Friday, July 31, 2015

Traverse City rest day

We had a great day today in Traverse City. In the morning we rode into Traverse City and bought two new tires and pedals for Steve, and took care of business at a Post Office and bank. Lunch at Scheldes topped off the morning.

Then we visited a very dear friend from Steve's childhood.

Earlier her sister and husband were very gracious and showed us around some of the very scenic places on the middle peninsula. Then later in the evening they took us out to Moomers for ice cream. They have some really good ice cream - some of the best we've had. It was great meeting these folks and we were touched by their gracious hospitality.



Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hills and Headwinds

Today's ride was a series of rolling hills and headwinds with speeds averaging 18 mph. Nevertheless, we rode well and arrived in Traverse City. We rode through beautiful farmland that will soon be blossoming with thousands of sunflowers. Lake Michigan was amazing, the camera could never capture the many shades of blue and green of this magnificent lake. We are amazed at the splendor of creation and so thankful to God for the work of His hands.

Miles today = 52

Total miles = 3024


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


We slept in today. It's been so hot and muggy at night that we haven't been able to fall asleep until the early hours of the morning. Besides that we didn't need to cover very many miles today. So we got up at a very respectable little before 8 and pedaled to Petoskey (along a great bike path) for breakfast. From there the Adventure Cycling maps takes us off the bike path through county roads to Ellsworth. After consulting with a local bike shop we decided to continue another 20 miles on the bike path to Charlevoix then pick up county Route 65 to Ellsworth. It worked great except for a large amount of traffic congestion in Charlevoix. But the bike path was worth it.

The day began very gray and overcast so we thought for sure this was going to be our first rainy day. However it eventually cleared and became very nice with a stiff south wind. Did I say we were traveling South? We landed in Ellsworth and caught lunch at the Front porch cafe. The Front Porch Cafe as it turned out is a cooperative mission by 5 local churches. It was really good to see the fruits that result from cooperation labor of these churches. They have great food and our visit was uplifting.

After lunch we called it a day and set up camp at the Wooden Shoe Campground - a town owned park. It's really nice and shady. Steve took advantage of the short day by catching a few needed zzzzs.

Miles today = 36

Total miles = 2972


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"One if by land two if by sea"

Paul Rever's words applied to us today as part of our journey was by land, 61 miles, and the rest,12, was by sea. We rode the bike to the ferry terminal and boarded the ferry for Mackinac Island. We then rode the 8 mile island loop dodging horse drawn carriages and a wide assortment of other cyclist. We hopped back on the ferry and landed in Mackinaw City and finished our day by biking to Petoskey State Park on Lake Michigan.

Town on Mackinac Island - no motorized vehicles
Us on the 8 mile loop around the island
Miles today = 61
Us on the 8 mile loop around the island
Total miles = 2936
Us on the 8 mile loop around the island


Monday, July 27, 2015

St Ignace

We left camp this morning bright and early heading for St. Ignace. St. Ignace is located at the north end of the Mackinac bridge between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The Mackinac bridge is a very long bridge representing the longest suspension span in the world. Tomorrow we need to get to the south end of the bridge in order to continue south toward Traverse City. To do that we plan to take a ferry to Mackinac Island, pedal the 8 mile loop around the island and then take another ferry to Mackinaw City (the south end of the bridge). Should be fun. Mackinac Island does not allow motorized vehicles.

Our departure bright & early
Mackinac Bridge

Today's ride continued along Route 2 which carries a lot of traffic. In spite of the great shoulders we are ready to see some nice and quiet back roads. Route 2 however continued with some beautiful views of Lake Michigan.

Miles today = 63

Total miles = 2875


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Milakokia Lake

We encountered more traffic leaving Escanaba than expected for a Sunday morning. Glad we were able to time it for Sunday. Today we had our first full views of Lake Michigan. It seems like a milestone probably because Marcia and I both had our childhoods on the Great Lakes. We are indeed no longer in the west. The lake is beautiful and we could feel cool breezes coming off the lake as we pedaled our way down the road.

We also deviated today from the Adventure Cycling recommended route. Instead of taking the county roads from Cooks to Manistique we stayed on Route 2 with it's wide shoulders. It worked out well especially taking in a park on the Lake Michigan shore just east of Thompson.

We finished our day at a rustic state campground on Milakokia Lake. There's no electricity, only pit toilets, and unfortunately no drinking water. The hand pump that normally delivers water to the campground is broken. But there's a lake, and we have water purification pills and a cook stove so we are managing. The campsites are actually quite attractive and we are finding ourselves wishing we had our pop up camper.

Miles today = 84

Total miles = 2812



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day off

This was a good productive day off. We slept in and then... We did laundry, mailed some completed maps home and Steve got a hair cut.

And after

We also took a walk to Escanaba's water front park. It was good to be off the bike for a day. Now we are ready to continue along the north shore of Lake Michigan (UP).

