Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/31/10 -- Normandale to Long Beach, ONT -- 61 mi/ 2847 total

Overcast all day with wind not much of a factor and just a few rain showers. Most of the day was spent riding along the coast which was nice. However, the roads were rough and curvy so it was hard to make any good time. A Chevy Classic group was out and about with their beautiful cars, just tooling around. There were probably 25 - 30 of them. The Canadians are really celebrating their Civic Day, where you don't work! At this CG you just park/pitch wherever you want, especially since you are dry-docking. And if you want a fire? Just have one anywhere it fits your location. One party with the blaring speakers was still going on @ 2:30. They are very proud of their lawns and we decided they must have a love affair with lawnmowers because they mow up everything in sight. My mother would love it! The one picture I took today was of Lake Erie and I posted it yesterday.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/30/10 -- Port Stanley to Normandale, ONT -- 58 mi/ 2786 total

Another view from our Port Stanley stealth camping .... K kept trying to hitch a ride with any pleasure boat that went by. Funny guy....

Check out all the seagulls on the barrier

Tucked right back in there out of everyone's way. The opposite direction is where the beach was located.

Bart and Sarah from Belgium. What a funny couple and they were pretty loaded .... as she said, it is their home for a year.

One more look at Lake Erie

Cooler this morning and a beautiful sunrise. Just seemed like we couldn't make any progress and for me, the day was just tough. You have those, so just work through it. We didn't have much traffic which is always nice. We met Bart and Sarah from Belgium. They started in NY and have plans of seeing "the Americas" by going through the USA, then down through Mexico and Central America, bypassing Columbia by ship and ending up in Argentina. They will be gone for "however long it takes", probably a year. They roll their own cigarettes, were really interested in our maps and were quite a hoot. J and H begged their way into the last spot at the Hidden Valley CG. Monday is a national holiday for Canada, making for full everything! We plan to ride tomorrow, Sunday (K promised me we would stop for church) so we can get back to the USA and have Monday as our rest day. One party last night was still going at 1:30.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/29/10 -- Walpole Island to Port Stanley, ONT -- 82 mi/ 2728 total

Migrant workers picking cucumbers. I visited with a boy of maybe 11, his little sister clinging to his side. She had on her dress and they both wore hats and were barefoot. This is the rest of their family at work but he stated he wasn't old enough yet. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of them and as we pedaled off, I couldn't help but think of the "Grapes of Wrath".....

The tobacco business is alive and well in Canada! This is flu tobacco, not to be confused with black tobacco, etc. We later saw workers removing the blooms off the plants.

Want a quiet place for lunch? This must be it!

Stealth camping along Lake Erie. I couldn't post all the pictures of this area, but it was a beautiful view looking out to the water.

Here's part of what we were looking at. It was oh, so peaceful.

Low 80's, unfavorable winds and it just seemed like a really long day. However ..... I nailed my first dog today with the spray which acts like mace does on humans. I called it the "across the body back-slant" shot. K was behind me and thought the whole thing was pretty humorous. I now feel confident that I can handle the next dog that might come after me. I'm sorry all you dog lovers, but I really hate being chased by them! We were all concerned with how we were going to connect with each other due to lack of cell service but we just asked J and H not to go any further than Port Stanley. We ended up stealth camping behind a maintenance area looking out to Lake Erie. It was an absolutely beautiful spot, not real hot and w/ gas we were able to cook our evening meal, sitting outside to eat, enjoying the good fortune we had.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/28/10 -- Capac, MI to Wallaceburg, ONT -- 60 mi/ 2646 total

Ready for the short ride into Canada

Each passenger can take back 5 cases which saves them about $16 p/cs. A couple of guys getting ready for a party were on their 2nd trip back to CAN.

Looking north up the St. Clair River

This is what the storm looked like and we were glad we were inside looking out.

And here is our haven from the storm

On to Wallaceburg, no wait, Walpole Island on Indian land, unceded. After a sunny day with unfavorable winds, it turns overcast by 11 and we know a storm is coming. Rode right to the ferry and it cost us $1 ea, just a trifle cheaper than the previous one! Canadians are hauling beer/liquor across the border like crazy to save $$. The St. Clair River is beautiful. We took a break and soaked our feet in it for awhile. Once we get to Wallaceburg, we can't find CG and if you ask 20 different people, you will get that many different answers. Because of all the wild goose chases, we get caught in the storm but took shelter in old, trashy garage that K spotted. Roof leaked on us but it was better than being out in the wind and lightening. Lightning let up so we take off in the rain, get to the island, K has a flat due to something he hit on road. That brings the count to K=4, D=4. The "mile" down the road, led to 4 and then I had a group of 3 dogs come after me. A gal finally called them off me....geez, I really hate that.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/27/10 -- Bay City to Capac, MI -- 95 mi/ 2586 total

We think these are beets, at least the leaves look like it.

