It is Monday! Tomorrow is Tuesday. Then it’s Wednesday, and Dawn and I will be on our way to Atlanta to spend the night. We will jump a jet at 9 a.m. Thursday morning with Mike Forrester and fly northward to the great frozen Straits. The weather cooperated and dumped some snow on Mackinac Island last week – not much, but some. Then today (Sunday), the skies opened, the lake effect snow machine roared into gear, and the island received about 2″ (at last report) of new snow. With highs forecast in the 20’s and low’s in the single digits while we are there, I think all the snowgear we bought is going to come in handy.
Getting all that snowgear into our luggage is presenting a little problem. Snowboots are BIG, quilted winter coats are BIG. We’re thinking about getting one of those vacuum packing bags and sucking the air out of everything so we can squeeze it all in. Mike is beginning to worry more and more about where everything will go in the SUV. I’m sure he will pack like a guy (sparingly), but he will also have video equipment. Should be interesting when we land in Flint, meet up with Jill in the airport there, and we all go outside to “load up”. My camera will be recording every minute.
Tim Leeper Update
(For anyone just finding this blog, this section is a weekly (sometimes semi-weekly) update on the bicycle ride across the United States by Mackinac Island resident, Tim Leeper. Tim is riding in memory of his wife, Patty, who lost her battle to breast cancer eight years ago – and to raise money for breast cancer research. To start at the beginning of Tim’s ride and come forward to today, simply go to the 1/11/2010 Weekly Update and read forward).
January 27: Tim rode along US 10 for the first 40 miles, saying it was noisy. At Kent he turned south/southwest along 118 and headed to Fort Davis, his stopping place for the night. 94 1/2 miles, a 3,000 foot climb – he was 8 1/2 hours in the saddle today. Once he made the turn at Kent, there was another headwind, but it was sunny and beautiful. Tim said this was his most breathtaking and spiritual ride of the trip so far – countryside so pristine, no homes, no cars, nature just as God created it. He was able to ride down the center of the road, calling family and friends as he went. He also did a radio interview for Marfa Public Radio from the side of the road (working on getting the link). Thank you, Marfa Public Radio, for accommodating Tim on his journey. Another bad hotel story. Tim called from Kent to get a room at the Hotel Limpia in Fort Davis. The innkeeper said they were running a special on suites, $100; regular rooms were either $99 or $115. When he arrived, she said no suites were available, he needed to take a regular room. Tim walked around and saw all the suites were empty! When Tim called her on it, she immediately backed down and gave him the room for the same price, the old bait and switch Tim called it. So he left there and found another room for $60 at the Stone Village Tourist Camp.
January 28: Today Tim road 56 miles through wind, rain and fog, ending up in Marathon, TX. There was some downhill, a lot of flat, and plenty of road. The clouds rolling in over the mountains were breathtaking; Tim stopped to take a lot of photos and is hoping at least some of them turn out. His interview will be aired in February. Will post the details later.
January 29: Tim arrived in Sanderson, TX. He left Marathon in 29 degree weather and strong winds at his back. He put all his cold weather gear into play today, using his foot warmers, four layers top and bottom, and three layers on his head under his helmet. He got photos of snow in the desert and ice on the cacti, saw three deer and four turkeys, all in close proximity. Tim met a couple biking from San Antonio to Los Angeles along his same route. Their names are Patty and Dick (Patty was Tim’s wife’s name and Dick was his father and father-in-law’s name), both 55, recently retired, she as a school teacher, he an electrician. Their daughter was joining them in Silver City to ride with them for a week. So now we’ll get to see some photos of Tim on the bike during his trip.
January 30: Tim was on the road by 7:30 Saturday morning, knowing he had at least 90 miles to go, but wanting to make the 120 miles to Del Rio. At 6:00 p.m., he was sitting on a pallet behind the auto shop having a beer and deciding where he was going to spend the night. He got to Comstock, felt good, knew he had trained for this and pushed on. The road was rough aggregate and tough on his body. The sun was shining, the wind was mostly at his back, and he rode through 45 miles of open plains. He did leave his safety vest behind, so he’ll be looking to replace that. He has started a new map, from Del Rio to Navasota. Tim said he had traveled 1,568 mile so far; another 300 would put him at the halfway point. He feels he is right on schedule where he wants to be. After today, he’ll be playing it by ear each day. The towns will get closer together, and he’ll have more choices on where to stop – so he won’t really plan day to day. He thought on Sunday he might clean his drive train – he found some great cloth napkins on the side of the road to use. He did say, while he was on the road a low flying plane dipped its wing at him.
There was a new, quaint little shop on the island last summer – Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island. Owned and operated by Nicole Smith, it was a routine stop for me while downtown. Nicole also does a blog on the island, mainly about her shop, but also about living on the island, which she does all year. I loved a couple of photos she posted last week while she had her dogs, Penny and Charlie, out with her on a cross-country ski adventure. I couldn’t believe how much more snow there appeared to be up on the trails than there was downtown (this was before the two snow events I described above). She gave me permission to use the photos, and I wanted to share them with you.
I logged onto the live webcam on top of the Chippewa Hotel this morning, and snapped this picture of the sun coming up over the frozen Straits. It is still hard for me to believe that we will be there on Friday morning, good Lord willing, to watch the sunrise.
My plan, at least right now, is to post again to this site on Wednesday, February 3. That is the night Dawn and I will be in Atlanta, before we fly out on Thursday morning. I will have it online before midnight on Wednesday. Then I hope to have something new online each morning of our trip. So beginning Thursday morning (Feb. 4), you should be able to follow us on our journey every day until we are home on Tuesday (Feb. 9). I have to figure out if I can post the same information to BOTH blogs at the same time – this one AND the one from Lake Blackshear. If not, I will let you know WHERE you can read about our adventures each day.
Please keep us in your prayers for safe travels over the next seven days. Our Delta flight 5225 to Flint, MI leaves at 9 a.m.on Thursday morning and lands at 11:05 a.m. Then we will load into an SUV (I hope it’s big-very big) and make the 3+ hour trip north to St. Ignace. We have a charter flight booked to the island from St. Ignace at 6 p.m., but we hope to be able to cancel that, if we can make the last regular flight over at 3:45 p.m. George and his taxi will be waiting for us at the airport on the island (I can’t wait to see George!), and he will get us downtown to the Cottage Inn.
See you back here late Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning) from Atlanta. God bless.
P.S. Almost forgot. Dawn, Jill and I are planning to be standing in front of the Tourism Bureau webcam at 11 a.m. on Friday (Feb. 5) morning to wave to everyone back home. If you want to tune in, please be watching http://www.mackinaclive.com a little before 11 a.m. that day. Once you are on that site, click on the “Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau” link to go to that camera. “See” you there!
P.P.S. Thanks, Jill, for the header!