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Kal-Haven & Beyond!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009



Above is the map of the Kal-Haven Trail. I added approximately another 10 miles to the 34 mile route by biking from my son's apartment, where we're staying, across town to the trail's beginning. I always have a twinge of conscience whenever I load my bike up to DRIVE someplace to BIKE: biking is all about reclaiming one's ability to MOVE and transport by virtue of one's own personal body power...no carbon footprint necessary!

Here is the start of the trail:



I ran into a couple pairs of Nordic walkers coming off the trail as I was preparing to depart. Unfortunately hadn't seen them in action, as I am interested to know more and perhaps try this myself sometime. I chatted a bit with them and they were all a-glow with their workout, speaking quite highly of this approach to walking.

My exact mileage isn't quite known because the SparkPeople Fitness Maps feature doesn't include the cross-Kalamazoo bike trail NOR the Kal-Haven bike trail. However the Kal-Haven has mile markers and is known to be 34 miles long extending from Kalamazoo to South Haven.

Here's a typical view on the trail:



It was not as *scenic* a ride as I had hoped in that much of the trail was covered with a canopy of trees and only here and there did it break out into what I refer to as the "Great Wide Open" (always think of Tom Petty's song when I ride in this terrain!) of corn fields or other crops stretching out to the horizon.

My son unfortunately wasn't up to joining me on my trek, but I wasn't going to allow this to prevent me from "keeping my appointed duty"...lol!



It was nice to see some old-fashioned well-water pumps along the way. I tried them and they WORKED! The water was cold and delicious!

The trail routed through Small Town America...first town was Gobles:



And at the mid-way point was Bloomingdale (NOT of department store fame! lol):



These were such small spots-in-the-road locales!

I and this other older fellow kept playing piggy-back along the way...I'd pass him by while he was taking a break and he'd pass me by while I was either stretching or taking pictures. I tried to strike up conversation, but he was more focused, I suspect, on "getting 'er DONE!" :-)

Nearing the end of the trail was a quaint covered bridge:



Also a nice network of wooden planks connecting with a cupola out in the marsh:



And at LAST! Trail's END!



And right across from this was a stupendous mansion on the South Haven harbor with schooners parked in front:



Afterwards my son and DW picked me up in South Haven and I had a little scare: My bike wouldn't FIT in the minivan!

But my son came to the rescue: took the front wheel off...! Here I was getting ready to bike back to Kalamazoo...! A mixture of "Drat!" and "Whew!" :-)

We then headed to the Lake MI shore to catch the sights!



Hope everyone's having a SPARKING summer out there! :-)

Don


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOGHOUSE 7/23/2009 2:16PM

    Sounds like a great ride. Here on the other side of the "Big Pond" (Lake Michigan), we have lots of trails just like you were on. Some longer, some shorter, some paved, some hard-packed gravel. All are great places to ride.

Your ride description and pics remind me very much of my local trail, the "Inter Urban" trail that runs from the north side of Milwaukee north to Sheboygan. I often do parts of this trail but occasionally do the full loop. According to my bike computer, it's 52 miles from the Milwaukee end to down-town Sheboygan, so 104 miles for the full loop, all through little towns along the railroad right-of-way.

Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS on a Great Ride. Very Cool !!

Next month my niece and I are planning to ride from just north-east of Gladstone (in the UP) to to my house, following the lakeshore for as much of the trip as possible (looks to be about 230 miles according to Google maps). Next summer, I'm seriously considering a "Lap Around Lake Michigan" ride. It'll be a credit card tour (travel light, buy what food and lodging you need along the way). Maybe we can hook up along the way, and you ride some miles with me on my way through.

Catcha later . . .
Rick

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TKJBSGETTINGFIT 7/22/2009 2:25PM

    Thanks for the description with pictures! You must be having a great time! I can see you go for different trails than me. I love the woodsy areas with shade from trees, and dread when it's the open sunny areas with no protection. There are more animals and birds in the woodsy areas around here, which I generally love to watch and listen to. They seem to shrink from the sunny hot areas as well. Glad your vacation is going well and you're following your plan! I admire your determination! emoticon

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ZIRCADIA 7/21/2009 4:09PM

    Looks pretty scenic and GORGEOUS to me! :) Rock on!

