Our family has some cabins located about 70 miles north of Grand Rapids MI. They are a great spot to go on vacation. This past October we went up for a week to do some fall clean up and close all but one of them down for the winter. We also took some time to take a day trip up to Sleeping Bear Dunes and Another one to Ludington State Park. Now if you have ever been to either of these places during the peak of the visitor season you know how crowded they can be. However if you want the place all to your self then try going when it is 36 degrees and raining. Don’t get me wrong we had a blast and the scenery was AMAZING. Here are some pics of the fun we had.
Well the snow is gone and we have experienced the second wettest Spring in history, (Ir rained 20 out of 30 days in April) so it was really nice to get out a few times recently. We woke up Mothers Day morning and after the coffee had a chance to do its job we decided to load up the car and head south, to Canada that is. Look on the map if you are in Detroit and head south you go to Canada.
Anyway after crossing the bridge we stopped at the visitors center and they pointed us towards Point Pelee National Park.This park is know for being the most southern point of mainland Canada so we decided to give it a shot. It was about a 40 min drive after crossing the boarder.
Now let me tell you the park was great and I highly recommend it to anybody who is looking for something to do. We got there and realized that being that close to Lake Erie it was a lot cooler than what we were expecting but we had coats so we were good to go. After working our way down the point to the tippy tip, which is an actual sandbar that juts our into the lake and is the farthest south you can go on mainland Canada. We headed back to Windsor. We decided to take the tunnel back to MI which was kind of cool. But the best part was going through customs to get back into the good old USA. After getting stuck behind a car that was up to some kind of no good (They slapped a sticker on the windshield and had it pull over to bi n\inspected) we drove up to the nice man in the booth. The conversation went something like this.
Man ” How are you doing today”
Me ” Bonjour pretty good here are our passports”
Man “Where do you live”
Me “Right outside Ann Arbor”
Man “Do you have any Tobacco or Firearms?”
Me “No we did pick up a couple of things from the duty free shop”
Man (after looking at license plate and entering it in the computer) “What did you get?”
Me “A sweatshirt and some chocolate”
Man “What did you do in Canada today”
Me “Went to Point Pelee”
Man “Have you ever been there before?
Man “How did you find out about it”
Me “We stopped at the visitors center right across the boarder”
Man”So let me get this straight. You woke up this morning and decided to go to Canada and you did not have a plan?”
Me “Umm yeah that’s kind of what we do”
Man “Have a nice day”
I forget who said it but there is an old saying …. “There is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing.” Whoever said that obviously did not have little kids. You see we love being outside and doing things but we have two small children under the age of six. They also enjoy doing things outside but have a much shorter time limit before fingers and toes go numb. I remember last year when we took our daughter out to the frozen lake to try ice skating for the first time. She did great but the whole process of walking to the lake then putting on skates and trying to get the laces tight while your hands get cold. She lasted about 30 min but the youngest child did not comprehend the process of events that led to his discomfort. You see its hard to explain to a two year old that the constant removal of ones gloves coupled with constant sticking of little bare hands into the snow and the constant eating of said snow will result in little hands getting very cold. So this year I had a idea. I would like to take credit for this idea but I cant. First off I remember when I was growing up my dad made a skating rink in our backyard and it was awesome. So this year I attempted to duplicate the process. Six 8 foot two by fours and eight bucks of vapor barrier later we had the foundation in place.
After that it was just a matter of filling it up with water and waiting for mother nature to do the rest. In hindsight we probably started about a week to early because the ground was not frozen yet. It took about a week to freeze solid but then mother nature brought the snow and seven plus days of sub freezing temperatures. The end result is a complete success. Now by Ann Arbor MI standards this is a very basic rink. Driving around this week I have seen more than enough regulation size rinks in people’s backyards. Some complete with sideboards. But there is something to be said about putting your skates on in a warm house and walking out and skating in your backyard.
Yesterday we woke up and didn’t know what to do with the day. A quick family meeting and we had if figured out. We decided to go for a short hike out at some trails off of Cherry Hill Road and then go to REI since it was Sat and the rock wall should of been open. On Sat they open the rock wall for the kids to climb. the best thing is that all you have to do is be a member ($20.00 for a lifetime membership. We only had our cell phones so the pictures are not the best but I’m sure you get the idea
Ok we just finished Stage 10 of the 10% Tour challenge. I thought I would share some of the highlights with you.
