6/26 Parts RV Parts

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Hi, This is Jodi

I had a great day. I drove to Crossfit, Chiron in Mason City again. I pulled up as everyone was running out the door for a 400 meter run. I hurriedly joined in with car keys dangling in one hand and my “drop in” fee in the other. It was a great workout, mostly core exercises. I practiced breathing throughout and the work and was so much easier than holding my breath

As soon as class let out I drove a mile to a Frank Lloyd Wright house. I didn’t realize until yesterday afternoon that in Mason City there is a hotel, bank and a house built in 1910 and 1908 respectively. I took the house tour and loved every second of it. I learned that once FLW’s scandalous affair became known he was not invited back to Mason City.

Allen stayed in the RV and worked on editing a video project.

I got back and we went to the Laundromat. On the way we learned that the parts have arrived and will be installed tomorrow. We expect to be staying in Sioux City, Iowa..Walmart Parking lot tomorrow. Oh, well, the price is right.

All in all I enjoyed the unplanned stay in this part of the country.

Hi Jodi here,

We are still at Forest City. Who knows how long we will be here waiting for the part for our RV to be manufactured. Yesterday morning I drove 30 miles to the nearest Crossfit. It’s a fast 30 minute drive down a series single lane roads, and it’s telling how little there is around here. The weather has been varied. We’ve had rain and downpours and sun and wind. The sky is so big here you can see big beautiful fields of clouds and see several rain storms of in the distances. The air here is delightful

Today we bicycled twenty miles to Clear Lake on lightly traveled roads.This is farm country. The skies this morning were bright blue. We had a tail wind to our advantage. One thing that Clear Lake is famous for is the Surf Ballroom. The Ballroom is remembered as the location of the last concert that Buddy Holly and Richie Valens gave shortly before their plane crashed a few miles from this site. The town had an old fashion feel to it from a brass band playing on the town green to diagonal parking on the main street. There were big beautiful houses along with boats completely surrounding the Lake.

We had lunch and started our return trip. The weather changed, clouds, rain drops and severe wind right in our faces and broadside. It was a real effort to get back to the RV and we missed the downpour by 30 minutes. We had a good dinner.

Boo. Hoo. There is really no reasonable destination to bike to tomorrow. I might finish my book, The Nature Fix. I’m learning the science behind how being outdoors in natural settings is so important to living a less stressful and healthy life. I also think that I might find a place along the river to draw, that’s as long as the wind is not to strong and the rain holds off.

Now this is more like it. Yesterday Allen and I went for a 3 mile run on a trail along the Winnebago River. Today we went on a 15 mile bike ride to and through a state park. We climbed to a CCC tower built in the late 1930s on the 2nd highest point in Iowa. Earlier today, well from 9am to 11:30am we went on a tour of the Winnebago Complex. We saw the big truck frames go in one end of the building and come out the other end as fully assembled coaches. We learned that all of the coaches are built to order and this plant completes about 40 per day.

At the end of the tour we got to go into a recently finished top of the line model. $459,000, buys a 42′ coach with lots of square footage as both sides expand. This one had marble floors, granite countertops, a high-end full-sized stainless steel refrigerator. You get the picture.

From our free campsite at the Winnebago Service Center I’ve identified two Doves and just a few minutes ago a woodpecker started pecking at my eye-level on a pine tree about 15′ away. He left before I could pick-up my camera.

Well, the good news is that Winnebago quickly identified the problem and the needed fix. We need the hydraulic jack cylinders replaced. More good news is that the jack manufacturer, HWH is only about half an hour from here.

The bad news is that HWH doesn’t keep these parts in stock. They manufacture them on demand. So it is going to take “at least a week” to get the parts.

Jodi and I discussed trying to find an RV repair place in the Denver area that could order the parts and do the install while we’re there, and we even called a couple of places, but no joy. So we went back to the service desk and told them that we’d like them to go ahead and order the parts. Looks like we’ll be staying in Forest City for a while!

We’ve moved from the city park up to the Winnebago service area, where we can park for free until our service is done.