I'm telling you ....... it is flat.

And this is what an enterprising farmer does with some of his flat land. This place was neat as could be and they have made quite a playground for themselves.

Meet Chris from Brown City. They farm and restored this condemned house themselves. Thanks, Chris, for your hospitality!

KOA CG east of Capac last night, again no wi-fi. We had a lot of road changes today and struggled with roads that had no signs. Sometimes it was just a guess if you were going the right direction or not. Swirling headwinds most of day, 90, humid and about 80% of the roads were not good for biking. We had 3 areas of hills and the rest was flat, which surprised us. Big fields of grean beans, beets, corn, soybeans and tobacco. We took several rests today and one was at Brown City. A big, old house with shade and the owner was outside. She invited us in but we declined, sitting on the patio instead. She brought out ICE water for us and filled our bottles with same. Her uncle, Myron Jenkins, was director of U of I bands.....small world. Had a dog go after me so bad today that I froze.... couldn't yell, spray or anything except pedal and break out in huge goosebumps. It was just a very long day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/26/10 -- Clare CG to Bay City -- 60 mi/ 2491 total

Meet Debbie, Tyler and Eric Black from NH, riding from Boston to Seattle to LA. This is what you look like after a long day of riding.
Picture from Bay City area

Sunday, we ate breakfast out because we had forgotten about getting the supplies. Had wonderful blueberry pancakes. We heard our first sermon from a minister instead of a guest speaker at church. It was wonderful with beautiful music, friendly people and full church. Inspirational! Sunday night we met Eric, Debbie and Tyler Black from NH riding for the Boston Children's Hospital as Tyler had heart surgery when he was 2. He will be 12 in September. What a neat family.

Rode 28 mi on the Pere Marquette trail, great surface and wide. Met 5 guys that had met on the Adventure Cycling (AC) site and joined forces to ride together -- from NY, CA, MN, WY and ME, I think. We have to make the initial move to visit with other bikers as no one recognizes us as touring since we don't have much gear with us. CG tonight was Finn Rd, 2.5 mi N of route. We could ride our bikes on further and see the bay.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/24/10 -- W of Leroy, MI to E of Clare -- 60 mi/ 2431 total

This is what is looked like a lot of ride in Michigan. See the nice road? Don't be misled as it was one of the few good ones -- we have rated Michigan's county roads as the worst of the trip.

Raining b/4 we got up so decided to see what radar said. Didn't look good so waited till 8 to see if we could stay another night. We couldn't w/o moving to a different site so that made the decision for us. Decided to do laundry as it was nice and close. Break camp, K gets med refilled and we head up the road to Luther. As we turn off onto the county road, the gas gauge registers on the red. Well, nuts. Get to Luther, no station, so we continue on knowing there is a 4-lane somewhere up ahead. We found one, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, J and H dropped us off at the 4-lane, west of Leroy. By now it is 1:30 and we are just starting the ride for the day. This is pretty country but it has a different "feel" than Wisconsin did. So many trees, that there was really nothing to see. Had 5 miles of construction from Farwell to Clare that was a little close at times, got lost getting to the campground but once there we do have electricity and showers. Good deal!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/23/10 -- Reedsville to Manitowoc, WI -- 0 bike miles

Our rig to the left, in line for the ferry. That is coal in the background, used to fuel the ferry.

The US Badger is one BIG ferry, coming into port at Manitowoc, WI

Several motorcyclists coming on board

The cars drove in then turned around. The bigger rigs, like ours and the trucks, were backed on.

Put the camper away damp as it was still sprinkling on us as we stood in the very mucky grass. We drove to Manitowoc to the ferry landing for our trip across Michigan Lake. By taking the ferry, we saved at least a week's worth of biking and if you drove it, it is over 500 miles. The trip across was 4 hours and even though it was overcast, it wasn't pouring down rain making for poor visibility. We enjoy watching the employees and all the various tasks they perform. We stayed at the Vacation Station in Luddington and it was, by far, the nicest place we have stayed on the trip and better yet, was not the most expensive.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/22/10 -- 0 miles

Colleen, Kirk, Hazel and Jerry in our "home" away from home, keeping dry

This is what some of our CG at Reedsville looked like. We were on higher ground but did it ever rain!

