Maine….. Or check off states 48&49, which just leaves Alaska.
October 12, 2013
So do you have to tag blog posts with a #latergram or #whythehelldidittakesolong or #delayedpost type hashtag? Because I seem to not get stuff written in real time, and then never get it written because I feel guilty or weird or something for not posting promptly. Anyway….
Over Labor Day, my niece was married in Maine. The trip to celebrate this marriage was the real reason for our trip to Boston. I grew up in a family which traveled often (in the road trip style that was the norm back then). Between lots of childhood trips, business trips and the love of travel my parents instilled in me, I had been to 47 of the 50 US states. Alaska, New Hampshire and Maine remained (haha that made me laugh) to be conquered. The drive from Boston ticked off NH into the been there done that check off the list column, while Maine made me want to return. Even if the drive from Boston seemed never ending, who knew Maine was such a long state.
The wedding was in the small town of Winter Harbor, a coastal village in the Arcadia National Forest area. The coastline here is stunning due to the rocky nature. We knew we wanted to explore by bikes, so one of the first things we did was ask the Innkeeper for recommendations. She suggested Seascape Kayaks in nearby Birch Harbor. It was a good thing we stopped by on Saturday morning, as they are closed on Sunday. The owner graciously offered to size us to bikes and helmets, and leave them in a rack for us to grab on Sunday.
After securing the bikes we used the rest of the morning before the wedding to explore the island, and take in the beauty of the shore. I was taken with the rock seams between the sparkly speckled granite and the black rock.
The wedding was beautiful, the bride gorgeous. Kiddo’s sister and her Mom were in from Maryland. As was Hubby’s brother, the father of the bride. It was great to all be together to celebrate. From the gift bags in our room to the thoughtful touches like dancing shoes, bug spray and a pre-planned hashtag it was evident much thought and planning had been put ino e event. They even sat us for dinner with another cycling couple!
Sunday began with a wedding brunch, and then our chance to bike tour. Seascape Kayaking is perfectly situated along the 12 mile loop around the Schoodic Peninsula. Nearly half the route is in the one way Park Service road which has several options to stop, picnic, use the potties and take in the views. We even saw a porcupine along the ride. A first for me outside a zoo. Kiddo loved exploring and climbing the rocks along the shore.
After returning the bikes, we drove over to Bar Harbor to look around and grab a bite to eat. Naturally I searched out a brewery for this.Atlantic Brewing and Mainely Meats was our stop. Recommend both for a visit!
We stayed at a charming bed and breakfast in Prospect Harbor. Gracious hosts. Great food (even accommodated my gluten free requests). A wonderful option if you’re in the area. I can’t wait to go back!
Off Road in the City (part2)….or Indianapolis #mtb trails.
August 25, 2013
This week’s biztravel involved meetings all day Wednesday in Indianapolis and more meetings on Thursday at our corporate headquarters in Chicago. I was driving down to Indy on Tuesday and back up to Chicago early Thursday morning. Decided for this trip, I’d bring one of my mountain bikes, my full suspension Trek Lush. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t allow me to travel the extra hour south to the mountain biking mecca of Brown County State Park. However, I knew from reading threads on the forums at mtbr.com that there were a couple of trails in the Indy metro area, and fairly close to the hotel I usually stay at when in town. An added bonus is that Tania Juillerat, co-owner of Sub-9 Productions and organizer of the Midwest Women’s Mountain Bike Clinic, lives in the Indianapolis area. Even better she was available to ride on Tuesday evening.
I fully credit my mountain biking to Tania. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had never met her, I would not be mountain biking. Period. Nor would I have the skills on a bike, any bike, that I do without her clinics. It is not possible for me to over praise the work she does bringing people (esp. women) into the sport of mountain biking, and being an advocate of BCSP, HMBA, IMBA……
Plus I just really like her.
