25th Anniversary Tour - Day 20

07/06/2006 04:06:56 by Administrator

From: Wrightstown, Wisconsin
To: Tilleda, Wisconsin
Mileage: 85

Mary- transitioning from RV camping to tent camping is a bit of an adjustment for me. Oh lets face it this whole trip has put me squarely out of my comfort zone. I'm hanging in there though and having a great time. Tonight the campground/bar we're at has quieted down, the revelers just departed via a giant hay wagon pulled by a tractor. I've seen hay wagon rides in campgrounds before but generally they are for the kids. This wagon ride was full of very "happy" middle-aged folks (one of whom mooned us as he rode by???) Wisconsin is a very unique place so far, but I've only seen the woods. Noel has promised me a city tomorrow with flushing toilets and beds.

We had breakfast at the We Cook diner in beautiful downtown Shiocton (population 954, maybe). From Shiocton we picked up route 187 which turned into county road K then county road CCC then county road CC into Shawano. This was a GORGIOUS ride with the highlight for today, a bald eagle sighting!

Noel - We were riding along when I looked over into a small field. I could see this very mature and very large bald eagle in the field not more than 25 yards from SeeMore. Mary and I both thought it was someone's lawn ornament. He was just too perfect. Seeing his yellow beak, I finally couldn't contain myself any longer and pointed my finger and yes, shouted, "Look at THAT!" as the Rear Admiral was reaching for the camera, but it was too late, I had spoiled the Kodak moment.

That excitement wisked us into Shiocton where we had a picnic lunch in the park. After lunch we rode the Mountain Bay State Recreation Trail. Hard packed gravel, the trail was a pleasure to ride on.

Tonight we are at the Tileda Falls Campground, and our tent is set up next to the falls. Hopefully we will have a quieter night (but see Mary's note above). Tomorrow we are going to divert from the Adventure Cycling map. We want to finish the Mountain Bay State trail into Wausau; from there we will try to plot ourselves across Wisconsin.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 19

07/05/2006 04:05:18 by Administrator

From: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
To: Wrightstown, Wisconsin
Mileage: 59

To celebrate our first century ride, we slept in! We did not get going until 9:30, which is Central Standard Time (our bodies thought it was 10:30!). We rode to the Wal-Mart and picked up some supplies, then off to breakfast (at 11:00?). The Rear Admiral and I consumed large quantities of food.

Wisconsin, here we come; which she greeted us with very rolling terrain. It seemed like we rode more up more hills then we rode down today (or that is what our bodies were saying). All day long, dairy farms, and farms that supply the dairy cows with food painted our landscape. And*. just a footnote here, with all of those cows and dairy going on we had lots and lots of "country fresh air" as grandma calls it. Sometimes the wind is a blessing in disguise! Despite all of the great odors, by the time we climbed into Wrightstown, we were starving and DONE!

I am trying real hard not to eat at any restaurant chain, but there was only a Subway on this side of the Fox River in Wrightstown, and looking down road there was a huge hill to climb (which we just sailed down), AND WE WERE STARVING. Yucky pooh, it was Subway or that hill. . Subway or that hill . . . . The Rear Admiral doesn't mind Subway, but she was NOT going to go back and ride up that hill! So Subway won, and I lost. Tomorrow we are going to get back to our NO restaurant chain food policy, which will be pretty easy because these next few miles look extremely rural!

The Adventure Cyclist maps did an excellent job with the route today. We only had two roads (one heading out of Manitowoc which was a four lane highway and no shoulder and the other heading out of Wrightstown was a very busy county road with no shoulder. Other than those two, we had the roads to ourselves.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 18

07/04/2006 04:03:45 by Administrator

From: Clare, Michigan
To: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Mileage: 117

OUR FIRST CENTURY, now that's how cyclists celebrate the 4th of July! We have been giving our rides numbers with 10 being the best. We have to give today's ride an eleven. The temperature was into the high seventies, the wind was mostly a cross wind, and the route needs to be ridden again!

The ferry, that crosses Lake Michigan, departs Ludington Michigan only twice daily at 8:00 a.m. or 7:55 p.m. We both started the day with a "let's see" attitude, with an eye on the evening ferry ride. From Clare to Luther we rode through the Michigan evergreen forest. We diverted from the Adventure Cycling maps from Farwell and rode route 115. Because it was early morning and a holiday, there was less traffic but it was still a busy road. It had two climbs, that started our day's ride. If it wasn't for the holiday, we would recommend avoiding 115 because of the high traffic. We exited 115 outside of Temple, and the rest of the ride into Luther (about 30 miles) was more up than down BUT very quiet. If this route was near our home, we would put it in our rotation of rides.

