Thursday, June 21, 2018

Revisiting a memorable trail

On the last day of my run from Boulder to Petoskey, I ran from the old depot in the little town of Brutus down a single-track overgrown trail with many gaps and hops from trail to road to trail  (fortunately, high school buddy Connie had arranged for a friend of hers - an avid cyclist and trail advocate - to guide me along this haphazard trail) before arriving at the more fully developed Little Traverse Wheelway trail that would lead me into Petoskey.

Since that day (August 1, 2007), much effort has been put into that sketchy trail and it is now a very runnable (and rideable) part of the North Western State Trail and I've been itching to revisit it. Today was the day!

In 2007, we paused in late morning at Spring Lake Park because I was running ahead of schedule (Connie had said she would meet me along the Wheelway at a designated time and, for some reason on this last day of running, my pace was quicker than it had been the prior 56 days! 'Twas a good thing we waited because, not only was Connie waiting to meet me, but also my mom, son, brother, good friend from Boulder and a bunch of high school buddies. What a welcome reception!)  Today the plan was to run in the opposite direction, starting at Spring Lake Park and running north.

August 1, 2007 - last day of the run from Boulder to Petoskey and just plain giddy!

Today - revisiting the trail - not nearly as fit but still loving to run and wearing the same hat!

On to the trail and, oh my goodness, the folks (Top of Michigan Trails Council and friends and partners) have put a lot of work into it. 7.5 miles of the trail is asphalt now (between Spring Lake and Alanson) with the remainder packed limestone (between Alanson and Mackinaw City), the trail is clearly marked, and there is even the occasional bench as well as viewing areas for nature preserves.

A Little Free Library along the trail in case you need a reading break!

Modern mile markers are all along the way - some with the original railway mile markers still in sight

A billboard for car drivers on the road next to the trail. 
It needs to add "6 miles on the left" for cyclists and runners
since the Little Traverse Wheelway goes right along the back side of Kilwins.
Yummalicious chocolate, caramel apples and ice cream. Well worth a refreshment break!

A very interesting spot to explore along the trail

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Enjoying the Arts

Oh so many artistic delights yesterday, starting with a run to - and perambulation through - the North Central Michigan College sculpture garden. Pieces have been donated through the years by local philanthropist, Jack Harris, and the garden is always worth a visit.

The afternoon's art involved picking up the sign for my folks' old shop, The Basket Shop, from the woman who bought the shop from my folks and who recently sold it to a couple who turned the shop into something other than a basket shop. I was thrilled to have learned that the sign still exists - having been made for my folks in 1961 by John Duvernay (classmate Wendy's dad and whose family welcomed us to town with open arms) - and am extremely thankful that Audrey was willing to give it to me.

August 1, 2007: son, Paul, and I running past the shop
on the way to the finish line of my run from Boulder to Petoskey

June 18, 2018: touching up the paint on The Basket Shop sign,

And the evening of arts is thanks to a Great Lake...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Another week in Petoskey

The siren call of Petoskey is at full strength. Some snapshots of the week's doings:

  • Relaxing with a book at the bay is always a good thing - and it seems to be happening with a fair amount of regularity lately.

  • Taz and I were out running quite early one calm day and I figured the conditions were just right to run out onto the breakwater with the pup - no other folks and no splashing waves to get him all excited.
From the breakwater light looking back toward town
  • Mid-week we drove down to our Murphey cousins' cottage along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It was a wonderful afternoon of conversation followed by a delicious dinner (our first introduction to Tagine cooking) and all within a spectacular setting. Thank you Murpheys! 

  • Saturday was hoppin'! First, one of my favorite runs: from Petoskey to Harbor Springs along the Wheelway and Beach Road (thus hugging the bay as closely as possible). Next, the Taste of the North fundraiser for the Little Traverse Historical Museum - and from there we walked up to the Old Town Emmet Farmers' Market and Food Truck Rally. We capped the day by attending an author talk with Charlie LeDuff. I tell you, there's a lot happening Up North!
Looking out toward open water from the far end of Little Traverse Bay
Looking back toward Petoskey from along the bay toward Harbor Springs
Taz heard we were going to "TASTE"!

Old Town Emmet Farm Market & Food Truck Rally
Connie & me ready for author talking
  • That brings us to Sunday, Fathers' Day - which we started with a lovely brunch at the Bay View Inn followed by the excitement of the Wings Over Northern Michigan air show in Gaylord. A darn good Fathers' Day for Mister Kendall (the best part undoubtedly being the phone calls from his offspring!).


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Kendall's Day

Today is Kendall's birthday day! And a dandy one it was!

Of course the day started with a run (me and Taz) and walk (Kendall).
Taz gets to turn on the jet engines along a quiet stretch of shoreline
My run with Taz done, we rendezvous with the birthday boy along the waterfront and stroll back home together to get ready for the day's next adventure. 

And that next adventure is lunch at Legs Inn - a Polish restaurant in a little town north of Petoskey right along Lake Michigan. It's been there for years. In my younger days, my buddies and I would go there for a lively evening's entertainment with music from a jukebox where selections were about half and half polka and rock. Now it's an older crowd (pry everyone who partied there in the 1960s-70s) who come for the great Polish food and view of Lake Michigan.
The back yard of Legs Inn
Upon our return to Petoskey with full stomachs we relaxed for a bit - me with the pup and a book down by the bay.

