Blue Skies and Dennos

It was rainy, off and on, with varying degrees of intensity, for a few days in a row here in Grand Traverse.  When the weather broke, Basil was ready for an adventure.


We rode the TART trail into town, and stopped to admire the sky and the ships at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. (Sure the ship is magnificent, and, personally, I’m partial to those sturdy, small tugs — but look at the sky!  People will talk water sports, winter sports, tasty home-grown cherries and beaches, but those skies are what Northern Michigan is all about!)

We ran a bunch of errands while in the city proper, and stopped at the Dennos Museum, a little gem that specializes in Inuit art, but also hosts a variety of other exhibits in three halls.  We viewed all three of the temporary installations.


A new young staff member apparently had suggested handing out unfinished skateboards to local artists, with an eye to showing them and then auctioning them off afterward.  The result was a room filled with 85 mounted skateboard decks.  Artistically, the results were mixed (at least to my eye), but interesting nonetheless, and I thought the presentation was rather good.


Though fond of wheeled objects in general, I’m completely ignorant of skateboard culture and practices, and was surprised to see that the majority of boards seem to have been decorated on the under- rather than over- side.  Perhaps to prevent destruction in use?  But how, then, does the user show distinctive colors (which, presumably, is part of the point)?  The two above present with the ends tipped up, but boards showing the ends tipped down were more typical.


These two nods to the metaphysical, above, were designed with tips down.  (Is paranormal assistance needed when riding a board that might trip you up at any moment?  Or is there a mystical benefit to knowing that a hidden world lies beneath your feet?)


As with the seemingly endless succession of derivative tattoos on human skin, skulls, skeletons and other grotesqueries of similiar ilk were over-represented on these boards, at least to my jaundiced eye.  (Is it really so difficult to find new ways to shock or startle?)  Even so, the exhibit was an amusing peek into a different way of seeing.

Museums, especially the smaller ones, struggle to engage younger visitors, and to solicit broader community involvement:  Hence the likes of skateboard exhibits, and perhaps this motivation figured into the doughnut gallery mere steps away.


Doughnuts?  Really?  Oh, yes; and let me say that I have never seen such beautifully or professionally executed doughnut decoration.  This artist knows his stuff.  As a person who once made a startlingly realistic felt doughnut pin cushion (which is still in use), I’m in no position to criticize this particular art form.  (Though I’d like to.)  I blame the public for these silly excursions:  that dunking doughnut shop, the museum, and the artist merely follow the dictum:  give ’em what they want.


In any case, I do wonder from whence this obsession sprang.  Is the artist terminally frustrated by the limited options at doughnut shops?  Or does he just have an unbridled sweets imagination?  Is this output the result of frustration or of a kind of personal bliss?   The curation implies a bit of each:  creator Jae Yong Kim, born in South Korea, feels self-doubt in life, and finds happiness in doughnuts.  (But doesn’t everyone?)

In a third gallery, Kevin Miyazaki‘s photographs showcase portraits of people he encountered in areas surrounding Lake Michigan, which counts, I imagine, as yet another creative approach to making museums more relevant to an increasingly self-centered population.


Do these bright portraits qualify as selfies-of-a-sort for Michiganders?  (What a handsome, well-scrubbed lot they are!)


The subjects are diverse; the photographs clean, almost pure.  There’s no nitty-gritty here; this is a rarified look at vibrant people.  The subjects above are described by occupation (that’s a very American thing to do, isn’t it?) and are, left to right, a welder, a longshoreman, a longshoreman, and a chief of police.


Basil was drawn to this fellow:  His glossy green and blue bicycle has made it into the photograph, too. (As has Basil into this one!)


I rather liked that there were two cyclists in the exhibit; and that neither one looked like a classic road racer.

A second Korean-born artist’s work filled the entry gallery.  Jinwon Chang‘s bamboo, paper and twine fantasies appealed most to my particular aesthetic.


Passing through the gallery was strangely like experiencing a light and airy underwater sojourn, with text:  Hanja-covered pods drape like seaweed from the delicate frames, which resemble wings on early aircraft, but whose shapes evoke whale-like creatures.


