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!