Stormy Weather

Lime EZ

This morning, Anne went to yoga and I went for a bicycle ride. She had set an alarm and had gotten up early, while I just blithely rolled out of bed after she left. I had made arrangements to go cycling with CJ, a neighbor on the beach. When we hooked up this morning, he confirmed his willingness to still ride.

I hadn’t checked the weather, but I should have. The original plan was to ride out to the lighthouse, but when we got to the Dancing Crane coffeehouse, we heard thunder and there were dark clouds to the west. We ordered coffees, which we sipped without any great sense of urgency. I was of the mind to let the storms roll over us, while we were having coffee, but the weather wasn’t moving as fast as I had thought and after a while we grew restless and decided to take chance it and race the weather back home.

The new pavement through the Res has an extra wide bike shoulder, but only on one side of the road. We rode with the traffic on the way out, but I decided to try riding against the traffic on the way back. I found that seeing the cars come at you was disconcerting. I’m used to always riding in the direction of traffic and even though I have rearview mirror, seeing the cars come at you was a little bit scary. Especially, when some of them weaved across the line and on to our shoulder. All of this was happening while I could see ominous black clouds in my bike mirror and they were gaining on us.

We made it dry through Brimley, where we kicked the speed up a bit, but the storm finally caught us, with just a few more miles to go. It got dark and there was thunder. Most cars had their lights on, which wasn’t all that reassuring. I was just starting to feel drops, when we turned off of 6 Mile. At that point I was so relieved to be off of the road with the fast traffic that I really didn’t mind the rain anymore. Which was a good thing, because at that point the storm was beginning to pass us. It began to grow lighter, but also to rain more hard.

We both got soaked. CJ had invited me to tour his new house, which is pretty fancy, with a three-story “lighthouse” tower, but I told him that I would take a raincheck on that offer. That got a chuckle out of him. He turned off at his driveway and I continued on. When I got back to the cabin, Anne, Harry and Bubs were there to greet me. Anne had been worried about me. Really, we were pretty lucky, because after it passed over us, it blossomed into a full fledge thunderstorm, with high winds and hail. I’ve been hailed on before while biking and it is no fun at all. Those helmet vent holes that let the cooling wind pass through also let hail through too. Expecting another round of storms tonight. 

Ezekiel 4:9

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley

When I first began coming to my in-law’s cabin, I stirred up a breakfast cereal controversy. I liked Cocoa Puffs, which my mother-in-law thought was simply horrid. While maybe not as healthy as the rather bland and tasteless cereals that they preferred, I liked it and in the scheme of things, what is really all that awful about chocolate frosted sugar-bombs anyway?

Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself… – Ezekiel 4:9

Anne and I were in Meijer’s yesterday, working our way through the shopping list, when we came to bran. Harry had asked for it and had just written the word bran. When we got to the cereal aisle, we spied boxes of Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Cereal for sale. Maybe if you find yourself lost in the desert for forty days and forty nights, it might be a good idea to have a bowl of it. I mean, how much more inspirational can you get, then by quoting the Bible, chapter and verse? We thought of getting some for Harry, just to see his reaction, but it cost twice as much, for a box that was half the size of other brands. In the end we decided not to and got raisin bran and not just bran. Hang the expense. 

Today, Anne went to town to do yoga and I went for a bike ride. I rode out to the lighthouse. On the way out, I rode through where the 6 mile construction crew had constricted traffic down to one lane. I almost made it through the mile and a half, before cars began coming the opposite way. I ducked into the closed lane.

I got to the lighthouse just as the Soo Locks Tour Boat, which was doing its regular Wednesday run out to the lighthouse and blew me a master’s salute. On the way back I first stopped at the Dancing Crane for a little latté. I again navigated the construction slalom and again couldn’t make it to the end before the other cars began coming at me. Another cyclist going the opposite direction had just made it through in time.

I stopped at the Bay Mart store in Brimley. Going in, I noticed a sign on the door that read, “Cyclist, please remove your helmet.” Figuring that the sign was for full face masked motorcyclists and not bicyclists, I didn’t take mine off and I thought I detected a look from the clerk, but it must have been something else, because he greeted me warmly with the news that tomorrow they will stripe 6 mile. Plans are to have a bike lane for the entirety of the newly paved road. 

