Instead of leaving...

We decided to spend about 30 hours compiling and refining our resume'. Each day's work presented a new decision to delay getting started the next day. We have had a tremendous amount of help with the hiring process for the Forestry Service, so it was worth the wait. It also worked out that Heather's Aunt could use some help installing a dish washer that arrived on Friday, so it all worked out. A new prediction of leaving is no later than Monday and we'll be on the road again.


Day 133 - Monday, August 24th

Click on image to enlarge.

Editor's Note: This is just a wild guess as to Dave & Heather's remaining route. Just using it to fill space. They are not going to visit us in Troy, MI (too close to Detroit). - They avoid large cities and highways.


Volunteering - Day 129

Three days this week were spent assisting the archaeologist and archaeological technician of the Forest Service office in Manistee, MI. What does that entail? Essentially you go walking through the woods looking for "depressions." When we started we had no idea what a "depression" looked like but we now have a pretty good idea, especially if they're lined with concrete walls and you practically fall into one.

Now that we've had sufficient time to recover from the bike trip and have the next few days to recover from all the hiking through the woods we plan to set out on Monday for another chunk of this bicycling adventure. We've had to make a bit of plans for the next week or so. Basically we're doing whatever we can to avoid going near Detroit which means nowhere within the HWY 69 interior. That might seem drastic but having lived in Ypsilanti and ridden our bike there, as well as stories from other bicyclists, it's our best chance of survival to give Detroit a wide berth.

How much more do we have to do? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 miles and a few weeks.


Starting Monday, Day 126

We will be volunteering with the Forestry Service. Heather and I will be archaeological assistants. Yes, I know it's not bicycle touring, we'll get back to that sometime. We have approximately 450 route miles and 10 riding days left.


Summary: Day 100 to Day 116++

Click on image to enlarge and it is a big map.
This is a composite map of Dave & Heather's Trip from Day 100 to Day 116.
This segment covers from mile 3000 to mile 3631.


Day 116++ - Cadillac, MI to Day 132?

Editor's Note: Dave and Heather have reached Heather's Aunt in Cadillac, MI where they plan to stay for several days.

They have stayed at many people's houses; but this is the first time that they if they want to stay, they have to clean the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, buy the groceries, cook the meals and do the dishes. Aunt Carol is a Senior Forest Ranger and she runs a big office and you do what she says.


What day is it? - Day 114

Not too sure, maybe 114. Anyway, currently set up in Kalkaska, MI.
8.8 miles yesterday around Charlevoix area and 55 to Kalkaska today.
editor's note: It is Day 114, I am keeping track


Day 113

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rest day in Charlevoix. Lunch was eaten while watching boats pass under the drawbridge in downtown and that's as far as we've gotten today.

Day 112

Monday, August 3, 2009
- Start: Petoskey
- ATW: Bay Harbor, Bay Shore
- End: Charlevoix
- Day Miles: 17 Ride Time: 2hr 10min Total Trip Miles:

Our semi-early morning was overcast and eventually rainy. We left Patrick's parent's house and headed to the library in Petoskey to avoid riding in the rain. That worked as long as we weren't hungry. Pretty soon we needed nourishment and found ourselves wandering downtown at lunch time in a drizzle.

The long lines made us bolt out of town and after swinging into the bike shop to say farewell to Patrick we made our way down the Little Traverse Bike Path toward Charlevoix. We were told of a little deli just off the bike path that had recently moved down the street a little. It was only a mile down the route. A "few" miles later we found the deli but instead of having "moved" next door it was actually in the process of moving. A guy was sitting on a tailgate of a truck out front and started asking us questions. He was dressed in a shirt with the Deli's name on it and we soon found that he was the owner of the deli that wasn't currently serving customers.

"If you were going to eat somewhere else around here where would it be?" Dave asked.

"Come in and I'll make you a sandwich."

From there we ate a delicious sandwich each, a couple of donuts, and offered ourselves as short term labor if they needed it. We moved tables, did some cleaning, got covered in syrup from a soda fountain and generally had an awesome time for a few hours.

Back down the trail we rode into the wind through the rest of Bay Harbor, past the gas station in Bay Shore and to the outside of Charlevoix. Incredibly tired we stopped short of town and pitched our tarp in the township park. Dinner was whatever we could find on the bike and we made sure that the tarp didn't flap in the wind.


Day 111

Sunday, August 2, 2009.
Start: Cross Village, MI
ATW: Good Hart, Harbor Springs
End: Petoskey, MI
Miles: 38.1 4hrs 50min Total miles: 3510

From Cross Village to Good Hart we rode down the "Green Tunnel," a winding twisting narrow roadway through trees growing over the road. We'd been warned about taking the route because it was too much for bicycles. All day long we saw more bicycles on that route than anything else. And except for a few encounters with an RV passing on a blind curve we did alright.

From Good Hart to Harbor Springs we stayed on the Green Tunnel. Five miles from town Dave started noticing a peculiar oscillation in the front wheel. We inspected the wheel and found nothing in the tread so we rode a bit further. The bumping persisted and we stopped for another look. This time it was rather obvious that our sidewall was about to explode.

We switched out for our spare and kept going into town. It was early afternoon and we'd subsisted on a couple amazing homemade donut holes for the last 15 miles, (the healthy eating is getting better I promise). Harbor Springs was having a regatta race so we lunched in the marina watching the sailboats speed through the water.

It was the perfect afternoon for a nap and we found our way to a secluded park just down the road. We rolled out our drop cloth and sleeping bag. When we woke it was after five and time to hunt down dinner. "The grocery store is back up on the bluff." Ah... yes, that hill we came racing down. Back up the hill, higher and higher we climbed. A few cyclists racing the other way cheered us on.

Once again prepared to feast we tried to find our way back to the lake but ended up riding 119 on the top of the bluff east out of town. Soon we were at a bike path that was reported to take us from Harbor Springs through Petoskey to Charlevoix. We made it as far as the Petoskey State Park where we ate dinner in the wind break of the concession stand at the beach.

Soon we were answering questions about our bike and trip from someone who worked in a bike shop (Patrick) but had never seen our bike anywhere but in a catalog (we get that a lot). We offered him a test ride around the parking lot and then were soon shuttling around several more family members. "Where are you sleeping tonight?" We ended up following the family five miles farther down the road into Petoskey and slept out of the rain in the living room of Patrick's parent's house.


Day 110 Part 2

Day 110 Part 2:
Following our wait for the rain to clear we set out a few minutes early and were nicely saturated arriving at the grocery store. Loaded up for lunch we went back to the park to eat and finally rode away into the wind. It didn't seem too bad at first as we meandered toward the lake.

Lack of sleep and just fighting hard to make progress had us exhausted after 15 miles. The more we rode the more intense the wind became. Starting down a hill and practically coming to a halt was our indication it was time to stop. We tried one house that looked like it had cover but no one was home. Maybe over that next little hill. Over the next hill was a series of nice downhills that boosted our spirits momentarily.

Pretty soon we found ourselves surrounded by bogs and a distinct lack of houses. Just a few miles further was Cross Village, perhaps we'd have some luck there. Stopped by a gas station/grocery store and cheered up with a bit of ice cream, then found our way through town to a church yard. There was rain predicted overnight so we set up under a covered shelter with a grass base. Except for the wind flapping the tarp all night we were practically sleeping in luxury.


Day 110

Saturday, August 1, 2009
- Start: Mackinaw City, MI
- ATW:
- End:
- Day Miles: Ride Time: Total Trip Miles:

So far we've managed 2 miles. A trip to the grocery then back to the school to wait for the local library to open. Last night we'd left the bike under a covered shelter near the restrooms while scouting out a place to sleep. Anthills were everywhere in that area but we eventually found a nice patch of anthill free grass on the first base line of a baseball field with grass growing throughout the infield. All around the field grass and weeds were waist high. No one would bug us here.

While walking back to retrieve the bike a car pulled into deep left field and parked. No one was there as we walked past but the decorative license plate on the front of the car said "bicycle."

"If we dawdled setting up do you think they'd invite us back to their place?"

