Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy-eight, 090824 - Munising, MI

Day One Hundred Seventy-eight, Date Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Time in Saddle: 3:30
Distance for the Day: 30.14 miles From Munising To Skandia, MI
Accumulated Trip Distance: 8608.3
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 671’/1071’, Highest: 1079’ Accumulated: 1348’
Speeds: Avg: 8.6 mph, Max: 24.0 mph
Weather: 64° clear and breezy, becoming rainy by mid-afternoon
Expenditures: $17

At about 5:20am, I woke up to the sound of a bunch of sprinklers going on. Worried that they were going to start up in my section of the lawn in front of the war memorial, I got up and checked the scene out. As it turned out, it was the lawn just on the other side of the trees where I was – so I missed getting hit by the sprinklers on the lawn in front of the war memorial by mere feet! I really lucked out on that one. It was still dark out, and mostly clear; I saw the winter constellations Orion and Gemini the Twins rising in the east, and the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga, and was reminded that the cold and rainy season was approaching all too fast for my comfort. This morning, though, everything was mostly dry – no spiders or slugs – I did get hit on the thigh by one mosquito, but it was windy enough that it kept them off me. I went back to sleep for an hour more, before waking up at 6:15am and being ready to roll by 7am.

I went over to the Falling Rock Café and Bookstore to get breakfast (an egg and sausage muffin + hot cocoa) and later, a snack (choco malted and muffin) ($17 total). I also ate the other half of my Subway sandwich. They had free wi-fi, and I used it to catch up nine backlogged blogs, which only took about 9 hours – 7am to 4pm! Today was a good day to do blogging, as it was cloudy and a little rainy – correction, it downpoured just as I was writing this – outside all day. As mentioned, I left the café at 4pm and continued up the road. The rain tapered off and quit altogether, and as the rest of the day wore on, the sky mostly cleared, and the roads dried off. I rode until nearly sunset, about 8pm, before turning off of Hwy 94 to investigate a nice paved road on the left. It went a few hundred yards past a ranch into a forested area, and I found a nice, well-maintained dirt road into the forest. It went for quite a ways, and was some kind of interpretive exhibit for forestry management, complete with signs that explained how to evaluate optimal tree density for eventual harvest. (N46 20.289’ W87 9.304’) I stopped off to the side of the road and found a couple of thin trees to hang my hammock from. This turned out to be a practical, if annoying, lesson in the conservation of energy. The legions of mosquitoes added a desperate quality to the exercise. At first, as I said, I used two skinny trees to hang my hammock, but when I put my weight on it, they bent, putting the hammock almost on the ground, amongst the ferns (aka, slug stairways). Okay, I then hung the hammock higher on the two skinny trees, but when I put my weight on it, again, I found that higher up, the trees would bend more, and once again put the hammock into the ferns. I then put one side of the hammock onto a bigger tree, but that just made the one skinny tree bend more, putting the hammock in the ferns. Finally, I put both sides onto thicker trees, and that put the hammock high enough off the ground. To escape the *legions* of mosquitoes, I had to walk away from the hammock, windmill my arms, and slap my clothes to get them off and away from me, then run over to my hammock, unzip the mosquito netting, get in, and zip it up, quick. I wound up getting one bite that whole time before getting into my hammock, and I didn’t bring any of them with me, inside (a miracle!) Just as I was settling in, I heard some crunching of gravel coming toward me. Hmmm, bears? Then, a man and woman turned the corner of the road, who were sort of speed walking. I called out, “Good evening,” from my hammock, and they stopped, a bit startled, and noticed the “Pod Person” (me) hanging between the trees. They stopped to chat a bit, got interested in my story, and invited me to coffee in the morning. They said they were the first house on the left up the road. Fine business. The temperature was cool-to-cold, about in the mid-40s, but there were still dozens of skeeters swarming my hammock, inches from my face, though they couldn’t get me (heh, heh!) As the night cooled further, they lost interest and went away. The night sky was now clear, and the bright stars shone through the canopy of the forest roof spread out above me – always a pretty sight to fall asleep to.

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