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Archive for the ‘Michigan’ Category

Canada Bound!

Canada Bound!

August 2, 2009: Marine City, MI to Eagle, Ontario, Canada

After experiencing yet another early morning rain shower, we packed up and headed for the ferry that transported us across the St. Claire River to Wallaceburg, Ontario. As we passed through Wallaceburg, one of the local police officers actually turned on his flashing lights and escorted us through town!

Police escort through Wallaceburg.

Police escort through Wallaceburg.

The Canadian roads and highways were well-paved, with the exception of the shoulders; there were virtually no shoulders until we reached Elgin County, Ontario (About 30 miles into the ride).

Since this is a long weekend in Canada (its a civic holiday with no official name – Canadians tend to just call it “August Long Weekend”), camping sites were limited. We finally found a place about 2 miles east of Eagle, Ontario, near the banks of Lake Erie.

A real highlight for today came when Chuck, Sue and Mark broke off of the route in Dresden and visited the home of Josiah Henson, one of the first beneficiaries of the Underground Railroad. Henson’s memoirs served as the inspiration for Harriette Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Sue at the home of Josiah Henson.

Sue at the home of Josiah Henson.

Distance Bicycled Today: 70 miles


Marshall riding the ferry to Canada.

Marshall riding the ferry to Canada.

Camp near Eagle, Ontario.

Camp near Eagle, Ontario.

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Another Symbol of Amish Country.

Another Symbol of Amish Country.

August 1, 2009: North Branch, MI to Marine City, MI

The plan for today was to leave early from our campsite near North Branch, Michigan and head  for Algonac State Park just south of Marine City, MI. An early arrival at the park would allow us to plan our entry into Canada tomorrow.

We departed under sunny skies and headed towards Marine City. The route was a little less difficult to follow than was the case yesterday, with the exception of a bike path that ostensibly connected Marine City with Algonac – the Adventure Cycling maps failed to indicate that the bike path had not yet been completed.

Regardless, we all found our way to the park where rain looks like a strong possibility. Today’s riding was likewise made a little more difficult by a constant headwind that existed throughout most of the day.

Camp at Algonac State Park.

Camp at Algonac State Park.

A word about the shoulders  along the roads of the Michigan highways and roads:  they are immaculate, trash and debris are virtually absent. The state of Michigan appears to have a very effective adopt-a-highway program.

Tomorrow we will ferry across the St. Clair River and enter Canada.

Today’s Bicycling Distance: 75 miles.

An ore boat on the St. Claire River.

An ore boat on the St. Clair River.

Chuck: Today is our last day in Michigan. We are parked in the Algonac State Park Campground on the St. Luis River.  Ontario is just across the river which is where we go tomorrow and for the next three days as we skirt the northern edge of Lake Erie.  We then emerge from Canada in three days at Ft. Erie and Niagara Falls.

Thanks to all in Pendleton who fulfilled our request for no more rain and some warmer weather.  The past week has been warm, dry in the day and mostly blue sky.  We are out of the vast fields of corn, potatoes, spelt, alfalfa, and other produce which has been our constant companion for this week.  The roads have been mostly flat and lined with beautiful wildflowers. Riding has been a joy.

Transportation contrast, North Branch, Michigan.

Transportation contrast, North Branch, Michigan.

Today was 80 miles mostly into strong headwinds. As we approached the end of the ride, we were directed to a poorly marked trail system that caused most of us to get lost at least a few times.  Dennis, Debbie and I crashed a wedding taking place on the unmarked trail.  I was asked if I was with the bride or the groom.

That’s all for now. Keep sending the nice weather – hopefully it is cooling off back in P- town!!

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Michigan wolverine

Michigan wolverine

[Ed. Note: Blog Central is reunited with a strong Internet connection.  We’ll try to have everything caught up by tomorrow.]

July 31, 2009: Bay City, MI to North Branch, MI

The first eight miles of today’s ride took about one hour as we jigged and jagged around the streets of Bay City, MI. Adventure Cycling map routes attempt to take riders off of congested roads, where traffic is heavy. The down side of this practice is the challenge of finding your way through a maze of city streets with which you are not familiar.