With our energy supplies restored, we strolled uptown for a look at the "Back to the Bricks" classic car show - over 200 cars parked on all of Petoskey's downtown streets. It was quite the sight and the vintage cars fit right in with Kendall's birthday ;-)
Note the license plate!
And on this one, the bumper sticker

And, of course, no day in Petoskey is complete without gazing at the sunset...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Views along a speed workout

I ran a ladder workout today. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to focus given the views along the way...

As per my training buddies' tradition in Boulder, I started the workout with strides (20 seconds fast, 40 seconds easy). The view as I wrapped up the strides:

The ladder progressed as 1- 2 - 3 - 4 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1. The second 4 minute surge marked my turnaround point,  with a stellar pair of views. The first as I finished my furthest out stretch, and the second as I turned to finish the declining half of the ladder:

And as the ladder wrapped up and the cool-down began, the breakwater came into view.  A lovely cool-down it was...

Friday, June 08, 2018

Up North and Happy

This has been quite an easy-going trip to Petoskey. Lots of reading, running, walking, eating and very manageable amounts of working on the house.  Here is a short photo essay of the last few days:

Wednesday is usually a hard workout day; this week it was hills. From the top of this week's hill one can actually catch a peek of the bay whilst also catching one's breath...

After a run, it's always a treat to find Misters Kendall and Taz  hangin' out at the waterfront.

And speaking of treats, Petoskey is home to Kilwins World Headquarters - where they have *all* of their flavors of ice cream. I went wild and chose a scoop of Double Peanut Butter Pie in a waffle cone. Yummers!

With all that ice cream, one must keep running - which is just fine with Taz. Today's run along the Bay brought us the sight of a whole gaggle of geese paddling along right next to us!

...and the day is done...

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

East West - All around the lake

It should come to no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I love the Great Lakes.
Yesterday I did one of my traditional runs whenever I'm in Petoskey, running along the southern shore of Little Traverse Bay. And last night Kendall and I trotted out of the house and across the street to watch the sun set into Lake Michigan. Both events provided opportunities for easterly and westerly photos of some of my most favorite views.

From the run along the Little Traverse Wheelway toward the closed end of the bay.
First the camera looks east toward Petoskey State Park and its dunes, then the camera looks west toward open waters. (Taz, of course, chooses to look the opposite direction from the camera.)

And last night's photos:
First east toward the breakwater and Petoskey's waterfront park, then west into the sunset.
Ahhhh, another wonderful day Up North.

Monday, June 04, 2018

A Michigan June - by way of Kansas and state trail #36!

The itch to return to Petoskey got so strong that scratching was mandatory so plans were made to spend most of June in my hometown.  Leading up to the trip, though, one important piece of running business had to be taken care of: the 40th running of the Bolder Boulder (well, BB's 40th, my 39th). This year, we were treated to a pre-race flyover of five vintage planes that made three passes over the start line while running buddy, Anita, and I were still in the vicinity.

I did not have high expectations for this year's Bolder Boulder given a less than ideal training cycle leading up to it and, in fact, just missed my bare minimum race goal of breaking an hour, running 60:36. I did manage to maintain my usual place of 7th (having placed 6th-8th the last eight years). Anita, however, won her age! What a competitor!

Bolder Boulder done for the year, the next day Kendall, Taz, and I set out for Michigan - this time by way of Kansas and a trail I had read about. Let me tell you, the way to go through Kansas from Colorado is via Highway 36. Rural landscapes, good speeds, and extraordinarily light traffic. Our Kansas destination was Marysville and the Blue River Trail which would take me from the town of Marysville (located along the Oregon Trail and Mormon trail and site of a still-standing 1860 Pony Express Home Station) up toward the Nebraska state line. It just so happened we arrived in Marysville with enough daylight to run the trail this 29th of May!  Marysville has done a mighty fine job of maintaining this rail trail. Despite it being the muggiest buggiest trail run yet of the now-36, it was a dandy run through woods and farmland with birds, bunnies, wild turkeys, fireflies and dragonflies to keep me company!

Railroading remnants all along the way
And a covered bridge!

Mile markers every 1/2 mile -some with beautiful decorations!

Birdhouses dotted the trailside all along the way... This one made of birch.
And, yes, there are glimpses of the Blue River between the trees

It also turns out that Marysville is very proud of its rare black fox squirrels. So early the next day, we strolled around town looking at many of the 21 black squirrel sculptures brightening up the walkways and parks.

From Marysville, Kansas it was on through Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and - two days later - Michigan - just in time for Taz to get his yaya's out along the lake.

The next day, we discovered once again how a sleepy little northern Michigan town can be brimming with surprises: a trail run that stumbles across little train cars idling along the tracks followed a few moments later by a lovely forest vignette then an evening stroll through town to find the Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band playing in downtown's main intersection.

 Up North - it's the best!
Lilacs a-bloomin' in Petoskey