"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door" … "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
~ Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Come Ride with Us Around Lake Michigan

Looking North to the Sheboygan Harbor - from 2014 bike trip to Door County

The Count Down Begins

Months of anticipation come quickly to a close now. Soon my dream of riding around Lake Michigan will become a reality. The planning stops, the challenges begin; riding every day: eating, drinking and sleeping enough; staying engaged with the surroundings, being open to new people, places, ideas; not being fixated on the plan but using it as a guide, and being undaunted by the inevitable set backs.

If you're interested, come along for the ride - well the virtual ride anyway. I intend to share more than just the day-to-day details of riding 50 - 60 miles. I've read those kind of accounts and they get boring very fast. For me this is more than just a bike ride, its pilgrimage, a pilgrimage of discovering Lake Michigan - THE LAKE as I think of it.  Writing about what I find will help clarify some of the inevitable contradictions and help give context and perspective to an otherwise blur of experiences.  Your participation, your anticipation can provide the excuse or maybe the necessary stimulation to do so. Either way, we can have a lively dialog about THE LAKE if you wish.

When I say "we" I mean several of us at various different times. Will and I plan to do the full, 1,350 mile journey, but will be joined by others for part of the adventure. My husband Jim and our friend Ed will join us for Stage I, from home in Wilmette to Arcadia, MI. Then Robb will join us for Stages 2 and 3 - Ludington to Green Bay having taken the Badger ferry across from Manitowoc. Our bike club friends, Jerri & Nancy, will join us from Green Bay to Manitowoc. So, there will be an ever changing cast of characters in our photos and maybe even in our posts. Hence the title "Our Month with the Lake."

In the next few weeks before we leave, I plan to post some background pieces about why I'm doing this, why I have the audacity to call this a pilgrimage what kind of preparations and training we've undertaking, plus packing lists and other logistical details. Some stuff will appear in the daily posts, but other stuff, reading suggestions, maps, timelines, and even short answers to all your questions will appear as links in the right column. You can refer to them whenever you want without scrolling through old posts. Its been amazing how often the same list of questions comes up each time we tell someone about our ride. So, before you leave this page today check out the link to short answers in the right column, there's lots more there than I can cover here. 

An Overview of Our Challenge - 1,350 miles -  24,061 feet of climbing (and descending of course - its a circle afterall)

Updates from the Road

Once we get going I expect to show you where we've been, share some basic statistics, select a few highlights, post some photos and hopefully give a little perspective on it all. I'll post a link to our daily route which you can download in all its painful detail if you'd like. The plan is to have a few rest days every week or so. Hopefully that downtime will give me a chance to maybe catch up and also think about perspective. Frankly I am a bit nervous about promising so much. When my daughter, Elise traveled around the world she found that blogging got in the way of experiencing. Maybe that will happen to me. I give you fair warning now. All this may leave me EXHAUSTED at the end of the day. I give myself permission then to opt out of the blogging. But, I hope that won't happen, or won't happen very often.

Anyway, welcome along on the ride. Enjoy and engage. Let me know what you think if you want. Share stories of your LAKE if you'd like. Its a pilgrimage after all - we need to do this together. You can sign up for automatic updates below, or just look me up as you wish. Either way, remember as my friend Nancy says "The Joy is in the Journey."


  1. Damn straight Lake Michigan is The Lake. Check out the ancient underwater Panther who wakens and angrily swishes his tail overhead to stir up the Waves, and the Thunderbird who brings the Wind. John Gurda is my favorite guy to read on the area / history. I'm just goosebumped you're doing this Suzie. I imagine you with your thumb out on all the docks around the Lake! I think you're going to need more time. Please spend some of your R & R with us here at the base of (Airport) College Ave, 9 floors above Grant Park & the object of our mutual desire; We also have a pool. Love from your little sister of that working college friend. pamela.danby@mac.com

    1. Pamela, How do I find the Panther and the Thunderbird info? Do I just check out John Gurda or is there somewhere else to go? Want to add some Native American history / culture / art to my list of sites & information.

      Re: R&R we will be passing through Milwaukee on Sunday, June 13th and do need a stop for lunch around Grant Park. Was planning to go to a coffee shop shown in the old Coast Guard Station, but if you'd like to meet us somewhere close to you that would certainly be much better. Headed to Racine that night, so won't have time for a swim :-(