Note: This blog is split into weekly segments. Links to the other weeks:  FAQ   Week 1    Week 3   Week 4


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Day 13: Sunday - June 14, 2009
Naubinway to Mackinac Island, Michigan
45.64 miles (Cumulative: 539.30 miles)
Route: Rte. 2 then Rte. 75 in St. Ignace
Terrain: Mostly flat with a few hills at the end
Weather: Wind: SW ~5 mph. 60 degrees. Sunny at the start, cloudy at the end. (We finished riding at 2; the temp at 5 p.m. was 70 degrees and it was sunny.)

View of the Mackinac bridge from St. Ignace, Michigan.

Todayís ride was along the beach and through the forests. At times we were no more than 200 feet from the water riding through the dunes. The beauty is so all around you that it is very hard to get a photo that captures the moment. Sadly we leave the UP tomorrow and I am expecting some hills in lower Michigan.

This tour just keeps getting better. We are on Mackinac Island today. We are staying at the Chippewa Hotel which is downtown on the water and in the middle of what appears to be a city wide party. I have a sense that it doesnít take much of an excuse to have a party on Mackinac Island.

After we showered up we took a walk about and of course we had to see the Grand Hotel. I was wearing shorts and Cindy jeans so they would not let us walk on the sidewalk in front of the place. They apparently donít want the guests to have to cast their eyes on the local riff raff. It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to stay at a place like that, but hey, different strokes for different folks.


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Day 12: Saturday - June 13, 2009
Manistique to Naubinway, Michigan
44.57 miles (Cumulative: 493.66 miles)
Route: Rte. 2
Terrain: Mostly flat
Weather: Wind: SW ~5 mph. At the start: partly sunny, 47 degrees. At the end: sunny, 70 degrees.

Cindy on the ample shoulder of Rte. 2, west of Naubinway.

We had a choice today either 44 or 88 miles. There really were no other options so we wimped out and did the 44. The 88 sounded too much like a forced march. The weather this morning was beautiful but a front moved through and the temperature dropped considerably while we were having lunch.

The little town we are staying in is Naubinway. It is literally a wide spot on Rt. 2. There are several places one can buy a bottle of wine in Naubinway and one of them is the hardware store, Iím beginning to see a pattern here.

The UP is very rural and much of todayís ride was through forested areas with light traffic especially considering it is Saturday. We are hoping the front blows through overnight so we can finish the 88 tomorrow.


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Day 11: Friday - June 12, 2009
Escanaba to Manistique, Michigan
54.97 miles (Cumulative: 449.09 miles)
Route: Rte. 2
Terrain: Mostly flat with a few long (distance), short (elevation) hills.
Weather: At the start: sunny, 57 degrees, no wind. At the end: scattered clouds, 70 degrees, SW wind 5 mph

Looking east at Lake Michigan north of Escanaba.

I was thinking today as we were riding how touring has a certain rhythm and after 11 days out I think we are beginning to hit a stride. We are riding 5 to 6 hours a day and have been averaging 11+ MPH. I know the speed will vary based on the wind and hills but 5 to 6 hours is a good riding time for us. The interesting thing for me is that this timeframe was a stretch for both of us a week ago and it is just a nice ride now.

I enjoy driving cross country and in the last few years we have done so several times but touring on a bike is a completely different experience. When I drive all day I have a problem with drowsiness and Cindy usually falls asleep. When we tour our senses are fully engaged from the moment we hop on the bike to the moment we finish for the day. A few examples of the difference that come to mind are the sounds of birds as you ride through a wooded area or the waves hitting the beach as you ride along the shore, or the smells (good and bad) as you ride through the country or the temperature as a lake wind picks up or the rumble of an 18 wheeler as it rolls by at 65MPH, in short there is no danger of getting drowsy while touring.

We still have another 90 miles of UP and I am totally looking forward to it.


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Day 10: Thursday - June 11, 2009
Escanaba, Michigan
5.01 miles (Cumulative: 394.12 miles)
Route: to the lakeshore and back to the motel
Weather: 60s, partly cloudy, light south wind

The lighthouse museum in Ludington Park.

I was sitting outside the motel this afternoon enjoying a cigar and looking at the cars in the parking lot and something was different. There were 53 cars and trucks and only 13 of them were a foreign make. I own three cars and they are all foreign makes.

This is Michigan and it is not suppressing that people support the local industry. With GM and Chrysler both in bankruptcy I can only imagine how scary these times must be for these folks.