Jodi here again:

We’ve arrived! Our RV, an Itasca Sun Star was born here in 2011. Itasca is a Winnebago brand. Allen was looking forward to seeing this place..I believe that Winnebago is the main employer in this rural community of 4400. On the flat concrete two lane highway that cuts through the corn fields we saw trucks each hauling several Ford truck beds with the Ford V10 motors, tires and steering wheels to the manufacturing plant next door to the service center. What we didn’t anticipate until the day before we left on this excursion was that we would actually require service. Our rear leveling jacks got stuck in the down position right in our storage facility. We made a last minute decision to upgrade our towing package, for safety purposes, so we had an appointment at a Massachusetts repair center anyway. Allen drove the RV about 7 miles with the piercing squeal of the jack alarm. The repair center mechanic tried silicone spray and new springs. The prognosis, bent jacks or hydraulic problems. The dealer pried them up into the up position. So here we are having driven over 1K miles and stayed in 4 Walmart parking lots on very level ground. Last night we stayed at Pammel camp ground on the Winnebago River. We were running down hill a bit. It’s windy pouring rain here today. I’ve got my running clothes on in the event that I get bored and tired of drinking free coffee.

I’ll step back a bit now. On 6/18 we pulled our 54.5′ of gas powered real estate off of the main road and stopped at this outdoor Root Beer stand, The White Turkey Drive-In in Conneaut, Ohio.. Since it was Sunday we parallel parked next door at a closed automobile repair shop blocking the entire front. We ordered Hot Dogs and Root Beer and Onion Rings and French Fries.. We allow ourselves this indulgence about one a year. The significance of this stop was that we fond memories of this place having been here while on our bike trip around Lake Erie several years ago.

We spent two hours at the RV museum in Indiana on 6/19. The museum exceeded my expectations. Inside they had some Model T’s going back to 1913. Several RV you could walk through. I got the biggest kick out of the models from the 1960s and 70s; some had shag carpeting and green appliances, 8 track players and furniture with the fabrics that are so familiar to me. It was interesting to see the many varieties of RV to the rolling palaces that are on the road today.

Chicopee, MA to Olean, NY


Hi, Jodi here,

We left in the RV yesterday around 5pm to start our six week long vacation to Colorado and maybe beyond. I worked until around 2pm and It was a tiring stressful scramble running the last few errands and prepping before finally going,

We, Allen drove to Walmart in Chicopee and we stayed for the evening. I never knew, never intending or ever thinking about travelling in an RV. This is our first real trip in our 35′ Itasca Sunstar with a Ford Edge in tow. I learned through Allen that many Walmart’s and they have for decades allow RV’s to park for free overnight.

We left Chicopee around 7:30am, Allen me with our 18 wheels that is 6 on the RV four on the Ford Edge and 8 among our 2 touring and 2 mountain bikes. Allen drove 380 miles today. Typically I’m posting how much we rode on our bicycles, our two wheeled RV’s, fully loaded Pannier’s with sleeping bags, clothes a tent and cooking gear. Many times I was longing for my bike when I gazed upon the adjacent to the expressway country roads

The scenery is still beautiful through the massive windshield from my high perch upon the over-sized, made for comfort, bucket seat. We drove between the Adirondack and the Catskill Mountains for several hours today. At lunchtime we pulled into a rest area along side the Susquehanna River and I noticed a bird on a spit of gravel in the middle of the river so.I hopped back into the RV and grabbed my, new for this trip, binoculars; It was a Great Blue Heron! A couple of minutes later a Baltimore Oriel flew through the same scene. I ate lunch and returned to see the Heron again and noticed that his spit of land was disappearing, my guess because the water level was rising due to an earlier rain. I raced for my binoculars again and returned in time to see the beautiful creature takeoff onto dry land on the far side of the river. I noticed how he blended into the scenery of march grass and low branches.

We are now at Olean, NY Walmart. Just grilled hamburgers for dinner. This really is a beautiful spot. We are nestled at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains. Here are photos of the RV. I love the wildflowers along the side of the road and our encampment at Walmart. 

The Itinerary


Sorry this didn’t show up with yesterday’s post. I had, as they say, “technical difficulties.”

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Summer Plans


This year Jodi and I have some plans in place to put the AdventureMobile to her intended purpose. Towards the end of June we will load up the motorhome, hook the car behind, and point her nose west bound for Colorado.

It will take a week or so to drive out there, including a stop in Forest City, IA along the way to see where the AdventureMobile was born and to tour the Winnebago factory.

