Calumet Bike Trail by Indiana Dunes

One of the trails on my list to ride this summer was the Calumet Bike Trail, which is a 9 mile gravel trail by the Indiana Dunes. As I had nothing planned for this three-day weekend, I thought that I'd get up early and get out there to ride it. Part of my concern was that the only parking lot I saw was pretty small. I wanted to be sure that I'd get a space, so I figured I'd be better off with an early ride. I ended up getting there before 8am and was the only person there. I got on the trail and only did about 1/2 mile when I had to turn back. The trail was still very, very wet and completely submerged in places. While I really don't mind getting muddy on bike rides, I actually felt that I was doing damage to the trail and just wasn't enjoying it. And, as you can tell from the pictures below, I hesitate to even call it a trail. To me, it looked like tire tracks. As far as I can tell, this was not a well-maintained trail. It had no drainage, which is why there was all the standing water. And I think that gravel trails probably need to be groomed every so often. It didn't look like much had been done to this trail in a while. So I think that I'm going to cross this one off my list. Now I'm also a little concerned about my plan to bike a gravel trail from Kankakee on my birthday. I may have to take a test ride and see what kind of shape that trail is in.

photo 1

photo 2

Wrapping It Up

I need to get my kitchen finished because I want to move on to some other things. Over the past couple of days I've been:

looking into volunteer opportunities
thinking of how to design a letterpress system
investigating woodworking classes so I can build a dining room table
buying a collection of sample paper to learn about different weights, colors, types
pricing table saws
looking into joining TechShop in Detroit, even though it's five hours away
thinking of some new quilt designs
looking into vacation ideas
thinking of moving this blog from wordpress to octopress

If I'm lucky, the countertop comes tomorrow. If not, it won't be until next week. I'm fine with either one, but am definitely starting to plan my next project. Once it's installed, I have to finish the plumbing, which will take some time. And then finish the trim around the windows and parts of the floor. Not complicated work, but finishing work is usually not my strong suit. This is probably going to take all the patience that I have, so I'm apologizing in advance to anyone I snap at in the next few days.

Samples

I've spent the weekend reading all about letterpress printing. I'm not sure why this is suddenly fascinating to me, but it is. I think I like that it has big machinery associated with it, but you can also do it yourself on a much smaller scale. In the course of my reading and watching videos, I discovered that I also don't really know much about paper. It's everywhere, so I pretty much just take it for granted. Going off on that tangent led me to reading all about different papers. I finally came to this company French Paper, which is a family-owned company in Michigan that makes paper. While it's cool that it's been family-owned for six generations, what I really like about them is what they sell. Specifically, they sell sample packages of paper and a little booklet describing all their papers. To me, this is brilliant. I wish more companies would do this, explain what they sell or at least offer an inexpensive sample so I could see if it would work on one of my projects. Anyway, I'm now waiting for my arrival of:

French Paper Utility Guide
Sample Pack Multi-Pack

These might be completely unsuitable for what I'm thinking, but for ~$50, I think I'm going to learn a lot about this stuff.