Now I'm on a deadline of sorts. I booked my ferry ride across Lake Michigan. It's a good thing I did, because I wouldn't have known I'd need to be there an hour before the sailing. I booked it for Aug. 23rd, the 9:00am sailing. It's a four hour trip, but due to the time change to Central time, I'll get in to Manitowac at noon. I was supposed to ride 55 miles that day, but I'm just going to stay in Manitowac. There is not a closer campground between the one at Manitowac and the one 55 miles down the road. It's no problem as I'm a day ahead anyway.
So, including today, that's three days to get to Ludington. Today was the longest of the three days at 70 miles. The first batch of miles were on the road to Midland.
|Heading pretty directly west|
Midland is a good sized city. I thought I would resupply groceries there, but I didn't go by any grocery stores. Sure, I could have gone off route, but here's the thing. I had to pee. I knew I was getting on a major rail trail, so instead of trying to fiddle around looking for a store, I just wanted to get to the trailhead because I was sure they'd have restrooms there. It also wasn't vital that I get groceries in Midland. There would be a few more towns along the way.
I got to the trailhead for the Pere Marquette Rail-trail. It's a pretty long trail. All of what I was on today was paved, but it continues past Clare unpaved. There was a "Run Michigan Cheap" run today on the trail. It looked like there were 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances. Hmmm...I'd rather ride my bike 4000 miles than run even a 5K!
I didn't see an info sign about the trail, but then again, I had to pee so I only had eyes for a potty shack. So, I have no idea what the history is (other than it was an old railway).
|Pere Marquette Rail Trail|
I decided today I really needed to take more breaks (even though I had a lot of miles to do). I've found riding flat land all day is harder on the knees than riding rolling hills. I think it's because you are constantly pedaling. I suppose riding for hours without taking much more than a few minutes break, and riding for days and days without taking a day off might have something to do with it too. Anyway, I decided more breaks were a good idea.
With that thought in mind, I stopped in Sanford for second breakfast at the Railside Restaurant. It was a good BREAKfast. Then I saw there was a Dollar General store next door. As much as I'm not really fond of the selection at Dollar General, the prices are good. The biggest problem is they do not carry produce. So, no banana tomorrow morning.
Just after I got back on the trail, I stopped and talked to a guy out for a road ride (I guess I was really taking this more breaks idea to heart!). He said he lives in Midland, and likes to ride to Clare and back on the trail because it's slightly uphill and into the wind going, then downhill with a tailwind coming back. I said, "Oh, so I guess I'll only get the uphill and headwind as I won't be going back." That's the way it goes sometimes.
I finally rolled into Clare and the end of the trail (through town anyway). I stopped and picked up a snack and took it to a little park.
A little ways out of town, and I was back on the trail for a couple more miles before getting off it for good. The rest of the way was more rolling hills than I've seen for days. It was kind of nice, actually. Okay, I was getting a bit tired, but the end of the day was in sight, so not a problem.
I pulled into the Lake George Campground at 4:00. It's a private campground with a hefty number of seasonal campers. The young couple who own it have only had it for a year. When I told the gal I'd ridden 70 miles today, she said, "Would you like a pulled pork sandwich?" Of course I said yes! They had a big party here last night and had leftovers. What great luck! I got to my site, and ate my sandwich. I swear, it was the best pulled pork sandwich ever!
|My campsite on the hill|
Tomorrow is a shorter day than today--I think around 55 miles. Then, the next day is even shorter.