Over this past winter Jodi and I bandied about several ideas for this year’s bicycle tour, eventually settling on either cycling part of the new Sierra-Cascade Route, or cycling part of the Great Parks North route starting in the Canadian Rockies. But the airlines have gone to new heights of preposterousness when it comes to carrying bicycles, charging up to $200 per bicycle each way. Forking over $800 simply to bring our bicycles with us is just too much to swallow, so we changed tack and decided to come up with a totally new plan.

Some of you may recall that we cycled around Lake Ontario some years ago (http://allenf.com/lake_ontario.htm). We had a good time on that trip, so we decided to cycle another of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie. Our original intent was to take Amtrak from Boston to either Buffalo or Cleveland. As it turns out, the downtown Buffalo Amtrak station does not have luggage service, so we would have to get off in one of the eastern suburbs. Also, the schedule is not very convenient, leaving Boston at noon and arriving in Buffalo at midnight and in Cleveland at 3:30AM. I really don’t want to be wandering around a strange city in the middle of the night to start my vacation.

So now we are planning to drive out for this trip. Right now we are working out the logistics of a safe place to leave the car for a couple of weeks. Te other big hurdle is our passports. Both of our passports expired this year, so we sent in the renewal applications about 3 1/2 weeks ago, thinking that was plenty of time. Well, apparently since 9/11 passports are no longer processed in two weeks, but in 4 – 6 weeks. I’m not sure why it takes a month to a month and a half to renew an existing passport, but who knows, maybe they are sending agents out to interview all of our friends and acquaintances. Have any of you gotten a knock at the door? In any case, next Wednesday will mark four weeks since they received our applications, so hopefully they will be arriving in the mail soon. If they do, we are hoping to be off next weekend. If not, we’ll have to postpone until our passports finally do arrive.

It looks like we are going to be starting in Erie, Pennsylvania, and cycling west along the south shore of Lake Erie. Many people riding the Lake cross to Canada using a ferry from Sandusky, Ohio. They make this choice because while there are a number of bridges and tunnels that cross the Detroit River from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, none of them allow bicycle or pedestrian access. But the idea of riding around Lake Erie, but skipping the western end of the lake, just seems wrong to us, so we are most likely going to continue through Detroit, up the Detroit River, along the western shore of Lake St Clair, and on up the St Clair River to Marine City, Michigan, where there is a ferry across to Sombra, Ontario. From here we’ll cycle back down to the north shore of Lake Erie, and continue eastward until we cross the Peace Bridge into Buffalo, New York, then swing west again to get back to Erie.I haven’t worked out the exact mileage yet, but I think it’s going to be about 750 miles, so a comfortable 2 weeks or maybe a bit more.