For Tuesday nights’ ride Tania suggested we ride at Fort Ben, the two trail loops at Fort Harrison State Park on the east side of Indy. This is about an 8 mile trail system consisting of two loops. The original Schoen Creek loop and the newer Lawrence Creek loop. This year a connector has been opened between the two, allowing riders to easily combine to two into a single ride.
We began by parking near the main shelter and restrooms. Both to change into our bike shorts, and because there has been some smash and grab robberies out of cars in the more secluded trail parking areas. The Lawrence Creek loop was easily accessed via a short ride down a paved path. Both trails are fairly rocky, rooty with several log overs. Nothing too technical but between the rocks and such and the exposure to the ravine, more of an intermediate rider trail than Town Run (below).
Fort Ben reminded me much of Brown County, particularly the Lawrence Creek section. A bit more exposure than I am used to in Wisconsin (meaning the trail runs right along ravine drop offs, at times off camber). Nothing I can’t handle, but something I have to settle into. Tania naturally went into coach mode, reminding me to really look ahead on the sections with exposure, encouraging me to ride over the logs and through the rock gardens. The trails are well used by trail runners, hikers, and bikers with ped traffic going one way, bike the other. All groups were courteous to each other. And boy oh boy does Tania know everyone. We stopped several times to chat with other riders, Tania reminding them of future trail projects and work days, along with talking about the Brown County Breakdown in September.
Loved having an opportunity to ride with Tania, and afterward enjoyed a nice leisurely evening of dinner and beers getting caught up on family, all her projects and discussing how to get more women in mountain biking. Somehow despite having been to 5 clinics where Tania coached or organized (3 of hers and 2 at Rays), along with one of her race events, I had never ridden with Tania…barely had seen her on a bike. She spends so much time advocating for mountain biking, and works so hard at events helping other woman, that she doesn’t get to ride as much as I suspect she wishes she could.
Wednesday night, my meeting went late, and I was on my own to ride (versus riding Fort Ben again with Tania and her son). I wanted to give Town Run a ride knowing it sat literally behind my hotel (the X on both Strava screen shots). I’d been told there was a south trailhead off 82nd St. behind Bicycle Garage Indy (a bike shop) and headed first over there. New construction and retaining walls at the shopping center no longer allow access from the south. I headed north to find the north trailhead on 96th street. Drove by it a couple of times before I noticed the gravel road on the south side of 96th between Allisonville Road and Hazel Dell. Once I found the road to the park, I was surprised by the number of cars already parked in there. Lots of people out riding the trail. I got passed a couple of times, was aware of other riders, but never felt crowded or pushed for speed out on the trail.
Town Run Trail is a 7mile long hardpacked twisty fast flowy trail that utilizes going up down and around a river levee to create the speed and flow. Mostly smooth with some rocks and roots. Several man-made features from small log drops to a couple of larger drops, and a wall ride. All features has an easy line around them. In most places switchbacks and bermed turns take you up and over the levee, but there are a few spots of straight up and down the fall line. I enjoyed riding around this trail, would have loved to do a second loop if I’d had time.
The two trails are different, each fun. Would be great to have them both in my backyard to ride. Each brought smiles, challenged me in spots, made me whoop and holler in others. No doubt if I drive to Indy there will be a mountain bike along for the ride, even if I can’t get all the way down to Brown County State Park!
Happy Trails…. or biking in #PureMichigan #biketravel
August 17, 2013
I frequently use the hashtags #biztravel or #biketravel on twitter or instagram. However, until recently I haven’t had a chance to combine the two (ok, hadn’t thought to….). More and more lately I have been able to do this, and it adds a great twist to routine business trips. My trip to Michigan this week – a couple of days training others in Lansing, and a day of training for myself in Grand Rapids – provided another opportunity. I was driving, and threw my commuter on the back of the car for the ferry ride over to Michigan.