We’ll spend most of the month of July in Colorado, moving about from here to there, visiting with friends, hiking, cycling, and generally living the good life.

The route home is completely tentative but we’re thinking we might head over to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before turning for home along a southern route.

Stay tuned!


New Adventures

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We just added a new AdventureMobile to our lives. She’s a 2011 Itasca Sunstar 35F motorhome. After months of searching and a few false starts, we finally found her for sale by a couple in upstate New York.

At a rest area on the NYS Thruway:


Jodi behind the wheel: 

Parked overnight at a Walmart in Chicopee MA:

At Wompatuck State Park: 

The interior:

Kettle Point to Port Huron


We were up early to try t beat the wind. Since there was no place to get any breakfast anywhere near where we were staying, we boiled water for tea on our little camp stove and ate some fig squares we had bought at a local farm market yesterday.

We were out on the road at first light but the wind was already blowing. We just put our heads down and cranked into the wind. Eventually we passed the sign denoting the outskirts of Sarnia, and soon after that we came to a Tim Hortons where we stopped for coffee and food. While relaxing there Jodi pointed out that there was a bike trail paralleling the busy road we were on so when we left we switched over to that, which made our entry into downtown Sarnia much more pleasant.

We made our way to the last entrance ramp to the highway that passes over the Blue Water Bridge, and I called the number had for the Bridge Authority and told them we were two bicyclists needing to get across the bridge. After a few quick questions I was told that I had called the US Bridge Authority and since we were on the Canadian side I had to call the Canadian Authority. The guy I was talking to gave me their phone number which I then called. As in most such instances, the Canadian folks were much more polite and helpful than their US counterparts. After confirming that we were long distance cyclists — they don’t provide rides for folks who just want to cycle over the river for lunch or whatever, you have to be on a long distance journey — the gentleman I was talking to said he was going to call the US side and make sure they weren’t too busy for our arrival. If not then he would be there in a few minutes with the truck, and if so then he would call me right back.

A few minutes later he pulled up with his truck, helped me load the bikes in the back, and we were off across the bridge. He dropped us at the door of the US Customs building and we went in and presented our passports, and in a couple of minutes were on our way down the exit ramp from the bridge.

As a special welcome home, it started raining just as we got off the bridge, but we were only a mile or so from the Warmshowers host where we had left our car and we were there in a few minutes, completing our loop around Lake Huron.
Thank you so much for your hospitality, Bonnie!

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Goderich to Kettlepoint

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It’s Jodi, As we’ve been heading South on the South East side of the Lake I’ve noticed that the small towns and houses have been older some dating from the 1800s. I thiink some places look a bit British like.Most of this side of the Lake if farmland though. I might sound like a boor if I mention the headwinds again today and more upcoming tomorrow, so I won’t. We cycled 50 miles today mostly on main shoulder-less roads. We rolled into Kettlepoint around 2:30pm checked into a motel on the same main road, Route 21. A few minutes later I removed my panniers, saddled up again and rode 2.5 miles to the beach. The water is so nice and the sand soft. The sounds from the beach are nice the water and the kids playing.

Tomorrow we plan to conclude our riding. We are about 32 miles from Port Huron, Michigan. I find that most vacations are over so fast. It seems like we just started. One thing that I won’t miss is the wind!

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Kincardine to Goderich

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Today was another pretty, but hot and windy day. Again we kept it short, but again fighting the headwinds sucked uc of the fun out of the ride.

We did have some nice stops. First a snack break under a shade tree alongside a wheat field, then an ice cream stop at a rural store, followed soon after by a big breakfast we ate at lunch time at a local diner.

Soon after we arrived in Goderich and got a room at the Maple Leaf Motel, which is amazingly immaculate and comfortable. Jodi walked down to the beach fr a couple of hours this afternoon while I vegged out in the room, then we walked downtown for a nice dinner.

Our plan for tomorrow is to get up before the crack of dawn and try to get some miles in before the wind picks up, but the forecast is for wind and thunderstorms overnight so we’ll have to see what it’s doing outside when we get up.

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Southampton to Kincardine

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Today’s ride was really quite pretty, and we kept it short, but the overriding theme for the day was wind. The wind was dead against us, and blowing at 20 – 25 kph. So even though we only rode about 50 km, it took us until mid-afternoon to do it.