All this before we made it to the Inuit gallery!  I’m not as fond of the newest designs being produced in the far north, but I still have a residual fondness for prints like those first made in the 1960s and 1970s, when printing initially became a way to supplement a way of life that was becoming marginalized.

t15-abAbove,  Angry Bears, by Pauta Saila and Lukta Qiatsug, 1968.  Below, Joyful Woman, by Ningeeuga Oshuitoq, 1967.t15-jwThe Dennos also hosts a well-curated museum shop, which manages to offer an impressive variety of goods, including an ecumenical range of items with small price tags, perhaps intentionally catering to the youngsters who visit.


Along with pieces from local artists, there is a substantial offering of indigenous carvings for sale.  Buyer or not, the carvings are well-worth a careful look; they’re as varied as the artists themselves must be, and an interesting exhibit on their own.


Here, too, as in the permanent gallery, styles range from the more traditional to modern offerings; the Dennos also maintains an online web store, if your future travel plans include neither Northern Michigan, Canada, Alaska, or the Aleutians.



It’s been an allergy-filled summer for me, so far, and poor Basil has languished, and months filled with (mostly good) non-Basil distractions, as well.  Now we’re traveling — perhaps to less pollen-ridden climes? — and will be doing so for the next few months.


At the moment, Basil and I are in Northern Michigan, where we’ve ridden the past few days with Dr. Diarist’s father.  That’s his Cannondale above with Basil, taking a break on the Leelanau Trail on the way to Suttons Bay.


Suttons Bay is a cute little town about 15 miles/24 km north of Traverse City, and is a favorite tourist destination.  I mean, really, look at that list:  bike, kayak, and paddle board rentals, and winery and brewery bike tours.  What else could anyone want?


Dr. Diarist’s mother joined us once we arrived, and we three repaired to the Hop Lot Brewing Company, where Dr. Diarist’s father enjoyed a well-earned brew.  (Dr. Diarist’s mother is not a fan of cameras, unless she’s on the opposite side of the lens.)


The brewery is Northern-Michigan-rustic, with evergreens all around, and a patch of hops growing alongside the impressive array of picnic tables.  The beer itself got high ratings, too.

The next day, Dr. Diarist’s father and I circumnavigated Traverse City by pedal — the best way possible.

twbdrlWe stopped on a bridge over the Boardman Lake to admire the nearly still water (and our bicycles).  The water was transparent today:  We could see to the bottom of the lake, and we watched a large fish drifting lazily below.

glkI took another photo of the unused railroad trestle I’d snapped when we’d taken a simliar ride last year. This is beautiful country; the sky in this picture doesn’t do justice to reality, but the evidence is in that wonderful watery mirror below.

trstlIt had rained the previous evening, so the foilage was especially bright and lush.  California may be dessicated, but Northern Michigan is doing just fine.  (That will last only until the rest of the country starts raiding the Great Lakes, but we can enjoy it now, at least.)


We dodged a massive number of kayaks and their owners once we reached Hull Park, on the Boardman Lake.  The armada, dozens and dozens strong, was setting sail in a mass exercise just as we arrived.  (I counted 72 in the pictures I took.  I may have missed a few.) We stopped to watch the launch and to listen:  the group cackled and chattered like an immense (and obstreperous) flock of birds.

gtblLuckily for me, Dr. Diarist’s father also likes to take the occasional picture.  That’s Grand Traverse Bay in the background; we’re at the marina.

Dr. Diarist’s father might be more inclined to take photos of interesting cloud formations than, say, Bromptons, or even other bicycles.  (Unlike some people.)


Traverse City’s human population swells in summer, and an amazing number of visitors arrive with boats in tow, which join those already owned by water-loving full-time residents.


And why not?  The bay is huge, and swallows up water craft, whether wind- or engine-powered.


Some boat-lovers bring bikes along, too.  But these are just the wrong choice:  obviously a boat needs a Brompton, don’t you think?

Dr. Diarist is holding down the fort at home, but Basil and I will be here for a long time; then there are more travels in our future.  Posts will be slim to non-existent until November, I’m afraid, but I’m hoping Basil and I manage more great runs like these last two, before then, even if I won’t necessarily be recording them here.

Until then, happy summer to all of you, and a fine start to autumn!


In Transit, Train Style

Basil and I hadn’t traveled together by train in months before we went up for the 5 Boro.


Winter was hard on everything, and did no favors to this rail station.  Basil looks spritely, though, doesn’t he?

