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Category: travel

Friendly Goat

The very friendly, but very wrinkly goat at the learning farm at Wolcott Mill Metropark.

This is very wrinkly, very stinky, and very, very friendly goat who currently lives at the Farm Learning Center at Wolcott Mill Metropark. If you walk up to it and call it over, it will hop up on the fence and press against you as you scratch and rub it. You’ll smell strongly of goat afterwards, but that’s the price you pay for time spent with a friendly goat.

Also, my thighs are really, really sore today. This is the first time I’ve been sore after a bike ride. I suspect it is due to the extra effort required with the ~30 MPH gusts. At one point yesterday I was riding at 17 MPH with the wind, and a gust felt like a strong breeze blowing on my back. I was also able to hit 32 MPH on mostly flat pavement while riding with the wind, and while coasting down a highway overpass into the wind I couldn’t top 14 MPH. I normally coast down that area at speeds of at least 20 MPH.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do a 50 mile ride next weekend.

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The stuff one finds in the woods…

An old Civil Defense vehicle found amongst a bunch of trailers and mobile homes at the end of a road, right near the aforementioned tree farm.

One sure can find odd things back in the woods.

I’ve recently returned from visiting my grandparents up north and doing a bunch of biking along the roads and trails, finding all sorts of interesting places which I’d like to explore more in the future.

I ended up having to put the knobby tires back on my bike for the offroad riding, but I was glad I did. I had no problems wandering around all sorts of fire trails, dirt roads, and other random, interesting areas. One of those more interesting areas was what I first thought to be an oil drilling dumping ground. It contained all sorts of interesting metal parts, old vehicles, trailers (including some marked radioactive), and other discarded stuff. After talking to my grandparents it turns out that I was on the property of a friend of theirs named Charlie who happens to collect a bunch of stuff like that. Best I can tell, he is also the owner of the old CD vehicle seen above. (If any of you can figure out the city it is from based on this photo I’d love to know.)

While I didn’t go that far (only about 30 miles over the two days), I do definitely want to head back up there and do some more riding. I would definitely like to tackle the portion of the North Country Trail which I happened to come across, but I’m not really sure if it can be legally biked. The information I come across on this seems very, very mixed. I figure if I’m careful, stick to the trail, and don’t bother anyone it won’t be a problem. That said, I turned back at this point because it was too steep for me to ride up. There is, of course, a whole bunch of ORV trails in the area, but they are too sandy to ride on a bike. Even my wide knobby tires regularly sank in past the rim.

If you’d like to see the KMZ aggregated to cover most of this weekend’s riding it can be found here, with the nodes differentiating things by ride and date: 10-11-May-2008.kmz

The rest of the photos, including the ones from when I headed out wandering on the sandbar off of Old Mission Point, can be found here: Up North (May 2008)

(Oh, and yes, I know those photos are a bit crap. They were taken with my old Nikon Coolpix 5400 which was nice for its time, but is now just so-so. Also, it’s big and not weatherproof one bit. I’m thinking I’ll probably replace it with one of these Olympus shockproof and waterproof, internally zooming cameras. The quality probably won’t be great on them either, but at least it’ll fit nicely in my bag and I won’t have to worry about rain or a fall damaging it. Although, realizing that the camera is five years old, maybe those photos aren’t that bad…)

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Traverse City Is Dull Unless You Like Shopping

I’m sitting in Espresso Bay in downtown Traverse City, leeching bandwdith from the first AP I found called ‘linksys’, tunneling everything via SOCKS (SSH tunnel). I drove up here yesterday in order to visit my grandparents who live about half-way between here and Grayling.

While I like visiting them, I find it a bit difficult to be in this area at times. I’d really, really like some nice veggie food, or at least some mostly-veggie Thai or Indian or Middle Eastern, but that doesn’t seem to be available. Despite being near water, seafood around here isn’t any fresher than it would be in Flint or Grand Rapids. There does seem to be a local organic / veggie eatery called the Homegrown Organic Eatery (WARNING! MySpace link), but it closed at 8pm. I think I’ll probably just end up grabbing a bean burrito from Taco Bell on the way back to my Grandparents’ place.

On the upside, I did get to do a bunch of outdoor things today. I first went for a bike ride, then swapped the touring tires out for knobbies, then went another 10 miles or so back on random trails that I came across in the woods. Some of the trails were particularly difficult because if the extremely (in many cases 100%) sandy soil in this area, but overall it was fun. I also managed to end up on some piece of property full of oil drilling remains, semi trailers (one marked Radioactive), campers, mobile homes, and other pieces of scrap. I think my grandpa knows the owner of the property and hopefully I’ll be able to get back there tomorrow with my camera and grab some photos.

My main reason for heading to Traverse City today was so that I could make my way up to Old Mission Point (at the 45th Parallel) and wander around the beach there. I ended up wandering down the beach, walking across a bunch of rocks, and ending up way out in the water on a rather interesting sand bar after quite a bit of walking. I think it’d be nice to bike up the peninsula one day, but it’s 18 miles (each way) of rather steep hills. The main road up to the point does have nice bike lanes on it, though. There are also some quite nice trails along the point in the park which might be good for riding around as well.

In lieu of other food I think I’ll just head back to my grandparents house now and grab a bean burrito from Taco Bell on the way. My grandma made turkey for dinner, but that’s one meat I particularly don’t like. No matter what it always tastes dirty to me.

Oh, something very positive: lunch today was pizza from the small convenience store near my grandparents house. While picking up the pizza with my grandpa I found that the store carries a small assortment of very good beers along with the normal stuffs. There were probably two doors worth of better Michigan beers and other imported things. While I don’t plan on getting any beer this weekend, it’s nice to know that it’s available in the future.