"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

August 24, 2008

Summer 2008 Bicycle Tour - June 26

June 26 - 22 miles

Once the sun had risen enough to light the road in front of me I set off again. It was cold. By this time, I was just a few miles away from Lake Michigan and the air seemed to be more humid. I brought terrible clothes for the trip. The raincoat that I bought from REI was only good against the lightest of drizzles and it was too thin to do anything about low temperatures. I hadn't expected it to drop into the fifties so I didn't bring very warm clothes. Plus, the wind that's created when you bicycle just makes a chilly, foggy morning that much worse. A couple miles down the road, I came across a rest area and waited for it to warm up while I visibly shivered. Eventually, the sun rose and it warmed up enough for me to continue.

Around 7am, I pulled into Escanaba and silently cheered. Finally! I had reached Lake Michigan! Escanaba is a pretty decent-sized city. I'll admit that it's not very scenic along the highway. There, it's just motels, fast food chains, and department stores. But the park that lines Little Bay Du Noc is one of the prettiest I've seen. Park benches and wrought iron fences line the shore. There's a walking/cycling path that loops around the waterfront and passes a sidewalk filled with plaques telling a bit about the history of the town, a large harbor filled with boats, the Sand Point Lighthouse, and the Delta County Historical Museum.

As I was reading the plaques, an older couple walking through the park came over to speak to me. Turns out their daughter had gone on a solo bicycle tour around Lake Superior many years ago. They were so lovely and friendly. They told me about the campground in town (which I ended up passing on) and the state park somewhere nearby with an old ghost town. (It was 16 miles off route so I never went :( but it sounded awesome!)

Once our conversation had finished, I set off to find a motel room. I'd been awake for over 24 hours by this time so I knew I needed one instead of camping. Sleeping in a tent while the hot summer sun pounds on it seemed like a good way to die of heat stroke. I stopped by the Best Western. $89 for the night. I fainted and went down the road to Comfort Suites. $120/night. O.o Not a chance. After hitting up four different hotels, I came across the Hiawatha Motel. I'd passed it before but it had a religious message on its sign (God bless the troops or something like that). It makes absolutely no sense but, the minute any business slaps a religious message on their signs, I get a little creeped out. Maybe I expect the owner to start flinging bibles at my head when I enter. Anyway, they were actually reasonably priced at $40/night. Sure, most of the furniture looked like it was from 1974 and there was a worn pink stain on the bathtub's caulking that made me wonder just how many hookers had died in that room. But, hey, it was clean and it was $40/night.

Spent the rest of the day sleeping and watching television.

One view of the harbor

Yeah, it's boring but, darn it, I like water.

Sand Point Lighthouse. It's tiny.

Another view of the harbor


Lidian said...

We were just traveling too and i cannot believe how expensive even basic motels are now!

You are such a good writer, I really love reading about your bike adventures - so cool!

Ferd said...

It's like being there! Nice post!

Dressing for cold weather biking is an art. Lightweight layers that you can take off one at a time is what we do. Good gloves are a must. On our longest rides, we usually get started at dawn as well. It's absolutely wonderful to ride in the morning fog, and to watch the sun come up an hour into the ride. Nothing like it!

You really are a good writer. Your funky personality (that's a GOOD thing!) and your emotions are what make it fun to read.

Berryvox said...

Lidian - God, yeah. I found some motels in the Upper Peninsula that weren't terrible ($40-$50/night) but, everywhere else, it was $60+/night.

Ferd - I have a feeling I'm also a giant wuss when it comes to extremes in temperature. (Though 53 isn't really extreme.)