I love trains, and the Amtrak run to New York City is just about the most blissful way to travel.*  Basil and luggage tucked neatly into a corner, as ever.

nym-lgNot that Amtrak doesn’t have its issues.  The bathrooms are usually clean enough to use without holding one’s nose, but the faucets are horrible:  In order to use one, it’s necessary to push up on a metal spindle so that water flows.


That would be the same pushpin everyone else with toilet-used hands has also pressed. That’s maybe not as sanitary as one might wish.  There are alternatives, but only if you bring your own.  I do. Be prepared: Forget the scouting motto, that’s the byword for travelers.


Also, passengers can be an issue when it comes to bathroom aesthetics.  I don’t think there’s any way to train passengers to close the lavatory doors.  What’s up with that?

On the plus side, there’s a quiet car on virtually every train, where peace reigns, except for the occasional twit, who is normally shut down quickly and efficiently by the conductor.  (No cell phone use!  No conversation above a whisper!)

It’s not always smooth sailing on the trip itself but issues normally resolve quickly.  Amtrak trains often stop if freight trains need the rails, though that sort of thing isn’t too usual on my end of the Harrisburg to NYC run.


Anyway, the windows are large, and there’s nearly always something interesting to see while waiting.  New Jersey Transit trains, for instance, look nothing like Amtrak’s, or like the Philadelphia region’s SEPTA trains.  This time, a set of NJT engines was parked nose to nose on tracks next to us while we stopped for a long delay — the longest I’ve experienced yet on this route — waiting for something to clear elsewhere on the line.


Once in New York City, we hop the MTA, and trade blue skies for underground grit.   Everyone gripes about the subway, but it’s such a fantastic way to get around the city.  I missed having these not-quite-Brompton rides with Basil over this past, icy, winter, as well as missing my usual quotient of Brompton-only travel.

*Well, as long as there aren’t any deadly crashes.  (That’s the route I travel.)  Amtrak may have some safety issues that need remedying.  And a Congress that belives that mass transit is important to the welfare of the country as a whole, if not the planet.


A Canal in Almost-Spring

Whenever I take a road trip, Dr. Diarist always suggests that I take Basil with me, however unlikely the opportunities for cycling may seem.


This practice always pays off.  There’s no down side:  After all, if no chance presents itself, we’ve lost nothing.  On the other hand, if there’s any chance of a bit of a ride, Basil and I are ready to go.

So when we found ourselves in upstate New York, just after our own last snow, but before New York was quite finished with winter, we were able to do a little exploring.

pt-gsWe rode in the opposite direction to the one we usually take on the Erie Canal towpath.  Snowy banks in spots along the canal looked like the last remnants of winter; certain geese were gearing up for spring nesting defense work.  Not persistently, though; we passed without incident.


It was a fine day to be out, and both Basil and I were overjoyed to be moving once again.

Parts of the towpath were looking more spring-like than others.  That russet blush was a treat to see, even if the hues are more usually associated with autumn.


I’d never seen these stone bridges before; they’re not a typical feature of the towpath in the opposite direction where we usually cycle.  This view looks like a CAPTCHA; in a month the bridge will be completely obscured.

pt-sbThat lovely arch, all stone, is echoed further down the canal by a matching bridge, and reflected in the water below.


Not-winter, not-spring is such a good time of year, if only because of what trees look like, just before blooming, against blue skies.


A massive amount of work was being done along the canal, including some housing construction, trail improvements, and various repairs.  New docks were going in, too.   Basil liked the view over the desiccated (and perhaps still frozen) mud flats.


Later in the summer, the canal will be completely full, and those banks will be entirely submerged.    Further down, we saw an entirely different view:  The canal looked like over-salted asphalt.


That was no saline deposit of course, but ice, and plenty of it, in spite of the sunny day, and in spite of so much of the canal being clear elsewhere.

We rode alongside part of the Genesee Riverway for the first time, and even explored a short spur that led to  .  .  . Costco?


Yep, directly to a Costo retail warehouse, currently under construction.  Could I transport a giant bale of paper towels  on Basil?  Hmmmm .  .  .


That kind of experimentation is for another day, perhaps. In the more forbidding seasons, especially, it’s easy to forget how close urban amenities are when cruising beside a nearlly-empty canal.   On this day, that was a good thing: Costco can wait for another time and another day.


