Thursday, August 31, 2017

Aug 30--Day 79--A No Photo Day

Alas, it has happened. I took no photos today. Why, you ask? Well, the day started out sunny (granted, a bit headwindy), but just when I got down to my minimal riding attire, the clouds rolled in. 


I stopped at the only convenience store I came to today, got a snack, and saw there was some big black cloudy nastiness coming my way. I stowed that which had been drying on the rear rack, and pulled out my rain shorts. My rain jacket was already tucked in the pocket of my pannier.


Not even a quarter mile down the road I had to stop and don my rain gear. I could hear thunder in the distance. I wish I had looked closer at my map because there was definitely a section of gratuitous miles. Although, who knows, with the rain, it might have been better to go the way I went instead of the County road I had been on, then returned to. I'm sure there was less traffic.


The rain continued with prolonged periods of downpouring. It brought to mind my ride along the Soulange Canal my last day in Quebec, only instead of a bike path, I was on the road. It finally stopped, and I was able to remove my rain shorts (they are just not very comfortable to ride in after 40 miles), only to have to put them back on a few miles later (yep, still not comfortable).


Although I had planned a different destination today, I had decided to stop in Edgewater at my original planned campground. That was a good choice because as I was riding along, I came to a Road Closed Ahead sign. Ah crap! I hate those! I could see that the road ahead was indeed quite torn up, so I followed the detour signs. I could kind of guess where it was going to take me by looking at my map (ACA does have some side roads as long as they are not too far off the route, or the route is in the middle of the map panel). 


The detour started on chip seal, but soon changed to dirt and gravel. Thankfully, I have my trusty Tilmann with his 2" tires. He handled the dirt (becoming slightly muddy) with no problems. The detour added about 2 miles.


I returned to the road I was supposed to be on just before Edgewater. I couldn't remember the name of the campground, but I saw a sign for North Star Resort, and that rang a bell. Yep, that was it. 


I paid the guy, and set up my wet tent. Usually, I inflate my sleeping pad, and put my sleeping bag in before I go shower. However, since the tent was wet, I waited. After my shower, I even went to the local bar and grill for lunch before finishing setting up camp. 


When I came out, the sun was shining, and everything was almost dry (the shoes are getting there)! Hallelujah!!! 


In looking ahead, I think I will actually push a bit to get back to Minneapolis on Friday instead of Saturday. It seems ridiculous to do two low 30 mile days, when I have been doing 60+ mile days. So, that means just two more days of riding (because really it would have been 2 1/2 after today). The route back into Minneapolis will be mostly the same as when I left, so no reason to dilly dally.



Sorry for no photos today, but there just wasn't anything to take a photo of.

Aug 29--Day 78--Fur and Feathers

It rained last night so due to that, and condensation, my tent was a soaking wet blob once it was packed up...yay...


It was as thick as pea soup on the road. It makes me glad I have a headlight and taillight. Although, there was hardly any traffic to speak of.

Foggy road



I continued on County Road FF. I decided FF stood for Fur and Feathers. First I saw deer bouncing across the road. Zoom in on the photo below and you might spot one.

See it?

Then I saw a bunch of turkeys--some baby gobblers too. Then I saw a small rodent, not a mouse, too small for a mole, maybe a vole (there's such a thing right?). It was running across the street. A car was coming. Instead of continuing across the street, it did a sweeping 180, and headed back the other way. I told it to hurry or it was gonna get squished. I think it lived to scurry another day.


The first town I came to was called Butternut (no joke). I wonder if their football team is the Squash. Actually, I'm not sure if they even had a school. It was a pretty small town. I stopped at the gas station/convenience store for a snack. A guy asked me the usual questions. He asked if I was worried about the knuckleheads. I told him, so far, I hadn't met any knuckleheads, unless he was one. He said he wasn't. Later, as I was riding along, I heard a voice say, "Hey!" I stopped and said, "What?" It was the guy. He said, "I met you at the gas station. This is where I live." I gave him the thumbs up and continued on my way.


It was a long straight road to and through Glidden, then I turned onto an even longer straight road to Clam Lake. I saw more deer, and more turkeys (at the same time). The deer were crossing the road going one way, and the turkeys were going the other way. It was like they had the Walk signal, and the cars had a red light.