Escanaba's water front park


Friday, July 24, 2015


We left Crystal Falls this morning in the hopes of catching breakfast in Sagola which is about 13 miles down the road. Unfortunately there were no restaurants so we continued down the road. As we progressed on our journey we encountered several restaurants - all closed. So we finished our ride today benefiting from the snack food we carried. This has not been unusual. It seems that in several places small town America is disappearing.

This is what the sign said
This is what was there

We also broke our rear dérailleur cable. Glad we had a spare since not many bike shops carry the long cables needed by tandems. About 45 minutes later we were back on the road.

We landed in Escanaba and made up for the day with dinner at Herreford & Hops. That is one great restaurant to go to when you are as hungry as we were. They have excellent food. After an appetizer, salad bar and main course we were feeling good. Tomorrow we plan to check out Sayklly's Confectionary.

Oh yes - we are now in eastern time zone.

Miles today = 72

Total miles = 2728


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hello Michigan

We have not done a 100 mile day this week however today is the 4th day in a row where we have done more than 80 miles. Today was also once again a bit hilly as we meandered our way around the many lakes of northern Wisconsin. Total climbing amounted to 2700 ft today. The countryside is indeed beautiful but we pay a price as we pedal through it.

Early in the day a big bug flew into my (Steve) face and stung me after getting trapped between my glasses and temple. Out of reflex I swung at it knocking my glasses and our GPS tracker off. I managed to catch my glasses but the tracker went bouncing down the road. Thankfully we didn't crash and aside from the bug sting we were ok. A little later another bug flow down my jersey and strung me on the chest. Then we lost part of our load that was strapped to our BOB trailer and Marcia had to walk back for it.

It is amazing how many lakes there are in this area. Some of the lakes look so inviting if we had only thought to have brought our kayaks. Maybe another day we will do a car trip.

My reflection on a map showing the many lakes

We also saw signs for fruit stands only they were off the main road and the signs weren't kind enough to tell us how far. So we just kept pedaling even though the thought of fresh raspberries sounded wonderful.

We are now in Michigan. We can add Wisconsin to our list of completed states. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and now Wisconsin all belong to our list.

Miles today = 83

Total miles = 2656


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Boulder Junction

Last evening, all night, and early morning the mosquitoes kept us company at our campsite. There were a gazillion of them all over our tent. We are thankful for a good tent. My entertainment was to snap my finger and fling them off the netting (I'm easily entertained). They escorted us off in the morning as we packed up in record time. Here's a good motto that we were reminded of.

This was an easier days ride. We still encountered a few rollers on our way to Boulder Junction (still Wisconsin) but nothing like yesterday. And then our final 13 miles was a surprise as we rode a bike path along county route K that is not identified by Adventure Cycling. Wild flowers lined most of roads and we were surrounded by many small lakes and forests as we pedaled our way through the day. The skies were clear with a few puffy clouds and the winds were very light. A good day in all.

Typical rollers became scarcer as the day progressed
Wild flowers lining the road
Unexpected bike path

We also encountered another tandem heading west. We are now more than half the way home. We could not resist the thought that we are glad we are us and not them. Eastern Montana is an awful big state. We are looking forward to Mackinaw Island and the east shore of Lake Michigan.

Tandem headed west

Miles today = 83

Total miles = 2573


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Clam Lake

My expectation of Wisconsin was corn fields and dairy farms. I was wrong. At least in regards to northern Wisconsin which is where we are riding. It is covered by forests, hills and lakes. It reminded us at times of home. (In fact as I write this from inside our tent with mosquitoes trying to get in, we are especially reminded of home.) the scenery was beautiful and we crossed paths with several other cyclists out for day rides or in one case a tour.

The hill part of northern Wisconsin made for a hard ride today. It wasn't that they were particularly steep and long but that there were so many of them. One right after another for most of the day. Thankfully Adventure Cycling has done an excellent job routing us with very little traffic and great scenery so in spite of the hills we still put in a great day.

We finished up at a USFS campground called Day Lake located just outside the town of Clam Lake. The campground reminds us a lot of Rangeley Lake state park back home except it's a bit more rustic. It has no power or running water. But the camp sites are large and shaded (in the forest) and the lake is beautiful. I even went for a swim which felt great.

Miles today = 88

Total miles = 2490


Monday, July 20, 2015


Today we crossed off another state as we crossed the Saint Croix River and passed into Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is hilly so far but very beautiful. We passed through thick woods, then pasture land with well kept farms. Temperatures were also only in the 70s - yah!

We spent the day heading northeast by zig zagging north, then east so we had a head wind half the time and a tail wind the rest. There was a stiff northwest wind today.

We finished at the shady rest campground in Haugen Wisconsin. It's full of RVs side by side but the owner put us on a spot near the water which is pretty nice.

Miles today = 85

Total miles = 2402