Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Around Lake Okeechobee

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My homemade panniers decompiled themselves for the first time as I steered the bike down the dike near Buckhead Ridge. I had only been in the saddle for twenty minutes, which somehow included 1) a harrowing crossing of the Kissimmee River, 2) the end of paved trail for the foreseeable future, and 3) the first inroads of broiling sun into my brain. I had aimed the front wheel of the bike towards the picnic table and its blessed shade canopy, started going down the dike, then started to realize I was going down the dike way too fast. The brakes had too much grass in them and were useless. I got up on peddles as the poor frame bounced over dandelions and armadillo holes. My panniers (six dollars worth of Rubbermade and clothesline from Wal-Mart) broke their lashings and burst, like pinatas filled with mildew and jerky. The ground did a good imitation of kids with sticks. I parked the bike at the picnic shelter and went to pick up my litter.

Mostly I was stopping to get some breath after crossing the Kissimmee. Canal crossings turned out to be uphill adrenaline fests spent peddling madly in a two foot shoulder that you share with semi drivers and their bottles of tiny little pills. There were going to be a lot of such crossings, one for each of the waterways that fed or drained the big lake. They made me nervous, if you can read "nervous" as "effing terrified".

My packing method was similarly ridiculous: rubbermade bins and clothesline, with a chopped up piece of bamboo to provide poles for my tent. My tent usually sets up with trekking poles and sticks, but a) I didn’t need trekking poles on a bicycle, and b) the LOST has no trees and hence no sticks. The bamboo did make many locals think I was some sort of fishing hobo, which worked well. I recommend that any traveller in these parts carry some sort of fishing-related item. It makes it easier to talk to people.

Reflecting on this trip at Buckhead Ridge, it all seemed a bit hopeless. The canal crossings, my general ineptitude at this bicycling thing, the late hour, and general misery made me seriously consider turning the bike around, getting a room in Okeechobee town, repacking, installing slam shifters, and heading out the next day. I then seriously considered what would really happen if I got a room, namely, television and vodka.

I retied the panniers, walked the bike up the dike and kept heading south-southwest, on the northwest arc of Lake Okeechobee, towards the Indian Prairie Canal. It was 3:30PM.


In July of 2007 a bunch of scientific types took advantage of record-low water to scrape some muck from the exposed lake bottom. They found some mud, some archeological items, and a whole lot of poison. The beating heart of southwest Florida's fresh water system was filled with arsenic and a toxicological zoo, which even chronic Republicans agreed was probably a bad idea. They got dump trucks and started hoovering up the lethal muck, only to find that there was no place on earth that would allow the bottom of Lake Okeechobee to be deposited on their land. It was too poisonous. Eventually they just plopped the stuff back on the shores of the lake to create parking lots and airboat ramps. Of course, a word like "shore" is itself dubious in this context.

At roughly half of its historical size, the lake is not visible from the western “shore”. The area technically occupied by the lake is a vast prairie cut with piles of rock and straight canals that run off into the horizon, sort of like the Everglades but with more trees. It's odd, but you would think that one of the defining traits of a lake is that it doesn't have a forest in it.


It was still very pretty, and very quiet, when I wasn't polluting the silence with grindings and clanking and the occasional clunk of a pannier part falling off. There was a canal on either side of the dike, one following the theoretical shore of the lake and another separating the dike from the mainland. The dike was always the same, a treeless, flawlessly mowed thirty foot mound topped by a path. I always had the lakeside to my left and the canalside to my right.

RV parks and stodgy communities of fish-addled retirees lined the canal from Buckhead Ridge to Moores Head, motoring out religiously in pontoon vessels and bassboats. The lakeside was populated mostly by osprey, with the textbook sharp black coloration and peaked crests, unlike the washed out and undersize brownish osprey that live in my backyard. I watched one snatch a fish out of the water. I got knocked around by rocks.

I had just started the longest unpaved stretch of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, from Buckhead Ridge to Moores Head. The Trek 7000 that faithfully served my 8 mile town commute was not terribly pleased with the prospect of limestone and gravel for so many miles and with so much extra weight on the rear wheel. It communicated this to me by tossing my panniers off the dike every few miles. With the sun touching the tops of the tallest palms on the canalside, I espied the picnic table and shelter of a backcountry campsite. I parked the bike and went down to the table with my trusty backpack, ahead of schedule.

