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.

Friday, April 12, 2019

When the bike ride goes bad, but for the better.

     It all made sense, it sounded simple enough.  Spring break week, get out of the cold, wet early spring here in Michigan and find someplace a little warmer for a few days.  Last summer, when I wandered around the forest in Michigan, it occurred to me that there were a lot of places like that I hadn't seen, I realized there are 20 (count 'em) 20 national forests within a 1 day drive of my home.    So I decided to go visit one of these hidden gems that nobody looks at while they search out cities and shoreline.  The Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois is one such monster.  I packed up the day before, drove down on a Tuesday morning and was camped by 3 o'clock. 
 It was all easy peasy, I had a chance to take a hike through the "Garden of the Gods," 
 a series of cliffs overlooking the forest and the Ohio River Valley.
The rock formations are eerie and rumored by scientists to be 300 million years old.
You can almost imagine the striations being caused by the lowering water levels 
of the ancient inland ocean which deposited and compacted all the sand 
There are a couple of days of history carved into these cliffs
A nice view of the forest which is just starting to bud this early in the spring.  It was 20 degrees warmer than Michigan but only the weeds were becoming green this early in the year.
and yonder's Kantucky!
Well that was fun for the first day.  The plan was to kick back with dinner for the night and relax, Wednesday I was going to ride 20 miles or so through the woods to the river and see some more the forest was hiding.  But...I realized I had left both my tire pumps at home.  Damn, fortunately I had an inflator and an extra CO2 cylinder, so I could continue without a problem,
except that the the brand new inflator I had  was a problem.  No, there was more to it.  It was a Planet Bike part. I like their flashy lights, their fenders get good reviews; this is a piece of shit.   It not only wouldn't puncture and open the cylinder, the damn thing came apart in my hand.  Well I took the positive approach and decided it was all for the best that it happened when I was on a car trip.  I was going to drive to a different part of the forest,  so I simply made a 10 mile detour past Wal-Mart and bought a cheap mini pump which turned out worse than the inflator.  I gave up with only 45 lbs of pressure.  After driving down to the other part of the forest, I realized, (taking the positive approach again) that the  gravel roads I expected were far too rough for 32mm tires anyway.   Their "gravel" was more like the coarse granite ballast used to compact and build railroad beds. 
So I rationalized the whole damn thing 
took a very pleasant walk in the woods along the streams that
led to the Johnson Falls and the valleys and ravines created by all the streams and water falls.  Now I'm thinking this was a good way to reconnoiter the area for a future trip.  This forest must be magnificent in the fall with colors in all the hardwoods.  I'm thinking it's a great opportunity to ride a heavier bike over a 20 or thirty gravel miles, hike the two or three into woods  below the falls, strip down and go for a swim in the pond.  That's my kind of triathlon.
So the trip was not a total loss and I'm looking forward to another visit.  I'm also ordering the Genuine Innovations inflator that I used to have, lost, but know works flawlessly despite the fact that no LBS carries it any more.  This is how Amazon keeps drawing customers, the locals don't have what we want, so they force us to go elsewhere.
In the meantime, I'll try and learn a few ancient Wikken curses 
to lay on this thing, bludgeon it into a billion pieces and consign it to oblivion.

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