Fort Custer Family Ride


It was a beautiful sunny 45 degree day in Michigan as we loaded all 4 bikes into the truck and headed out. It was wonderful because it seemed like we had all day to enjoy ourselves with no time constraints. I brought the camera and video and we stopped as we needed to (which was a lot).

As we started, the kids were not in the best of moods and continued to ask “how much longer?” but being the optimist that I am, I just smiled and pretended to chase my son, who thought we were on “hot-patrol”, and my husband and daughter were left to their own adventure.

family ride FCIMG_6035

Trying to convince my husband we should stay at the campground this summer, we took a short tour around and found there was no one, not even winter campers.

We continued up a big hill which I promptly caught my son because he hopped off his bike and proceeded to walk the hill. My daughter had enough already and this was only the first hill. Nevertheless, her attention was diverted to the exciting chase between Mom and son.


I was so excited to be outside in this beautiful park with my camera! I enjoyed having the freedom to snap photos during our many stops waiting for the other half of the family. My husband was even doing some work while we were out here!

There were more hills and stops as I focused on recording our progress. My son wanted to see the footage, and my daughter was tight-lipped as I tried to encourage their feeble efforts. How much longer? they asked, tired and ready for a nap.

The route is perfect for kids because it is not too hard, although it does have hills, and it’s short (4 miles) –just enough for them to expend their extra energy. In the warmer months, however,  it’s a bit more challenging because it does have some sand at the bottom of the hills. I would recommend this new route to families who want to introduce the kids to the fun sport of mountain biking.


This is a pond that I rode around for the Stampede MTB race and last year I saw a swan’s nest here. I am always saying that this pond is so beautiful, so I wanted to take the opportunity and take pictures. This was the end of the ride and the kids were so tired, I could only snap a few shots.

Here are their “end of ride” faces:


After all the activities opening presents, and eating food they have never had, they were challenged and humbled. This is the one event they remembered the most out of all the activities at Christmas time!

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airplane Germany

On the plane to Germany!

Holiday Inn The Holiday Inn in Munich

In order to get to the city centre, we had to take a bus to the train station, then the train to Marienplatz. Some days we tried to walk, and got lost, but the GPS was very helpful! On the last day however, we finally found our way around and walked to the train station!

taking a walk picking flowers

taking a walk picking flowers

bus station street

Train Station Street

Feldkirchen train station

Feldkirchen train station













We arrived at Marienplatz hoping to participate in a bike tour, but the tour left before we got to the centre. It was challenging to find the specific shops we were looking for because we do not read German and asking for directions was just as difficult. There were many, many people and fascinating historical buildings. Unfortunately, not being able to read German, we lost a lot of significant history of these beautiful buildings.

Neues Rathaus

Neues Rathaus



Neus Rathaus and city centre

Neus Rathaus and city centre

Toy Museum Munich

Toy Museum



The HausBrau was a huge rowdy restaurant with loud live music being played by German people dressed in the Bavarian traditional dress. It was crowded at 3 in the afternoon. We decided to pass that opportunity……and went to Japanese lunch instead.

historic sitehistoric site (2)



castle entrance









We did visit the Toy Museum which was in a tower and we had to climb the “lighthouse” stairs. The kids were not as excited as I hoped but I think that was due to their ages.



BMW plant Munich

BMW plant Munich

Mitch went to the plant and this is the “hot” car this year…


The New Mini

The New Mini

After a few days exploring Munich, with the open fields and wildflowers, we arrived in Tegernsee, which is close to the Austrian border in the mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous!

mountainsThe LakeRottach-Egern Lake TegernseeWater taxi going to Tegernsee

Since Mitch was working, the kids and I walked to the park, walked to the “town” and rode the water taxi across the lake. There was much to do, as it is a resort town, such as Mountain biking, renting bikes, taking a lift to the top of the mountain, hiking, and visiting a cheese farm. There was so much to do that a little pre-planning would’ve been helpful. Nonetheless, we visited the pool and the park everyday and had fun.


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Kal-Haven Ride

My friend and I wanted to ride out to the lake Melody & Alphaso we hopped on our bikes and started riding through dampness and cool breezes and 60 degree air. The trail we followed is a well-maintained limestone gravel railroad route that goes from Kalamazoo to South Haven. Mostly shaded and incredibly beautiful and scenic, I was in my happy place, and it seemed as if we flew there. It was peaceful and smooth and fast, and although we did not “speed”, we clipped along at a decent “chatting” speed–after all, it was a casual ride.

trainyard Grand JunctionAt Grand Junction, we took the liberty to roam off the path and explore the teeny town a bit. I love this town because it has so much character. It is way out in the country but surrounded by interesting sights, such as the railroad station.

Grand Junction sign

This sign is declaring a bit of interesting history of this property. It says “Gospel Trumpet Publishing 1886-1898” was on this site, which is now the Kal-Haven trailhead.

As we continued, we stopped at a farm market stand and ate fresh apples and Pay Day (for the sugar content). That was fun. They had u-pick blueberries and their fall veggies were well on their way.

W hen we arrived in South Haven, there were a lot of people because the sun had come out and it was perfect weather.

Black River  South Haven stairs Melody&me Sondra with bikes South Haven downtown

We ate ice cream and a wrap, explored a bit, enjoyed some shade, then headed back. It was sad to leave SH, but we told stories to each other and had a fun time conversing and clearing our minds. Normally, the return trip is difficult, but with good company and interesting conversation, we finished strong and with smiles on our faces!