We had lunch at the Logger's Bar and Grill in beautiful downtown Luther (population 339, maybe). We were both feeling very good so we kept riding towards Free Soil (population 177, maybe). This part of the ride was level to down hill, and we rode by lakes and national forests. This section of Michigan was very unexpected for both Mary and I, we never realized that there was any part of Michigan that was this rural. In Free Soil, we had an ice cream and asked SeeMore if he was interested running free? Up to this point, we were riding along at our normal 10 to 11 mph. What a champ SeeMore is, we must have averaged 18 mph for the last 22 miles because we arrived at the ferry at about 6:45 pm (just over an hour). We were just in time to purchase tickets and board the ferry seamlessly.

We went up to the top deck (bow), got a couple of lounge chairs and rested until the ship departed. The ride across Lake Michigan takes four hours, and we stood watching the other ships, the water, the setting sun; and towards the end, the fireworks from the bow.

During the cruise we met John Devlin, who kindly took our photo as we watched the setting sun. You can visit his website WeLoveBirds.net by clicking the link. He is a retired 7th grade computer teacher from Minnesota. THANKS JOHN!

Sometimes I wish that words I type could do a better job of describing the scenery that surrounds us; I just can't do justice to this early dusk lake crossing. I understand why people are attracted to sailing, there is something mesmerizing about the experience and the realization that we are truly such small beings on this big planet.

We got off the ferry, and had a three mile night ride through the city of Manitowoc. Another surreal experience, to be cycling through a city in the middle of the night. Everyone was till up and at almost every block people were still setting of fireworks as we rode past. If felt as though the city of Manitowoc was welcoming SeeMore like an important celebrity!

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 17

07/03/2006 04:01:55 by Administrator

From: Caro, Michigan
To: Clare, Michigan
Mileage: 91

We ate continental breakfast at the Woodyzzz hotel. This did not satisfy the Rear Admiral, she really needs her lumberjack special. So when we got to Bay City, we stopped at the 7-11 for a power bar. Our trip from Caro to Bay City was fantastic. Michigan did not wake up all morning, and we had the roads to ourselves. We rode along flat country roads passing lots of farmland. Blue herons and egrets took refuge in the drainage spillways on the side of the road, so we had quite a show. The Adventure Cycling map took us through the old part of Bay City Michigan, with older style homes and quiet streets. When we got downtown we started to follow the bike trail through town, but it really wasn't very good and we made our own route though town.

The next large city was Midland. This is the home of Dow Chemical, and has a population of 40,000. Dow Chemical is HUGE. We again found our own way through town. In Michigan most of the roads run north to south, or east to west; so it is very hard to get lost. We had lunch at a local diner, and got directions to the Pere Marquette Rail Trail from an elderly couple that was sitting next to us at the diner.

And then there was the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, WOW; this trail starts in Midland and ends 30+ miles in Clare. Smooth 8 foot paved trail all the way! Still in Midland and on the trail, we stopped at the Dow museum. The museum is closed on Mondays, but we were able to explore the outside area, time well spent. There was a lot of activity (bikers, walkers, and inline skaters) on the trail, which we LOVE to see! In downtown Colemen we stopped at Kay's ice cream shop(right off the trail) that set us back a whopping 2 dollars for two very large ice cream cones.

Tonight we walked the town of Clare, and had GREAT Chinese food at Panda's (downtown).

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 16

07/02/2006 04:00:00 by Administrator

From: Capac, Michigan
To: Caro, Michigan
Mileage: 64

The Rear Admiral did not sleep well last night. With my snoring, trains, DJ playing music until 10:30, being hot, and the normal not-so-quiet camping at the KOA, her energy level was next to zero for the first half of today's trip.

This was a perfect day with temperatures in the middle 80's and sunshine. The wind helped us when we traveled north, and cooled us off when we rode westerly. We zigzagged all day, first going north, then going west. SeeMore is moving like a champ, he and I are having some rear fender discussions; but other than that he has been a pleasure.

After breaking camp, and riding into Capac for breakfast; we rode the next 45 miles into Michigan farmland. The road signs outside of Capac tried to detour us around two bridges that were under construction, but we took a gamble and stuck with the route. Riding a bike has its advantages. The first bridge was almost complete and we were able to cross with only some minor lifting. The other bridge however, was completely gone, but there was a skinny (one person) metal walking bridge over the river. We took the packs off of SeeMore and made it easily to the other side. Because of the detours, we had the road to ourselves for about 10 miles!