The breeze was not so bad and came from the NNW, which explains how I was able to make so many miles so late in the day on an unpaved road. The campsite was pleasant but there was no way I was going to drink canal water. I finished up my water from the Kissimmee boat ramp bathroom and contemplated my map. I raised my head to see a lone backpacker loping up. The old banter came back like a native language.
"Where you coming from today?"
"Key West"
"Wow. Florida Trail?"
"Eastern Continental Divide, finishing up."
"Lots of roadwalking in the Keys, I bet."
He made a sour expression. "Oh yeah."
I noted his Granite Gear Nimbus. "Hey, Granite Gear. I got an Ozone 2003, my AT (Appalachian Trail) pack."
He just beamed, his whole face just lit up. "Hey, what year you do the trail?"
"2006. My trail name was Mash."
“Just Kevin.” We shake hands. He’s a “Just”, which is what happens to people when they insist on using their real name on the Appalachian Trail. You become a “Just -”. "Wow, it's probably still fresh for you, isn't it? I must have done it, oh, three times. PCT twice. Last time I was on the AT I went on the International Appalachian Trail, up to Brunswick. Figured I'd finish up the Eastern Divide trail with the Florida Trail, then up the Piwoti connector. ."
Holy crap, I thought, I'm talking with one of those old Appalachian Trail celebrities lost on the shores of Lake Okeechobee. We talked a lot and agreed on the general awesomeness of backpacking and how I really have to do the PCT someday. I took his picture. "You know," he said, "backpackers are the best people on earth. That's the real truth."
"I know," I said. I climbed up the dike, back on my bike, and pedaled away.


The sun was minutes from setting, and the glittering rocks in the path had taken on a sort of greenish color. Later, when I saw the glitter in normal light, I realized that the green existed only in my mind. With too much orange light, my optic nerve spun the color wheel a bit so that everything would stay in some sort of balance. You can try this yourself at home with a red LED lamp, or, alternatively, stare into the setting sun for thirty minutes.

The sun was just about to go down right before I got to the tiny hamlet of Lakeport, with something that looked like a motel. As a former Appalachian Trail through-hiker, I can detect cheap motels from miles off, and this one looked like a doozy. I took a snapshot of the sunset and pedaled off the dike towards the bridge spanning Harney Pond canal.

It was, unfortunately, an incredibly badly staffed doozy. Though the rooms were all dark, with not a car in the lot, the office had a prominently displayed "NO VACANCY" sign in the window. An immensely fat lady in a mumu glared at me from inside the office over a spread of fried chicken parts. That's OK, I thought. This is why I have a tent.

I grabbed some water at the boat ramp bathroom and crossed Harney Pond canal while there was still light. Without electric lights on the bike frame, I did not trust locals to completely avoid me if I biked on the roadside after dusk. Even if they did see me, I am not sure I would have trusted them to avoid me. It's paranoid, but there's only one thrown beer bottle between being an outdoorsman and being a guy in a dumpster that drools a lot.

If I could go back and change one thing about this trip, I would do a lot more of my biking at night. It was gorgeous. The lights of Lakeport came on as I went, and the glow from the other towns made you look out over the lake and wonder which towns they were. True, I almost creamed myself on some extra-large gravel, and I had to stay a bit more alert to spot the campsite in the dark, but it was great all the same. I eventually saw the site and pitched my tent in the dark without any problem. There was a low one-man tent of the Hubba type off to one side of the campsite, containing what sounded like a very satisfied snorer. More power to him, I thought, as I settled down to my book, some cheese, and some almonds.

Airboaters in this area prefer to go up the ramp with their engines, which are unmuffled small block Chevies with airplane propellers, usually dual counter rotating props that keep the engine torque from spinning the hull like a top. When a bunch of them come in and pull up the ramp, it sounds like an athletic orgy of B-17s. They pull in and go out all hours of the night. Now I know and you know too.

When I packed out next morning the tent and snorer were still there. I marvelled at how he could have slept so soundly through the blitz last night. Probably booze, and lots of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

There are two important things in bicycling: wind direction, and ass. Wind direction I thought was important but I had no idea just how important it was. When there is enough of it going the wrong way it cuts your mileage worse than an uphill does. Ass is something I did not appreciate. It's why you never see bicyclists with backpacks. Backpacks add to ass. Ass adds to pain. A backpacker has his load elegantly distributed across several points on his body. A cyclist has his ass.

