It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!

This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.

If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.

It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dinosaur Bones Under Them Thar Waves!

I've been itching for a new adventure and get bored with doing the same routes.  The consequence is that I get further and further from home to find them.  I'd been reading about two rail trails west of home and looking for a good day with an open agenda for the afternoon as I knew the ride out in my vehicle would be over an hour each way and the bike ride would likely be 2-3 hours.  I chose the Falling Water Trail from Jackson, Michigan to Concord, Michigan.  Often rail-trails can be boring, this one was not.  For starters, it was the widest rail trail or any bike trail I've ever seen.  The signage is high quality, points of historical interest are noted with signs and the passing scenery is varied.  There are places where it's wide open with fields, pastures and farms and densely wooded sections with a nice canopy above.  There's a creek that runs alongside the path in certain sections and closer to Concord there is a mill pond that the creek flows through.  And the path traverses a narrow strip of land separating two lakes.

The paved rail bed divides two lakes called Lime Lake.  According to signage at a little picnic stop alongside Lime Lake, they were created when there was dredging done to extract marl used in making cement.  That marl was shipped as far as Detroit, Cement City, Petoskey and Union City. Rail road cars were loaded onto a scow and taken to a parked barge and a large contraption scooped the marl from the lake bottom, loaded it onto the boxcars and those were then hand winched onto the rail for shipping. Among some of the goop that was culled from the lake bottom, dinosaur bones were found!  I'd stopped lakeside for a couple of photos and to read the signs, looked out over the wind blown lake and mulled over giant dinosaurs roaming the area.  I'm glad that was a long time ago and the most wildlife I saw were about a dozen chipmunks, the quick glimpse of a red fox and the white tail of a whitetail deer as it disappeared into the woods.  I must have been gaping around at the sky and missed it crossing the trail.  As hot as it was today I expected to see nothing but birds, ducks and geese.  Wildlife can surprise you at times.  And boy was it a hot one!  Temps climbed up to 90 F.  It may have gotten hotter in Jackson because it's pretty central in the state and far away from the cooling winds off the Great Lakes.

While I might have had a fair amount of free time today, I sure picked the hottest day we've had yet.  We've slingshot-ted straight past spring and into the heat of summer!  But, storms are on the way and we will probably return to seasonal temps in the next couple of days.

I had plenty of hydration and in the little town of Concord I was able to get fresh bottled water and a Gatorade which was just exactly what I needed for the return trip back to the vehicle.  A rest stop to freshen up with a bit of a wash up and running lots of cool water on my arms and wrists made me a new woman.  It came just in the nick of time because I felt myself beginning to get overheated.  In addition to that I had a bit of water that was too warm to drink in my water bottle and since I had plenty of cool drinks to add to it I dumped the remainder over my head and it was enough to soak my hair and shirt collar.  That felt good!  A wet head and shirt top kept me cooled off for a good portion of the return trip.

Although the trail appeared flat as a pancake, when looking over the stats from the ride I found that there was over 280 feet of climbing.  Using the Map My Ride app for my phone, I turn it on when I set out and off when I return and my ride gets mapped online through the app complete with all kinds of stats.   Looking over the route I noticed that there was a significant rise in the latter 2/3's of the ride going outbound and of course that same rise showed up inbound.  I was wondering why I felt so suddenly challenged and attributed it to the heat, but now I know better.  It's funny how the eyes can be deceived like that, it must have been the contour over a large area so it didn't look noticeable. My legs knew it.

A link to the route can be found here  and there are a few photos from the trail below and you can read about the dinosaur comments on one of the signs.  On my next big venture I'll have to go out further to the Kal-Haven trail which takes you from Kalamazoo clear to Lake Michigan.

There's dinosaur bones under them thar waves!

Lime Lake

Trail Head at Concord, Michigan

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