Fortunately the local residents of the Northern Tier are very friendly and helpful. We have had experiences where people have told us to follow behind their cars or trucks as they lead us to a certain street or road. Other residents have actually followed along behind us to make sure that we followed their directions correctly.

Once we finally exited Bay City, we headed for North Branch, Michigan, a distance of 75 miles. The ride was going along great with nice roads and wonderful weather until we reached Caro, MI and found that a bridge had washed out over one of the major roads (Chambers Road). We sought out directions and found an alternative route that took us about 4 or 5 miles off of the route, but got us to our destination nonetheless. We are currently camped at a very nice private campground just outside of North Branch.

Tomorrow we will ride to Marine City, a town on Lake Erie that will serve as our jump-off point into Canada. Tomorrow’s ride should be about 70 miles.

Miles Bicycled Today: 75 miles


Comes complete with a hitching post in the front yard

Comes complete with a hitching post in the front yard

Lotsa corn in Michigan.

Lotsa corn in Michigan.

Lunch in Fairhome.

Lunch in Fairhome.

One of many patrotic barns along the way.

One of many patrotic barns along the way.

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Debbie and Dennis on the Pere Marquette Trail

Debbie and Dennis on the Pere Marquette Trail

July 30, 2009: Clare, MI to Bay City, MI

We left our campsite at the city park in Clare, Michigan this morning and headed for Bay City, MI. At the edge of Clare, we caught the Pere-Marquette Rails-to-Trails route, a converted railroad track that has been repurposed to a bike, walk, run and skate path. The trail extended from Clare to Midland, a distance of about 28 miles. It was comforting to be on a road where you felt safe from automobile traffic.

Once we reached Midland, the traffic situation changed considerably – the route through town was confusing for the majority of us  and the shoulders were almost non-existent in places. Thankfully, we arrived at Bay City safely and are currently camped at the Bay City State Park.

A word about the Michigan state parks – they’re fabulous! They certainly rival the majority of the Oregon state parks. The spaces are clean and spacious; the bathrooms and shower facilities are superb.

A note of thanks as well to Chuck, our camp host at Peterson Bridge Campground. We were not able to obtain a internet connection within the park and Chuck was kind enough to lend us use of his dial-up link so that we could transmit the text portion of the day’s blog. Thank you so very much, Chuck!!

Tomorrow’s ride will take us from Bay City to North Branch, MI, a riding distance of about 65 miles.

Today’s total: 55 miles

Marshall:    Ann and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit the Amish community near Clare, Michigan. We visited three different farms. Ann visited with an Amish woman who makes quilts; the family also made and sold jams, jellies, baskets, farm fresh bread and maple syrup. Ann purchased two baskets:

Ann with her Amish baskets.

Ann with her Amish baskets.

I also visited two farms. At one of the farms, I witnessed a stationary threshing machine in action.  Horse-drawn wagons loaded with shocks of grain lined up to run the grain through the machine. The threshing machine was comprised of wood, circa 1800 -1900 construction. The machine was powered by an old Detroit diesel engine powered by horses – no fuel-powered machines of any type are used in the Amish farming operations. I was not able to take photos of any of the Amish farmers due to their religious beliefs.

Old-time threshing machine.

Old-time threshing machine.

The second farm that I visited had fresh fruit and vegetables for sale. While at the farm, a young girl came out with a fresh loaf of bread and some fresh-picked raspberries. Of course, I could not resist the temptation to purchase the bread and raspberries both.

Grain shocks in an Amish field.

Grain shocks in an Amish field.

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Sunset over Lake Michigan.

Sunset over Lake Michigan.

July 29, 2009: Garletts Corners, MI to Clare, MI

We left our camp at Peterson Campground on the banks of the Pine River in cool but clear conditions. As the day progressed, the temperature rose and the day was very comfortable. Our goal was to bicycle to Clare, MI, a distance of about 85 miles.

Peterson Park.

Peterson Park.

