The morning of Day 28 took an unexpected turn. I had checked the weather the night before, and the forecast predicted cloudy but dry conditions. As I packed up my gear in the morning, a nearby camper told me that a big storm was coming from the west. I checked my smartphone weather radar and sure enough, a monster storm was approaching. Could I make it to the nearest town 8 miles away before it arrived? Only one way to find out. Off I went as fast as an almost 60 year old fart can go dragging 100 pounds of “home sweet home” with me.
In times like this, when I am in a hurry to bike somewhere, I always get the same image in my head. I see Almira Gulch, the spinster in the Wizard of Oz, riding her bicycle down a country road. She has just taken Toto away from Dorothy and is riding to town to “dispose” of the dog for biting her. The music score for this part of the movie is perfect for how I was feeling: rushed, frazzled, and not sure what was going to happen.
Well, I made it to a Starbucks in Grand Haven just before the storm hit. It took three hours for the storm to pass. By that time I was fully charged after consuming two large soy milk lattes and a slice of lemon pound cake. On the road again at 11:30am, I felt lucky to have dogged the storm, staying warm and dry.
Throughout my journey, I have passed so many miles of wild flowers which have started to bloom. Most people would call these flowers weeds. Whatever you want to call them, they are still beautiful and have given me much pleasure from their color and variety.
I had my first Zen experience on Day 29. Let me explain. So many of my thoughts are judgements based on opposites: good vs. bad, light vs. dark, downhill vs. uphill, or tailwind vs. headwind. Perhaps the biggest polarity of my bike trip was “butt vs. saddle”! It was not my leg strength or aerobic conditioning that would give out and make me consider stopping for the day. It was my butt crying our for a little compassion. The messages were pretty intense. “Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to you to deserve such punishment? Get me off of this saddle now!” Would I ever reach a point during my trip where butt and saddle would finally make peace? Well, it happened on Day 29. I biked for 63 miles and never once got a complaint from my posterior. Butt and saddle had finally become the best of friends. I cannot tell you how satisfying this was. It was one-derful!
Ok, I admit it. I am soooo envious of the farmer who has erected the 10 foot high rooster in his front yard. I had to take another picture of the masterpiece, this time with my bike in the foreground so that you can see I was not exaggerating about the size of the bird. I am also officially changing my website icon image from a hummingbird to the rooster. And cockadootledoo to you, too!
Day 30 is the official last day of my adventure. I arrived in La Porte IN safe and sound after completing 1420 miles of circumnavigating Lake Michigan (sans Chicago). Michiko is driving up from Cincinnati to pick me up and take me home. Thanks for following my adventures! I will post one more blog in a day or two where I will try to summarize the things I learned while biking solo for 30 days. One last photo from the flight deck of my Surly Long Haul Trucker. I am going to miss this unique vantage point.
P.S. I cannot thank Michiko enough for allowing me to take this trip. It is very hard on her to be left alone to manage the house, yard and all other administrative duties. It is somewhat selfish of me to take off for 30 days. Time to start paying her back for all of her support!