This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A weekend trip, Google fails again and people think like cars.

  As I mentioned, on Thursday I began a journey to the Ann Arbor,Mi area for a ride sponsored by the Ann Arbor Touring Club.  The ride was selected by a group of people I know from the Bike Forums 50+ subforum. One of the regular contributors invited me to join several from different areas and that's all I needed, an excuse for a weekend tour.  I loaded the Hunqapillar up for the weekend and went off on Thursday morning for the ride.  I had checked the route, already knew most of it and thought the maps on my tablet would provide adequate reference. 
   The weather could not have been better except that the wind seemed to defy any reason.  The day I decided to travel east was the only day in recent memory when Michigan had an easterly wind. It wasn't strong, and not a real challenge, but what are the odds?  The ride was pleasant, I stopped and talked for perhaps an hour with 
this gentleman

who finds his retirement filled up--mainly with cycling. We ran across each other in Climax and he loved to talk about the cross country trip he took several years ago with some friends.  The majority of the trip was a very casual pace through gently rolling farmland on sparsley used county blacktops.  There really couldn't have been a better day for riding.  My goal was a campground about 15-20 miles northeast of Jackson and I saw no urgency in the trip at all.  I stopped at a McDonalds around 1pm to visit their wi-fi, update my maps and have a burger.   The burger was more than I should have eaten but the maps were fine and except for a detour I had to make,I was right on schedule. 
    A fifteen mile ride down the highway I came to the Village of Concord where I was looking for an MUP which goes all the way down through the city of Jackson.  As I approached what I thought was the trailhead I came across this couple (I apologize for the photo in advance)

who were riding around from Boston to Minneapolis on their summer vacation.  We had a good time talking for about 45 minutes and drinking frozen lemonade served up by some enterprising young girls with a stand at the trailhead.  It was a moment to enjoy.  
      It was mid afternoon and I had to go on, the trail was pleasant and well maintained.  A couple of hours later I was in Jackson and took the prescribed turn on E Michigan avenue towards the village of Chelsea and the campground at the rec area.  After leaving the city, I stopped at McDonalds again, this time for my refresh routine.  The day had gotten hot, mid 80's or so and I needed to cool off.  I go in with my Camelbak hydration pack, order a large drink, go to the self-serv fountain, get a huge glass of ice and water, go straight to the rest room and pour it over my head.  It's the most refreshing feeling, I can actually feel my body temp drop.  After that I use the cup to refill the Camelbak with ice water, then I get a large glass of Powerade and sit down to refresh the maps.  
     It was early evening by then, I was running behind schedule but it didn't seem to be a problem since I was only 15 miles or so from the campground and was enjoying the ride.  I went on down the road looked at the lay of the land and thought, "I'll just go down the frontage road by the highway, turn on Mt. Hope and find the road for the campgrounds."    
    I stopped to check the maps and everything went wrong.  Google recommended a change to go under the interstate highway, and take another frontage road, then turn to another road, another road and another road. I thought there must be something wrong with my instincts or the road ahead and followed their instructions.  A confusing hour later, I asked a man who was mowing his front lawn.  It must have confused him to turn off the mower, spit and lift his beer all at once, but he tried to help.  He said he didn't know of the campground I mentioned but that must be the "new one" out that way, with a wave of his hand.   He gave me rather simple instructions and I have to admit I was relieved at first, because it only involved three turns, but unfortunately that last turn became a loose gravel road.  No fun, but I knew it was a mistake because there was not supposed to be gravel.  I found the campground he mentioned and the "new" one, it was an equestrian center.  From the posted map at the entrance, I found directions to the DNR headquarters and tried that.  Going there was another 4 miles of loose gravel , but I did find a map of the Rec Area and then could navigate back where I belonged, clear across the forest where I thought I belonged to begin with, Yeah.  I had been right, they were all wrong.  Google was wrong and, well you know the locals are giving directions for cars and they don't remember where they go anyway, they do it so often the car just takes them there.
  Another 45 minutes of crawling through loose gravel and I found the road I needed, but was still 8-9 miles away and it was getting dark in the forest.  I turned on the dynamo and plowed forward, glad to have a light, I    just sucked it up and found the campground...right where I thought it should be 25 miles ago.

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