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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The internet provides a new adventure in cycling.

     The Labor Day weekend promised to be the finest weather of the summer here in Michigan.  I was not going to miss the opportunity to ride through that.  I set off on The Hunq to the Indiana Dunes again.  I've been through the area and stayed there, but never took the time to explore the trails and sites along the Dunes Lakeshore.  In previous visits I was pressed for time and last year it was just oppressively hot.  Well I took advantage of the great temps and headed down the road.  The first day was an easy 50+ miles through familiar back roads 

until I found the campground in Berrien Springs full.  It was only Thursday, it wasn't supposed to fill up until Friday!  Oh well, I grabbed some groceries at the local store and headed out of town on a road I had never explored.  After a few rolling miles of lightly traveled roads through private forest land, I found a small old church and went behind the little cemetery to camp for the night.  Not the company I prefer, but I didn't bother them, they didn't bother me.
      The rule when stealth camping is to set up late and leave early.  So I whiled away a little time on the internet and fixed dinner until sunset.  By then I knew nobody was going to bother me.  It all worked out, because I had wanted to reach the Dunewood Campground early to be sure I got a site.  My little detour and early departure put me into the Dunes before noon and I was able to snag the last available campsite.  That left me the afternoon free to go into Michigan City and get supplies I would need for a couple of days.
     Saturday was a day of exploring the Dunes Lakeshore.  There is a trail, The Calumet Trail.  I have seen this trail before at night and it wasn't pleasant.  It is really a service road the power company has abandoned.  The park service seems to have the same idea.  Even without rain for days, most of the trail is a stream of rocky puddles, many are 6-8 inches deep. The only value this little road has is that nobody uses it and it runs parallel to US-20 so it is easy to keep out of traffic.
Turning away from this was more fun than riding it and I found my way to the lake shore which was jammed with holiday travelers.   There are miles of public and private beaches along this segment of the coast and the luxurious weather brought people out in droves.
There is a nice frontage road leading along the dunes 
with many points of access to the beaches.
      There is a network of trails to be found in the area.  I looked at a couple and the elevation and sand were discouraging enough.  This would be Pugsley country, but the park service also had signs posted to discourage any traffic and help the natural dune vegetation recover. The rest of Saturday was lazy.   A late lunch at Barclay's where the food never fails and neither do the cocktails.  Around the campsites I spent some time with people curious about the bike travel and the Park rangers recognized me and spent a little time chatting.  It was holiday weekend and by evening I shut out the noise of the abundant rugrats with some old jazz and a few beers.
Miles Davis keeps good tempo with the sun on the leaves.
      Saturday and Sunday provided more perfect riding weather.  This trip has become a manifestation of the ride being the reason.  Yeah, I had a destination but chose no path.  It reminds me of the good ole days when we  would look at a map, find a secondary road running parallel to a major highway and take our chances.  Today, Google Maps or a similar digital service will provide a route.  That's too structured.  The little GPS marker from the phone will tell you where you are in relationship to your destination, The Hunq is built for touring any road anywhere.  So why bother?
I needed to go northeast to get home.  That's where I rode.   
Picking and choosing roads at a glance I meandered my way back home not in any danger of being bored by riding the same route back.  I was not out here to hurry or log any record on Strava.  Just enjoying the trip and finding new ways was the order of the day.  Saturday I headed for a State Forest near Dowagiac where I could camp.  My nose, and the little blue marker on my phone, led me through the grid of back roads in the farm country.  It was exhilarating in it's own way to not know what lay ahead, and that I could handle whatever it is.
The internet is providing a new standard in adventure cycling to escape the urban malaise.