In Clam Lake, I was at 50 miles. There was another campground 10 miles further, so I had some lunch, and kept going. The gal at the store said maybe I would see some elk. I hoped so, so I could continue with my Fur and Feathers theme of the day. Unfortunately, I did not see any elk, even though they are certainly prevalent, according to the highway signs. I did see 4 more deer. Also, a hawk came swooping down. Either I distracted it, and it missed its prey, or there wasn't any there. Either way, it came up empty clawed, and flew away.




I came up to Boulder Lodge and campground. I couldn't remember the name of where I was staying. I pulled out my little book. Oh, it was Boulder Lodge. According to my map it was supposed to be at the junction of Hwy 77 and County Road S. I hadn't seen the Junction yet. I'm guessing it's just out of sight. Anyway, I pulled in and gave my $20 to Michelle. This is a nice place, but I don't think there is anyone else here. I'm sure they'll be packed this weekend for Labor Day. Oh, and it's on Ghost Lake--oooooooo...could be scary!!!



Now just 4 more days!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Aug 28--Day 77--An Altogether Pretty Good Day

After the first few days of riding by dairy farm after dairy farm, I thought I just wanted to get across Wisconsin and back to Minneapolis. While it is still true that I'm looking forward to getting back to Minneapolis and My Sweet Baboo and Little Miss, I am really enjoying Wisconsin now. Even the last two days in the rain weren't that bad, and of course there was THAT BEAR I SAW!


Speaking of bears, I was on the lookout as I left this morning. I didn't see any bears, but I saw a few deer--not nearly as exciting. It wasn't raining this morning (yay!), and the road continued to be rolling hills past numerous lakes.

Still a little foggy and cloudy, but not raining!



I picked up the Crystal Lake Bike Path into Boulder Junction. It was a nice path into town. I decided I would look for a restaurant for 2nd breakfast. I haven't had the opportunity for awhile. As I pulled into the parking lot of The Granery Restaurant, another couple pulled in on bikes. They were there to eat too, so I asked if I could join them. Jeff and Vicki are retired educators from Madison. We had a wonderful time chatting at breakfast. They were camping in Boulder Junction and were out for a ride on the trails. 

New friends, Vicki and Jeff



Besides the Crystal Lake Trail, there is also the Heart of Vilas County Trail. It's a very nice trail that goes from Boulder Junction to Manitowish Waters. After our breakfast and taking photos, we rode together for awhile on the Heart of Vilas Co. Trail. 


We said our goodbyes (they turned back, and I continued on). I was on the trail for 13 miles. I crossed a few bridges, and meandered through the trees.

Heart of Vilas Co. Trail

Yes, Jeff, I also saw the geraniums. There were a handful of people picking berries along the trail. I looked closer, and saw they were little wild blackberries. I had one. It was pretty sweet. It would sure take a lot to make a pie though! 

Tiny blackberries



My route didn't go all the way to Manitowish Waters. I had to get off and get back on the county road. Vicki thought it might now go all the way to Mercer (my next town), but she wasn't sure. I think she could be right though because when I arrived in Mercer, I needed to get groceries. By the grocery store, there was a trail that came from the other end of town in the direction of Manitowish. So, maybe there is a trail that goes from Manitowish Waters to Manitowish, then to Mercer. I'll have to look it up when I get a chance.


After restocking my food, I noticed there was a Subway right next door! Since I hadn't really had a full meal at a Wisconsin Subway, I decided I would eat a late lunch there. I only had about 7 miles to go to get to the campground. 




The guy in Subway asked me which way I was going. I told him County Road FF. He said I should find another way as they had the road all torn up. Well, there really isn't another way. He didn't know how long the construction area was. I wasn't terribly worried as Tilmann can handle gravel pretty good.


I'm glad there wasn't an alternative, because the construction was only for two miles. It wasn't bad at all. I would have been mad if I'd gone out of my way to avoid two miles.




Lake of the Falls County Park is not very big, only about 33 sites. There is only one other occupied site, but no one seems to be there. They do have a brand new restroom/shower building, which is great! I don't know where or if there are actual Falls near here. All I can see is a lake.

Lake of the Falls

I hope there are loons, because I really like their call. If not, at least I saw this one today in Mercer.

One giant Loon!




Five more days and I'll be back in Minneapolis!!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Aug 27--Day 26--Bear Karma, And My Own Little Cabin on the Lake

Today was another full day of riding in the rain. It mostly drizzled. Still, I ended up pretty wet. Combine that with yesterday's wetness, and most of my riding clothes are wet. Putting on the still soaking wet arm warmers this morning was...delightful. But, once I had my rain coat on, I was warm enough.


