Day 37 Newberry MI to Echo Bay ON
My day started with a very disappointing 'continental breakfast' at the worst value for money motel of this trip. Don't bother staying at the Knollwood Motel in Newberry. To be fair, I did get a good nights sleep. I had already eaten two of my remaining bagels and fixed tea in my room, so when I finished the cup of coffee and dry donut, I decided to ride a while before getting a real breakfast. It turned out to be about 28 miles, but they were easy miles so that was OK.
Leaing Newberry, I was disappointed when the shoulder paving deteriorated to almost unrideable state. There were no hills to speak of, and riding could have been almost as bad as on the Wetmore - Seney stretch. It wasn't really nearly that bad because traffic was light and had a pretty good tail wind. I was averaging 14 mph for most of the morning - yesterday, with a headwind, I averaged 12 mph. The flies weren't around either. A much nicer day.
At Hulbert Junction, about 17 miles into my ride, there were two inexpensive motels ($25) and one of them had a store. I stopped for an RC and a fried fruit pie. Health food! It was quite pleasant sitting on the front porch of that store eating a snack. At Strongs Corner, only 11 miles further on, I stopped a restaurant for breakfast. I didn't have a map, but I remembered that it was quite a ways further to the next place I thought might have a place to eat. Actually it was all the way to I-75. The restaurant was run by a woman and her two daughters. She fixed me some good french toast while the older daughter worked as waitress and the younger daughter was teased by and teasing the older daughter. It was fun.
The shoulder improved and worsened many times in the first 30 miles of this ride. It finally got (and mostly stayed..) decent (2.5 ft and pretty smooth) during the next 30 miles to I-75. It was near the 30 mile mark that I met three tourists headed in the other direction, a man and his two teenaged sons. They were headed for Newberry. Nice folks. They are getting rained on big time as I write this report, but they should have made it to Newberry before the rain did.
I rode MI 28 across the I-75 crossing (only motorized vehicles allowed) and then turned north on CRH63 which parallels I-75 to Sault Ste Marie. It was a bumpy narrow road with no shoulders and, at first, little traffic. Later it got to be down right unpleasant with too much traffic, but that may have been unusual. About half way, five miles, the road became much smoother, but it never got a paved shoulder. On one strtech of the bumpy part I was run off the white line by some yoyos in a pickup truck and had to stay in the soft sand and gravel for several minutes as a stream of vehicles passed without giving me any chance to get back on the road.
H63 ends at business 75. Going left is 'Bridge to Canada', going right is Soo (a the local call it). I went right and stopped several times to ask about bike shops. I finally found someone who actually knew about bike shops working at the Subway where I had a late lunch. Even with his careful instructions, I had a hard time finding the bike shop. It isn't very big and its in a long narrow space with a small front. The nice folks at the shop told me I was out of luck finding SPD pedals in Soo. My right pedal, which rebuild in Dick Boyd's kitchen in Iron River, started clicking again in Munising. I just have to put up with the click. They also told me about accommodations and places to eat in Soo, but, after riding past the Locks (no bicycles allowed in the park..) I decided to ride on over to Canada. The road past the Locks leads, eventually, to the bridge.
The bridge was a lot easier to ride that it looked and, other than annoying truck driver by 'cutting in front of him' (I was already in front of him when we got there) at customs, the crossing was uneventful. The trickiest part was getting on I-75 before the tool booths ($0.75 for a bike) - the signs still said only motorized vehicles allowed!
After customs I went to the Tourist Info Center to get maps and advice. Then I visited an ATM to get some Canadian money and headed out east on highway 17, the Trans Canadian Highway in these parts. It was about 5 PM and the traffic was heavy, but, relative to riding in a city in the states, not a big problem. When the TCH narrowed to two lanes, it got a good shoulder and riding was easier.
"Don't drive on the shoulder"
I stopped at the first B+B I saw in Echo Bay, about twenty miles from the USA. I stopped because I was tired (almost 90 miles today, some of it pretty stressful) and because Echo Bay is where the road goes four lane again for a dozen miles or so, but mostly because another tourist's bike was already there. I think it was an excellent choice. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we (the other tourist, Bob, and I) will head east on the TCH. Massey (about 85 miles and the point where we can get off the TCH) seems like our logical destination. The rain, which is in Newberry MI now, may well be here tomorrow morning and spoil those plans, but at least I have an inexpensive and comfortable place to stay! I hear, and feel, big booms of thunder as I write this, but the rain hasn't started yet.