Another important part of cycling is being lost. The first sign I had that I was lost was when I started seeing houses on the lake side of the dike. I was used to not seeing water, but houses on the lakeside? Surely this was illegal, or at least litigiously stupid? The dike was built in response to the second-deadliest natural disaster in United States History, as long as you just sort of stop corpse counting from Katrina, which has worked out pretty well so far. Anyway, what gives? I biked on. The trail got rougher. I lost the canals, and there was a prancing herd of . . antelope . . on my left, behind many hundreds of yards of barbed wire fencing. Yep, definitely antelope. Springbok, actually. I must have taken the off-ramp to Kenya. I went to take their picture but the camera was also apparently DOA, definitely an omen that I was way off course. Feeling stupid, I turned around to get back to Fisheating Creek. By the time I rejoined the trail, I had gone eleven miles out of the way, the wind had slewed around to the SSE, and I was biking right into it.

It went well at first. I got my head in the game and started hauling along. Unfortunately, the trail conditions disintegrated, turning to lumps of limestone hummocked with thick crabgrass. The bike frame began taking big hits, and the panniers, which hitherto had only suffered damage to the lashings, started cracking along their length where they impacted the luggage rack. As I neared the Chokoloskee sunburn was becoming an issue, and the wind kicked up to seven knots. Ass could only think about the trail after Moores Head, where I would rejoin pavement. I had big hopes for that pavement. I was hoping for Pahokee tonight, but in a pinch I could do Belle Glade. Then town happened.

I didn't take a stove or pot with me this trip, thinking cheese, jerky, and nuts would be fine for a few days. Staring up at the bridge over the Chokoloskee, feeling the wind kick up, I figured, hey, I can charge my cell phone and chat with Monica, let my new wife know that I'm alive. I can get a roast chicken, cross the bridge, eat my chicken, read my book, the sun will be a bit lower and maybe- just maybe- the wind will slew a bit more south. Sure, it could happen. Mr. Mogilewsky, have you met denial? Why yes, hello denial, haven't seen you in a bit.

The picnic area on the other side of the bridge was just about perfect, with a big roomy sheltered area, vast if not terribly clean bathrooms, and all the fresh water I could drink. Going over the big Chokoloskee bridge was pretty gorgeous, and Moores Head proved friendly, their non-chain grocery store sporting a beautiful array of barbecue. One of the big problems with the Appalachian Trail, I always felt, was that it left serious barbecue country way too soon. I ate a chicken, read, promptly fell asleep, woke up, peed, fell asleep again, played around with denial, then invited it home and gave it a guest bedroom.

When I finally kicked out the freeloading bastard it was 4:30 PM Sunday afternoon. The wind on the dike had stepped up to twenty knots from the SE, exactly my direction of travel. I had gone less than halfway around Lake Okeechobee. It was time to go.


I downshifted to some ridiculously low gear, but occasionally a crosswind would gust and knock me down. The gusts always came from the same direction, SSW, so I kept the wheels closer to the grass on the lee side of the dike so I would tumble on grass instead of on asphalt.

In any crosswind, the lee side of the path had some turbulence from the windward side lofting all that air into the sky. That turbulent zone was a bit easier to ride in, at least when the crosswind would blow. I could tell when the crosswind was gusting because tiny birds would appear flying over the dike, tumbling utterly out of control until the wind deposited them in the grass on the lee slope of the dike. Poor little buggers.

Otherwise it was just more headwind, more air holding me back. This town Trek doesn't have narrow low bars like a road bike does, so I bent low and grabbed the forks to try and shrink into the wind. My thighs rammed my belly, making me feel especially fat and useless.

A crosswind spilled me, and the panniers finally gave up the ghost. A gazillion little plastic bits smooshed under the bicycle. I contemplated an ancient brick pump house for some minutes, listening to pulleys clang on masts set above the pump house dock. There might not be a soul alive that knows what that tackle was originally built for. The pump house itself looked like it was about ready to follow the rotting dock into the canal, to join the rest of the decay in the water. There but for God go I.

OK, I thought. This needs to change. I'm a better-than-average long-distance backpacker but a pretty crappy cyclist. Time to roll with our strengths, the gloves are coming off, etc., etc. I packed the backpack as if I were carrying it, duct taped the remnants of the panniers with the gear I would not be using again, secured it to the frame, and moved on. The reduced profile sped me up, and not having great big plastic things swinging around probably made me a bit more stable. Increased ass load from the pack, but ass in this case falls under wind in the org chart. Another brilliant sunset biking the shores of Okeechobee.