Today I continued riding by multiple lakes. I really wish the weather had been nice because I'm sure it would have been beautiful.

Whitefish Lake--would be beautiful I'm sure.

On the upside, this being Sunday, there probably would have been a lot more traffic if it had been sunny. As it was, there was very little traffic on the winding roads. There was much more traffic on the highways, but there was a shoulder then. 


The best road (even in the rain) was Military Rd. Scenic Byway. It was winding and a rollercoaster. It was really fun. It was through the Nicolet National Forest. Here's a little info.

Nicolet National Forest



I had decided to even out today and tomorrow's mileage by camping sooner today, then making up the miles tomorrow to make two 60ish mile days. Also, since it was raining all day, I was hoping for someplace under cover, or maybe...someplace indoors! On my map there was a place called Buckatabon Lodge and Lighthouse Inn. They allowed camping too, so I had my bases covered. 


I finished the Manitowoc Alternate Route, and have now rejoined the North Lakes main route. I should now be heading in a more westerly direction. Although today was definitely the day to be going mostly north as the wind was out of the south.


After about two miles on the main route out of Conover, I turned to go the 1 1/2 miles off route to Buckatabon. I was pedaling along when, not far ahead, A BEAR WALKED ACROSS THE ROAD!!!! I'M NOT KIDDING!!! A BLACK BEAR WALKED ACROSS THE ROAD!!! I stopped. OF COURSE I STOPPED--A BEAR WAS WALKING ACROSS THE ROAD!!! I got out my camera, but I couldn't get it turned on and zoomed in fast enough before THE BEAR went into the bushes. DANG!!! I knew there was a reason why I decided to end my day earlier! I thought it was to even out the miles, but NO. IT WAS TO SEE A BEAR WALK ACROSS THE ROAD!!! HOW LUCKY WAS THAT???

Really! There was a bear there!!!



I arrived at the lodge just as Kathy, one of the owners, was walking out of the house (the office is down on the lake). I asked if they had anyplace indoors I might stay tonight. She said they do, but none of the cabins had been cleaned yet. I said I wasn't that picky. After all, I've spent most of my nights in a tent! I really just needed to dry out my clothes. My tent was surprisingly dry this morning. It must have stopped raining for a bit during the night. The wind was blowing pretty good this morning. It probably dried it out.


She brought me to Cabin 2. It looked pretty clean to me. She asked how much I thought she should charge me. She said she certainly wasn't going to charge me the $150.00 rate for one night! I told her I had no idea. She suggested $50, and I said sure! She grabbed some sheets for the bed (there's actually two bedrooms), and even brought me a drying rack!

My little cabin




So, I've got a wonderful cabin on Buckatabon Lake for the night, AND I SAW A BEAR!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Aug 26--Day 75--Forests, Hills, and Rain--Feels Like Home!

I actually had to bring out my climbing legs today! They were a little rusty.


The rain started before I even left the campground, but then it quit for awhile. I stopped just 6 miles down the road at the Mattoon grocery as I knew I would not have any other food opportunity today.


The rain started again in earnest about 15 miles in. It didn't quit, and still hasn't quit as I sit here in my tent typing up this post. It's not a downpour, just continuous. 


The hills were not terrible, but I did have to use my easiest gear a few times. I can't remember the last time I had to use it. There was this sign for a ski hill!

An actual hill!



Not only is this area of Wisconsin pretty heavily forested (there is even a Forest County), but there are a ton of lakes of all different sizes. I wish it wasn't raining as I think it would be quite scenic.


On my map today there was another trail--the Wolf River Trail. ACA did not say it could be used as a shortcut like the Mountain-Bay Trail, even though it was shorter. I discovered why. It was more of an ATV trail (although bikes were allowed on it). The gravel was pretty heavy. It would have been perfect for Mama Cass, but Tilmann would have struggled a bit. I'm sure he could have done it if we'd had to, but we didn't. If it hadn't been raining, I might have tried a short section.

Wolf River Trail



After 55 wet miles, I arrived at Veteran's Memorial Park. I'm not bothering with a shower because I have enough wet things, I don't need to add my towel. 

Would be prettier if it wasn't raining




By this time next Saturday I should be back in Minneapolis!

Aug 25--Day 74--A Nice Day For a Long Bike Ride

It was pretty chilly to start with. I actually put on my leg warmers for the first time. It was 47 degrees in my tent this morning. I guess Fall is coming. At least it warmed up to a comfortable 70 or so. 


