Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Shortcut

One summer morning while I was studying the county map of the area where our home is located in northern Michigan, it occurred to me that the Amish grocery store is directly south of our home via dirt roads. I wondered if I would be able to take this direct route, which when measured against the scale of miles on the map, would be 16 miles one way. This would save us 24 miles round trip and about $3 in gas each time we drove there. I decided to check it out on my bicycle first.
I gathered the map, compass, water bottle, energy bars and ID and headed south on my bike. The terrain was rolling through many square miles of state forest and dirt roads, but while I was on a more open section of road I was surprised by a bird attack......straight for my face.
She didn't drop to the ground until I ducked and she was 2 feet from my helmet. I had noticed 3 small birds in the roadside grasses and this adult was protecting her young rather fiercely, I thought, as a drive-by cyclist. Quickly regaining my balance and breath, I cycled another 6 miles before I had dozens of dragon-flies flitting around me. I was surrounded by woods, but understood that these insects are dependant on water and there should be a source near-by. A few hundred more feet and I could see blue through small openings in the trees. It was worth breaking and the short walk through the woods to see this uninhabited lake and more dragon-flies than I had ever seen in one location. Shortly after this lake, the road became very sandy for a long distance and it was obvious that our car would never make it. Time to turn around, return home and chalk up another fun 17 mile bike ride that I could count as a triathlon training ride. Best of all though, I was inspired to create a mantle piece resembling the ground-dwelling bird that attacked me. I do love it when even dead-ends lead to something!
(Photo Credit: Cheryl McCormick)

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