Is it common for people to never find their real strength until they want to die? I think it is.

After I imagined my totem animal dropping by and having a frank chat with me I found it much easier to pedal, but harder to keep my brain working in normal places. My thoughts wandered.

The entire south end of the lake, from Moore's Head to Belle Glade, is lined with sugar cane on the canal side. The cane smelled bad. I've walked through just about every kind of agricultural land between Atlanta and Bangor and I have never smelt a crop that reeks like this. It's nice enough to look at, but it has to sit in clean water all day and all night just to grow. It gets wild clean water squirted into it from underground and poisoned water gets squirted into the lake. It's like a public health program in reverse: the dike takes your tax money and then injects you with arsenic.

Of course, said the crazy little man that lives in my brain. It all comes down to Hoover.

Oh, god, not this again, I said to the crazy little man

Wild water is feminine; it's the domain of the moon. Hoover's a name that hates wild water. J. Edgar and mansex and all that. This is a Hoover place; it is a place that hates untamed water. So Hoover dressed up his man things, his straight canals and straight dams and straight rocks, he dresses them in wild water and goes and dances with the president! Right in front of everyone's noses! This place is so totally J. Edgar!

Shut up crazy little man, I say.

After a while I was pedaling under a half moon and getting some cover from the wind: a gigantic forest of melaleuca, the biggest stand of the stuff I've ever seen. They've perfected the art of growing up and immediately falling down, like Beirut. Melaleuca shades out native cover but its greatest weapon is its water sucking ability. It's a weapon aimed directly at developers, since this one tree could easily squeeze a lot of residents out of the state by squeezing the water supply. There's something sort of endearing about an invasive tree planted by developers causing developers problems. It would be endearing, anyway, except that those developers have the resources to move on to something else, and we don't.

Back home there was a guy who moved into Lakewood Ranch who- God forbid!- obeyed the county laws governing watering restrictions. His yard turned brown. His homeowner association started fining him for having a brown yard. He started watering again because the homeowner association fined more than the county. Somehow the homeowner association was never, you know, approached by law enforcement for breaking the law. People put too much authority in uniforms. If a cop runs over a hobo and tells you nothing happened, and you say nothing, you're still breaking the law. Of course, if the homeowner association is perceived as being more effective in maintaining quality of life, you might just decide you have another set of laws right there. I could see Lakewood Ranch having a hobo-murdering clause in their CC&R, for example.

Clouds began to blot out the moon, and the night got dark quickly. I could see the lights of Clewiston ahead. It was decision time. If I stayed the night in Clewiston I would have a sixty-seven mile ride tomorrow to my car. If the wind was with me it was possible. If the wind was against me I didn't think it was. I needed weather data and food, and I would have to pass through Clewiston anyway to get over Industrial Canal. A restaurant stop sounded nice. I dropped off the dike, stopped in at a Hungry Howie's and grabbed a spicy something salad and giant diet soda. The staff was kindly enough to tune in the Weather Channel for me. Luckily the NASCAR race just ended.

I was one happy hobo.


The weather channel had spoken. Southwest winds all day Monday, shifting to south in the afternoon, then calm with thunderstorms later. For once I would have perfect winds, pavement virtually the whole day, and I felt pretty good. I made my way to the Relax Inn I saw from the dike, thanking the Hungry Howie people again for letting me watch the weather.

"Two beds, only sleep in one", said the clerk.
"Sorry?" I said.
"Two beds in room," said the clerk, a bit piqued,"You sleep in one."
I tried to smile but I think my face made more of a sneery sort of grimace. I call it my Cheney smile. If I ditched Rajneesh’s Rude Relaxation Inn right here I would have to make a bridge crossing over the Industrial Canal at night, and I’d been trying to avoid the canal bridges at night. The moon was still hidden, which made biking on the dike a bit more difficult. I was sorely tempted to pedal off and let him sell my room to some Haitian prostitot. Still: water, bed, electricity, phone Monica, sleep. Toilet!
"Okay," I said.
"No pack on other bed."
"You bet!" I said, a little too enthusiastically. I gave him a double thumbs up and a crazy smile.
No other words passed between us, which was probably for the best.
I went to my room and tuned in Black Hawk Down on the television, trying to write off the horrible service I always get in motels like the Relax Inn of 820 E Sugarland Hwy in Clewiston, FL.

