Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

Home · Articles · News · Features · A world class ride/ Gaylord to...
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A world class ride/ Gaylord to Mackinaw

Robert Downes - August 25th, 2008
This sure seems like a good place to run into a bear, you think as you roll through the forest north of Vanderbilt. The bike trail skirts the Pigeon River Forest and the trees are thick as a jungle on either side of the path, which runs like an arrow through the green.
Alas, there are no bear sightings today, but tomorrow you spot a porcupine waddling along the new Gaylord-to-Mackinaw Rail Trail, which is a dream come true for Michigan cyclists.
The 62-mile trail opened in the fall of 2007, wending its way through deep forests and along the Sturgeon River and Mullett Lake, all the way from Gaylord to Mackinaw City. Paved with crushed limestone and about eight feet wide, the sparkling white trail is smooth and fast -- ideal for mountain bikes or hybrid cycles (no skinny tire bikes need apply, unless you’re up for a wobbly, white-knuckle ride). In the winter, the trail becomes a pathway for snowmobiles.
The Top of Michigan Trails Council reports that the route has already become “one of the premier cycling trails in the Midwest,” and any weekend rider is sure to become a swift believer.
Running along an old rail corridor, the trail was made possible through a $2 million federal trail enhancement grant obtained by the Michigan Department of Transportation, in addition to many local contributions.
A TWO-DAY RIDE
The trailhead is located a mile north of Gaylord at the soccer field on Fairview Road, just off Old M-27. You park overnight at the field alongside the cars of other riders.
The seven-mile ride to Vanderbilt is surprisingly fast. And before you know it, you’re in Wolverine, another 10 miles or so farther on. Here, you spot kayakers paddling down the Sturgeon River, which runs for several miles along the trail.
The stretch to Indian River is one of the most scenic in terms of wild country. But what’s this? Signs of civilization: a Burger King greets you as you roll out of the forest at Indian River, and just across the way lies a McDonald’s. Oh well, a little coffee and a sandwich can’t hurt a weary rider...
Farther on lie the tony cabins of Topinabee and then 15 miles of Mullett Lake’s shoreline. Hmm... should you take a splash at the park in your cycling shorts? No, pedal on, pedal on...
Hard to believe, but with a full load of camping gear on your poorly-fitting mountain bike, you start to tire outside of Cheboygan, with Mackinaw City still 12 of the longest miles you’ve ever ridden in the distance. You feel out of place in Mackinaw City, walking around in your sweaty cycle clothes amid scads of tourists and their kids. Fortunately, a spaghetti dinner is regenerative, as is a camping berth at Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping about three miles from town.
After a refreshing dip in Lake Huron, you find yourself riding through dreamland as the sun goes down outside your tent. (Memo to self: be sure to stay at one of Mackinaw City’s budget hotels next time, instead of dragging along all this danged heavy camping gear...)

BE PREPARED
Those who plan to ride the trail are advised to be prepared for any situation. The consequences of poor planning sink in the next morning as you roll into Cheboygan with air hissing out the side of your tire.
There’s nothing worse than a sidewall flat, since it can’t be fixed with duct tape, and replacing the tube will simply result in another blow-out in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, you learn that there are no bike shops in Cheboygan -- the nearest store is 30 miles away. Fortunately, there is a humongous K-Mart, and they sell bike tires reinforced with Kevlar. You buy two and are soon back on your way.
But what’s this? For some reason it’s tougher going back, and you have to ride in an easier gear. Reason? Mackinaw City is at 590 feet above sea level, but Gaylord is at 1,349 feet elevation. That means you climb 759 feet on the way back, with most of that elevation being the last stretch between Wolverine and Gaylord.
But somehow you make it, waving to fellow cyclists on the way back. You’ve rolled through half a dozen towns and some of Northern Michigan’s most scenic forests -- a fine weekend adventure, and all free, one might add. This is one trail you don’t want to miss if you love cycling.

For information on the trail, check out the Top of Michigan Trails Council website at www.trailscouncil.org. The site includes a map and notes on each stretch of the trail along the route.
 
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