The Proloug was pretty uneventful. Technically we only needed to do .55 miles but with the thought process of possible rain days or life getting in the way we wanted to do a little more. I rode my bike to work and Ann hooked up the tag-a-long and the trailer and did 5 plus miles around the neighbor hood. The other stages were all pretty much right on the money as far as mileage went, most were a little over and a couple were a little under. Most of the time we used various routes to go over to Rolling Hills County park and let the kids get out and play for a little bit. A couple of times we stopped and picked up dinner on the way back to the house. If your wondering, it is possible to get pizza and cheesy bread or Chinese food in the back of a Burley Solo trailer.
Somewhere along the line Joseph has turned into a very demanding Director Sportif he spends a lot of time in the trailer shouting at me “Daddy Faster !!” or “Go Daddy GO” like I am Robbie McEwen trying to claw my way up the side of a mountain after getting spit out the back of the peloton . There are a few firsts that have happened also. Ann got her first flat tire in six years, however she also pointed out that she has ridden more in the last few days than she has in the last six years. And Ann and Katelyn got chased by there first dog. Now if you have never been chased by a dog on a bike it always seems to happen when you are going up a hill. It reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from the movie American Flyers when they go out to practice sprinting. Also on Ann’s ride this morning she stayed in the big ring the whole ride.
I have also noticed that Ann and I have different preferences on our rides also. I love roads that go on forever and actually love a big hard climb. Ann is not a fan of big climbs, now don’t bet me wrong she is not a sissy or anything in fact we got caught by surprised by a climb on one of the rides and she was a trooper and made it to the top even though I think Katelyn might of learned a few new words on the way up. Ann HR was around 185 bpm but she did it and I am very proud of her. But Ann hates long straight roads and much prefers roads no longer than 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile before changing scenery.
Well we still have 10 more stages to go and I expect to have a few more stories for you by the end. So stay tuned.
Now we all know that Hiking and being out in the great outdoors is a good thing. A while back we took our daughter hiking in the Red River Gorge in KY. It was a lot of fun but we decided to take a look at it from a kids point of view. So we put together a little store called “My name is Katelyn and this is how you hike.”
MY NAME IS KATELYN AND I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU HOW TO HIKE.
FIRST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT. YOU NEED WARM CLOTHES, GOOD SHOES, SUNGLASSES, AND A COOL STICK.
LOOK FOR THE WHITE DIAMOND TRAIL MARKERS TO MAKE SURE YOU STAY ON THE RIGHT TRAIL
LOTS OF TRAILS LEAD TO COOL THINGS LIKE ARCHES.
So we started the 10% tour this week. We figured out how many miles a day they are riding in the tour De France and as a family we ride 10% of that. Its been working out pretty well so far. We have to map out our routes pretty carefully so that they include a stop at a park so the kids can get off and play. As much as I would like to just ride and crank out the miles we need to keep the rides fun. The last thing we want to do is have them hate going for bike rides. We have a little over 90 miles done in six rides and have even been able to pick up Chinese food or Pizza for dinner. Not to mention stopping Kroger to pick up milk and TP. There is something special about riding behind mommy and the 5 year old on the tag-a-long watching her hammer away on the pedals up the hills while drinking water from her pink Camelbak. Its almost as good as having her shout out “On your left” as we pass people. I think it would be real easy to do a lot of things that mommy and daddy want to do and drag the kids along and “make” them do it but in the long run that will come around and bite you. Today the two year old got to take a little nap on the way to the park, for the life of me I cant figure out how he can sleep while he is bouncing around as we went down the dirt roads but he did it. The next step is to get the training wheels off of the 5 year old bike and also need to get out and try camping AGAIN….. Camping. that’s a story for another time.
Its that time of the year again and my wife came up with a great idea. The Tour De France starts today and we have come up with a idea to ride 10% of the distance the peloton rides. That will put us at around 250 miles over the next three weeks. today is easy just a 5 mile Prologue Stay tuned to hear more about our family adventures.