I ditched my bamboo tent poles and the broken pannier. Camping equipment went into the intact pannier, which was duct-taped behind the seat until it was firmly integrated into the frame. Wouldn't be needing the tent, sleeping bag, or tent poles again. The rear wheel had picked up a bit of a wobble, which I initially thought was axle imbalance, but with a bit more tinkering proved to be bent spokes. Oh heck. Thirty miles of gravel too many. Plus all those miles I was lost back at Fisheating Creek.

The Black Hawk on the television just ate an RPG with its tail rotor. I watched the tail rotor spin on its off-center axle, the rotation whipping around until it sawed off its own nacelle. "Lost rear rotor. Super Six Four going down. Going down hard." Somehow I fell asleep listening to a minigun's chainsaw roar, thinking about the rear wheel on my bicycle.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The alarm went off at 6 and I was on the dike by 6:45. Clewiston is "the sweetest town in Florida" due to the sugar industry here. The locals were torn about Big Sugar: on the one hand they like economic activity, but on the other hand they love fishing and potable water.

I rode at a good clip, with no wind of any kind so early in the morning. The sun began peeking between the horizon and the same low clouds that had trapped the moonlight last night. The cane fields were pretty if foul-smelling. As the sun came up the wind started kicking, south out of my starboard fore, but then I started the big turn north outside of Belle Glade, putting most of the wind behind me. Rear wheel began to pick up some noticeable lateral movement. I stopped at a rest area to check it out, but there was nothing I could do with spokes. The rear wheel was going to have to just tough it out.

I was sort of enjoying the relative isolation of the southern shore. Not an RV park in sight, and I could see towns from more than five miles off. At the same time, I was wondering if I was going to have to get a ride soon, with the rear wheel going all over the place, or worse, if it was going to spill me at ten miles an hour. A lot of people would get some cheap laughs if I break an arm going on a paved bike path around a perfectly flat lake.

I grabbed some water from the rest stop and pushed on to Pahokee.

After fifty some miles on the LOST I caught my first sight of Lake Okeechobee, the water part of it anyway. It looked like the Gulf. There was no sign of land anywhere but for the shore I rode on. I wondered at the double-red channel markers. You're supposed to keep the green on your right when leaving harbor, and the red on your right when coming back to harbor, hence the boater's lullaby of "green-going-right-red-returning". Double red could mean many things, I thought, all of them bad. I closed enough to see shoal water underneath the double red markers. They were hazard markers, then. There were a lot of shoal hazards in this lake, perhaps not unsurprising for a body of water that's been losing a foot a year.

I rode past a sketchy little skydiving airport. "SKYDIVE USA" said the sign. Something I'd like to try eventually, if I ever get comfortable with the idea of blowing a couple of hundred dollars on a couple of hour's entertainment. It's also hard to get comfortable with the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

I rode into Pahokee at 9:39, marking twenty three miles made in three hours, minus a twenty minute break. The possibility I might actually get through sixty-some miles today became a bit more real. Breakfast in Pahokee was huevos rancheros from the coffee shop. Delicious. The parents to my right annoyed me. Slapping your three year old for picking up a fork is not going to make her stronger or smarter. How about explaining the fork, since that's obviously why she's picking it up? Mom and dad use shiny spiky thing, perhaps I will try to use shiny spiky thing. WHACK! Oh well guess not.


Pahokee was pretty charming anyway, but I was beginning to notice that the towns progressively became more and more charming the more tired I got, regardless of their actual charm content. I watched sailboats bob on their moorings to my left. I cameled up at the Pahokee boat ramp bathroom, filled up my reserve water bag, every water container I had, actually; this would be the last potable water until I got back to my car at the town of Okeechobee, forty-five miles off, almost directly across the east axis of the lake. Lowgeared up the dike and I was northbound on the east shore at 10:45. Then a sign:


I stopped, cursed sincerely, dug out my cell, and called the number:
"Fiddlesticks," I said as I powered off the phone. This stretch was going to be the last unpaved section, from Pahokee to Port Mayaca. According to the map the only alternate route was northbound US 441, which paralleled the trail. Hopefully I could hop back on the dike at Port Mayaca. I started north on the shoulder of the highway.

