Entries Tagged as Cheap
Eight hours into our trip we were there, huddled under the picnic table's awning, watching flames gobble up the raindrops as they fell to Earth. Our fire cast its glow upon our two campsites which, by this time, had turned from a nice place to rest for the weekend into a quagmire whose mud pit was ready to suck the shoes off any unsuspecting camper. Fortunately for us, we were all barefoot.
"What was I thinking? I must be insane! Why did I think I could do this? You don't do these kind of things! Other people do this, you freaking idiot!" These were just a few of the choice thoughts running through my head on June 29, 2013, as I left familiar cycling territory while embarking on my first attempted overnight bike trip. The plan was to ride from my home in Overland Park, Kansas, to Clinton State Park, which is just west of Lawrence, Kansas. I had estimated that the trip, which would take me through the communities of DeSoto and Eudora, would require approximately 50 miles, each way, of output from my untried (over this distance, anyway) human power plant. How, at the age of 46, had I arrived at this point in my life?
Grand Island sits just north of the small town of Munising, on the waters of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (U.P.) Munising is home to the only ferry service to Grand Island. It is also located within a short drive to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Grand Island is considered a National Recreation Area, part of the Hiawatha National Forest. Most people spend just the day on the island; with a little planning, however, I thought it would make for a great family bike overnight.
"The Rectangle Ride" is a 110-mile route that starts in Arlington, Washington, heads east to Darrington, north to Rockport, west to Sedro-Woolley, and then loops back south to Arlington. It was a perfect, autumnal weekend for a rectangular ride with spectacular company.
Excited, nervous, and downright giddy, we exchange four wheels for two and load onto the ferry that goes from Edmonds to Kingston, Washington. We may as well have training wheels, uncertain as we are of biker-ferry protocol. Is it safe to just leave them? Bike-thirsty pirates and misguided harbor seals may be lurking. The ferry attendant kindly instructs us that most people hang the handlebar over the side rail and go upstairs. Then relax.
Toward the middle of our second day on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, we arrived at the Thorp Tunnels. Unlike the Hyak and Whittier tunnels of the day before, the state has not dedicated any funds to repairing these tunnels. It shows. The concrete at the entrances is crumbling and sections of wall inside have caved. It’s not exactly dangerous, but I wouldn’t call it safe, either. Don’t put me in one of those during an earthquake! In a surprising act of reasonableness, the state actually allows you to travel through these tunnels. There is an unsettling waiver of liability they ask you to sign before you do so, however.
For years, I’ve had the idea in my head that it would be fun to cycle the length of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, 110 miles from North Bend to the mighty Columbia River. Any plans I might have had got temporarily quashed in 2009 when state parks closed the five tunnels on the trail because of falling debris hazards. Flash forward to July 2013 … and all the tunnels are open again! Some have been repaired. Others are enter at your own risk.