A Brief Ride in New York State

After our Michigan trip, Basil and I spent a day at home and then headed for New York state.  The whole area is buried under snow now, but before Basil and I left we took a short ride on a new-to-us trail near Rochester, and got to experience autumn in yet another part of the country.


Having, unusually, failed to get a picture of the trail designator, I’m not sure exactly which one we rode on.  We passed through Irondequoit, and for much of the trail, paralleled a highway, which may or may not be 404/104.  Tech failures of various kinds mean that I can’t confirm much of anything about this trip right now.  (No kudos to Garmin Connect, which hates my Linux computer.*)


Parts of the route, therefore, were less scenic than they might have been, though there wasn’t much traffic in the afternoon, before the end of the work day.  This section of the trail system was built on an old rail bed; I don’t know if Monroe County cyclists use any part of it to commute to work.


We had only a short window for our ride, but this is my favorite time of day.  Or perhaps I should say “my favorite light of day” since evening comes early in winter in northern geographies, and it’s appearance that matters to me, not the temporal designation: long shadows and oh, those golds!


We turned around here, partly because I wasn’t sure where the trail went at this point, and because I had no lights on Basil.  I’m assuming these roadways are flooded with vehicles during commute hours, but they certainly look oddly unused in these photos.  Build a highway and they will come?


Turning back meant a short course on a smaller street, and encountering this sign, the counterpoint to another regional one we saw in Northern Michigan.  There are streams, lakes and bays everywhere here; it’s nice to see that waterfowl are looked after.


That’s the bike path, to the right — just a strip of nicely-done asphalt, making it an easy route for riders of all abilities.  The sign, set confusingly exactly between the highway and the path, says “NO PEDESTRIANS OR BICYCLES”, which, presumably, refers to the highway.  Otherwise, there would be no point to the path at all, right?


We did pass a small glen, still bursting with greenery and flowers, and enjoyed the evergreens all along the highway.  Basil and I much prefer urban street-scapes or scenic views to riding along multi-lane roads, but any trail is OK with us, and much better than no trail at all.

*Dr. Diarist, a Computer Guy, is on the case, but not until he’s sorted out a  massive re-organization of the essential equipment that makes our technical lives run.  Shoemaker’s children and all that.  It’s all good; gotta have an infrastructure!

Vincita Sightseer Giveaway!

Remember:  the Sightseer Giveaway is still on until midnight (USA EDT) December 4, 2014!  Click here for details, and leave a comment if you’d like to be in the drawing.


We Go to Town

We took one last short ride before departing from Northern Michigan, and stopped in at downtown Traverse City. At Backcountry North, Basil checked out the arctic parkas while I bought a pair of merino wool glove liners.  (My choice was the better one for cycling!)

tt-cndThen we stopped in at our favorite bookstore for a cup of chai.

gt-cfHorizon Books is a wonderful independent bookstore, with an excellent selection of new releases; an intelligent and broad core stock; a vast and well-culled children’s section; an extensive selection of local books (and books by local authors); and a beautifully-stocked “used” section downstairs, along with a coffee bar (on the main floor) and a coffee shop (on the lower level).

The view from the coffee bar looks out on to Front Street.

tt-exBut the view inside is rewarding, too.


Downstairs is a well-patronized gathering place for friends, games, reading clubs, author signings and music events.  Horizon is the community anchor for Traverse City’s charming downtown; the store (and its local owners) played a huge role in its revitalization many years ago when the area was in a slump.


Basil added bricks to the long list of surfaces he traveled over on this trip — and also participated in a demo outside Horizon when stopped by curious passersby.


We rode back along Grand Traverse Bay.  I’m probably biased, but I think Northern Michigan skies rate among the best anywhere.


It was too early in the season for the grass to have died; this is an insulating bed that’s been laid next to an extension of the trail along the bay.


The sky was roiling, but the bay was quiet.


We left as the last of fall was dwindling.  Until the snow comes, though, there is always a little bit of color everywhere — and varied textures, too, across the landscape.


The newest section of the Traverse Area Recreation Trail, which leads from downtown towards Suttons Bay, ended suddenly.  Did the crew stop in a concession to the impending winter?  It seemed an odd choice of termination.


We rode on and paid one final visit to the yellow caboose on the Leelanau Trail, having come from a different direction then previously.  Soon it was time to pack up and continue our travels elsewhere.

Vincita Sightseer Giveaway!