Before leaving Southampton we took a short detour down to the beach to enjoy the morning scenery, then we headed out of town following a rail trail. The rail trail had a really good, firm surface, it offered a bit of shade, and it kept us off 21 which carries very heavy traffic and has no shoulder.

Our plan was to use the trail for about 20 km but before we had covered half that distance we came to a section where ATVs were also allowed to use the trail. I’m not sure who thought that bicycles and ATVs are compatible users, but it certainly wasn’t me. ATVs had worked up big berms of loose gravel along the trail that made cycling difficult at best, so we quickly switched to Plan B and worked out some minor roads that went in the same general direction.

Along this route we soon came to a stretch of road being repaved. They had our side of the road marked off with cones and were repaving it, forcing us into the oncoming lane. Confusingly, there was no traffic control flag-person so we waited for a couple of pickup trucks coming towards us to pass then we started down the road in the opposing lane. When we were about half-way through the section we met a tractor trailer coming the other way so had to pull off into the weeds to let it go by. I wonder what would have happened if we had been driving a car.

At the next cross-roads we came to a woman holding a “SLOW” sign and while the road ahead was freshly paved and still marked off with cones, she told us we could ride on it. I know “first tracks” is a thing among skiers. Well, we got first tracks on our touring bikes!

The last 12 or 15 km coming into Kincardine had us on a road following along the top of a ridge with farm fields stretching away to either side so there was absolutely nothing to buffer the wind. We were headed straight into its fury and barely making progress in our low gears. A couple of times I thought a sharp gust was actually going to stop me in my tracks,

Once we got into town we stopped at a local pub and had a really great lunch before hunting down a motel room. Then this evening we walked back into downtown for dinner at another pub / restaurant that sits right on the Lake and has nice views from the patio. But we noticed that the Tour de France was on the TV behind the bar so we sat there instead and watched today’s stage. They ride a bit faster than we do, but they don’t carry their own luggage. Wimps!

The wind is going to be in our face again tomorrow, so we have another modest day planned down to Goderich.

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Tobermory to Southampton

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It rained a bit last night. We packed up a wet campsite this morning. Camping is not my favorite thing to do and I am warming up to it. It’s part of the trip and it keeps the total cost down. The campground was operated by Mennonites offered a lot for kids and was beautifully kept.

We expected rain all day on our 65 mile ride to Southampton. We got a few drops here and there along our route. What we did get unfortunately was all day headwinds. He headwinds made this a physically demanding day. The highlight of the day was the Organic Bakery we stumbled across about 20 miles into the ride. We shared a Vegetable Pakora a slice of Strawberry & Apple pie and then went back for a Porgoda, something iike a Pakora and an oatmeal chocolate cookie. Yummy. The baker owner is an artist too. Allen took a couple of pictures. We’ve been cycling most of the trip past fields of bright yellow flowering green stalks, like fields of wheat. I just learned that this is from what Canola oil is made from. Really pretty.

I’m glad that we were smart enough to treat ourselves to a room at the Quality Inn. We ordered our dinner from an Italian place that delivers.


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It’s Jodi,

We saddled up again today after a nice rest day yesterday. We rode the sparsely traffics route 6 40 miles to the a nice lunch at Carol and Earl’s. Carol wasn’t in and we were serve by Flo. It’s a small town. Inside ordering were a what I believe a Menonite family or seven. Menonite is a kind of reform version of Amish. I marveled at how well the children were behaved and no electronic devices to pacify them either.

The ride was pretty today and rolling hills with views of farm land and the Georgian Bay section of the Lake. I had a bit of fun today. At about 20 miles in a women cyclist on a fast bike passed Allen and I like it was easy. I noticed after she was up the road a good bit that she wasn’t gaining on us anymore. I am a good hill climber and decided to show her that she didn’t just pass anyone. I caught her at the top of the hill with my heavy loaded touring bike.

After lunch we hopped on the ferry it was really big and really nice. The ride was beautiful and calm. The lake is so big you really think that you are at sea. I chatted for two hours with a motor cyclist from Oregon what sitting on deck.

We are camping at the Tobermory Village Campground. Canned soup for dinner.

