When SummerFest ended, the streets of Ann Arbor seemed empty, and I was missing my outdoor music venue! Fast-forward 10 days, and it was time for the annual Ann Arbor Art Fair of more than 350 known and emerging artists from across the country. Now in its 58th year, it draws over 300,000 people during four days to see (and buy) newly created works, from life-size sculptures to photography to jewelry, and much more. What stunned me is that the Fair lines a dozen main thoroughfares near the campus and downtown, yet somehow the city still runs! I perused for two days (without a purchase), and took in some live music, too. Within days, the Kerrytown Concert House presents a "week after Art Fair Song Fest". The entertainment goes on.
While I've been in town for more than two months now, I'm still working on my "to see and do" list. As the calendar turns to August, I'm wondering if I will ever pass this way again. One never knows, right? There are three small towns nearby that I hope to fit into my itinerary, and last weekend, I spent a day cycling and walking, while playing tourist in Saline.
Named by French explorers for its salt springs, Saline is dear to my heart because it's where I've enjoyed cycling every Saturday morning with a small group from the local bike shop. Just four miles from "home", it was founded as a village in 1832, flourished with the expansion of the railroad, and by 1875, Saline was the principal agricultural shipping point in southeastern Michigan. In 1931, it became the "city of Saline", and today, with a population around 10,000, it's holding on to its small town feeling, while rural life diminishes.
As I continue to work, play and explore, I am also itching to roam. I've pondered Banff and Jasper, a return to New Mexico, a cycling trip around Lake Michigan, and travel abroad. With no definite decisions for the remainder of the year, I will say two things with absolute confidence -- I'm not ready to settle in one place, and I'm never going to live too far from the sea!
The last few weeks have been in crazy push mode as I've been training for my first bike event in many years, celebrating the 4th and summer in general, working and book writing a bit more, spending hours in the dental chair, and happily entertaining guests.
Ann Arbor is a politically active, progressive town, but the 4th of July parade was a bit of a shocker. I've never seen a holiday parade that was 90% politicians and political statements! This did not please me -- aren't we supposed to take one day off to celebrate the fact that we can rant freely? With one exception, I've chosen to share the parade bits that had me singing, "I love a parade!"
When I arrived in Ann Arbor, I immediately found the bike touring club's July event, known as "One Helluva Ride". Just the name was enough to motivate me to train for the 66-miler, and since it started 15 miles west, I knew I'd get to see some of the area that I've never seen before. It was a fairly hilly, scenic ride of more than 1500 folks, and yes, it goes through Hell, Michigan. I'd forgotten how much I love a day of rising at dawn with nothing to do but pedal and eat with a crowd!
The following day, a dear friend from high school and her daughter arrived, and we packed in 12 hour days (and 8-10 mile walks!) touring everywhere possible in Ann Arbor. From breakfast through evening cocktails, we were on an agenda, and what fun it was! An annual July reunion is now on the books.
I'm stunned that I roll out of here in about a month, and no, I haven't decided which direction the Element will be pointing. That news coming soon, honestly.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover