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50 States Day 104

Day 104 Traverse City- Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore Tour 108 miles

"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."
~Albert Pine

"Good Morning America calls it the most beautiful spot in America," the (PP!) KOA lady said. She referred to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.
Okay then. We'll see about that.

Today was touring day and we scootered around the National Park, taking in the scenery and history. First, we rode back through Traverse City, a beautiful backdrop to Lake Michigan. Next, through farmlands and forests and into the Park. The roads twist and shout- no that's a song- twist and turn with tree sentinels on both sides. We climbed to a promontory that overlooked the lake with sand dunes below us, all the way down to the water. People, like dots, ran, skipped and jumped down, then crawled, wheezed and gasped up.

Like an eight year old kid, I asked permission from QG. She reluctantly agreed and surrendered herself to waiting for me to reappear. 

I'm in pretty good shape. That is, I was when we started the trip. So I ran, skipped and jumped down. Shoot. Can't be more than a hundred yards or so. Pausing only to take a shot or two, I started up, my goal (somehow it always turns into a contest) to walk up the hill, no hands on the sand. With two feet of gain and one of loss, I trudged up the loose sand. Looked up. A mile or so to go. I decided fifty steps, then rest. Fifty, rest, fifty, rest, gasping, forty five, rest, forty rest... I looked up the hill. Making progress, only a mile and a half or so left. 

Stopping once for a good wheeze, I looked up the hill and an overweight woman lay on it, still. Is she... okay? I imagined getting to her, yelling '"call 911!" and dragging her by her ankles to the bottom. 
Thirty five steps, stop. I reverted to using my hands too. She hadn't moved. Thirty five and she's up. Thank God. She moved ahead of me, so I set my will. I would beat her to the top. Only a few miles left.
A family climbed by and none of them would blow out a candle. I could do a 100th birthday cake without trying.
With renewed energy, I set out to catch and beat the girl. Forty steps and a stop to gasp. Forty, gasp, thirty five, gasp.
The girl beat me. I trudged to the bench and wheezed beside QG. As we left I said, "Well, that was fun. If I live through it." She replied, "Looked like another stupid move to me."
"Well, I like to do stupid things." Stupid and fun. Stupid fun.

We rode to the Coast Guard station where they displayed lifesaving and rescue methods from the late 1800s. These men would shoot a Lyle cannon with a steel 'bullet' with a light rope attached. It contained instructions to tie their rope to it and they would pull it back and make a pulley system to rescue the crew.

Once a French ship ran aground so they launched the cannon. The Frenchmen couldn't read the instructions and thought they were being attacked, so they surrendered. Oh, those crazy French. Later the Coast Guard wrote it in both languages.
We headed home and I reflected on the 'Good Morning America' prettiest in America statement. While beautiful, what about Glacier Park in Montana? Yellowstone? The North Cascades Highway, Payette River in Idaho? Alaska's Valdez? Ask me, it falls way short. The crummy weather may have sapped our enthusiasm, but still, I think it falls way short of best. 
That's what you get for touting yourself as the best. You get the magnifying glass.
Tomorrow, Zeeland. And put on your wooden shoes darlin' we're going to Holland!
See you then. I'm going to soak my legs in boiling oil. No problem.


Mel Nason said...

I say the Canadian Rockies are the prettiest place in Amer... Oh, they're not IN America! Okay then... in my humble and totally unbiased opinion (having been raised in Montana) the prettiest place in America is (are?) the Rockies in Glacier National Park. Think of them as the AMERICAN Rockies!

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

My prettiest place in America is between Glenallen and Valdez in Alaska. Wait a minute. Is Alaska in America? Yes. no. Of course it is... Right?

Mel Nason said...

Alaska would probably NOT be a part of America if Sarah Palin's enemies had their way. Just sayin'...

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Speaking of that, when are Guam and Puerto Rico going to be welcomed into the fold? Let's make them states.