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We did nothing today. Well, not quite nothing. We ate. We did take a walk to the market to buy snacks for the road tomorrow. But basically we did nothing.

Jodi spent some time down by the water sketching. I took advantage of the good WiFi here and caught up on a bunch of YouTube videos and watched a couple of movies on Netflix. But that was about it for activity.

It reminds me of the zero days I used to take during y thru-hike. When your standard day-to-day mode is movement, spending the occasional day just staying still feels luxurious.

But tomorrow we’ll be back on the road. We plan to get the 1:30 ferry from South Baymouth to Tobermory. Hopefully we’ll be in South Baymouth plenty early so we can get some lunch before the 2+ hour ferry ride.

Espanola to Little Current

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We had planned to take a day off in Espanola but the motel we were in was not at all comfortable and it was a rather boring location. And when we got up in the morning and checked the forecast the incoming thunderstorms weren’t predicted to arive until mid-afternoon.

All that being so, we decided to make a half day dash south to the town of Little Current on Manitoulin Island. It was a rather pretty ride, with constant elevation changes and views of forests, ponds, and various bays of Lake Huron. We made good time and were here by noon.

After riding the length of the short main street we puled up at the Anchor Inn to have lunch on their outdoor deck. We did ask our waitress about the lodging options in town and after lunch rode up the street to the one place we hadn’t passed on our way in, only to discover it was not yet open for the season.

So we came back to the Anchor Inn and ended up renting a little suite right over the bar. It’s a really nice accommodation and the bar really wasn’t that noisy. We’ve rented it for two nights and will be finally taking a day off here.

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Blind River to Espanola

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I’m sitting outside our room at the Queensway Motel and a grotesquely fat guy wearing nothing but a bathing suit is sitting in front of his room 4 or 5 rooms down. From the cans on the table next to him I’d guess he’s working on the second half of his twelve-pack, and he’s talking on the phone rather loudly. “Two strippers! I had two strippers!” Then he says that he’l be home tomorrow and he’s not sure what his ETA is.

So does that mean he was calling home? Who at home is he telling about these strippers? His wife? His kids? Well, that’s what was occupying my mind over the last couple of minutes.

But enough of our fine friend, this is a blog about cycling and other fun adventures so let’s get back to that. I woke up fairly early this morning and, itching to get on the road, I prompted Jodi to get up and get ready. In a few minutes we were down the street at the Tim Hortons for coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

Once fueled up we hit the Trans-Canada headed east. We were able to divert off the highway for a bit here and there, but the bulk of today’s ride was riding the white line at the edge of speeding traffic. At one point we were passed by three semis in a row, less than a meter from our left elbows, as they went by at 100 kph. With the bow wave of wind they push in front of themselves and the suction behind as they pass, we got roughed up a good bit. If there had been a fourth truck I think I might have lost control.

In contrast, for the last 30k or so we got to turn off Rt 17 (and good riddance to you!) and follow the Lee Valley Road into Espanola. Lee Valley was quiet, moderately scenic, mostly paved, and lightly trafficked. A good way to end the day.

The clouds are rolling in as I type and there are supposed to be thunderstorms during the day tomorrow and a steady rain tomorrow night into Saturday morning, so we’re going to take tomorrow off. We’ve been riding every day for 12 days straight, so a rest day is long overdue anyway.

From here we’re turning south to head to Manitoulin Island and then the ferry to Tobermory. If the wind is from the north as predicted on Saturday, we should make good time.

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Therasson to Blind River

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It’s Jodi,

We haven’t taken a day off since we started our trip 11 days ago. We’ve cycled 11 days straight. That is a record. We are trying to stay ahead of bad weather and hope to take a day off on Friday. Tomorrow we cycle 60 odd miles East to Espanola. I am writing sitting on rivers edge just outside the door of our motel room. It’s a magnificent evening and it’s magic hour for those in the video business. Today we cycled 38 not easy miles. Like yesterday we stayed mostly off the Trans Canadian Highway. We took back roads through gorgeous farm country. Many of the farms were Amish. One way you can tell an Amish farm is that there is no public service running to the farm houses. We also saw Amish women working in the fields. We rode past two Amish buggies one driven by a young women and the other horse driven buggy held a family. The roads were mostly empty of cars. There is a price to pay when staying off the main roads and venturing into the idyllic country side, like yesterday we traveled through hilly countryside and through gravel and dirt roads. It’s worth it though! On the final 16 miles we did go on the highway. We paralleled the river and for most of that ride we had a handlebars wide shoulder on which we were passed fairly close by several 18 wheelers.