I wasn't really sure where my end point would be today. I had the option of taking a shortcut on an unpaved trail. When I was planning this trip, I thought I might take the trail, and camp somewhere along it. Although, I had no idea what the trail would look like. 


First, I had to get to Shawano, where the Mountain-Bay Recreational Trail started (for me anyway). It was another day of dairy farm after dairy farm (it takes a lot of milk to make all that Wisconsin cheese). I saw where the baby cows live. These little pens have a milk bottle holder on the side of the little kennel. I saw a guy putting the bottles in the holders (otherwise I would not have known that little tidbit of information). 

Baby cow houses

See the wire thing on the one to the left? That's where the milk bottle goes.



I don't think I could ever get used to the smell. I did a lot of breathing through my mouth, filtering it through my teeth. Even then, it wasn't the best. When I rode through the Naverino Wildlife Area I got a respite from the cow smell. I breathed deeply. As for the wildlife, I saw one deer.

The cow free zone of the wildlife area



I rolled into Shawano around 1:00 or so (maybe a little later). I had done 51 miles. I really did want to take the Mountain-Bay Trail. I stopped at the bike shop and asked how far it was from Shawano to Bowler, where I would get back on the route. Surprisingly, the guy didn't know (really??? You run a bike shop that's on this trail and you rent bikes, and you don't know the distances???). Well, he calculated it out to be 22 miles. So, the "short cut" saved me 3 miles. The only thing was that by taking the trail, I would bypass two campgrounds, and there wouldn't be another one until about 7 miles further along the route after I got off the trail. Still, it was a nice day...I opted for the trail. I had to buy a trail pass for $5. 


At first the trail was a grassy doubletrack to get out of town. Then I was on the road. There were directional signs that said "Hiking and Biking Trail". I followed them, but was on the road for what seemed like a long time. I was beginning to think I was going the wrong way, when one of the signs finally pointed to the unpaved trail. 

Getting out of town

Mtn-Bay Trail



I don't think it gets much use as a bike trail. There were very few tire tracks, and the plants were growing up in the middle. The whole time, I saw only one other bike. I think it probably gets lots of use as a snowmobile trail in the winter. It'd probably be fun for fat biking too.


I made it to Bowler. I stopped at a bar/restaurant because they had a sign saying soft serve ice cream. They didn't have soft serve, but they did have ice cream sundaes. I had that and a Sprite. I sat at the bar eating my ice cream. The bartender asked me the usual questions, and a gentleman waiting for a take out order also talked to me. His name was Elton, and he lived a mile and a half down the road I was going on. When I asked the bartender what I owed him for the ice cream and Sprite, he said it was on the house. He said, for how far I had ridden, it was the least he could do. I thought that was pretty nice!


I got back on the road to finish the day's ride. Elton honked as he drove by me. He turned into his driveway, and I waved.


I was quite happy to see the sign for the campground. It's a private campground with a bar. Too bad I'm not a beer drinker!!! I got my tent site. When the gal told me they had available sites, I said that's good because I've ridden 81 miles, and I'd rather not go further. She said even if they were full, she would've found a place for me. I like that about the private campgrounds.



So, today was just a half mile short of my longest day on this tour. It was okay though, because there was a variety of riding. And, it really was a nice day for a long bike ride! Heres a few more photos.

Now what are these birds?

More cranes

Barn with a guitar quilt

Ah, now I know why all the barns have quilts on them.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Aug 24--Day 73--A Little Bit Chilly

This might have been the coldest morning I've had at 56 degrees. And it stayed cooler for quite awhile. 


As I suspected, I woke up a little before 6:00. That's a little before 7:00 Eastern time, but now I'm back on Central time. Since I was in the hotel, I didn't have much packing to do. I was on the road by 7:00.


So far, Wisconsin is mostly rolling hills. The smell of dairy farms is in the air most of the time. It's not the most pleasant smell, but it's better than some smells I've encountered. This is Land O Lakes butter country. 

The rolling hills of Wisconsin



There are lots of corn fields, but they seem to be primarily feed corn (which makes sense). I did see a couple of fields of Milo being grown for Kaytee (the bird seed company). It looks like this.




I also saw a couple of fields with herons in them. I'm used to seeing those long legged birds in the water. Here's a photo.

