A difference here is, that when a railroad is abandoned, they pull the tracks, ties, and stone ballast. Some are then rolled to smooth them. Some of the crushed stone ballast always remains, and this firms up the surface. Many, are simply blacktopped. Michigan has more miles of such Rails to Trails than any other state, I've heard. So, when I ride an abandoned RR right of way here, there are no rails.
Some trails receive executive treatment - shelters, benches, etc. All trails run through small towns every few miles, usually about 5-15 miles. Restaurants, motels, etc are available. Some lf my paddling buddjes camp behind a restaurant, pizzaria, etc.
On the trail, you will see bikes, skate boards, roller blades, walkers, and horseback riders. And, once in a while, some horse apples.
Same in Florida , rails and cross ties pulled..
The rails to trails are both paved and left as they were in the natural state. The Florida Trail takes advantage of the rails to trails for it's use. So far state wide for all different types of recerational use we have 812 miles established and 432 miles in the works for the near future. I would be willing to bet there will be a lot more when the 432 are established.
Well, the bike trip that Charlie and I are taking has grown (maybe that should read "groan"?) It's now about 60 miles. Actually, that's probably better. More scenery, and I'll learn more. We're now riding from Cadillac to Farwell. We also reversed ditection, which
I've been playing around with the trailer some more, and am learning more. The mointing flange that the trailer connects to, is a steel plate about 2" in diameter. It slides onto the end of the rear axle, and then you screw on the axle nut, and tighten it on. Sticking out, pointing backwards is a little prong/shaft, about 2" long and 3/8" in diameter. The trailer tongue has a tube on its end that slides over that little shaft, and a steel pin drops into the aligned holes in the tube and shaft.
Originally, instead of having that prong/shaft lying level, it was pointing slightly up. As I had written earlier, the nose of the trailer was riding high. Todsy, I repositioned that bracket to aim the shaft slightly downwards. VOILA'!! The trailer reoriented itself, and now lies level! This will make transporting a load much easier. The trailer bed angle seems very sensitive to the angle of thr hitch. A surprise.
I'm figuring out how to load the trailer and keep the load stabilized so the trailer has good balance, the load is protected, and the whole rig won't jiggle, wobble, or cause problems. Soon, I'll post a picture of this rig, and show why I selected this equipment for the job I have in mind for it. While this little trailer seems adaptable to many tasks, other jobs might be handled easier with a different design.
Well, little by little, we're getting organized. Charlie has a lot of "points of interest" along the way for us to visit. I have some menu items that he likes. When I mentioned the freeze-dried refried beans that I'll bring along, he immediately thought of a
- - - ting contest. sigh
While the big ride is a ways off, Charlie wants to do a shorter ride. He wants to test me to see if the longer ride is really a good idea. That isn't what he saud, but I can smell it. I've been making local rides - 2 to 6 miles - here, about three per week. Now, I'll start pulling the trailer on these rides, just to get more "training effect".
The 8 mile route from Odin to Owosso is pretty level, and paved, so I think that I can drag this 81 year old body along it, have lunch, and ride back. As long as I don't eat a big lunch. It'll be fun.
Looking forward to updates on the rides and some photos of your set up. I am currently working on converting my 2wheeler to a trike. My balance is not what it use to be do to accidents years ago. This way I can keep on riding which I love to do. All I have left is the wheels Cor the back axle. I will post some pics when I get done.
I'm behind the power curve on getting photos in. Sorry bout that.
I think that most of my nit-noy (trivial) mods are done. The trailer hitch is a genius design, but I found it not totally assembled inside. Some poor kid in a Chinese sweat factory was probably in a hurry. I'll get piccies out before the August ride.
So far, I've ridden several 5-6 mile rides with it empty, and 10-12 poind loads. I'm planning a day ride of 16 miles with a 40 pound load. I'll probably need to readjust ME after that.
Now, converting a 2 wheeler into a 3 wheeler is quite an undertaking. It won't be a recumbant, I'm guessing? A fellow near me had a third wheel rigged to the frame and forkhead. It arched out to the left side, just in front of his left foot. Looked to be about 1"-1 1/2" diameter tubing, with a 16"-20" bike wheel on the end. The bike sat almost perfectly upright, leaning just the least leftward.
He had a couple of short straps fastened to the arch that snapped onto his dog's harness. The dog trotted alongside the bike, front shoulders in under the arch, with the third wheel by its left shoulder. He rode slowly so the dog could trot along easily. Still, the dog looked stressed, to me.
Mon 8 July: Departed East Lansing. We remained overnight (RON ) at Dreamland Motel in Gulliver MI.