Interesting note: In the two days since leaving Sault St. Marie we have been into two towns. While the scenary is beautiful and pristine, it is certainly evident that these are difficult places to make a living.

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Today was a brutal day. After working our way out of Sault Ste Marie we biked kilometer after kilometer of quiet back roads with plenty of hills, way too little pavement and lots of loose gravel, and absolutely no place to get food or drinks. I bonked badly and after finally coming upon the Little Rapids General Store and downing a couple of Gatorades and some snacks, we limped into Thessalon and got a room at the Carolyn Beach motel.

That’s all for today.

*Bonk: In endurance sports such as *cycling* and running, hitting the wall or the *bonk* describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy.

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We are happily ensconced at the Velorution Bike Shop, which offers their own little free campsite and access to their restroom, shower, and WiFi for touring cyclists.

Okay, you want to know how we got here. It was pleasant, and really simple and quiet. We left the campground this morning, rode through downtown St Ignace stopping along the way for a hearty breakfast, then got on the Mackinac Trail which I think was the main route across the UP here until I-75 came along and got all the traffic.

So the road was super quiet and we just rode along peacefully through the Hiawatha National Forest with a couple of little crossroad towns along the way to provide convenient store stops for snacks and drinks along the way. Once we got to Sault Ste Marie, MI (there’s one on each side of the border) we rode past the “No Bicycles” sign at the highway entrance, paid our toll, and continued on across the bridge to Canada. From there it was just a couple of miles… okay, we’re in Canada so it was just a few kilometers to reach the bike shop. One of the clerks here gave us a quick tour of the facilities they offer for overnight guests. We picked a spot to set up our tent, cut through the next door Walmart parking lot to a comfortable lunch place, did a bit of shopping at Walmart, and are now back hanging at the bike shop using their WiFI to post this blog.

I have a slow leak in my rear tire so as soon as I finish this I need to go out and pull that off the bike and change the tube.

Oh, for about 13 1/2 miles today my GPS was not recording so the mileage in the graph below is understated.

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As soon as I saw light coming in the window of our motel room this morning — which out here is about an hour later than at home — I was up and boiling water on our little camp stove so we could have tea and oatmeal. We decided not to wait around for the motel’s continental breakfast, but rather to get as early a start as we could in order to get some miles in before the wind picked up.

There’s a bike path that runs along the shore of Lake Huron through town and for several miles beyond, and it turned out to be surprisingly scenic and fun to ride. It was quite chilly but the air was calm so we made good time.

Soon enough the bike path ended and we rode some miles on M23, the main state road along the shore, before turning west and inland on more minor roads. At first we were on a nice quiet paved road but eventually the pavement ended and we were jostling down a dirt road. The surface was fairly firm but we spent a lot of time moving back and forth laterally on the road looking for the sweet spot with the smoothest ride.

At one point the route we had worked out last night and loaded into the GP units directed us to turn north onto another dirt road, but this one was “unimproved” and far too soft for out touring bikes so we kept heading west and improvised a route that would eventually get us back on our planned route.
About 30 miles into the day I was really surprised to see a bunch of cars pulled up to what looked like a cafe at the intersection of two roads. Alas, it was a bar and we could see through the window that all the chairs were up on tables so they obviously weren’t open, but Jodi went in anyway and came back out to point to another building a bit down the cross road and told me she had learned that was the golf course restaurant and they served breakfast. Yah!
After packing in a good breakfast we set off again and worked ur way northwest until we intercepted the rail trail which we followed for 20 miles or so right into downtown Mackinaw City, just a couple of blocks from the access to the bridge.
To cross the bridge with a bicycle you call the Bridge Authority and they come pick you up at a pull off just at the last entrance ramp before the bridge and drive you across the bridge. This service costs $5 per bicycle.
Once across the bridge we cycled up to the first exit and from there it was just around the corner to the grocery store and then the entrance to Straits State Park. 
I walked into the office fully expecting to be told they were full and be turned away, and to have to argue with the clerk and educate him or her to the rule regarding touring cyclists, but he cheerily said “Yes,  I actually have two sites, and besides I’m not allowed to turn away cyclists.”