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JUSTLYLE 7/21/2009 12:35PM

    Thanks for the great trip Don, enjoyed riding along.
Skeeter emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/21/2009 12:28PM

    wow, pretty!

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GMN5153 7/21/2009 12:19PM

    I'm so jealous..looks beautiful..

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ROYALETBONE 7/21/2009 12:04PM

    What a beautiful trip. Thanks for all the pictures.
I've been hiking this great hill, covered with redwoods and other trees, and I love it when I get that opening up, looking out to the Bay... love those big vistas, but I think I love them in part because of the trees, if you know what I mean.
I'm cheering!

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Gearing Up for Kal-Haven!

Monday, July 13, 2009

If all comes together as planned, we depart for MI in two days!

I'll be biking the Kal-Haven trail within the next week! However, I realized I haven't made time for biking during the past several weeks...yikes! So yesterday I planned for the longest bike run yet...20 miles each way...whew!

Did I FEEL it afterwards...! But it was a GLORIOUS ride with PICTURE PERFECT weather...not a cloud to be found earlier on...blue stretching out forever! I made a couple water / stretching stops, caught up with a few folks on my cell...paced it slower than usual, wanting to make sure I had it in me to go the distance. Which I did! ...barely...lol!

Biking again today...just a short distance...dropped our minivan off for detailing and biked from the shop to work, will bike back later after work to pick it up. I like to do this when I can to save the hassle of looking for a ride AND best of all: to work in extra biking time.

Kal-Haven is 34 miles long...and recently my son shared another "minor" detail: it's GRAVEL! Here I thought they had a nicely paved path the entire distance...! So it's beginning to look like I'll only be traveling one way down the trail...but will arrange for DW to pick me up (or SCRAPE me off the gravel...lol!) at the other end and perhaps have a nice lunch / dinner out in South Haven...any Michiganders have any recommendations for a nice restaurant...? :-)

Really, REALLY psyched for this trip...! I am SO needing a break from the same-old, same-old...! Looking forward to kayaking for the first time too...woo hoo! :-)

Hope everyone's SPARKING plenty out there!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDALEX 7/17/2009 11:26PM

    oh, have fun! sounds fantastic! i love an active vacation (clearly)!

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ZELLAZM 7/14/2009 2:09PM

    Have a great trip! Enjoy the change-ups to your routine!

Blessings
Michel
le

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ROYALETBONE 7/13/2009 11:36AM

    Urgh, I like single track, love dirt tracks, paved tracks... but gravel? Urgh. If the rocks are very small it can be ok. Give us the update.
Kayaking rocks.
Have a great trip!

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Mixing Health & Politics to Spread the SPARK!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I joined in a MoveOn.org rally today in which we spoke out for the Public Option in healthcare.

My thoughts in advance of the rally was: We're all meeting to support optimal healthcare, right? Well isn't Living The SPARK one of the BEST preventative measures one can take to curb the costs of healthcare?

Yep! Had my fistful of SparkPeople flyers to share with all my fellow MoveOn.org members! They snatched 'em right up!

Spreading the Spark works at rallies BEYOND our SparkRallies too!

Woo hoo! :-)

Don

PS...the next day I found out from a colleague that I had made it to the TV evening news also...!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 7/11/2009 10:41AM

    WTG! You ought to get bonus Spark Points for all your efforts!

Blessings and happy weekend,
Michelle

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ROYALETBONE 7/9/2009 6:13PM

    Smartie pants. That rocks.
Woot, woot, to you!

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WOLFKITTY 7/9/2009 4:05PM

    That's great, Don!

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A Sparking Fourth!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

We caught the fireworks @ Highland Park this year. We hadn't done so for a number of years so we thought we would head back there again.