We had lunch in Mayville at the local grocery store. The grocery store had a GREAT salad bar, which we took full advantage of. They also had a Subway inside, and we both made Subway lose profit on the diet cola refills. The Rear Admiral's spirits were lifted after lunch. Amazing what a little caffeine will do.

The last 20 miles reminded us of New Hampshire. Some farms, more trees, and very quiet roads filled the afternoon agenda.

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 15

07/01/2006 03:58:01 by Administrator

From: Wallaceburg, Ontario
To: Capac, Michigan
Mileage: 60

What a ride this morning! We diverted from the Adventure Cycling maps for a few miles so we could ride along the St. Clair River as much as possible (on both the Canadian and USA sides). The St. Clair Parkway on Ontario side was just picture perfect. There were parks with bird sanctuaries on the riverside, and summer cottages on the right side of our view. There was "next to zero" traffic, so we felt like we owned the road. People were enjoying their morning coffees on their front porch, and waving at us as we rode by. SeeMore is quite the ambassador.

We took the Blue Water ferry (2 dollars Canadian per person) across the St. Clair River to Marine City Michigan. The elderly US customs gentleman was kind, and only asked us for our birth certificates and licenses. Again, we have to thank SeeMore for being such a conversation starter. In Marine City, the Rear Admiral DEMANDED breakfast; and I watch her devour her favorite breakfast, the Lumberjack special, at the local diner.

As mentioned, we had rode along the St Clair River instead of taking the bicycle path from Marine City to St. Clair, more car traffic but still great views. In St. Clair we did some banking and visited the library. We talked to a number of people at the library about this adventure.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cycling through Michigan farm country. More twists and turns, ups and downs that made it a tad more interesting. We stopped at the KOA for the night and did laundry. We are not fans of KOA camping but we are traveling during 4th of July weekend, so we take what we can. The hosts at this KOA were fantastic. We believe it was a Grandma, Grandpa, Father, Mother, and kids team.

Two additional points of interest; Amanda (Mandy) and Mike, the young couple who are cycling from Boston to Montana, set up their tent next to ours (I hope I didn't keep them up all night with my snoring!). They had stayed in the same hotel in Wallaceburg as we did, the night before. Also, we tried our first "camp" food. Heated up water in the Jet Boil, and had a gourmet meal of black bean taco casserole with mocha mouse pie. It was really quite tasty. Thank you Dustin and Katelyn for providing your folks with an excellent dinner!

25th Anniversary Tour - Day 14

06/30/2006 03:25:03 by Administrator

From: Port Stanley, Ontario
To: Wallaceburg, Ontario
Mileage: 85

As you can tell by these two beautiful photos, today we were in the middle of Ontario farmland. There was corn to the left, there was corn to the right, there was corn to the north, and there was corn to the south. Toss in some soybean, wheat, lettuce, and potato fields and you can picture our views today.

We had a good ride and there was plenty to see, even though there were no Kodak moments (the bluebird was too quick for the photographer). The mainly flat roads were pretty busy today, but the Canadian drivers really look out for us cyclists. We find them very courteous.

We had a very filling meal at breakfast at the Windjammer Inn. Fresh rhubarb and strawberry jam, chive scrabbled eggs, fresh fruit, and home made breads. So when we pulled into Morpeth (population maybe 20) we had ridden 46 miles and only needed a little something to eat, but not much. The combo gas station / grocery store / hardware store / restaurant was all that was available. The Rear Admiral ordered a hamburger, but said, "I can only eat half, and you can eat the other half. Then she proceeded to find the powder room. Now I knew she meant for me to order my own hamburger, and I could have her other half. But I wasn't really hungry, and the way she said it sounded like I could ONLY eat the other half of her hamburger. As Mary disappeared, the lady behind the counter said, "How many miles did you ride today so far?" I told her. "And she is only going to let you have 1/2 a hamburger?" I nodded, then I grabbed a small bag of potato chips and said, "I don't care what she said, and I'm eating these too!" The woman at the counter eyed Mary the whole time we had our lunch.

I had a laugh for about 10 miles after our lunch stop. Heck, I'm laughing so hard now, as I type this, that I'm crying (maybe you had to be there).

We stopped again in Dresden for some ice cream, and a stretch. Then on to Wallaceburg where we pulled into the fire station to ask for directions to our lodgings for this evening. If you ever need directions, go to the fire station. Not only will you get good information, the firemen are super nice people.