It was a grey day, but thankfully the lake was calm. I’m enjoying the option of taking a ferry for the 70 mile trip across Lake Michigan, sure beats driving through Chicago and allows me to work during the ride. However, rough seas can make the trip far less pleasant. It was sunny and pleasant on the other side.
I was staying at the Marriott in East Lansing close to the Michigan State University campus. The women at the front desk were frequent cyclists, and were very helpful in suggesting paved trails to ride, and how to best navigate the construction all over the campus. Knowing I had a limited window due to daylight, my plan was to ride the Red Cedar Trail through campus, pick up the River Trail over to Lansing and loop back with a spin on the Hawk Island Trail.
The construction was an issue, parts of the trail were gone, detours were frequent, but I still got a good sense of the campus.
Especially impressive on campus were the number of bike racks, the signs suggesting touring the campus by bike, and the bike service area at the MSU Bike Shop. A biking pamphlet with map showed that air compressors were available at every dorm and many other university buildings.
My favorite part of the ride was the Hawk Island Trail. Much of it along a river, in the trees, and looping around a pond. If I’d had more time (and daylight) I would have done a second loop. Instead, I headed back to the hotel. This ride was 15 miles.
In Grand Rapids, a colleague suggested I ride the White Pine Trail, which I could easily pick up just north of downtown Grand Rapids. Downtown it was nice to see some of the sights I usually walk past by bike.
This also turned into a great ride. Only issue was the dude screaming “Get off the f$#&ing road” when I was in the left lane at Monroe St & Ann St. to turn from a bike lane on the road onto the path. Sigh. And he came up after I was already stopped – and was in the right lane. I was never in his path nor slowed him down. Once I got on the trail things improved, greatly. Tree lined, following the river. The town of Rockford was a complete surprise. Just lovely. And with a brewpub as a bonus.
I rode north to 12 Mile Road before turning around, and discovering the reason the climb into Rockford felt so easy was a strong tailwind, and the accompanying headwind on way back. Ride totaled just over 32 miles. So felt I earned a stop at Founders Brewing for a beer before turning in for the night.
My final chance to ride was in Muskegon prior to boarding the ferry for the return trip home. I’d discovered the Lakefront Trail here on a previous trip. I planned on riding around 15 miles starting at the Pere Marquette State Park Beachhouse. There’s a loop that goes along a boardwalk on the lakefront before traveling to the harbor/bay area and circling that. The trail is mainly off road with a small section on road. Several spots are boardwalk, and there’s ample spots to stop, rest and enjoy the views. My turnaround spot was just past Harbor Landing. Even earned a QOM on return (which I always find funny, I’m slow slow slow )
All in all a great trip! Productive from a business standpoint, punctuated by fun bike rides. And a beautiful ferry ride or two…. ah, summer in Michigan and on Lake Michigan.
Chicago DivvyBikes #fail
August 8, 2013
I love bike share programs. As someone who adores being able to tour a city by bike, or sneak a quick ride into a business trip, they provide a great option to me. I also think they help embed the idea of using a bike as transport into many people who wouldn’t think of them as such. I love when I hear about another city adding a bike share program, be it New York City or here in Milwaukee, and hope the concept becomes the norm in all cities.
It was sad when the B-cycle experiment in Chicago ended after a single season a few years back. Due to that and my frequent visits there, I’ve been following the news and buzz about Chicago’s new bike share program called Divvy Cycles. I was excited to give the system a try during this week’s business trip to Chicago.
I thought ahead to bring my helmet (personal preference, saw tons of people on the bikes sans helmets all around the city).
Having downloaded the Cycle Finder app to my iPhone, I headed from my hotel around 5:30pm to the Divvy station at Grand and Fairbanks Court , which was the nearest station and had 11 bikes available. The touchscreen on the rental kiosk seemed very slow to respond, and kept looping back to the initial language choice welcome screen. Finally it asked me to “dip my card” (swipe my credit card), and began to process. And process, and process. Back to welcome screen. One more try, same thing. A young man came up, tried with his credit card. No luck. Said same thing happened previous day. App in had we both headed to the station at Illinois and McClurg. This time we both got a screen with an error message suggesting we contact Divvy via phone.