Remember:  the Sightseer Giveaway is still on until midnight (USA EDT) December 4, 2014!  Click here for details, and leave a comment if you’d like to be in the drawing.


Basil [Even Further] Above the 45th Parallel

Before we left northern Michigan, I took a trip up to Cheboygan, roughly an hour and a half north of Traverse City.  Before we left Cheboygan,  on a whim, Basil and I took a few minutes to explore before leaving.  With a Brompton, these impromptu trips are easy to do; Basil is always with me.


Except for the summer trade, economies generally struggle in these remote geographies, and the desolate neighorbood we parked in looked particularly hard-hit, with lots of apparently empty homes and way too many “for sale” signs. The state of Michigan itself has fallen on hard times as the auto industry has stumbled and struggled to comeback; that’s only worsened the difficulties in already-troubled areas.


We checked out the Cheboygan Dam; permits are required to enter the parking lot, but we interpreted this to mean that permits were necessary for motor vehicles, boat-launching or fishing, none of which we were, or were contemplating doing.  Regardless, the area was completely deserted, so we clearly weren’t in anyone’s way.


When we peered through the fenced walkway overlooking the rushing waters, it looked as if Basil were being threatened by an enormous, fuzzy albino octopus.


We took the bridge over the Cheboygan River and rode a little bit in town.  Cheboygan is a much smaller, more rustic version of Traverse City; Traverse City without the vast numbers of tourists or any kind of firm economic base.


The streets we rode on were wider and less-trafficed, at least when we were riding.  Many of the houses we saw were simple wood-framed homes, but others were a bit different, like this Gothic creation:


Who wouldn’t want to live in a house with a Rapunzel Tower?  I’m a sucker for porches, personally, like the one above, and those that are seen all over the midwestern USA.  Not that I’d want to clean a house this size — I’d rather be riding my Brompton!

I’m not sure what this fetching little structure was originally.  It’s too small to have been a carriage house, but awfully large and ornate for a tool shed.  Maybe it’s a newly-built eccentricity?  That quirky bell tower recalls those on the classic American one-room school house.


In a more traditional housing vein, albeit with flourishes, is this white home with a quarter-porch and some pretty fancy roof work.  I hope these homes have fireplaces; they’d be lovely places to hunker down during the long, cold, Cheboygan snows.


Though the waterways are beautiful, much of Cheboygan is considerably less aesthetically attractive.  There’s a Walmart, of course, and strip malls, and evidence of industry, too.


And above it all, that fantastic northern Michigan sky.  Sure, it’s overcast here, but that sky is  never static for long.  Wait a bit, and a whole different view is revealed . . . though, this time, Basil and I did not stay put to see, since we had a long drive back to Traverse City.  No matter; we drove under the very same sky.

Note:  Basil and I are out of town (yet again!), so responses to comments and to email will be delayed — briefly, we hope.  The indulgence of all affected is hereby begged!


Traverse City Streets

Basil and I didn’t just ride trails in northern Michigan, but we meandered around Traverse City street a little bit, too. This was sort of a spur-of-the-moment ride, and I was (atypically) wearing street clothes


Way too late I wondered if my Zefal toe clips would scuff up my new, meant-to-be-sort-of-dressy boots.  Much to my surprise (and pleasure), they didn’t leave a mark.  That was a good thing, because I wasn’t going to give up my ride to spare them!


We’d missed the height of fall color, but it hardly mattered, with golds this wonderful.  Traverse City is full of arbor-decked streets just like this one.


One of the joys of more-slowly settled less commercially-developed cities are the eccentric houses, like the stone one above. Housing developments have a harder time gaining a stronghold in more remote communities, where population growth is initially slow, and development inevitably more eccentric.


Often an ancillary result is that flamboyant color schemes are tolerated in easy-going neighborhoods.  Here in the USA, planned communities and/or housing developments often have contracts which specify what colors structures must be painted. Orange is typically not one of  the approved shades!

Rough northern Michigan winters play havoc with pavement, but, in general, maintenance crews are up to the job. This is an average stretch of asphalt, with several obvious previous repairs, and one that’s still needed.


This degree of damage isn’t much of a problem for a snow-worthy car, and it’s not even terrible for attentive cycling.  But it is important to be alert; there’s no way to maintain streets perfectly in this climate.


