Day 45, 7/28, Escanaba, MI to Indian Lake, MI: 53 miles, 1,064 ft elevation gain, 13.1 mph average speed.
Trip totals: 2,678.8 miles (70.5 mile daily average), 114,079 ft elevation gain, 12.5 mph overall average speed.
Two days behind schedule.
We woke from a deep deep sleep this morning at 6:00. We slept well, but just not long enough. After packing up our stuff and saying goodbye to Al, we started our ride at 6:55a–earlier than we’ve been managing lately but still nowhere close to that stretch of days when we were riding by 5:30.
We decided to make today a short day. The plan was to ride 50 miles, get to a campground early, and get lots and lots of sleep tonight. We are very sleep deprived right now and it’s making us grumpy.
The ride started out with less than two miles on town roads before we got on US 2, our old friend, as busy as ever. Outside Escanaba, US 2 is a separated, four-lane highway, reminiscent of I-94. At least there was a wide, smooth shoulder. Well, except for one terrifying moment where it disappeared completely as US 2 passed underneath a bridge.
Our first stint on US 2 was only four or five miles long, and then we exited to follow the lakeshore through Gladstone. Shortly after leaving the highway, our plans for efficiency were thwarted by McDonald’s, which continually has enough gal to build restaurants exactly where we are at breakfast time.
A couple sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddles, a few conversations about our tour with disbelieving elderly gentlemen during their weekly breakfast club, and an hour later, and we were back on the road… for a mile. Then we stopped again at a grocery store. This was a good stop though. In part because it hasn’t been as available, we’ve gotten away from snacking on fruit and moved toward peanut butter oreos. And we’ve started to get sick of junk food, so we wanted to stock up on some good stuff. And Gushers. Good stuff and Gushers.
After a few more miles, we were back on US 2, this time for 27 miles. It was a put-your-head-down-and-pedal sort of ride. The traffic was a little lighter this time around, but still worse than anything we’ve seen since we were on I-94.
We stopped to buy cold drinks after 23 miles on US 2, and then rode another mile to eat lunch at a rest stop off the highway. We reminisced about the days we would ride 50 miles before 9:30a, and there we were with 37 miles at 11:30a.
This break lasted a little long, as is the trend. Dani tried to take a nap on the bench after eating, but when I let her know we were only 15 miles from our campground, she popped right up and got ready to go. Apparently she thought we were still 25 miles away, which seemed long enough in her mind to justify a nap. As I said, we’re sleep deprived.
We rode on country roads for the rest of the day, which was a refreshing, if slightly hillier, change of pace. We stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few more things for dinner, then continued to the campground. About a mile before we reached our campground, we came across a private campground that was cheaper than the state park at which we planned to camp, so we stayed there. Plus, this place is not so popular because of its primitive facilities, so we were able to snag a beachfront spot!
We quickly set up camp, then went swimming, washing our selves and clothes (with biodegradable soap, of course) in the lake. The lake is very shallow, so we didn’t swim so much as sit. It was refreshing, though; the perfect end to a day of riding. We also got to see many different types of sky during the seven hours of daylight we had there, hence the multiple pictures of the same view above and below. We sat next to the lake and caught up on blog posts, made dinner around 5:30p, watched the sun set, and were in the tent by 9p.