We are certainly glad we rode hard to get here yesterday. Has rained/poured all day and it is a mess around here. J and H arrived back late morning and Colleen, Kirk's cousin from the Green Bay area, arrived b/4 lunch with 2 bags of fresh cheese curds. Yummm -- can you hear the squeaking? We all sat in the camper as we could get 3 lawn chairs in here and we were dry. We drove back to the local pub for lunch, then went on to another town for grocery shopping. It didn't quit raining until around 4:30. Several times during the day, I'd look at K and we would both say, aren't you glad we rode hard yesterday.......

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/21/10 -- CG to Reedsville, WI -- 92 mi/ 2371 total

Young Amish boy weedeating the melon patch. I asked if I could take his picture. His Mother would not let me take a picture of her with the other children in the regular garden.

Took this picture for Shirley & Darrell of Lenox so that can make plans for their silo!!!

Waiting for the go-ahead to drag our bikes

Take trail out of campground and rode 13 mi on this bloody limestone which our bikes are not just good on. We finally get off onto a road and guess what? It was the county road that we were supposed to end the trail on. Life is good. Rode on to Manawa for brkft. Met a guy in his 80's who was riding his original Murray bike that he has had since he was a kid. It looked brand new and he was pretty proud and stated that it had always been kept in a garage. Had very good brkft and good conversation with the locals. In hearing that the weather would be turning wet we decided to push to Reedsville to the CG because we didn't like the sounds of what is coming at us. Stopped about 8 mi out, talking to a farmer who offered us a jump in his pool! That's a first for the trip. No grocery store in this town of 1100+ so we ate at the local pub, homemade lasagna, and this place has all the original tin on the ceiling and walls. Really quaint.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/20/10 -- Stratford to Emily Lake CG -- 62 mi/ 2279 total

This day is what adventures are about. Our free CG was nice but the water was locked so all we had was what little we carried in. At night, someone came and locked the bathrooms. Hmm. Wake up to light fog and Di has a flat, valve. Fog lifts so we head down the road only to run into heavy, soupy fog on this busy hwy that had good shoulders. We turn off on our county road, have the bright clothes, lights and now no shoulders. We do not like this at all but plug along to Rozellville for brkft at a 125 yr old bar (one of 4 bldgs in town). The bartender tells us his problems, wife will cook but is busy with grandson. She comes out & I can't figure out what she is doing with hair but I take baby so she can cook. Good meal & then she says she has to finish her hair -- she was in the process of coloring. Fog looks better, off we go. About 1 mi out, it is soup again. In all we rode about 15 mi in the mess. Stopped for a break, ready to go, Di has 2nd flat of day, valve again. K spent some time working on valve opening to help prevent further flats: Kirk=3, Di=4. I miss the turn to our next county road and we end up on hwy 10 (4 lane) but we didn't "see" the sign that said prohibited. Unfortunately, this eventually turned into I39 and now we REALLY know we aren't supposed to be there. Getting closer to Stevens Point we take off-ramp and then zig-zagged our way into/through town. We need to buy tubes and found a shop, he gave us directions to a trail and campsite so off we go. Riding along -- sign says "road closed". Of course, we kept on riding and only had a short distance to push the loaded bikes thru heavy, loose sand. All in all we felt the day ended up smelling like a rose as it cut some miles off for us. Campground is a county park with a lake and was nice until we were notified that we were in a thunderstorm warning until 7. The storm went around us so we were able to have a decent night.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/19/10, Mon -- Stanley to Stratford, WI -- 59 mi/ 2217 total

Monday is wash day for the Amish. The dresses I expected but not the hot pink panties!

They attach the clothesline to whatever works best, this case being the barn.

That weather radio has come in mighty handy on this trip.

Routing our weeks' ride with Steve, from St. Paul.

Our bed for night, tenting on the deck of the camper.

Went to church yesterday and we 4 were 1/4 of the attendance. Minister's wife played "It Is Well With My Soul" on the violin and it was absolutely beautiful. Met Steve Chatterton from St. Paul who is heading E using the AC maps most of the time. Right now we are both off route so we worked on maps together. Thank goodness there are a lot of paved county roads in WI. Last night we slept in our tent that we put on the deck. The camper was dry and we didn't want it wet for the week. Today we headed out on our own and it has been 6 yrs since we rode fully loaded. We thought it might take all day to get used to but it wasn't any different at all, just a little harder going up hills or when you tried to lift the bike. We had more construction around Colby but nothing major. We were taking a nap under the awning at the firestation in Colby when the cop came by and said he a complaint of a couple of vagrants. ha.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/17/10, Sat. -- Chetek to Stanley,WI -- 57 mi/ 2158 total

Huge barn, wonder how many cows they milk here?

