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It can be tough sometimes.

Last night, it was raining around 7pm, so I found a nice spot to stay for the night in a wildlife preserve. After resting, I took my bike to Cheboygan. My first impression was very good. The town sits on a small river, lined with docking boats. The “Koffee Korner” makes a delicious pumpernickle bagel with ham, egg, and cream cheese.

I took the obligitory photos of their lighthouse, then decided to move on to Macinaw City. There, I was suprised to see the sidewalks packed with people…with standing room only. Flatbed trailers loaded with people were delivering people to the main part of town. There were even TV reporters. I felt like a one man parade, riding my bike down the street. At the shore, where you could see the bridge, I did a few sketches, but chose not to paint because of all the ruckus. I finally asked what all the festivities were about…It’s the 50th Anniversary of the bridge.

Happy Bithday Bridge!

I love people, but not in swarms, so I decided to get some distance behind me. I took a scenic highway nicknamed “the tunnel of trees” a 20+ stretch of windy narrow hilly road that finishes with breathtaking bluff views of Lake Michigan. I hadn’t experienced many hills in Eastern Michigan, so I renamed the course, “the tunnel of tourture”.

It got worse when the only store in Good Hart refused to let me use their sink to refill my water bottles. Of course, you can buy water there. I always spend money whenever I refill my bottles at a business, but out of principle, I was not going to support a business that is unfriendly to cyclists. The rest of the trek was pretensious mansions with keep out signs at all the pretty views. Still thirsty, I was putting out a bad vibe.

I breezed through Harbor Springs after getting some water, then followed their 20+ mile bike trail. As the sun was setting, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to find a place to rest, but at the last minute I found a patch of trees outside Charlevoix where I was able to end the day.

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7.27.2007I am trying to create a workflow where I paint, cycle, take, pictures, camp, and keep everyone updated on my blog. It’s frustrating when the library’s computer won’t let users switch to the Dvorak keyboard layout. (that’s a whole other story!) I do have some stories and pictures to share, and I think I have developed a system that will work while on the road.
It’s the fifth day “living” on a bicycle. I have adjusted to the reality that I probabably will not see my home and “modern” convieniences for some time still. I don’t mind, because (in spite of the hardships) when this journey is over, I know I will wish it lasted longer.
To start the day, I quickly broke camp, and resumed my pedaling toward Rogers City. I followed a sign that invited travelers to visit Presque Isle, and see their 2 lighthouses. The turn off the road ended up being a 6 mile comittment before seeing a lighthouse. (that equals 12 miles out of my way)
I stopped first at the “new” lighthouse. It was built in the late 1800s, and is the tallest on Michigan’s eastern shore. It was a pleasure to start my morning painting the structure, and even nicer to meet the “lighthouse lady”. She took care of the lighthouse, and was very enthusiastic about my painting and trip. She insisted that I climb the lighthouse. I had never climbed a lighthouse before, and while enjoying the view, I realized what I had been missing all my life. I don’t think a photo would do the scene justice, but I took a few snapshots anyway.(how do you capture the sound of seagulls, and the smell of fog in the air?)

I visited the original lighthouse, and painted it while the kind lighthouse keeper let me use their electricity to charge my camera’s battery. I think the older lighthouse has the more picturesque setting between the two lighthouses, but the new lighthouse has the best view!
In Roger’s City, I picked up my birthday present from my sister. (a tripod with flexible legs, so you could wrap it around a tree or a fence or a BIKE!) Thanks Carrie. While at the post office, I used the gifts box to send a pair of shoes and jeans that I will never use on this trip home. (i was warned about bringing too many clothes). Also of note, Roger’s City’s post office has aWPA mural depicting the town’s limestone quary.
My best memory of Roger’s City was it’s bike trail. It’s trail winds through the city’s pine woods and follows Lake Huron’s shore, guiding the cyclist to the nearby state park.
En route towards Cheboygan, I stopped at the 40 mile Lighthouse. I didn’t intend to spend so much of my time painting/photographing lighthouses, but seeing them in person is hard to pass up…especially with sand in your toes!

sorry about the pictures being sideways. this library’s computer gives 30 minutes use, and does not allow windows to rotate images…go figure!