Tue 9 Jul: Stopped at Moose Jackson Coffeeshop in Iron Mountain MI Got a tee shirt & a cap and lunch. It's as nice of a place as it was nearly 20 years ago. RON in Iron River MI
Wed 10 Jul: Crossed Mississippi River twice. Toured Richard I. Bong Museum in Superior WI. He was the leading ace of WWII with 40 victories. He flew a P-38.
Lunched at a Julie"s Family Restaurant.
RON at Americinn, Bemidgi WI. Discovered a suitcase is still in Americinn back at Iron River.
Thu 11 Jul: Heading back to Iron River AmericInn. Dinner at Mr. T's, met and talked with a friendly couple there.
Fri 12 Jul: Returning to Bemidgi a second time. RON at Holiday Inn, dinner at Applebee's.
Sat 13 Jul: Breakfasted with an old fellow from PA, traveling on his 1973 BMW bike to Montana & Boulder CO. Ran into him again at a rest stop.
Stopped in Rugby ND. Toured Prairie Village Museum, buildings of a "typical" northern prairie town of early 1900s. RON at Cobblestone Inn & Suites, where we enjoyed adult libations and appetizers in their lounge.
Sun 14 Jul: Motored on. stopped in Malta MT for coffee at the GN Hotel. The "pseudo City Council" had also gathered for coffee. We chatted with them, and enjoyed their company. Darned if rhey didn't buy our coffee!
We RONed in Glasgow MT, at the Cottonwood Inn. Worst room and worst night of sleep so far. In the morning, we found that breakfast would cost $25-30 ($4 for one pancake).and left. Instead, we had breakfast at Subway
Lots of fields of hay, pasture, hay bales, fields of safflower, hay bales, grains, and (of course) more hay bales. If it weren't for bales of hay and grain bins weighing down the countryside, Montana would have surely been blown NE'rly into the Dakotas!
Mon 15 July: Well, we're drawing closer. Mountains, bluffs, buttes, and mesas are all around us. Though we've been steadily climbing for several days, and bucking a headwind the whole trip, we're getting 33-35 MPG. Very satisfactory.
Arrived at Tom Webber's in Augusta MT. He and Carolyn have a nice place. About 10 acres, a garden, a greenhouse, a couple dozen chickens, ducks, and geese too. Actually, a homestead. Dinner in Augusta at the Western Bar.
Tue 16 Jul: Tom loaded us into his truck, and we took eggs to sell to a local.grocery store. Then, we breakfasted at Mel's Diner in Augusta. Next we toured hunting grounds, rivers, ponds, dams, a lodge for lunch, a bear cub, and Egg Mountain where archeologists have dug up dinosauer eggs and little dinos. It sounds like a dinisauer nursery.
Pizza at home, later on.
Wed 17 Jul: Packed up and said goodbye to Tom & Carolyn. I hated to leave. it was good to see him again. And meeting Carolyn is a treat.
We navigated ourselves to Laurel MT to visit Julie's cousin Don, and his wife Arlene. Kind, gentle people in a very nice home. Oh, my goodness, how we did set to talking! Don and Julie played together as kids. He and I hit it off right away. I like these folks.
Thu 18 Jul: We had planned to visit the Buffalo Bill Wild West Miseum, and Don and Arlene joined right in. They had been there before, and helped us to stay found and not get too lost. Many, many exhibits here. Aftet 4-5 hours, we were all ready for lunch, a bit more walking, and then headed home. A full.day.
Fri 19 Jul: Departing Don & Arlene's, and ambling towards the Alley Rose Restaurant in Kearney NE. Went past the Little Big Horn battle site where Custer bought the farm. Stopped for a minute in Belle Foursch SD, In John Wayne's movie, "The Cowboys", they were driving cattle to that town; it's pronounced as Bell Foosh.
RON at Days Inn, Sturgis SD. Another location that has adverse management.
Sat 20 Jul: Departed at 08 45, and heading for Kearney NB, and dinner at the Alley Rose Restaurant!
Sights on this trip have included elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, buffalo, sandhill crane, and 1-2 million bales of hay. Today, we added a coyote, and water across the highway - with ducks swimming across the road!! That was a first for both of us. Coming up, is the town of Broken Bow.
Sun 21 Jul
We're off the freeway, and back onto state highways. Finally - we pulled into Kearney NE. We went directly to the Alley Rose to reserve seats for later, after we had found a motel. When the lady asked for a name, I gave her my name, and mentioned that I usually set reservations in the name of the Donner party. She commented that she was related to the Donner party - descended from the brother who did NOT go.