Basil posed in the midst of curbside leaves; a week’s time will probably mean snowfall, and the leaves will be gone for good until next autumn. Clearing the leaves is the city’s responsibility, once residents have gotten them to the street; bagging this quantity really isn’t feasible, so the collection is done mechanically.


It isn’t as obvious in the photo as it was In Real Life, but this is one reason skies here are such a pleasure:  that’s full sun on the left, and those are gathering thunderclouds in a very dark sky on the right.  We made it back to the house before the storm hit, and happily watched the showers from indoors.


A Brompton Shop Up North

There’s a new Brompton dealer in Traverse City, Michigan.  Traverse City gets hundreds of thousands of visitors every summer, particularly during Cherry Festival.  Forget the cherry jam, the pies, the tacky cherry magnets and pot holders — people whose home places are Brompton-deprived can now take home the best souvenir of all:  A Brompton!


The shop is called Brick Wheels.  At the moment, they have just three Bs in stock, all six speeds. That’s very sensible; the weight difference between three and six isn’t much, and the range is much greater.  (Basil’s a six-speed; I may be biased.)  There are hills in the area; residents will probably be happiest with six gears, too.

The shop has a blue Brompton with S handlebars and a white one with M bars on the floor. (I don’t know who that is, in  lime, in back, photo-bombing.)


There’s also a handsome raw lacquer with rack, Eazy Wheels, and M bars.  Of course, if you’re a native, or spending a season in Traverse, you can custom order your Brommie.


The store is huge — this isn’t Manhattan! — and crowded with bikes.  As this is Northern Michigan, a substantial part of the main room is devoted to skis, the sport of choice during winter.  And there is also a raft of fat-tired bikes, evidence of a new winter trend.


There’s a workshop in the back room, and an extensive line of kids’ bikes and gear, too.


I like the shop’s jerseys.  They’re high vis — always a hit with me — and have a simple, sharp graphic design.


Basil hung out with the Bromptons, but I don’t think he was very happy about being half-folded. It’s just not cool when the rest of the gang isn’t.


Basil’s Mini O measured up to the full-sized O bag, which is bigger than I realized and looks truly impermeable.  It’s got two huge pockets on the back like the ones on the T bag, but the O’s pockets are removable, offering the option of using one, both, or neither.


Once we got outside, Basil posed unfurled. I could tell he was happier once he could stretch. Perhaps we’ll return one day and be able to cycle with a whole pack of resident Bromptons, in, around, and past all those lovely evergreens.

Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.


Traverse City to Suttons Bay (and back)

When last seen in Suttons Bay, Basil and I were headed back to Traverse City, Michigan, from Suttons Bay, about 15 miles/24 km north of Traverse City.  We’d Coffeeneured, and explored, and then we took to the trail for the return trip.


The route is the Leelanau Trail, part of TART, the regional trail system.  In winter — serious stuff in this northern clime — the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing.


There may not be a better, more comprehensive, slice of Northern Michigan on any other trail of comparable length.  There are private houses hidden among the trees;


wide, well-groomed fields;


farms, some of which have grown eccentrically over the years;


others with vintage, but still used, equipment in picturesque evidence;


orchards and vineyards;


and the occasional assortment of creatures.  These four appear to be a burro (or donkey?) on the left; a pony (Shetland? extra-furry, anyway); a bovine sort (taking a break); and an equine fellow (wench?).  They were the picture of collegiality on their sunny hillside.


This sign was new to me; it appears regularly on the trail (and on others that connect to it in the area).  It turns out to be exactly what it looks like:  a “highway” sign for a bicycle route.  The Leelanau Trail is a section of Route 35 of the United States Bicycle Route System, an interstate, long-distance, national cycling system now under development.


This sign requires no interpretive effort — it appears along the route at various relevant points.


The Leelanau Trail may be the friendliest of all. Though there was a lot of NIMBY going on when the trail was first proposed, people mostly seem to have resigned themselves.  It’s the response of those who have embraced the trail system which is most in evidence now.


There are benches and resting spots scattered along the route for cyclists and pedestrians alike to enjoy.  There is a garden above this bench with a “welcome” sign; tables and chairs below; flowers set out; and a basket of apples for visitors to consume.  (On this day there was also a stray set of cycling gloves, put out in the hope that the owner would return to find it.)


My picture doesn’t do it justice, but Basil and I encountered one more critter here:  A shy fellow who was keeping a benign and friendly eye on the travelers below.

Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.