Once we completed the first 20 miles of today’s route, we passed through the town of Luther; this point marked the beginning of the Erie connection, a route that will take us through Canada to New York state.

Today’s ride meandered through a portion of Michigan’s Amish country, complete with these kind, hard-working  people and their signature horses and buggies. The wind was favorable for the majority of the day and the shoulders were very good for the most part.

Amish barn.

Amish barn.

Marshall found a nice camp site at the city park in Clare. After using our portable shower for the second day in a row (the shower still works great, Howard), we enjoyed one of Marshall’s signature pork steak dinners.

Tomorrow’s route will be a short 51-miler from Clare to Bay City, MI.

Today’s bicycling distance: 84 miles


Cherry pickin' on the Michigan Peninsula

Cherry pickin' on the Michigan Peninsula

Our camp in Traverse City.

Our camp in Traverse City.

Our friends at Grand American Pie Co.

Our friends at Grand American Pie Co.

Sue and Mark draggin' with Suzi

Sue and Mark draggin' with Suzi

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Sue enables Mark's trip-long quest for pie.

Sue enables Mark's trip-long quest for pie.

July 28, 2009: Traverse City, MI to Garletts Corners, MI

We awoke today to the sound of rain on our tents. The rain was steady and heavy at times, but fortunately it only lasted for about one hour. Indeed, the weather for today turned out to be somewhat pleasant.

The planned ride for today was from Traverse City, MI to Luther, MI, a distance of about 75 miles. The plans had to altered however, due to the lack of a campsite near Luther. The alternative was to head for Peterson Bridge Campground near Garletts Corners, MI, a distance of about 55 miles. The ride to Garletts Corners was great and the weather was mild as we rode through some of Michigan’s most scenic agricultural areas.

Upon our arrival at the campground, we had some time on our hands. Debbie and Dennis went canoeing on the nearby river, while the rest of us opted to set up our portable shower and clean up. Chuck and Suzi had an interesting experience with the shower that they may pass along in due time.

Tomorrow’s ride will take us from Garletts Corners to Clare, Michigan, a distance of some 80 miles.

Today’s bicycling distance: 55 miles.

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The scene this morning.

The scene this morning.

July 26, 2009: Boyne City, MI to Traverse City, MI

The morning began with a torrential downpour at our camp near Boyne City, MI. The weather report indicated steady strong rain for the remainder of the day, so the majority of the group decided to sag from Boyne City to the planned destination for the day, Traverse City, MI.

Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day; Tuesday we will continue our journey through Michigan.

The creek is rising and there's no place to go.

The creek is rising and there's no place to go.

Chuck: It happened again, we went to bed under beautiful warm skies, and woke up under leaden wet skies.  Breakfast was under the awning while the sky pounded us with rain as Suzi tried to redirect the lake forming under our camp site.

Only Mark and Sue braved the elements for today’s 72 mile ride over steep and hilly country to Traverse City. Chuck and Suzi sagged and enjoyed a beautiful, warm lunch at Torch Lake which, according to National Geographic, is the third most beautiful lake in the world.  You could not tell from today’s weather, since the clouds were hanging over most of the lake.

The rest of the crew sagged in the truck to the state park in Traverse City, setting up camp and doing some shopping. Everywhere we go, folks are folding up their tents and going home after suffering for several days in the rain.

This area is very beautiful and surprising with all of the little towns and lakes.  It reminds us a lot of New England.  We are catching up on laundry tonight and planning for a layover day tomorrow, then we’re off to Luther the next day.

Sunset on Lake Charlevoix, Saturday night.

Sunset on Lake Charlevoix, Saturday night.

In case anyone is keeping count, those who have ridden EFI (you will have to check in with Susan Kelly to get a definition of EFI) have now completed 7 weeks of riding, covering 2,767 miles and climbing 85,249 feet.  We have 1,350 miles to go, making our projected journey approximately 4,100 miles – not the advertised 4,300 miles due to some route changes along the way.

Pendleton, send us some of your warm weather!!

Camp at Boyne City.

Camp at Boyne City.

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