Thanks for great memories Sondra!

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X100 Mountain Bike Race

I found this race unexpectedly while on vacation. It was on the VASA trail system, which is a very extensive outdoor trail system in Traverse City. We had decided to camp near the trails because I wanted to spend my vacation mountain biking, and introduce the family to it. I didn’t plan anything else besides getting up early and riding the trails.

As I was looking at a detailed map of the trail system, I saw an advertisement for this race. When I inquired at the campground office when it was, they informed me it was for the next day! Right away, we hopped in the car, plugged in the GPS, and found the open registration. There were four mileages from which to choose, and I chose the 20 mile for a challenge, and to see more of the trail system.

Thirty-four people started together, and that included the 10 mile people and the youth. After we sang the National Anthem, we were off! I was in mid to end of pack.

x20 start with me


From the start, we climbed a large 400 foot hill, and everyone dispersed quickly. I was riding quickly as the first leg was a downhill fast track. There was a guy behind me so I pushed myself to stay ahead through the uphill climbs. Finally, he past me and I climbed up a very steep sandy hill (that most people walk) . The route changed direction for the 20 mile route so I followed the signs to sand pits–lots of them! They were so deep of sand, a mere mountain bike couldn’t make it through. I rode onto a dirt road and crossed a busy street patrolled by a deputy, then entered the “White Meat” or as I dubbed it, the “Fairy Forestland” section. It was a newly created trail that was gnarly, bumpy, and narrow with knee high ferns grappling at my legs.

On the return 10 mile trek, I hauled mail on the singletrack which was super fun and fast! I was certain to return to the finish in good time. As I returned to the dirt road again, I was met by more sand, heat, and several uphills. My body had had enough but I was only 4 miles from the finish and I knew I could do it! I willed myself to keep going, finish my electrolyte water and fig newtons and finish STRONG!

Finally, there was a clearing as I climbed the VERY LAST HILL! The 400 foot hill I climbed at the start I now coasted down at 25 mph! Wa-hoo!

I finished with no fanfare nor energy, delighted to have finished and had the awesome experience!

x20 finish

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Summer Pedaling

Hot Pink Melody


As the kids were fishing and catching fish, I was riding. Since it’s been a busy summer, I’ve been riding longer and longer distances whenever I get a chance to “clear my mind”. It is relaxing and I can enjoy the beautiful creation God has made, especially when the sun is high in the sky, and the birds are singing and there is no car noise–just the hum of my tires. It’s exhilirating. Eventually, my mind clears and my muscles start chirping quietly, letting me know it’s time for more fuel (carbs, sugar). This will actually make or break a ride if nutrition is not exhumed wisely.

I had a choice about 20 miles into the ride to continue west where there are beautiful fields, smooth and quiet roads, and no cars, or to start heading back south toward home. I felt great but I knew the ride back wouldn’t be so energetic! I chose to head home and in another 5 miles, I was glad I did–I needed fuel! The road I was on was flat but a fair amount of traffic traversed it, so I planned my snack…..I was going to pull over, but there was a huge truck and people looking to unload bicycles… I passed them by. At the end of the flat road is a significent uphill that I trudged through while I thought about the Stampede race. At the top of the hill, I coasted down the roller coaster downhills, but my body was in need of that apple. I finally pulled over into a farmer driveway and let the juices from the apple drip happily off my chin. I also enjoyed the soft crumble of the oatmeal raisin cookie I stashed away. Although the most of the power was lost, I was able to speed the rest of the way home, and make up a lot of time.

As I rolled in to the driveway with no fanfare or energy, I am happy to report the final mileage as being 30 miles. I am also very excited to share that Melody and I have travelled 400 miles together since I got her 6 weeks ago!

400 miles

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Making Melodies



This is my very first road bike.  I wanted an aerodynamic, stream-lined melody-making bike. In fact, she is called Melody because she makes melodies to the Lord. A very pleasant and  enjoyable ride, she zips along as she hums a happy tune.

She enjoys travelling long distances, which is perfect because we live on country roads. She and I get along great because I like to travel too; so much so that we are celebrating 100 miles together…..and I just got her a week ago. What fun! We are singing and praising God for all He has done and giving Him the glory!

Making melodies to Him together! Thank you Lord!


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Stampede Race 2014

It was my debut race and I had a good sprint off the start.

off the start line

In the 1st loop I got behind a bottleneck climb and after people took their places, I crashed and the man’s bike behind me fell  on my helmet. As I started to pick up pace again, I dropped my number, so I stopped to pick it up as more people passed me.

lost the tag

The tag is in my hand before I stuffed it into my shirt, not knowing what else to do with it.

The next loop was smooth and I made up time on that one-I have done it many times and knew the lines. I caught up to some people, and found myself encouraging the person in front of me! The third loop was technical climbs and not many descents. One specific area, I and 2 others had taken the wrong path and got stuck again! I made it through that loop with several people letting me pass them. The next loop I was very familiar with so I was able to coast and haul mail on that one, even though I never did catch up to the group of six ladies. There were kids on the route and I was encouraging them too. At this point, I was at a happy place and enjoying the beautiful day.


After passing a few people, I climbed this hill with this man encouraging me. Almost there!


Finally, after an hour and eight minutes, I crossed the finish line putting me in 8th place. I made it! Victory!!

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