We had a relaxing day off. We did our laundry and rode around the downtown, which was bigger than I expected. Escanaba has an interesting history dating back to the early 1800ís. It was started as a logging enterprise like many towns on the north part of the lake and it had its manufacturing days as well. At one point they were a major manufacturer of cigars among other things.

We are having dinner tonight with fellow EBC members, Rich and Freda Diebold. They are touring the lake counter clockwise and it should be fun to exchange stories.

 


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Day 9: Wednesday - June 10, 2009
Marinette, Wisconsin, to Escanaba, Michigan (Upper Peninsula)
58.38 miles (Cumulative: 389.11 miles)
Route: A little on Rte. 41 and then the rest of the way on Rte. 35
Terrain: Totally flat
Weather: At the start: sunny, 60 degrees, no wind. It reached 70 degrees by noon. At the end: cloudy, 60 degrees, slight breeze off the lake.

Hummingbird at the BP gas station in Cedar River.

(From Cindy, regarding the photo on the left: Our rest stop today was at the BP gas station in Cedar River. Imagine our delight to find two park benches with a bird feeder and two hummingbird feeders. We enjoyed the company of three brazen hummingbirds and an occassional sparrow. This hummingbird is not in focus, but it's hard to get those little guys to stay still!)

Todayís ride started about a mile south of the Michigan border so within ten minutes we were in the UP hey! We are loving the accent change as we ride north. The locals sound a lot like Canadians.

Today we rode mostly on Rt. 35 which is a two lane road that hugs the lakeshore. In general the traffic was light and the vistas all day were breathtaking but the road fringe we were riding on was only about three feet wide and the traffic is moving at 60+ MPH. The traffic was terrific, whenever possible they moved into the left lane as they passed us so as not to crowd us. It is interesting how we get used to traffic as the days go by.

We are about a third of the way around today. After seven days on my bike we (bike & me) have a different relationship. I shift up and down without thinking and the bike starts to feel like a part of my body.

Tomorrow we are taking the day off to smell the roses (or the lilacs, which are what is in bloom here now) and do laundry.


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Day 8: Tuesday - June 9, 2009
Green Bay to Marinette, Wisconsin
59.88 miles (Cumulative: 330.73 miles)
Route: County Rd. J, then County Rd. S, Rte. 41 and Old Peshtigo Rd.
Terrain: Totally flat
Weather: Heavy overcast, ~60 degrees, NW wind 5-10 mph

Sculpture along the Menominee River in Marinette.

Todayís ride was Green Bay to Marinette. The only complicated part was getting out of Green Bay but fortunately our bike repair guy yesterday gave us an alternate route through residential neighborhoods with better road conditions. My take away is to not be shy about asking for directions from the locals especially if they work at bike shops.

Our ride today was very flat with almost no wind. Unfortunately we have not seen the sun in a few days but the road was so sparsely traveled that we could ride side by side much of the time and talk. The only problem with that is after you have finished all the stuff on the news what do you talk about? We like to do crossword puzzles together at lunch but lunch today was a granola bar and a ten minute stop. We have not figured out how to do them on a bike ride yet.

Todayís ride was a good look at the next week. We rode mostly through rural areas with very few farms and a lot of wooded areas. Beautiful at first then the boredom set in. Maybe touring in the end is a mind gameÖIíll let you know in a few weeks.


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Day 7: Monday - June 8, 2009
Green Bay, Wisconsin
6.91 miles (Cumulative: 270.85 miles)
Route: to a bike shop and back to the motel
Weather: cold, wet and windy

View down the Fox River in downtown Green Bay.

Today is a day off so we thought we would have a few repairs done to our bikes. As fate would have it the closest bike shop was In Competition Sports where we found a fantastic service department and a friendly and knowledgeable staff that helped with our routing for tomorrow out of Green Bay. I think as an anniversary present he only charged us for parts and they worked on both bikes for some time.

I am really glad that we got our service work done this morning because as predicted the sky has opened up this afternoon. As I look out the window at todayís cold rain I remember 41 years ago on June 8th in Green Bay it was a bright sunny day in the mid 90ís.

When we were here in the 60ís Vince Lombardiís Packers were the king of the hill in the NFL. I remember Paul Hornung driving through St. Norbert College campus in his Thunderbird convertible like a returning warrior. The college girls were swooning. Today as I was watching the evening news a commercial had all pro Jerry Kramer doing an ad for a nursing home.

What a difference 2 score plus 1 year makes!


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