Monday, July 5, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Cindy and I went up North for the holiday weekend, along with everyone else in Southern Michigan. I have never seen traffic like this. Maybe it is a sign the economy is improving. I always look for the positive. Who am I trying to fool, the traffic really sucked; really, really sucked.The plan was to drive up to Traverse City, pick up the girls, then drive home. Just as we were leaving the house, the family the girls were staying with offered to let us stay at one of their cottages near beautiful Torch Lake for the long weekend. This was very kind of them. I saw this as an opportunity to do the Boyne Marathon. It is my favorite course in Michigan but it is 250 miles North of Brighton. I can't really justify driving that far for a bike race but since we were going to be in Traverse City, I would be a mere hour away. I grabbed lots of water bottles and Gu, threw my bike in the back of the truck, and we were off. I checked the race schedule on the way up North and, typical of my piss poor planning, saw the race was next weekend. Without a race to worry about I was free to ride for fun this weekend. The girls had things to do so they wouldn't miss me. I suppose this is a good thing.
There are a few nice trails near Traverse City but I stayed on the Vasa Trail. The trail is beautiful and flowy and it is used in the Iceman. There is one point in the trail that always causes a bottle neck at the Iceman: two trees are only 20" apart. It shouldn't be a problem, you just fish your bars through the opening by flicking them from the left to right but there always seems to be an issue at this spot. I see someone recently notched these trees so handlebars will clear. It struck me as funny. Wrong and irresponsible, but funny. The Vasa trail isn't very technical but there are signs all over indicating that by attempting this (flat and smooth) trail, you may surely die. Cute. I don't get it but still, it is a beautiful trail.
Not just beautiful but stunning. I saw lots of deer and turkey and at one point, when I was chuck full of endorphins, a hawk flew a few feet over my head and straight down the single track in front of me and I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I am suppose to live in Northern Michigan, not Brighton which is a crowed town a mere gun shot away from Detroit. And I am suppose to do small engine repair, not work for a large corporation that has me bound by golden handcuffs.
I considered the real possibility that every decision I have made was poorly thought out; I have been shooting from the hip and not considering life seriously. Maybe I am not suppose to be at this junction in my life; this isn't how it is suppose to be.

As I was obsessing over this revelation I was passed by local inbreds in a Dodge pick up with confederate flags and an exhaust that went up from the back of the cab up to the roof. Exhaust that was routed up because, well, because they were inbreds in a Dodge pick up with confederate flags.

Maybe I don't belong in Traverse City. Maybe my life is as it should be. I think every decision I ever made was poorly thought out but still, I ended up where I belong, and I am grateful.

Allie wanted to go for a walk with me today. We walked to Skegemog Point and picked through rocks. It made everything worthwhile.
It took us 5 hours to get home, a trip that normally takes us 3. The kids didn't care. I felt a little guilty letting them entertain themselves but they were content. Em asked to stay in the car after we got home to finish her movie. I guess technology is grand.
I guess this is normal.


  1. Is that trail that's early in the Iceman? I don't really remember much, but I remember the early trail being easier than the later one and hardly any singletrack in the middle. I don't remember any super-close bar-banging trees, though, either.

  2. The first half of the Iceman is bascially just sandy two tracks. The last part uses the Vasa (cross cournty ski) Pathway, which is a combination of single track and more sandy two tracks. In the same area is the Vasa (mountain bike) very thight single-track but I don't think the Iceman uses it. I have done this race 12 times so you would think I would know for sure. The two trees that are hard to go in between are always in the race; however, often a line of frustrated racers walk around it. Are you, Adam, and Emily doing the 2010 Iceman?

  3. The two things that stand out are the picture of the tree with the notches...and the last one with all of the electronics. Staying in the car to finish the movie is exactly what my kids would do!

  4. It's been a long time man. What a strange year or two it's been! I hope you and the family are well.

  5. Thanks Matt, strange days indeed. Your 7/6 post cracked me up.

  6. I'm doing the Iceman and last I heard, Emily was, as well. Northern Michigan is outside of Adam's travel range, especially during 'cross season.

  7. Hello! Awesome post. I am wondering if I could have permission to use a few of your images in an essay I am writing? It is about my experience mountain biking the VASA pathway. Unfortunately, I didn't take photos while I was there! Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Jon, you sure can use my pictures but I am sure I am too late in responding. Honestly I didn't even know this blog still existed.