Day 44 Kipling to Brevort Michigan
Lake Michigan on a hazy, humid, day
This was my day to ride over the top of Lake Michigan on US 2. I did a bit over 110 of the 130+ miles between Kipling and St Ignace. It was a relatively easy ride because I had tail winds much of the way, and because there isn't a whole lot of climbing. Mostly, it was just riding along on a good shoulder, dripping sweat from chin because of the heat and humidity, with moderate to sometime heavy traffic. I didn't use, or need to use, an earplug. The traffic was relatively slow, and the road surface was relatively smooth, so the noise wasn't bad, even when was a lot of traffic.
Lakeshore Road in Kipling at 8:30 AM on Sunday
The folks the Shorewood motel recommended riding the five miles to Rapid River on the road through Kipling. It was very peaceful. As I left the motel at 8:30, I saw a lady skating towards me in my lane. After a car passed, she switched over to other lane and we passed. She was a good skater.
Coming into Rapid River - glare and haze
Looking back at Rapid River - much clearer
I stopped for breakfast at a truck stop just before Rapid River, then rode onto US 2 heading east. The shoulder was good and I had a bit of a tail wind, so I was able to average about 15 mph. The temperature at 9 AM was 80 F and the relative humidity was 90%. Muggy. It was hazy and the haze mean that there was a lot of glare looking east. Not the greatest day for riding, but not bad. Last night it never cooled down below 70 F and the air was saturated with moisture.
I rode hard to take advantage of the tail wind and because I was concerned about being caught by thunder storms before I reached the motels near St Ignace. I saw a lot of tourists in the first part of my ride, but the ones I passed were all going a lot slower than I was. I passed three tourists on recumbents within a few miles after leaving Rapid River. The first one was so slow that I didn't identify him as a bicycle - lots of glare - until I was quite close. He was towing a BOB and going at about half my speed. I slowed down, pulled along side, and spoke, but I couldn't understand his reply and he seemed uncomfortable with me there, so I rode on. The next two guys were riding long wheelbase recumbent with pannier mounted above their rear wheels. It looked unstable to me, and one of the two was weaving a lot. They were only going a few mph slower than I was, but, again, when I pulled along side, the one who was weaving looked uncomfortable. The other rider and I exchanged greetings and I rode on.
The first tourist of the day
Big Bay De Noc
Most of today's ride was through woods, but significant parts were right along the lake. Those parts were pretty, windy, and much cooler that the parts through the woods.
I stopped for a second breakfast just before Garden Corners, at a place with a nice view of Big Bay Be Noc, and, while I was eating breakfast, I saw two other tourists ride by, one on a recumbent towing a BOB, and the other on a lightly loaded - rear panniers only - mountain bike. Later in the morning I saw a tourist on a mountain bike towing a BOB heading east, but, interestingly, I saw no tourists after Manistique.
The worst shoulder
The best shoulder - just finished between Garden Corner and Manistique
The typical shoulder and, unfortunately, typical traffic
The shoulder was always wide and mostly very smooth, although there were a few stretches where is was bumpy or tar striped. I never had any problem riding it. The folks at the motel said other riders had had problems with unpleasant drivers, but, other than some poorly driven RVs, I had no problems with drivers or the road today.
Crossing over the river into Manistique
Manistique is the big town on this stretch, and is also just before a long stretch with few services, so many tourists coming from the Escanaba area will stop for the day in Manistique. I stopped for lunch at the Subway, getting a foot long sub so I could take half of it with me to eat later. I also took two cookies with me for eating later. I'm having the second one with my tea as I write this. Subways work really well for me when I am riding and especially when I have to ride on into an area with few services. After I left that Subway, I could have ridden the remaining 65 miles of this day without further services. I was well fed and well hydrated and I had three full water bottles, a 20 oz pop, two good snacks - one of them being the cookies, and the six inch sub. I didn't know what services I would find, so I was prepared to do without.
Riding through the woods on US 2
What I found was adequate services roughly 15 to 20 miles apart. I stopped for dessert near Gulliver, about 15 easy miles past Manistique, and for my next meal - the remaining six inch sub - in Naubinway, 32 miles later. There were motels near Gould City, about midway between Garden City and Naubinway, or 85 miles from Escanaba. I pressed on pretty hard in this section, doing that 32 miles in two hours or so, because I had a good tailwind, and thunder heads were blooming behind me. When I talked with a woman in Naubinway, she said Seney, which is roughly 15 miles north of US 2, was having strong storms, so I think the storms, that I watched develop behind me, took a path north of US 2. Yesterday, similar storms came right through this area.
As I cranked on the down the road, watching the sky darken in my rear view mirror, I ran into a spread out bunch of bicyclists heading west, obviously on some kind of organized fun ride. That was reassuring since I figured that that events organizers were keeping track of the storms. The riders I saw were of many different ages and riding a wide variety of bikes, but none of them looked equipped to handle rain <grin>.
Naubinway has all services, and is the first real town after Manistique. I could have spent the night there, but I wanted to ride on to reduce the distance I needed to ride to get to LP Michigan tomorrow. I stopped at the last convenience store/gas station in town, used the bathroom, and bought a fruit drink to have with my sub. It is amazing how good it is just to sit on the ground, lean back against a building, and eat supper while watching the world go by.
The clerk was nice and interested in my ride, so I asked her about services on down the road. She said there were motels in Epoufette, about ten miles away and in Brevort, about twenty. I rode on down to Epoufette, which was more like 13 miles, and stopped at the first motel. It was a basic motel and they had only one phone line, so they were not happy about me tying it up while using my modem. They called the other motel in Epoufette - pretty much the same story - and then the motel in Brevort, which is the upscale motel in this part of the world. That motel had a new phone system and didn't know if it would work with a modem, but they though the phones had data ports. I was very impressed with the helpfulness of the folks at the Wonderland Motel in Epoufette. I was going to stay there despite the lack of internet access but they helped me to find a place that fit my needs. I'm at the Chapel Hill Motel in Brevort, which looks pretty down home, but has quite nice rooms. I have air conditioning and my modem works. This costs me about $13 more than staying at the Wonderland or at the motel in Kipling which had neither.