So we are in a very comfortable site here in the park. It’s full but much calmer and quieter than I expected on a holiday weekend.

If all goes well tomorrow we will ride over the International Bridge into Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, and will sleep in Canada.

Oh! At one point today I looked at my GPS and it told me it was 9205 miles to the next turn! Let’s see, 9205 miles at 12 miles per hour…  I just don’t think I’m going to make it before lunch!

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Alpena to Rogers City

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We had a certain sense of urgency today as we needed to get to the bike shop in Rogers City in time to have Jodi’s bike looked at before they closed at 4 pm. That being so, we were all packed and ready to go by 7:30 when the motel served their continental breakfast. As continental breakfasts go, this one was pretty sparse so it didn’t take us long and we were on the road a bit after 8:00.

We soon worked our way out of town and onto the North Eastern State Trail, which is a rail trail paved with crushed limestone that heads northwest from Alpena. Rail trails tend to be flat and straight and can get tedious after a while, and this one was no exception. But it went through trees quite a lot and that went far to shield us from the head winds that plagued us so much yesterday, and also kept my fair skin out of the sun as an extra bonus. And we did enjoy a couple of nice wildlife sightings. At one point we stopped to admire a group of 9 hawks circling as they hunted some farm fields, and 4 or 5 times we scared up a deer.

The route we planned using Google Maps had us using the North Eastern State Trail until just northwest of Posen, then turning north onto another trail. Unfortunately that other trail didn’t actually exist on the ground, but it was a simple enough matter to plot a new route using roads. The down side is that now we were out in the open and exposed to the full force of the headwind, but we still managed to make it into Rogers City by early afternoon and get Jodi’s bike checked out.

It turns out that her derailleur is fine; it just needed to be adjusted correctly. I also had a minor adjustment done to my bike and we had both chains lubed. Hopefully we’re both in good shape now.

We’re staying at a motel a few blocks down from the bike shop, and we have the patio door open to enjoy the fresh breeze blowing off the lake. The sound of the waves on the shore is hypnotically relaxing.

We’re going to try to get to Mackinaw City tomorrow, or even across the bridge to St Ignace. The entrance to the bridge is about 60 miles from here. That’s a perfectly doable distance, except that the wind is still going to be in our faces tomorrow. Yes, this is getting rather tedious! Our plan is NOT to wait around for the continental breakfast tomorrow, bur to get up early, boil some water for tea and oatmeal, then hit the road and get in some miles while the air is calm.

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Harrisville to Alpena

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It’s Jodi again. I’m laying on a comfortable bed at the Black Bear Lodge in Alpena, MI. We are happy to be here. We cycled just over 30 miles today and we are now two days behind our predicted schedule. We don’t have to keep to a schedule though. Most cycling folks might think that 30 miles is nothing. Firstly we had to wait out some rain and we did so while enjoying a large breakfast. The rain finished when we finished. Not so lucky though, the wind picked up big time, powering out of the North as we headed into it. Today we saw our first hills in the first 15 miles. I like hills. I only have use of about 4 gears too. Tomorrow I should have my new derailleur and with it have my bike fully functional again. After the hills the headwinds became vicious and required a big effort. We were lucky to hit 10 miles an hour on the flats. We saw our first touring cyclist going the other way, he was flying. Maybe one day we will get a nice tailwind too. I took a few pictures today. I’ve never seen so many types of evergreens. So many look like perfectly shaped Christmas trees. Also, I noticed these snapdragons along the way.

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Au Gres to Harrisville

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I’m writing this the day after since we had no connectivity last night, and for the life of me I can’t remember much about the day! I do know it was a rather pleasant day. The weather was warm and sunny and the wind was sort of behind us for a change. But I just don’t remember any details. Oh, we were aiming for Harrisville State Park but the forecast called for us to be waking up to heavy downpours in the morning so decided to get a motel instead. The motel turned out to be a dark and dreary, nasty little place and I found it the opposite of comfortable. I’d have rather camped in the rain. Oh well, such is the touring life!

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