Back on the Bikes

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

I got my fitbit back. Thanks, Carl & Jay! Its return inspired me to get my steps in for the day. That was yesterday, when there was enough wind to comfortably prepare the bicycles for riding. My bike’s chain was a little worse for wear. It got some rust on it, from the day that I drove it up here in the rain, but a little spray-on WD-40 got most of the kinks out of it. I see a new chain in my future.

Anne and I launched today, at the crack of noon. She was lamenting to me that we seem to have fallen into a rut and need to start getting up earlier. I somehow got the feeling that it was my fault that I hadn’t kicked her out of bed. I think that since everyday here feels like the last, why not savor the best parts of each one? I like lying in bed together, during the still of the morning, listening to the many woodland sounds outside. Sometimes the wind is blowing, often waves are crashing and occasionally a woodpecker stops by, gives the cabin a few exploratory taps, but finding nothing to its liking, flies off.

Like I said, we launched. Our goal was the lighthouse. It felt good to be back on the bikes. It has been a while. When I reset our two odometers, I came to the conclusion that the last time that we both had ridden was in Louisiana and that was in late April, almost three months ago. We’ve been busy though. Later, at lunch, I saw the Weather Channel rainfall totals for the parishes that we had ridden through. All were at least 5″ and many were +10″. Those poor people.

I was drooling with anticipation for riding 6 Mile to the lighthouse. We had driven this route just days before, which gave us an inkling of what to expect, that most beautiful black of fresh asphalt. It was like butter. I had put on chamois butter, which was almost a waste, except for the ride’s two extremis. The shoulders have been widened to a full lane, except between the two casinos, where the old snowmobile trail has been paved, making a separated bike lane.

At the lighthouse, we met another couple from Saint Louis. They updated us on hometown happenings and we steered them towards some UP tourist attractions. We had a tailwind heading back. How much more perfect could this ride get? We stopped for lunch at Jack’s and then just four more miles to the cabin.

La Fin

We made it! Almost mishap free too, but more on that later. Today was a much better day than yesterday. First off, we had the wind at our back, which always makes things easier. Second, the pavement was unexpectedly better than it has been. I don’t know why, but I’m not complaining. Anyway, these two reasons were more than enough to make it an enjoyable day’s ride.

The literal high point of the day was a visit to Jefferson Island. It was a home once, a long time ago, but is now a resort. It’s on Lake Peigneur, but is not really an island, at least when we saw it. It is built on a salt dome, giving it at least 20′ of elevation over the surrounding countryside, which in flood season would make it an island. Many of the newer homes that we saw today are two story affairs. The living quarters are on the second floor and the first floor is just concrete support structure. In 1980 a sinkhole drained Lake Peigneur, but it is quite pretty now.

Now about that mishap. It didn’t occur on the bike. We successfully biked Cycle Zydeco incident free. We had finished the ride. I had loaded the bikes onto the Prius and we were driving out of the parking lot, when I promptly drove the front of the car into a drainage ditch. I guess, I was still a little punch drunk from the ride. I couldn’t back it out. Anne couldn’t back it out either, even with me pushing. Fortunately, about twenty cyclists appeared then and with only a half a dozen pushing, it was easily extricated from the ditch. All for the low price of getting laughed out of Laugh-e-ette, as it is pronounced here.

Cycle Zydeco

We’re still alive! We’ve ridden two days already and have two more to go. It rained the first morning, but the weather has been fine since. We ride by day, but as you can see, there is dancing at night. The ladies were doing a line dance here and the lead guitarist jumped down to get involved. This was on the first night, where festivities were held at the site of the last legal cockfighting venue. We ate dinner in the arena. I loved the chicken pasta. The meat wasn’t that tough at all. We’ve been also eating lots of great Cajun cuisine, including catfish, crawfish and gator. Going a bit native here, I guess.

Before coming, we were concerned if we would be up to all this, but we’re having a great time and doing fine. The roads are a little rough. The pavement I mean. We were doing a bayou boat tour of the swamp today and the captain told us that in England they drive on the left side of the road. Here in Louisiana we drive on what’s left of the road.