There were a lot of trucks. Big trucks, small trucks, middlin trucks, all carrying loads of citrus and dirt. I wished I had a harpoon, but skiing behind a semi at fifty-five miles an hour on a worn out commuter bike with a bad rear wheel would probably not score high on the Smart-O-Meter. Not to mention the problematic operation of such a device. Firing a weapon capable of punching five millimeters of mild steel is not a task you’d want to do from the back of a bicycle; the recoil would send you halfway to Miami.

The shoulder got very small, and then there was construction and one-lane traffic. Kindly Mexican signalmen stopped traffic both ways for me, which they really didn’t have to do, but I always got the feeling that Mexicans get a kick out of gringos on bikes, especially worn-out looking sun burnt gringos with a Clampett assortment of plastic and duct tape on their luggage racks. I thanked them profusely.

Other times I wasn’t so lucky, and had to scamper like a rabbit to get from one shoulder to the next before the shoulder disappeared and I was creamed by a dirt truck carrying toxic sludge from one place to another. Feel that adrenaline! Thanks to my body’s integrated emergency response system and the brisk tailwind, I covered the twelve miles between Pahokee and Port Mayaca in half an hour.


Up and over the St. Lucie canal near Port Mayaca, I thought about the cemetery near here, where most of the victims of the 1928 storm were buried: sixteen hundred dead, most from exposure after they were washed out into the Everglades. Swamps are one of the hardest survival environments, which is strange when you look at them. Tons of water, tons of critters, should be easy to live off the land . . but you can’t walk far, you can't get dry, the water’s lethal with pathogens, and a lot of the critters that live there are well-equipped to snack on you rather than the reverse. It takes tough, desperate, somewhat scary people to survive in swamps. Pick up any early history of Florida and you’ll see what I mean.

Not too far outside of Port Mayaca I could see the Treasure Island water tower, which I knew was not too far from Okeechobee. The end was sort of in sight. The lake had begun to generate a seabreeze, which was not optimal, but it only managed to slew the wind around just a bit to port, mostly aft. It was going to really bite when I went around the bend towards Okeechobee. I stopped at a picnic shelter near the Henry Creek lock and sucked up some shade. The sun on my head was transitioning from innocent sunburn to hazard. It felt like my forehead was sloughing off. I’m not sure what strange madness caused me to not get a hat for this trip, but it’s another lesson learned.

After Nublin Creek lock the wind unexpectedly shifted to WSW. I was biking square into the wind again, but thankfully Aeolus did not send quite the force he did yesterday. The rear wheel probably appreciated the abatement of velocity; the touring speed today had given the wheel a decidedly dangerous-looking, even third world kind of wobble. The trail remained unchanged. Mound, lake, canal, treeless grass and water. I got to the “official” LOST trailhead, three miles short of my car, at 2 PM, sixty some miles in just over eight hours.

The official trailhead was so incredibly ghetto I couldn’t believe that anyone would brave the trail behind it. The canal crossing of Taylor Creek was the worst on the trail, with absolutely no shoulder, forcing cars to beep and curse at pedestrians. Only the certifiable would try to bike across this. To get to the actual trailhead, you weave through a mostly drunk RV park and put your car between a propane tank farm and an airboat repair yard. I saw a carful of Japanese tourists drive hopefully up to the trailhead, look around politely, then promptly drive back the way they came. No bathrooms, no water, the land itself a sort of watery Mordor. I got back on the dike and lowgeared into a headwind until I saw the US 441 parking lot, so much nicer than the “official” trailhead that I was glad I’d ignored the driving instructions on the LOST website. I coasted down the dike, right up to my car, ending my cycling trip around Lake Okeechobee. It was 3:30 PM.

I walked out on the birdwalk, called Monica, and relaxed, letting my skin spit out some of the heat it had been bombed with. The east shore was awesome. Paved the whole way, relatively undeveloped, and you can actually see the lake. It would be perfect for anyone training in an endurance event. No distractions, flat ground, just go. Tents really aren’t necessary, you can get a bed at regular intervals, and that cuts down loads to almost nothing. The lack of water and bathrooms is a problem anywhere on the LOST. Biking, I could carry a ton of water, but runners wouldn’t have that luxury. Guys can stealth pee on a lonely side of the dike, but if I were a girl I’d have been a little put off by all that open space behind my butt.

All things considered, a decent weekend. In a few weeks I might even be able to sit normally again.