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july 26, 2007

july 26, 2007
Yesterday was my birthday. I spent it in the Huron National Forest.. Afthr a restful sleep in the forest, I visited the Lumberman’s Monument in search of a cup of coffee. The friendly ranger directed me to a camp/supply shop 3 miles away. the store was classic…with pictures of record breaking catches by fishemen. They also have pictues of the building of the dam.
I painted at Ioaga springs, which provided abreathtaking view of the Au Sable river. I stopped to paint the view. After returning to the monument, I saw a series of exhibits that recreate the logging process back when the Lumbermen were paid 2 dollars for 16 hour workdays(meals were included). The highlight of the exhibit was a floating camp. complele with skillet and flapjacks. It gave me some serious ideas about my next trip…Harland Hubbard style.
After painting pine trees by the river, I returned to my bike, where a note was attached to my bike. It asked me to please visit campsite 18. After getting directions from the ranger, I was greeted by the couple i met in Saginaw, who pointed me to the rail/trail in Bay City.
They were so happy to see me. they explained that they often took long distance hikes, and knew the value of a hot meal. Bonnie insisted on cooking me an omelet, while I looked over the m.ap with Jim.. They were an extrodinary couple. together, they had hiked 100+ mile trails. Jim was an avid cclist and canoe paddler….and this couple camped in style. their camp was relatively empty…due to the majority of campers need for electricity. they had a hummingbird feeder fresh potted flowes, and it was obvious they loved the outdoors. bonnie packed me up with cookies, and i said ‘happy trails’ to my friends for the second time.

It was reassuring to know that I am not crazy after all. Or at least I’m not the only one!
After leaving the park, I stoppcd beside the river, and had a refreshing dip. It’s amazing how clear the water is. You can see the fish swimming beneath you.
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east tawas mi 7.24.2007

greetings from east tawas MI.

I had a very frustrating morning. l slept beside the highway, disturbed every-so-often by a passing truck or woodland critter. l was freezing and damp and tired. My hands were chapped from not wearing gloves, I was sunburnt…you get the idea. I was not having the experience that I set out to have…oh yeah, did i say it looked like rain?
Then there was East Tawas.I had breakfast at Mcdonalds…afamiliar comfort, then visited the local wal-mart for some gloves, a raincoat, and some food for the road.
Across the street was a park with a marina. The light was that morning light painters dream of…pink,purple, and blue with clouds in the sky…is there going to be a storm, or is that light peeking through the clouds?
I decided to paint the maina, in spite of boats being a difficult subject to paint. I was greeted by a friendly boater who asked about my travels. I told him about my trip, then found a place to paint on the pier.
A pair of women stopped to watch me paint. Barbara, owns a gallery and art supply shop overlooking the shore. she sells paints made with honey as the binder. The pigments look rich, l’m eager to try them out.
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Augusta’s Bluegrass Festival

After the art show, Today, I got my bike. Brian Todd made some modifications to keep me comfortable during the trek and allow me to carry all the gear I would need during my trip. Brian’s wife, Kim, organized a bluegrass festival as a replacement for the city’s discontinued “Regatta Festival”. Money was raised to help with the preservation of Augusta’s historic jailhouse.

On my way out of town, I took some time from my packing to listen to and Jake Speed and the Freddies. Laying on the grassy bank of the Ohio river, | wounded if I wasn’t making a mistake by leaving my happy Kentucky home. Hopefully it doesn’t change while I am away. I have a fear that progress will eventually discover the little town, and it will be plaqued with fast food and Cincinatti’s sprawl.

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Art Show At Banana Tree Studios

13 July 2007

Art Show At Banana Tree Studios

I was invited to participate in a special “All Male” exhibit of local artists at the Banana Tree Studios in Flemingsburg, KY. The exhibit features myself along with Jack Donahue (pastel), Ken Macht (ceramics), and Tom Ross (photography). Hosted by Kathy and Ken Macht, the opening was well attended and a pleasure for everyone who participated.

Sales were above my expectations, and I met a lot of friendly people, enthusiastic about my work.

Ken and Kathy are a class act, and anyone traveling near Flemmingsburg will not be disappointed by a visit to their studio/gallery