Herons and Canada geese



The only town with any services was near the end of my day. I came into Wrightstown around noon. I was hoping for a Subway. I need to check off a Wisconsin Subway. I came to a pizza place. While I was waiting for my food, I turned on my phone to have a look at Google maps because the route narrative was wrong. Whaddya know, there was a Subway just across the bridge! 


After my salad and cheesy garlic bread (it was good, even though it wasn't Subway), I rode across the bridge (part of my route) and stopped for cookies at the Subway. 

Wisconsin Subway--Check!



The reason the route narrative was wrong was because the bridge is new. It was a little confusing at first because, in addition to the new bridge (and the approach to it), there is a new roundabout. I figured it out. I've written a note about what the map narrative should say, and I'll send it to Adventure Cycling when I get back to Minneapolis.


I'm at one of the nicest campgrounds I've stayed in for a ridiculously low price of $10.50. They have a pool and laundry. While I didn't go swimming (it's just not that warm), I did do full-scale laundry. I haven't washed everything since Lorraine and Doug's place in Lincoln, Ontario. It was time.


The only downside to this campground is that it is rather close to a busy highway, therefore somewhat noisy. Yeah, who cares!



I hope it's a little warmer tomorrow. If not, I might have to dig out my leg warmers!

Wisconsin barn


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Aug 23--Day 72--A Two Parter

Part 1--The SS Badger


I packed up this morning and rode to the ferry. When I rolled up, a guy with a drug sniffing dog stopped me so the dog could have a sniff. I'm sure he thought there was some good smelling stuff--and by good smelling, I mean pretty stinky, but not...illegal...I guess... Anyway, he (the guy) told me to go up to the front and tell them Tim sniffed me, and I'm good to go. So...I rolled up and said, "The guy said to tell you Tim sniffed me. I don't know if Tim is the dog or the human, but I've been sniffed."


The SS Badger

The SS Badger went into service in 1953. It was built so the freight trains could cross Lake Michigan, but also for passengers too. It has a twin ship, the Spartan, but it's no longer in service.

The Spartan

This ferry reminded me of the big ferries in Europe. Only, in this case, people don't drive their own cars onto the ferry (some do, like the guy with the 1958 classic Corvette--I'm guessing it's a liability thing). The ferry personnel drive all the cars on. There were two tanker trucks. The ferry people didn't drive those on. The tanker trucks had to back on. The first one just backed right on. The second one had to try a couple of times before getting in the right spot. 

Tanker truck backing on



Once all the vehicles were on (I just walked Tilmann on and parked him off to the side), they closed the back thingy, and with a loud blast of the horn, we were off! I made my rounds of the ferry, visiting all the decks and whatnot. It was really windy unless you were right up at the bow. 

Pulling out



Heading out past the lighthouse

Great Lake #4--Lake Michigan

Since it had been windy at the campsite this morning, I didn't cook my breakfast. I went to the cafe of the boat and had oatmeal with a number of toppings.


I went to the gift shop next. I got a t-shirt for Grayson and a Badger postcard.


Since it was a 4 hour ride, I went up to bow and sat down in one of the lounge chairs. Flat Will sat in one too. I may have taken a little nap. 

Flat Will lounging on deck

Nap time!



Because on a day off, I seem to eat more than I do when I'm riding, I went to the cafe for something else to eat. I sat down in the main lounge just in time to watch them play Badger Feud. It's like Family Feud, only the people don't know each other. One team named themselves the Mustangs. I thought the other team was far more innovative in their name--The Minnow (you know, Gilligan's Island). Unfortunately, even though the Minnow team got off to a great start, the Mustangs ended up winning. 

Badger Feud



Next up was Super Badger Bingo. I grabbed a card and joined in the fun. Sadly, while I was just one number away from blackout, I did not win. 

Not doing well!



Bingo ended because we were pulling into port. The boat has to turn around and back up to the ramp. The ferry personnel drove all the cars off. I walked off with Tilmann. Goodbye SS Badger. Thanks for the ride!

Welcome to Manitowoc, Michigan



Goodbye SS Badger!

Part 2--I Coulda Been a Carnie!


I stopped to take the obligatory Welcome to Wisconsin photo, even though I've already been to Wisconsin on this trip (twice actually).

Back to Wisconsin--state number 2 AND 13!

