Monday, August 24, 2009

Leaving UP and heading through the Thumb of Michigan

Emmett, MI to Algonac, MI August 24, 2009 - Great ride today, the sun's shining on us and we have arrived at the end of our Michigan ride. Have been in this state since August 11 or so I think. Ate breakfast about 10 miles out at Mom's in Memphis, MI, cruised through Rattle Run and St. Clair, MI and I have finally updated the blog here in Marine City, MI. I still need to hop on the bike and pedal on down to Algonac but feel relived to have the blog back up to speed. I have left out a lot of things but will do some edits in the future. You have heard the main points and the bottom line is that we are doing well and will head to Canada tomorrow. More adventures to come I am sure.

Camp BER-WA-GA-NA to Emmett, MI KOA August 23, 2009 - This was another good day of riding. Saw a lot of signs indicating we were in the Thumb. We arrived a Caro, MI in the early afternoon all along the way were many nicely kept farms and vast verdant fields of corn and beans. This was a very rural area, country music playing in the convenience stores, I was quite surprised. Of note is that we also a lot of farms, homes, cars, wheels, even engines for sale. Saw one sign that said I Ain't Got Nothing for Sale-Keep Moving. Outside of Caro we headed toward Emmett KOA for the night. Jim from Detroit drove and spent the evening with us. It was good to see Jim again as he had ridden all the way from Washington with us but had to head back to work and parted with us back outside of Moorhead, MN. Lots of mosquitoes here and after Jim left we did some more planning for the rides ahead as we are still ad libbing our route. Tomorrow Algonac, MI and we will leave the Thumb for Canada.

Midland, MI to Camp BER-WA-GA-NA near Caro, MI - August 22, 2009 - Left Midland and had a fast ride to Bay City. Spent some time cruising through Bay City streets and made to the local bike path which a local said just got paved at a cost of 16, 000 dollars. We are told we are now officially in the "Thumb" of Michigan. Of note is that we passed thru my namesake town, Brown City, which among a few other things, touts itself as being the Birthplace of the Motor Home. No rain today but it seemed threatening all day long and we did have some drizzle. Overall it was a pretty uneventful day as we pressed forward into the Thumb.

Lazy K B&B (Harrison, MI) to Midland, MI August 21 - This was quite a day also but at the other end of the spectrum. We did start out with some rain and had to head down Old Highway 27 with its narrow shoulder, cracks and potholes. Just outside of Cooperton on OH 27 we were treated to a traveling car show. Hundreds of vintage auto were being escorted down the highway by the local police as part of the OH 27 car tour. The cars were from the 30's to the 70's from customs to restorations. Braden stopped in Claire to look at tents at the local outdoor store and we all took a break. At Claire we said farewell to OH 27 and entered Nirvana, that being the Pere Marquette bike trail. This was an absolutely almost perfect bike trail (rail to trail). The sky cleared the path was smooth, the wind blew from behind us and we sailed quite smoothly to Midland, MI. This was one of the most perfect sections of riding we have had and no rain. At Midland we ran into a local biker another Tom who lead us from the end of the trail at Riverfront Park and the Tridge (3 bridges over the two local rivers) to a motel. I took Dana to the regional airport MBS by Bay City so she could get back to Wichita. We all had another dry night in a motel in Midland and dinner a Pi's Chinese buffet. Dana will be missed by all, and most of all by me but she will join us again at the end of the ride.

Happy Days (Fredric, MI) to Harrison, MI August 20, 2009 - What a day! We take off on Old Highway 27, the highway from hell, to Harrison. Getting around Grayling on the Military Road was a little dicey as we were not sure of our way points and distances but we finally made it around the interstate and back onto that damned Old Highway 27. We have not had much rain the entire ride all 60 plus days of it. We got rain, outside of Houghton Lake, MI we pulled into a bait shop and party store for shelter. The owner was a retired "Generous Motors" employee who quite kind to us. Once we thought the rain had subsided we took off in full rain gear regalia. Old Highway 27 had no shoulder, the rain came down, there was limited visibility, cars were honking at us and we pulled off and road in a gravely, muddy shoulder for several miles until the rain eased up and we go back on the treacherous highway. It was still a nasty ride and we had serious safety issues associated with the road and weather conditions. At the town of Houghton Lake we got a break from the rain and had lunch. It was windy when we left but we were out of the rain. Just outside of Harrison we met up with Lynda and Dana who had found us a B&B just outside of Harrison. This was a great find, it knocked a few miles of the day and the owners Wayne and Kathleen were outstanding hosts. We treated ourselves to big screen TV, nice new showers and indoor plumbing at its best. The hosts drove us to and picked us up from a local restaurant. A nice end to a nasty day. Braden and I fought over the lounge chair and ottoman and decided to share, sort of. A dry and quiet night.

Indian River to Happy Days Campground just south of Fredric, MI August 19, 2009 - We rode down Old Highway 27 to the Happy Days camp which was not our original plan but it worked out much better than we had planned which was to stay at Hartwick or some such place. The folks at Happy Days were very accommodating. While sitting around the campfire in the early evening we were surprised by a visit from Tom D' who we had met the night before. Tom was in the area and somehow found that we had diverted our camp destination to Happy Days. Tom gave us more advice and was helpful in pointing out how to get around Grayling, MI and back to Old Highway 27. This reason this is so important is that we have abandoned the Adventure Cyclist maps for awhile and are making up our route as we go. We had rain that night but the skies cleared by morning. Old Highway 27 has some bad stretches and they will get badder as we head south.

Mackinaw City, MI to Indian River, MI Campground August 18, 2009 - Right across the highway from Camp Tee Pee we took a bike trail that would lead us to Indian River. The trail was not paved but nicely packed gravel so it was not bad cycling. Down the road several miles we came to Cheboygan, MI and stopped in at Libby's Cafe, Don and Mary took a different route and ended up at Alice's Restaurant also in Cheboygan. Libby's served some great food and I had an awesome Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. I was wearing a KU cycling jersey and a women at Libby's asked if I was from Kansas. She was a native Michigander but here husband was from Kansas and they live in Derby during the winter, we had a nice chat and it was back to the road. Somewhere about 5 miles or so back on the trail a huge tree had fallen over the trail so we had to do a little work to get the bikes and the BOB trailers over the tree, this happened twice this day. Overall it was a good cycling day and the small community of Topinabee was a lovely place for a break at the local library. At our destination-Little River we camped at the Burt State Park. A great day, no rain, but it will come. It was at this camp that we met Tom D'Ambrosia a local cyclist who gave us considerable local information about the road ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment