8/1/2021 – Muskegon to Cascade

52.41 Miles / 2661.69 Total Miles

1070 Ft. Elevation Gain / 91,013 Ft. Total Elevation Gain.

As we left the motel, this morning, it was chilly–54 degrees, and we were concerned about Ed. He had strained something in his groin, yesterday, and was having trouble making some movements with his legs. There was a little talk about taking a couple of days off, to give it some rest, but the real talk was about just taking it easy, trying to ride, and seeing how it went. Relatively speaking, we had a short day–52 miles, and we took it easy, so as not to cause Ed to further strain his muscle. Again, we were lucky or blessed (I vote blessed). Once Ed got riding, the pain worked itself to the background, and by the end of the day, he was back to full strength.

Chuck had given us the best route to the Musketawa Trail, last night, so we just followed his guidance, and shortly, we were on the trail–a 25 mile Rails-to-Trails path that connected us to the Pioneer Trail, a 5.4 mile trail, that took us to the outskirts of Grand Rapids. Did you follow all of that? The first trail was pristine asphalt with very little variation in grade–just what the doctor ordered for Ed. The Pioneer trail was a rail trail for the first mile, but then a paved path adjacent to an active train track. It was a little hilly, and not quite as pristine as the first trail, but still, it was wonderful having a break from cars and traffic.

We stopped for a break at the end of the Musketawa Trail, and this adult play structure (aka bike rack) presented itself.

We ran into quite a few friendly folks, on the trail, and even more friendly dogs. All three of us are dog lovers, so we are almost always going to at least comment to owners on their dogs. This batch of dogs required a little petting.

As we entered Grand Rapids, hunger was setting in at the same time we came across this busy little cafe with a crowd of locals waiting outside for a table. It was totally worth the 30 minute wait to be able to eat here. All three of us ordered something different, and our food was exquisite.

We can always find ways to burn 30 minutes.

When we arrived the downtown area, we were only 9 miles–less than an hour–from the end of our route. I spotted some monuments, and the guys wanted to move on, so we parted ways. I rode around downtown for a little while, before heading down the road.

These murals were very cool. They were paint and mosaic, with some 3-D relief built up. I would love to have the talent and skill to be a mural painter.

I really liked the sign below, too. Sometimes you need to put down your phone, camera, binoculars or whatever you think is letting you see the world, and just look it with your own eyes to truly see it. Put away all those devices, open your eyes and just look. What you’re looking for may be right in front of you, and those things are keeping you from seeing it. Great message.

We were following a route I found on RideWithGPS, today, and the route was great–every mile of the way. Nice paths, roads that took us through quiet neighbourhoods and scenic places. Beautiful scenery, including dense trees, fertile farmland, cool looking farmhouses, and bunches of silos. We are so fortunate to have all the technology we have at our fingertips and to have this opportunity to see these parts of the greatest country in the world,

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