Day 34 – Grand Rapids, MI to Muskegon, MI – 48 miles
We started our day like many summer days in our apartment, we brought our gear downstairs, and Jim carried the bike down the stairs. We loaded our bike on the side walk as we greeted Ron, who owns the next door business. The only difference was this time we told Ron, have a good summer, instead of have a good day. Today was not just tandem commute to work, but instead, a tandem ride to the Pacific!
After two days of relaxing and hanging out at home, we were ready. We had a wonderful time seeing friends, although without a car or an apartment suitable for entertaining (it is a construction zone right now), we didn’t see many friends. Our former neighbors, Karen & Garth, invited us over for dinner which was wonderful & also so very kind, as I’m sure they’re busy preparing for their daughter’s wedding this weekend.
Jim remarked that he really hadn’t felt unemployed until we sat around the apartment on a weekday. It looks like we will have to keep traveling through this gap “year”.
Our first stop on our way out was to see our favorite barista in town, Katie at Rowsters. The usual for us – an Americano for Shawn and a Cortado sweet for Jim. Mmmm so good, it was so good to taste our familiar “hometown” brew. While enjoying our drinks, we got talking with a girl, Kate about our trip. She had completed a bike tour of Iceland, which sounded wonderful. It sounds like a very cool place for a bike trip…she said she saw a wide variety of scenery, from black lava beaches to fields and field of purple flowers that went on forever. She said at first she thought it would be boring to ride and ride in purple fields, but once she came to the realization, that was going to be her day, she just embraced it and loved every part. She told us later that she wants to have interesting experiences and we told her our mantra “More experience – less stuff”. It was fun talking to Kate, we hope she follows our suggestion to bike the Keweenaw Peninsula soon!
After coffee and some shopping at local store, we got on our bike and headed west through town. It was great to riding again! We pedaled our neighborhood streets and bike paths. It felt strange to be on familiar turf. Good to know exactly where we were going, but we are eager to see new things! The ride went smoothly through town and out to the Muskatawa Trail.
We knew there was a little diner in Ravenna – the Ravenna Round Table. As we were pedaling, we (mostly Jim) were discussing what would be on the menu…Jim made it clear that if there was a hot meatloaf sandwich (HMLS- as in drenched in gravy) on the menu, he’d be scarfing one down shortly. When we got to the restaurant, Jim poured over the menu and told the waitress he was disappointed there was no hot roast anything (turkey, beef, meatloaf) on the menu. “Did you check the back of the menu” was her response…and…sure enough they had it!! When it arrived, and Jim tried it, he knew he had a mission for the trip…to see if anyone, anywhere, could beat this plate of deliciousness!! Stay tuned – this will be the summer of the ultimate HMLS! (Among other things!)
HMLS review – Ravenna Round Table, Ravenna, Michigan: delicious hot, translucent gravy, smothering real mashed potatoes with perfect amount of lumps. Texas toast size bread that was “Wonderbread” soft, yet hearty. Nice onion bits in the flaky soft meatloaf, not the perfect slice of loaf, authentic homemade. I believe this will be a difficult HMLS TO beat!
The rest of the ride on the Muskatawa Trail was awesome. Great riding, very few people on the trail but at one point, we met 3 other bicyclists heading the other direction who yelled out, “where are you going?” “Seattle!”, Jim responded. Lots of cheering, thumbs up & woohoo’s ensued as they passed by. Those are fun encounters!
Before too long, the trail ended & we were in Muskegon. Normally we would’ve taken Laketon to head out toward the ferry docks & our friends’ neighborhood just beyond, but we wanted to stop by the Fishmonger’s Wife, a great place for fish! So we went down Sherman, right thru Muskegon Heights, as it was a straight shot from the trailhead. That was an experience – we got beeped at 3 times (and these weren’t friendly beeps) in the few miles we traveled. Luckily it wasn’t far, we got our fish and after a construction detour made it to Garth & Karen’s lovely cottage. Karen & Garth are our former neighbors & dear friends who offered up their cottage for the night. It is a beautiful, light-filled, breezy cottage just around the dune from Lake Michigan. We felt so pampered living in this space for the night! Thanks guys!
We took our showers & relaxed a bit. Shortly after that, Nancy stopped over. Nancy & Duane live just around the corner & are also great friends! They knew we were coming & had invited us over for dinner. It was absolutely yummy – salmon patties & sausage shish-kabob, grilled to perfection by Duane! Thanks guys! After dinner, we took a walk on the Lake Michigan boardwalk & marveled at the beautiful evening sky. Ahhhhh! Summer in the Great Lakes State!
– Shawn has revised her nomenclature to blue woolie because when she says big woolie, Jim sniggers like an adolescent.
– Do bunnies know they are called bunnies or do they call themselves something else?
– What does a billboard that says “Car City Status: Approved” really mean? And what is it advertising?
Selfie on the Muskatawa Trail:
After dinner with Nancy (in several pics below) & Duane, we took a walk along the Lake Michigan boardwalk.