Monday, July 19, 2010

Day Seven—Upper Peninsula and Lighthouses

Today was a good ride. No rain! No heat! No traffic! Cool! All of these things are good, particularly on a bike. It was a good day.

The day started with a big surprise. I got up, showered, and had breakfast. Then started loading the bike. On my first run to the bike, as I was going out a door, a guy that looked familiar was coming in. But He lives near Denver, CO, and I decided that the guy just looked like Johnny. I didn’t think any more about it.

On the next trip, as I was loading some stuff, another familiar face walked by. I was so astounded that I let him pass and walked inside to the lobby. He was talking to a woman—one that I knew. It was Johnny, Bev, and Dennis, all of whom rode with me last year when I organized the Lighthouse Ride. Johnny and Bev are a couple, and Dennis is a friend of theirs who lives in Wyoming. What are the chances of meeting them a year later in the same motel in Sault Ste Marie? Wild!

We talked a bit, catching up with our riding. They were on the same ride as I was doing, but in reverse. They asked me to join them, but I didn’t want to repeat the same ride as I had just done, so I declined. I just can’t imagine the odds of us running into each other like that.

Our mutual friend, Sheila, knew they were doing a ride in that area (but not exactly where) and that I was doing a ride in that general area, but she thought we’d be on different routes, so she did not mention it to either of us.

After talking a bit and looking at their bikes (Dennis and Johnny have new bikes since last year’s ride), I left as they were packing their bikes.

I rode downtown, to see some of it. I had actually been to Sault Ste Marie 10 years earlier, doing a presentation for the Michigan Environmental Health Association on the flooding from Hurricane Floyd. But I flew in and out, so I didn’t see much of town. Town looked better than I thought it would. They have a nice park down by the locks. Glad I rode downtown.

Then headed west into the Upper Peninsula area, in search of lighthouses. I didn’t have to go far to find the first one, the Point Iroqouis Light on Whitefish Bay. It is in a picturesque location and was very nice. I climbed it (as I always do when possible) and took some pics and left to find another one. I’ll post a pic of this light.

Continued driving west on the Whitefish Bay Scenic Road (or something similar). It was a beautiful ride through the trees along the southern shore of Lake Superior. At times the road was within 100 feet or so from the lake; sometimes miles away as the shore undulated and the road weaved through the forest. I saw another animal of note—a fox darted across the road a couple hundred feet in front of the bike. Better than no animals at all!

After a while, I noticed that the gas guage was getting low. So, I started looking for fuel, finding it in Paradise, some 18 or so miles away. The main road went there, so I didn’t have to go way out of the way to get it. Expensive--$319.9 for premium! But that’s what money is for.

About 13 miles west of Paradise was Whitefish Point Lighthouse, a lighthouse still in service. This one was not open to the public. While neat, it looked much more industrial, being made of metal instead brick and mortar. There were several buildings scattered on the premises housing a museum, lighthouse keeper, and gift shop. They also had a raised walkway to a sandy beach on the lake. I walked out to the water, waded in it for a few minutes, dipped my hands into the water, and walked back to the bike.

Since the road ended at the lighthouse, I had to backtrack down the same road to Paradise. Since it was lunchtime, I stopped at the Berry Patch Restaurant and had a chicken sandwich. Got an apple Danish for a dessert later (which became part of dinner tonight). The sandwich was very good. The Danish was a disappointment—it tasted like one you get in a convenience store; nothing special.

With my tummy full, I got back on the bike and took another road that headed south and then west. The ride was easy; very little traffic, but straight for miles at a time. The scenery was trees. And the road was flat, so it was not an exciting ride.

I decided to ride to Munising and just a little further, to Christmas, MI. Since I had seen it on the map, I had to see what it looked like. I got there, rode through it, took a couple of pics to document my presence, and turned around. I noted that it was getting very dark in the skies to the west, I decided to head back south and east to Manistique, on the north shore of Lake Michigan. That ride was uneventful.

I had reserved a mom and pop motel for the night, the Star Motel. It is a 50/60s motel located right on the shores of the lake on US 2, the same road Gary and I rode two years ago from Duluth to Glacier National Park on our way to Alaska. It feels real good to have the windows open and feel a cool breeze coming off Lake Michigan. I’m satisfied with the room.

Checked in, washed some clothes (hope they dry overnight), and did some emails and now blogging. Gotta post some pics for yesterday’s ride. So, if you’ve read last night and it had no pics, look again.

Over 2,700 miles so far. Will be about 4,000 when I get home.

Tomorrow—ride the east shore of Lake Michigan, headed south.

1 comment:

  1. Nice picture of the lighthouse on Whitefish Bay. I'm glad you and bumped into Johnny, Bev and Dennis! That was just too cool!