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Traverse City Adventure: Sunset on a great journey

The sun sets over South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. We stood on a rise above Fishtown in Leland, Michigan to watch nature’s best daily show.
September 25, 2017

DAY (LOST COUNT) • 25 SEPTEMBER 2017 • LEWES

We started this journey on a dark and rainy August 12 morning, just Becky and me and our bicycles, riding west from our door in Lewes.  We ended with family and friends - the greatest blessings of life - on a dark and dry September 24 evening back in Lewes. Larry and Allison carried us from Michigan to Annapolis.  Then Paul and Mary met us at Larry’s house where we transferred bicycles, packs and other stuff to Paul’s car for the final leg back to Delaware.

It was all good, but most of all the interaction with so many good people bound by good humor, zeal for living and love.

Our adventure, as planned, morphed into a week’s vacation at Paul’s Paradise Cottages on the shores of crystal-clear Little Traverse Lake near Traverse City.  From sausages cooked on the campfire in the morning, washed down with chocolate cherry coffee from Cherry Republic, to shooting stars over the lake at night that practically landed in our laps, we dove deep into the Michigan outdoors experience and enjoyed every minute of it.

We had planned to continue pedaling our way back to Delaware following the vacation, but the pull of home and friends and family proved stronger than the urge to pedal another thousand miles into the shortening and cooling days of October. If the future can pull, Michigan is surely out there with its hands - and lakes and dunes and trails and amazingly clear salmon-filled rivers - pulling on our lines.

We did manage 1,100 miles of pedaling and reached our objective of northern Michigan, which exceeded our expectations.

Paul has been extolling the virtues of that different land for years, and I was thinking he might be overselling the place - but not so.  It didn’t hurt that our timing - according to the locals we met - coincided with the summer season’s finest week of weather. Lucky.  

Author Ernest Hemingway, whose family - like many Chicago families - vacationed in northern Michigan along Lake Michigan’s shores, said he’d rather be lucky than good. When you’re lucky, favorable stuff comes easy.  But when you’re good at something, you still have to work hard to accomplish.

Nature and love are still the best.  The journey reaffirmed our sense that life is an activity. This nation has invested heavily in providing all citizens affordable access to great parks and trails and natural resources. Enjoying them, whether at home or afar, is enhanced by being with others who also appreciate that beauty and thrive on the positive vibes of being outdoors and active.

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket.”