From Jennifer @ Waterford Oaks, Michigan, re: our arrival at their National race in July: “We have talked to Oakland County (in charge of the camping) and have secured free camping. The parent association has agreed to provide free meals for the weekend. We have a board meeting tomorrow and I will suggest the parade.”
Thank you! Thank you! That’s a huge help!
And from Mike At GTC BMX in Michigan:
“Hi folks, I am track Director of Grand Traverse County BMX Raceway the most northern track in the State of Michigan. Your plan sounds like a great idea! I know we're up here but if you made it this far we have a Mother-in-law apartment you'd be welcome to and plenty of food. Regardless we wish you a great trip and thanks for supporting the BMX sport!”
Thanks for the support, Mike! We might just have to venture up there to check the nice Michigan folk out! Plus, you’re near enough to Mackinac Island, a non-motorized island where BIKES RULE! I’ll keep you posted.
All that said, “What I’m afraid of …”
I know that I have an unreasonable fear of bees, meningitis and cops. Don’t ask; we all have our quirks. As we've planned this bike ride and we’ve talked to friends, family, sponsors and total strangers, I've heard a common response that begins with "Aren't you afraid of ...". That phrase usually ends with what I think the speaker themselves would be most afraid of, if they were in our shoes.
Aren't you afraid of ...
1) "... riding your bikes on the highway?" (We've gotten that one a lot) We've explained that we are using bike routes whenever possible, country roads when bike routes aren't available ...and occasionally we'll have to ride side by side with cars, trucks and tractor trailers on busier roads, which we'll do with great care. So, I guess I am a little afraid of the highways … I don’t think it’s possible to get a speeding ticket on a bike, but I did mention I’m afraid of cops, right?
2) "... so much sun exposure?" Well, technically, the sun is there whether we are on our bikes or not. But, we will be using sunscreen.
3) "... snakes getting in your tent?" I suppose there is a chance that snakes could get in our tent, but it’s really the bears that worry me most.
4) "... Being robbed?" Hmm. I hope that doesn’t happen but Frankenbutt is always looking for a good excuse to “upgrade” his stuff; if it’s stolen, he’ll be the first one at the store to check out the latest, greatest replacement.
5) "... riding after dark and not finding a campground when you need one?" We plan to only ride in daylight but we do have emergency flashing rear lights, helmet mounted front lights and (thanks to my friend, Sheena) flashing red lights to attach to ourselves to assure we'll be seen if we "get caught" needing to pedal a bit further than we planned. We also have a GPS, a Blackberry, Google maps … and if all that fails, we have a tent. Hopefully, when the homeowner awakes in the morning, they’ll understand.
6) "... getting hit by a car?" Yes. That’s why Frankenbutt insists on riding in the last position and why we all have rear view mirrors mounted on our bikes.
7) "... getting lost?" No, that we are not afraid of! Some of our best adventures and finds have come along when we accidentally got off of planned routes. Our bike GPS ought to serve us well but I'm sure there'll be times when we need to use common sense and our trusty compass.
8) "... not making it all the way to the Grands?" Neither Frankenbutt nor I are afraid of that but the Beast cannot fathom actually riding that far on her bike. Since this is a "ride" and not a "race", we'll put personal safety first and arrive when we do.
9) "...missing TV? A/C?" Not really. We don't have cable television or a dish at home and we currently have only one window unit air conditioner. We like falling asleep to the cooler (albeit sometimes still warm) night air.
10) "...getting bugs in your teeth?” I was a little concerned about that until my good friend, Ellie, reminded me that they’re a good source of protein! Plus, she recommended we pack an extra toothbrush each just for “bug scraping”. Thanks, El!