Normally we'd find a spot and sort of camp out for a few hours waiting for the fireworks. I remember years ago when taking our son along we would play bocce which was fun. In the past I'd always pass on going into the park and we'd just wait around the former McDonald's or the supermarket.

For once I thought, what the heck, since I'd decided I would get up and get walking while waiting (a FIRST!) I headed up into the park and pleasantly discovered a really great band (Splash) was playing all the old funky, get-up-and-boogie hits from the 70's along with some classic rock. They were a blast! I was amazed that there were only a handful of folks moving their feet and dancing!

Hoping to visit my son later this month and biking the Kal-Haven trail (34 miles long) with him and going kayaking in my aunt's lake...have never kayaked before and I think it looks so FUN!

Hope everyone had a SPARKING Fourth out there!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 7/9/2009 4:06PM

    Sounds like you had an awesome time! :) How fun! I love Bocce Ball too! :D Keep up the good work.

Jocelyn

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ROYALETBONE 7/6/2009 1:13AM

    I love, love, love kayaking. With a good craft, it's like being a water bug on the water- you barely make a dimple, and just FLY! I've had so many years of being the sole motivating power in craft designed for multiples- the days of hauling kids and picnic supplies, and beach stuff, and, and, and- by canoe, by row boat.... kayaking as a soloist is so much, much, much faster. Woot, woot!
Have a ball!

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SparkPeople: The Antidote to "The Fattening Of America!"

Saturday, July 04, 2009

SparkResident Stepfanie Romine's blog the other day about the fattening of America got me going on a roll, which I posted at her blog, but thought I would share it with others here as you all KNOW how this topic gets me GOING...!

www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=sur
vey_americas_getting_fatter_but_theres
_good_news


Look, stressful finances have little to do with making poor food choices. There are plenty of healthy food choices for people on a budget. We have been "trained" by Corporate America via zillions of advertising dollars channeled through many media sources to salivate over chocolate decadent doo-hickeys which promote ill health. Should media and corporations choose to we could be similarly salivating over broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts!

I have ranted a bit here and there in my blogs about this: Corporate America is looking to cash in as much as possible in as many ways as possible. Whether to our detriment or not matters naught.

We need to:

1) educate as many as possible, SPREAD THE SPARK far and wide:
( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2198573
).
2) vote with our $$$ and stop buying harmful foods with empty calories. Corporate America is listening and following our healthier trends. Kentucky GRILLED Chicken didn't happen by coincidence! Smart consumers are informing Corporate America that they aren't interested in buying harmful foods! We want HEALTHFUL consequences to our spending!

3) Push our politicians, who are there to SERVE US CITIZENS, to put our tax dollars at work creating healthier communities where walking, biking, skating and otherwise being more active is not only EASY and FREE, but a FUN, JOYOUS time! Check out Jim Sallis' research on "walkable communities":

www.usaweekend.com/09_issues/090628/
090628thinksmart-fit-walking-community
.html


Praise lawmakers for any steps which have been taken in this direction and keep PUSHING FOR MORE! Here is a site where you can do just that!

t4america.org

How "walkable" is YOUR community?

www.walkscore.com

Attend city council meetings, write letters, keep the pressure on!

WE here at SparkPeople have found answers to the obesity epidemic. But we owe it to our communities to Spread the Spark and pass along the enthusiasm and pizzazz of living healthy and well lifestyles!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROYALETBONE 7/4/2009 6:35PM

    Thanks for the share.

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ZELLAZM 7/4/2009 9:11AM

    Great thoughts - glad you posted it here since I'm not subscribed to Stepfanie's blog. Will be checking out some of those links - although here in Germany in contrast to the US, most places are eminently walkable. One reason why obesity is not as common here as in the States, but the trend is still alarming.

Happy 4th and Keep it up!
Michelle

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RENA1965 7/4/2009 8:59AM

    Agree with you..

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