I stopped at a post office to mail Grayson's postcard, then went to get some groceries. My tasks taken care of, I headed to the Manitowoc Expo grounds. According to my map, I could camp there. I had my first inkling that things might not work out that way when I saw the sign for the free shuttle to the Fair. Uh oh, the Manitowoc County Fair is going on. I rode up, seeing a number of RVs and thought, maybe it will work out after all. I can't say I have ever camped at a fairgrounds while the fair was going on. I'd be like a Carnie, right? Yeah, well, I went to the Expo Office, and was told there was no room. They had no more spots until next week (why do they think that is going to be helpful???). 



I told the guy who had sent me to the Expo Office that there was no room. I told him I just HAD to arrive on the opening day of the fair! I told him I guess I would head to a hotel. He told me there was one not far. I rode to the Harbor Town Inn (I think it's part of the Super 8 chain). It was only $63 for the night. That's not bad. Still, might have been fun to get to be a carnie for a night...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Aug 22--Day 71--The Hot Turkey Sandwich Was Good

Today was all about getting to Ludington. 


There was a thunderstorm last night, and today seemed as if the eclipse was still going on because it was dark and dreary. I only had 45 miles to Cartier Park in Ludington, but they were a boring 45 miles. I stopped for a break in Free Soil (would that be dirt that costs nothing?) after 25 miles of non-stop pedaling. I know for roadies, 25 miles isn't a lot without taking a break, but for loaded touring it is a long stretch.


After another 12 miles I came to a grocery/deli in Hamlin (don't know if it's really a town or just a suburb of Ludington). Today's lunch special was a hot turkey sandwich for $4.99. Such a deal! It was pretty tasty and filling.


The park was just another 5 miles down the road. Although I am very close to Lake Michigan, I can't see it. I guess I'll just have to wait until tomorrow morning when I go to the ferry. I'll have just a mile and a half, with part being on a bike path, to get to the ferry tomorrow.



Oh, I saw a couple of touring cyclist today. I pulled off and stopped (as that is what we do). They just waved and rode on by. For that, I wish them headwinds! 

The only photo today. I'm on the North Lakes Route, so here's a photo of one of the lakes (Bass Lake)


Monday, August 21, 2017

Aug 21--Day 70--A Total Eclipse on My Bike

Okay, not really a total eclipse, since I'm in Michigan, but the eclipse did happen, and I was on my bike.


I wonder if the impending eclipse had something to do with the craziness of the people last night? I don't think they were in the campground I was in, but just down the road. They were yelling and screaming well into the wee hours of the morning! It took me forever to go to sleep. Consequently, I slept until almost 7:00 this morning. I was on the road by 8:00.


The terrain has definitely changed. More rolling hills, less fields, more trees.

A nice morning for a bike ride

It was a pleasant ride. There weren't many towns today. I stopped in Leroy at a bait shop to get a Coke. There was supposed to be a grocery store (probably a Dollar General), but I didn't see it. I also stopped at the post office and mailed another postcard (from Lake Huron) to Grayson. I saw there was a bike trail, but later down the road I could see it went the wrong direction for me.


I stopped in Luther for a snack and more to drink. The eclipse was just getting started. A guy was running around with a welder's mask letting everyone look through it. I looked and saw a sliver of the moon covering the sun. Then some clouds rolled in. In the little grocery store, the gal had the tv on and was watching the eclipse (they were in Madras, OR). I remember going to Wasco, OR in 1979 to watch the eclipse. It was winter because I remember it was pretty cold. We were at the wheat ranch where my mom grew up. It was cool to see. So, even though I didn't get to see the total eclipse, I have seen one before. 

Eyeing the eclipse through a welder's mask



I have come to the end of the Lake Erie Connector Route. It was 505 miles, and I did all but 9 miles (Fort Erie to Port Colborne). It was a pretty good route, definitely a good route for those doing Northern Tier who want to skip the Corn and Soybean states! 

End of the Lake Erie Connector--the circled tent symbol is where I'm staying tonight




Tomorrow I start the North Lakes Route. Tonight, I'm at a Forest Service campground called Old Grade. Since it's Monday, I have the entire park to myself. Unfortunately, I happened to arrive as the park managers (who are not staying here) were cleaning things up. If I had arrived an hour or so later, I would have had a free night of camping. It's just $16, but there are no showers, and just vault toilets. The gal told me since I was all alone, she'd let the sheriff know I was here. I told her I wasn't worried about being here alone. She was concerned because, well you know, I'm a vulnerable female and all. She wouldn't worry if I was a guy. I thought it was funny. She was just being nice (if not a little sexist). So, while I'm not worried for my safety, it will be a boring night. How early can I go into my tent???