We set up with gusto and while we were doing so he came back. The guy was a bit older and kept looking our way while we set up. Next he checked the trunk of his car, the back seat, then got in the front and sat with the lights out. What was he doing? We took the bottles of water we'd filled from the bathroom hot water tap and ducked into a disused dugout to take a birdbath.

The mosquitoes were of the vicious variety and repeatedly bit right through your spandex as we squatted to set up the tarp. A little sore we ran for the tarp and slid under the sleeping bag to eat a cold can of baked beans before sleeping.

Around 12:30am our cell phone went off. All across the UP we'd had no signal and the one time we forgot to shut it off a person called and then hung up after a couple rings.

Dave went to the bathroom and the parked car was still there with the guy sleeping in it. Ah well. At 6:30am Heather woke up and went to the bathroom. Two trucks had showed up and they were messing with something in the truck beds. Hmm... back to sleep anyway. At 8:30 we both crawled out in search of breakfast and found two dozen cars in left field. What had we stumbled into? A bicycle tour was gathering for take off. By the time we packed up 50+ cars lined the outfield, three tour buses were loading passengers and two Ryder trucks took off with bicycles and luggage.

The trip was starting in southern Michigan and these folks had all parked on the finish line to take off once the race was over. All the ones who had parked at the start line would get bussed back after the trip. Several folks thought we were part of the show until we started to load up to ride off. We chatted with a few different people but never the guy who'd slept in his car all night, he will always remain a mystery.

It was supposed to rain this afternoon so we decided to wait out the weather by hiding in the library in town. From here we'll zigzag down to Cadillac to visit an aunt of Heather's.

Day 109 How does a bicyclist cross "The Bridge?"

Friday, July 31, 2009 Sunny and warm, slight tail wind.
- Start: McMillan, MI
- ATW: Curtis, Gould City, Naubinway, Epoufette, Brevort (Brevoort), Gros Cap, St. Ignace,
- End: Mackinaw City, MI
- Day Miles: 79.2 Ride Time: 7hr 2min Total Trip Miles: 3442

When the road calls you ride. Or something like that. The weather was supposed to be nice and it turned out a beautiful day to ride. We mossied around in the morning packing and eating oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal because we'd only had it twice on the trip and it was wonderful. Following a photo shoot one of the youngins went for a test ride before we left. Then it was off down the dusty road, up a hill and around the lake.

Instead of stocking up at a grocery we kept taking breaks and snacking along the way. Sandwiches, fruit, ice cream, smoked salmon, cheese, more ice cream, local made jerky. The extra ice cream was compensation for a construction detour. Rt. 2 was closed for a couple of miles just after Epoufette due to a missing bridge. We were detoured along a paved country road with no shoulder and traffic was instructed to go 45mph. We stayed mostly in the lane after being skirted way too close by an impatient driver needing to pass just as there was oncoming traffic. However, that technique didn't seem to make a difference when a class A towing a boat decided to go around us on a double curve with on coming traffic.

Passing the dunes on the north shore we enjoyed being back on 2 with a decent berm. We thought of stopping before "the bridge" because it was supposed to be 75 miles down the road from the start but it was mostly flat and comfortable riding. Plus all the stops make it easier to keep going on a nice day.

Mackinac Bridge
Photo Credit: Edward Boll View from UP, west of bridge.

Sometime after 7PM we made it to the Mackinac Bridge. All along the U.P. we were asked how we'd get over "the bridge." We knew that you couldn't walk or ride a bicycle across the bridge and once a non-motorized vehicle arrived they would send a truck to pick you up and take you across. All for a slight fee. "Yeah, it's like five bucks a piece" said a non-bicyclist who'd never crossed the bridge.

A possible answer came when we stopped along the dunes to talk with a couple of touring cyclists heading the opposite way. They'd just crossed a little while back and were charged $2.00 each to cross, for each bike or each person? They also had to wait half an hour for the truck to ferry them across. But we only had one bike. How much would it cost for two people and a tandem?

Answer: $2.00. It was only one bike. The worker who came to drive us across pulled up in the truck after only a few minutes wait and ogled the bike. Never had she driven such a beast across. We unloaded half the gear so that we could actually lift the bike into the bed of the truck. We shut the tail gate and laid the bike on its side with the front wheel hanging off the back end. Five miles later we were unloading in a parking lot and off to find a place to sleep for the night.