The Alley Rose is a special place. Understated elegance in the middle of a wide open prairie. Diners are dressed casually, and the owner's daughters may be your waitress. We ha a sorbet in between courses, to cleanse our palates. We both dined on shrimp and calamari, a glass lf rose wine, and ice cream. Wonderful time here, as always.
Mon 22 Jul Home is within striking distance. We're heading up, and rolling put. Driving around the south side of Chicago is similar to getting a root canal, and an arm amputation in the sane, glorious afternoon.
Nearing the Michigan border, we decided to call ahead to Julie's son and her brother. We invited them to meet us at a Cracker Barrel for dinner. Good times.
Finally - home at eight thirty. 3400 miles. We find the Toyota RAV-4 to be well adapted to our uses.
The last few weeks, I've been riding to train for the long bike ride in a couple of weeks. I've been riding the bike both with, and without loads. Sometimes I pulled the trailer for extra workload. Once, with 28 pounds in to simulate a camp gear load.
Today, Charlie and I rode from Ovid to Owossoand back. It's about a 9 - 9 1/2 mile dustance, and the trail is a straight shot - for the first 8 miles. Then, the trail comes to a dead end. Land acquisition didn't get carried out, somehow. And then there is the most arcane detour imaginable. I think that, in the future, it will get straightened out. But today the round trip ride was 24 miles.
We started, by meeting for breakfast at 9:00 in the Ovid Cafe. Then, at 20:23 we sat off. In the meantime, our ladies were meeting us for lunch at the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso. I expected us to arrive at about 11:45. At 12:15 we made it. The detour had us heading in several wrong directions.
This trail, like many, is a rail-to-trails project. No grades over 3%, wide path, hard packed dirt. A couple of short sections were paved. Our rolling average was 8mph. I did not have the trailer tied on.
After lunch, we rode back to Ovid WITHOUT the benefit of the detour. Julie had driven back to Ovid, and waited for us. A very patient lady, thank you, Hon.
Standing in the street, after loading bikes into the back of the vehicles for the drive home, we talked a bit. Somehow, in a sneakily mysterious way, the subject of ice cream came up. Instantly, three rambunctious 6 year old kids - grey hair and all - rushed into the Ovid Cafe. The day ended flavorably. Namely, butter pecan.
Next week, we plan to launch. We've talked camping, motelling, and mixing. We settled on camping only on the first night that we arrive. IE: camping from the car. And, while on the bikes, we'll stay overnight in motels. That dropped my load by 20-25 pounds. I will not use the trailer cart behind the bike on this trip. That lets me ride 2-4 mph faster, making each day of riding an hour and a half to two hours shorter. Remember, this Duck is a ruptured one.
On another trip, in spring or fall when temperatures are cooler, I'd like to do a trip with the trailer, and camp along the way.
NOTE: carrying loads in canoes can spoil you - quickly and thoroughly. A bike is 4-6 times more energy efficient than walking, especially if carrying loads. And, canoes are even more so. Especially going downstream.
Tomorrow morning, Charlie and I rendezvous for breakfast at a Subway north of here, then head further north. This is my first multi-day bike trip, ever. I've ridden bikes housands of miles from the age of 6 or 7, but they were all day trips. I'm packed in one saddle bag and a dry bag tied on top. If it weren't for the possibility of rain, I'd be packed in the two saddle bags (from LL Bean) that are always on the bike.
I'm carrying a log book and can take pictures, so should have a trip report in here next week. We're starting in Cadillac, going S'ly 20 miles to Reed City, then E'ly 40 miles to Farwell. Chuck might recal the name of Farwell?
It was the nom de plume of one of the obnoxious people on the kayaking site that spurred him to start this net site. To remain anonymous, the guy never did use his real name, only the nsme of the town of Farwell. He swore that boats could not be made of wood! He completly overlooked the anual Wooden Boat Festival in another Michigan town named Hessel. And many other similar annual celebrations around the country. (The guy was kind of a practicing sphincter.)
By the way, if you haven't tried breakfast at a Subway Sandwich Shop yet, treat yourself one of these times. Darned good!.
I don't think either you or I will ever forget that SOB and his SOB partner. Really I should thank them but I'm afraid I would do something nice and deserving like Deck , Cold Cock or stomp both of them. Other then that I harbor no ill will towards them.
Yep , have hit Subway for breakfast a lot of times and you are right , they have a great selection. Try one of each but not at the same time. Be smart , get one to go for your self or to cut in half and share with Charlie at a break.
I thought, perhaps, you might recall their nastiness. From lemons, you made lemonade. Nice work, olde fella.
I just might do that for Charlie. Our supper tomorrow evening will be a beer and free popcorn, and split a wet burrito at Maggie's Tavern in Cadillac MI Wet burritos there are about the size of half of a football.