Riding with TJ / the last pie / metal pizza

Early May in Michigan. Crisp blue skies and new green buds everywhere you look. Rebirth and rejuvenation after the winter. I traveled there from LA to see my younger brother, just coming out of a near-death experience and weeks of medically induced coma. Here’s to hoping for rejuvenation in his life.

But I couldn’t spend all my visiting hours in the hospital watching his dialysis process and playing songs for him and the nurses on a borrowed guitar. I just don’t know enough songs. Actually, I can’t play enough songs well enough that I wouldn’t get kicked out anyway. So I went for a ride with TJ Hill, renowned ride leader for the Wolverine Sports Club, of which I am a member. TJ leads mountain bike rides on the gravel/dirt roads where the Detroit suburbs become pastoral country. I met TJ and the other riders on a lovely Thursday morning at the Stoney Creek Metropark boat launch lot where TJ had brought along a spare bike for me to use.

TJ Hill

Our group of eight headed north out of the park onto roads I had never before traveled. This is despite living a few miles south of the park from 1965-70. During that period I never got past the beach. I was a teenager and that’s where the girls were. No need to go further.

Many, many years later, TJ was taking us well past the beach to the village of Almont for blueberry pancakes. How things do change… Three riders turned back early, but the remaining five of us gave the cook a workout at Maria’s Place in Almont. There and back, 50+ miles. Here are my pix from the ride.

Growing up with four siblings, I experienced many years of home-cooked family dinners. But what I was really in it for was the dessert. You see, my mom had worked in a bakery when she was young and learned how to make cakes, pies and other sweet stuff to die for. I’m talking buttercream frosting tinted and shaped into red roses and green vines, chocolate eclairs with custard filling, apple-cinnamon-walnut sheet pies. You get the idea. Good thing I was a multi-sport athlete or I might still be fighting several bulges.

the last pie

One of my favorites was strawberry custard pie with whipped cream on top. Now, mom just turned 90 and she has given up the bakin’ life. Just too much work. Dad pines away. But they don’t get to see me much, so she conceded to make another strawberry custard pie for my visit. She said it’s the last pie. Tasted as good as all those that came before. Here is a set of pix including the pie and some of the other sights I saw while visiting. One of them I noticed while driving down 13 Mile Road near Main in Royal Oak – “Pizzallica”. Oh yeah. My daughter is a drummer in a metal/pop band, she would love it. Next time we are both in Detroit we shall dine upon metal pizza.

Metal Pizza

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