Passing a church with a crowd outside we doubled back to ask about sleeping on the property. Even better there was access to bathrooms at the school just down the road and we could set up there. No one would bother us. We found what we thought would be a secluded spot just down the first base line on a not recently used baseball field. How could we know what would happen in the morning.

Day 108 Got rid of the nails after many miles.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 Rain, sun, rain, sun.
Rest day? Yes again!

Stiff muscled we woke a little early in the morning. The weather wasn't predicted to be too bad, but some rain and maybe a thunder shower. However, the body didn't want to do what the brain through it should. We were welcomed to rest up and relax for the day and we did that to some extent.

Our hosts headed out with children and grandchildren to a bear park near by leaving us to maybe kayak around the lake a little. Heather decided to take a nap shortly after they left and Dave spent time catching up in his journal. When the group returned from the bear park Dave kayaked around part of the lake with Gary while Heather slept some more. After kayaking it was Dave's turn to sleep while Heather helped fix dinner.

We were fed well then spent time entertaining and being entertained. We had yet another broken spoke on the back wheel that needed fixed. Gary had a truing stand and we wondered if it was time to true the wheel after so many broken spokes. Turned out that we had a major "hop" in the rim and Dave spent a long time on his learning curve of how to fix such a deviation in the roundness of the rim. Getting it "close enough" we went to bed a little late but even with a nap sleep came fast.

We managed to pawn off the pound of roofing nails on Gary so that we wouldn't have to carry them any longer.

Day 107 Pick up nails - lots of nails!

Click to enlarge image.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Tail wind and warm.
- Start: Gwinn, MI
- ATW: Rumuly, Eben Junction, Chatham, Forest Lake, Munising, Wetmore, Shingleton, Seney, Germfask
- End: McMillan, MI
- Day Miles: 96 Ride Time: 7hr 30min Total Trip Miles:

We left sometime after 9am from Gwinn area and headed for Munising along Rt 94. A few miles from Chatham as we were racing down a hill Dave yelled out something to the effect of "AHHHahhAHH! OH no!" According to Dave we amazingly rode unscathed through a "pile" of nails. We doubled back to pick them up so as to prevent some other cyclist from having trouble and found, not a pile, but what was the result of a box of nails falling off of a vehicle going at a high speed. Strewn 50 feet down the east bound lane and berm was a pound of nails.

We collected them all, prying some from the soft tar patches in the road then tried to figure out what to do with a pound of nails. Toss them at the base of a tree? They were still good. Leave them by someones mailbox? Most of the houses we passed were abandoned. We'd just hang on to them and see if we could give them away.

We had scheduled a warmshowers stop in McMillan for Thursday. We were just under 100 miles away and through it'd take us a couple days to get there, but like all things scheduled on this trip something gets changed. We made it half way in a few hours and decided to ride on chewing off some of tomorrow's trip. In Shingleton we were 43 miles from our destination. We'd been pulling down 18 miles per hour over actually flat lad and with a tail wind. Could we make it all the way to the next house tonight?

Dave made a call and getting the green light we set off down the "Seney Stretch," 25 miles of perfectly straight and almost completely flat terrain. As we all know by now, nowhere a loaded tandem recumbent rides is completely flat. A .01% incline is felt of course it could have been fatigue from booking it for several hours but we still think there was an incline.

In the middle of the stretch we hailed a touring cyclist passing the opposite way. He pulled around and we talked on the side of the road to Justin a young Canadian heading across the continent in search of work on the west side of Canada. He had been cussing the wind we'd been cheering. We commiserated having dealt with our fair share of head winds on our trip. 15 minutes later we wished him luck and kicked back up into high gear making it to our host's home in under three hours of riding (just over three with stops).

We crashed a cook-out down by the shore of Big Manistique Lake that our hosts lived on. They had family and friends there but we were welcomed in just the same no matter how smelly we were. Later that night we heard again about the famous Paul and Jeff team. A week back they'd stopped in for a night and we heard more about their trip. Tired and a little sore we showered then headed for sleep at a late hour. What would tomorrow bring?