tier route Tim is on, having left home originally in June.  Tim is collecting al types of souvenirs on his ride and is attaching and displaying them on his bicycle.  When Tim got to Salome, the hotel clerk asked him if he had seen the family five on ONE BICYCLE, who had left Kentucky, rode to Florida, and were now on the southern tier route, making their way to Alaska.  They had a two-year trip planned.       

          Jan. 13:  With the wind at his back for the first time since he started his trip, Tim had a very pleasant day on the road, ending at Wickenburg, AZ.  While the mornings have been cool, the days have been in the mid-70’s, with lots of sunshine.  He did experience his third flat tire since the beginning of the trip, from a 5″ nail.  Wickenburg is the first real town he’s been in since the beginning of his trip, population around 5,000.  He was going out for dinner and to walk through their downtown area.  He sees he’s heading for some worsening weather conditions – cooler – and hopes to avoid the rain they are forecasting.   

01/12/2010:  Updates on Tim Leeper’s ride across the United States (see below for more details):  

          Jan.  10:  Tim rode from Brawley, CA to Palo Verde, CA, which entailed a 1,200 climb plus some “rolling” hills. He was warned that between the two towns there were no services, so he needed to carry and food supplies with him.          

          Jan. 11:  Tim continued his ride through the desert, crossing into Arizona and spending the night in Quartzite, a mining town. Phone service is sketchy at best – his cell worked at one end of his hotel room, but not the other (and it wasn’t a very big room). The towns are very small with not much to offer in the way of eateries. 

 Header:  Compliments of Jill Sawatzki.

 Hello, hello, hello!  SO good to be back in Georgia!  We had the wonderful holiday in Arkansas and New Orleans. We got to play in the SNOW with our grandchildren, eat shrimp po’boys with Cathie and Charlie, and put over 2,000 miles on the new truck (I don’t care if I sit in that truck seat again for quite a while)!     

  • I promised to give you all the details from our friends’ holiday on the island over New Year’s.  Laurie, Matt, and their three daughters Kelly, Megan, and Dana arrived on Dec. 27, along with their sled dogs Miika and Demon.  Below is their story – in Laurie’s words: 

“We arrived on the island December 27th – one day later than planned. The island is snow-covered and looks like a winter wonderland. In town it is snowmobile city!  So unusual to see horses replaced by snowmobiles everywhere.  During the winter George meets the boats each day with the taxi. The girls and I took the taxi with George, while Matt walked the dogs up the hill. As we waited with George for another couple to make their way to the taxi, I looked around at all the snowmobiles, and was amazed our horses were not spooked as they stood there at the dock as the snowmobiles whizzed right by them.    We have kept busy since we arrived.  Every day Matt and I have gone cross country skiing. Since we don’t have a snowmobile, two friends of our girls who live year-round on the island, come and get the girls and take them over to their house. The girls have discovered they love snowmobiling and are studying for their test to be certified.  Even Dana can get a permit to drive since she is twelve.  We are now in the market for a used snowmobile.   When not skiing or snowmobiling, we have been mushing the dogs over in the State Park. Yesterday we ran the dogs from Skull Cave to Arch Rock and back. Today we will go mushing again and skiing. Matt and I are going to the Stang for the Surf and Turf New Year’s dinner. “   

Below are some photos from Laurie of their time on the island:        

Laurie - cross country skiing in front of the condos.


Looking through Arch Rock. Ice can be seen forming at the lake's edge.

Demon and Miika - out on the deck after a day pulling the sled over the snow-covered trails of the island.

Happy girls, happy dogs. Have you ever seen whiter, cleaner snow?

  • Last week the Mackinac Island Fire Department was called upon to help fight a fire in St. Ignace.  The fire started in an apartment above a store, and at least two people were inside when the fire started.  One man escaped on his own, but firefighters had to rescue a woman, who was transported to the hospital and is ok.  The Mackinac Island firefighters were part of five area fire departments who responded to the scene.  

An island firefighter from the first crew sent to St. Ignace returns on the ferry.

The second crew sent to St. Ignace from the island returns via plane.

  • Arnold Ferry Lines ran the last ferry to the island on Thursday, January 7.  It was the heavy ice build-up in the St. Ignace harbor that caused the shutdown, not ice in the island harbor.  With ferry service stopped, and the ice bridge still weeks away (if it forms), the island is now truly shut off from the mainland, except for the daily service by Great Lakes Air.  My island friend Liz posted these great shots of the island-hopping airplane on her blog http://quiltedturtle.blogspot.com.  The photos were taken in October, which explains why no snow is visible.


Liz reports that the plane holds a pilot, five passengers and their baggage.

Round-trip fare from St. Ignace to the island is $50. Kids and pets fly free if they sit in your lap. Liz said that when the plane is carrying mail or UPS freight, some or all of the seats are removed (well, they leave the pilot's seat). Freight cost is $2.50 per box or tub.