Divvy’s customer service rep told me that machines often time out, and to try again, try another station, or come back another time. No exactly helpful advice. Off to the next station at Illinois and Streeter. Same thing. Although here we did see a person successfully take out a bike – but using a credit card already in the system. By this time, between the other guy and I we had tried 4 different credit cards at 3 stations, multiple times.
I had planned the stations with a Plan B in mind, as I was determined to ride a bike. Off to Bike & Roll at Navy Pier to rent a “fitness” bike (a Trek 7.2). A more expensive option, but at least an option.
My plan of touring around the city for a couple of hours from Divvy station to Divvy station swapping bikes every 30 minutes, turned into “go for a long ride along the lake”. Off to the Lakefront Trail I went. Which was PACKED. Still was a great ride. Navy Pier is roughly in the middle, and I planned to ride the entire 18 mile length for a 36 mile round trip ride. First headed north to the zero Mile marker at that end.
About 15 miles in, I paused at the Ohio Street Beach to eat an apple, and watch the swimmers train along the breakwater. As a former competitive swimmer and lifeguard, I’ve always been fascinated by these swimmers – water is so cold.
Shortly after passing the Shedd Aquarium, my phone rang repeatedly. Again and again. Enough that I couldn’t ignore. It was Bike&Roll calling to warn me of an incoming storm and requesting I bring the bike back ASAP. Turned around at the 10mile southbound marker, making my ride an even 20miles. Was sad I couldn’t do the entire length – but realize even though no storm appeared, the crowds had slowed me so much that it would have been very dark when I made the trip back from the 0 marker south.
A couple of notes about the Strava from this ride. First, the elevation map (or lack thereof) makes me laugh…so much grey space with the tiny bumps at the bottom, but seriously, 0 feet gain, I don’t see a flat line. ;-). Secondly, it makes me sad to see there were 43 visible segments in this 20 miles and 27 hidden segments. This is a very, very crowded path with bikers, runners, walkers, dog walkers, rollerbladers, skateboarders and clueless tourists peering through cameras mid path. This is not a path to earn KOM/QOM. Tracking mileage is fine. Going for record speeds, dangerous. Don’t be a Stravasshole
Washington DC…Biking Family Style
March 28, 2013
One of the joys of family travel is rediscovering the world through the eyes of your child. With Kiddo in 6th grade beginning to understand and show interest in politics and government, a spring break trip to Washington, DC seemed a perfect idea. Planned a trip that included all the typical touristy highlights, along with side trips to reconnect with family (Kiddos sister & hubby’s brother live outside Baltimore).Of course, many of the sites were visited by bike. Others by foot. Or via the use of public transit. Or a combination of all three. We’re a get up and go kinda family with a firm belief that exploring by foot or bike allows a much deeper experience no matter where you are. WARNING: FAILED AT LIMITING PICTURES AND WORDS BELOW. Hang with me. In a complete aside for biking people: All three days I was rented a mixie (being a *girl* and all). And I don’t think I ever stepped through it. Always threw leg over saddle. Old habits.
In fact most of the rest of the day was stops for quick exploring of monuments, reading plaques and taking pictures. The World War Two Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial.
Read all the way to here, and wondering why I wrote a recap of a 2012 spring break trip in spring of 2013? It has occurred to me that maybe if I either deleted or finished all the partially written drafts I have hidden behind the scenes of this blog that I might feel like writing more. Take away some of the pressure created by evidence of procrastination. Or some such. I have a tendency to start a post, give it a title, throw in a picture, and then get stuck – usually because I can’t figure out how to limit the # of pictures or words. Looking at the list in the draft folder, a few were easily deleted. Others I would like to finish.
This recap of our spring break 2012 trip to Washington DC fit under the need to finish category.