Out in the country, all by itself, this quaint little church is calling.

Chippewa River -- so much bigger than the Red River

Another view of the Chippewa River

Beautiful, clear and sunny day with no wind until noon. Hit construction at Bloomer where they had ground the road down which was rough but better than gravel. Great barns to view along the way. Chippewa River was roaring and very pretty. Heading East on county roads to avoid traffic and at Jim Falls we see a guy selling/buying tickets so I hollar out "to what?" and the answer was Rock Fest. Didn't mean anything to us, so we keep going, traffic gets heavier and heavier, we see more people selling and finally ask where. Naturally, it is the direction we are heading. We top this hill and oh my gosh, campers and parking everywhere, this huge stage, food stands, etc. and we are right in the middle of it. What do you do? Keep on riding to get out of there. Stayed at the Stanley City Park, nice campground but around 10, the sirens go off, the cops are alerting everyone that a storm is on the way so we spend the next 2 hrs sitting in the bathroom with total strangers. Rained all night but no damaging wind.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/16/10, Fri -- St. Croix to Chetek, WI -- 61 mi/ 2,101 total

Looking back at the village of St. Croix Falls

We were grilling hamburgers for evening meal and Kirk is trying to help the fire along.

I love barns and planned to take a lot of pictures of them but haven't. To me this one says: "Hey, I'm old but I'm still useful!"

Had planned for a 40 mi day but due to campground location, it turned into longer. Sometimes you just go where you need to go. Leaving St. Croix on Hwy 8 was terrible. Road was real bad but it didn't make any difference as traffic was so heavy you didn't dare steer that way. The shoulder was iffy but full of trash so we really had to pay attention. This tends to put a little tension into your shoulders! Kirk had a highway patrolman tell him he wasn't speeding. ha. Traffic finally thinned and once we got on a county road, it was a fairly good one next to the train tracks. Stayed at the Chetek River Campground and J had to talk his way into the last spot. Lot of seasonal campers, packed in like sardines and people everywhere. Pool, miniature golf, etc. and you still had to pay for your shower. At least they had one and we were mighty happy to have a place to stay that night.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/15/10, Springvale CG to St. Croix Falls, WI -- 54 mi/ 2040 total

This is what bicyclists that ride in construction zones look like.

Did they have these signs on the other end of the road? Guess we're not too bright!

St. Croix River area is beautiful.

This is what the river looked like when we were camped.

Terrible storm in the area again last night but fortunately they ended up 10 mi E of us. Good roads to ride today and that always helps for a good ride. We get to Stark (pop 60) that there was a detour that would put us in heavy traffic. We decided to gamble and headed out for 9 mis of construction. It was OK for the first 5.5 mi, then it went to gravel at Sunrise. The hill was steep and so much rock that we walked our bikes up. Rode along OK for awhile then we have these guys digging up ground because it was unstable. We asked to go through, OK, so walked my bike and K had to carry his, just like fording a river only this was dirt. Had to drop down 2.5' to walk through the rest of it. Camped at Interstate State Park in WI looking down on St. Croix River.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/14/10, Wed. -- St. Joe to CG East of Grandy -- 61 mi/ 1986 total

Happy anniversary! This cafe specialized in broasted chicken and that sounded pretty good to everyone......and it was!!

I only rode 21 mi today but plan to do full day tomorrow. We had some rain but it felt good because of the heat. Kirk rode the entire day and could hardly see at times due to the rain. He had heavy traffic due to detours. We try to stay to the county roads to avoid all the traffic but sometimes it backfires on us. Once Kirk made it to Dalbo, we are now back on the AC route. This is a great campground out in the middle of nowhere called Springvale. Wonderful pool and great showers. We are going out to eat tonight in Grandy as it is J and H's 71st anniversary.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ride Across the USA: 7/13/10, Tues. -- Osakis to St. Joe, MN -- 52 mi/ 1,925 total

Some of our friends (and you know who you are) would not appreciate this little bathroom. All I can say is that it worked, the shower also, and we've been in worse. Quit being so picky!

The campground (Head of the Lake) was 10 mi from Osakis. We were right on Lake Osakis and it was a "unique" set-up. I didn't feel good today so opted not to ride. Instead I took my bike into Alexandria to find the squeak in my derailer. Had to wait for them to open but they got me right in. Found a small pebble in the wobble wheel, squeak gone and it only cost me $5. It was driving us both nuts. Kirk saw a lot of wildlife on the trail today including a turkey with her young ones in tow. Camped at the City Park ($5) where the Scouts were having a field day. K didn't bother taking camera, so no pix today.