Over the pilot's shoulder is Mackinac Island. Below on the left is the St. Ignace Marina. The flight is about five minutes in duration.

  • If you’ve ever visited Mackinac Island and took a photograph you think is a winner, you have three more weeks to enter it in the Mackinac Island Recreation Department (MIRD) calendar contest.  Entries must be received by February 1, 2010.  The entry fee is $2.00 per photo.  Entries must be submitted horizontal only, 8 x 10 (include the negative/slide/CD).  Judging will be at the Winter Festival Feb. 6/7 for the 2012 calendar. 

Tim Leeper is a gentlemen Ted and I met on Mackinac Island last summer.  He and his daughter Arial attend the Little Stone Church, and it is there we met them.  Tim is a widower, who lost his wife Patty 8 years ago to breast cancer.  Her cancer was discovered while she was pregnant with Arial, and she fought for 11 years before losing her battle.  One of the goals Tim and Patty set was a bike ride across the United States the year Arial would go off to college.  Tim is an avid cyclist, and they were either going to ride in tandem or Patty would back Tim up for his ride by following him in a van.  Arial received a scholarship this year from the Little Stone Church, and is presently a freshman at a college in Michigan.     

On January 7, Tim dipped the back tire of his bicycle in the Pacific Ocean and embarked on the 3,200 mile ride he and Patty had planned to do together.  Tim has raised $5,000 already by selling his personal art.  He is also seeking sponsorship by the mile for his ride.  Proceeds will go to breast cancer awareness in Charlevoix/Emmet Counties in Michigan.  He is riding solo and is carrying 38 lbs.of gear with him on the bike.        


Tim Leeper, with some of his art work.

I plan to post Tim’s weekly progress here.  He thinks the ride will take at least six weeks. He is taking a southern route, and on the last day of his ride he will place his front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine, FL.  Here’s his progress for the first few days of his trip:     

          Jan. 7:  Back wheel in Pacific Ocean in San Diego, CA.  His first leg consisted of climbing 2,000 feet through mountains.  He spent the night in Alpine, CA     

          Jan. 8:  Another 2,000 ft. climb through five mountain peaks.  Has met many great folks along the way already, including a bike shop crew who got his bike ready for the climbs.  Spent night in Jacumba, CA.     

          Jan. 9:  Tim left in 30 degree weather and rode to Brawley, with the wind in his face all day.  He had a 3,000 foot drop over ten miles along I-8, with his hands working the brakes the entire 10 miles.  He is averaging 60-70 miles a day, knowing these first legs will be slower because of the mountains.     

          Jan. 10:  Planning to travel only 70 miles on Sunday and stay the night in Palo Verde, CA.    

  • It’s official – On February 4, Dawn (a friend from the lake), Mike Forrester (a friend from Atlanta who also blogs on Mackinac Island), and I will board a flight from Atlanta to Flint, Michigan.  Jill will meet us at the airport in Flint, and from there we will drive to St. Ignace and catch the commuter plane (see above pic) to the island.  I’ll write more about our upcoming trip next week.  But, suffice it to say, we are EXCITED beyond words!

Please check back in a few days for more updates from Tim Leeper.  God bless.    


9 thoughts on “Weekly Update 01/11/2010

  1. What beautiful dogs your friends have, and they look so right at home in that snow. The island sounds absolutely wonderful during this time of year and I know your going to have a great time being there. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Bless the Mackinac Fire Dept.

  2. Thanks Bree for bringing the island alive to us! Beautiful pictures. I couldn’t wait to get up and read your blog today. I will enjoy following Tims bike route and his pictures look beautiful. So glad you get to go to the island in February, that will be sooo fun! You know it is getting closer to the day you and Ted will be back on the insland!!

  3. Bree, I stumbled across your site and love it! My husband has family in Cheboygan and one of his cousins married a man from the island and they live on the island now. I love Michigan and have only been to the island twice, but look forward to visiting again soon! I am only familiar with where the tourists mainly huddle, so I love when you mention and post pictures form areas of the island that most of us aren’t familiar with.

    Thank you also for keeping us updated on Tim’s trek.

  4. Thanks for your blog Bree! I stumbled upon it searching the internet for anything Mackinac Island. I’m a lifelong Michigander and currently live in Metro Detroit. I love Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City. I’ve spent the last few days going back in the archive and starting from the beginning of your journey but wanted to stay current as well. I can’t wait for your wintertime trip and your pictures. Thanks for letting me live on Mackinac Island vicariously through you!

    • Hello Janet, and welcome! I hope you get to visit the island often, but I’ll do my best to keep you updated when you can’t come on your own!

  5. Pingback: Weekly Update 01/18/2010 « Bree's Mackinac Island Blog

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