Day 73 Watersmeet to Crystal Falls, Michigan - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2011

Day 73 Watersmeet to Crystal Falls, Michigan

The mosquitoes chased us into the tent fairly early last night - and I do mean chased. We scrambled in through the minimally unzipped entry and zipped it up behind us as quickly as we could. Steve spent a few moments with the flashlight and hunted down and killed at least 20 that had entered with us. When we turned around to look out the mesh in the doorway there were at least 50 to 100 more beating themselves against the screening in a vain effort to come in and eat us alive. In the morning they were just as bad - entering our noses, ears, mouths and buzzing around our heads, hands and ankles as we packed up as rapidly as we could. It felt like they had lain in wait all night for us to emerge from the tent so they could resume the attack. Yyyuuuck.

In our local bike shop it was recommended that we rinse out our cycling shorts nightly. We can now report that this is nonsense. The padding on good shorts is so thick that even in a day of drying they may not be ready to wear again. At night, things get damp and not dry, so the whole matter of drying shorts is a bug. Best to wait for a laundromat!

We used the microwave in our casino to reheat gas station egg mcmuffins. It seems like a fast way to absorb the vital egg/ham/cheese/bread fuel stuffs but we will be hard pressed to choke down this stuff again. The casino unknowingly chipped in some free coffee, and we were off.

Our casino launch pad
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It was 50 km to Iron River, with "nothing" in between. However, despite a couple of tries, the sun did not broil us. It makes a huge difference - 50 km on the road is easy in "normal" conditions.

Dodie was hoping this blip was a moose
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The road was so long and quiet that the appearance of this line painting rig was a big event for us
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On arriving in Iron River we stopped at a small gas station general store called the Depot. They serve good quality local ice cream. Dodie answered some UQs for the woman staffing the counter. That was Wendy, who was quite interested in our journey. Wendy also works part time for the local paper, the Iron County Reporter. She phoned a colleague at the Reporter building, which is on hwy 2, and asked us to stop by. The Reporter is just beside a Pasty shop, so it was all a natural stop.

At the "Outpost" near the edge of Iron River we found excellent ice cream
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This is a logging town
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Some Iron River houses
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Pasties - famous in this region
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We have no room for a t shirt, though
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Making pasties
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Pasties are famous in the U.P. and this was our first opportunity to try some. They are spiced meat and cubed potatoes in a pastry crust. The ones we got were hot, and excellent. They make just as good fuel for cyclists as they formerly did for Cornish coal miners.

At the pasty shop we ran in to Maryann and Chris Becich, visiting from Indiana. Maryann is a super avid cyclist. To keep cycling and do it with her disabled son, Chris, she configured a tandem with battery assist. The tandem was in the minivan, so we got a peek at it. This is a highly sophisticated unit and even stashed as it was it looked great.

This electric Cannondale tandem is really something
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The bike was stashed in a minivan
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Dodie, Maryann and Chris. All cycling fanatics
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More shots of the bike
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More shots of the bike - the computer that comes with the power unit
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More shots of the bike
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More shots of the bike
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This is clearly the dealer, but the power unit comes from Ontario
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Moving over to the Reporter, Peter took our photo with the bikes and then recorded an interview. Of course, the whole sordid story is in the blog, but we hit the highlights for him. So maybe we will be famous - media stars in Iron River!

Peter with the bikes, outside the newspaper office
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The Iron County Reporter
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We cruised over to the McDonalds to get online and also to follow up our pasties with my new favourite - a simulated cinnamon bun called a "cinnamon melt". The manager asked if we really had cycled from Canada, and I said yes. He then with mock exaggeration asked if we knew that we were in "Iron River" - "MICHIGAN"? I confessed that we had actually sunk as low as Vancouver, Oregon in our crossing of Canada. It does sound a bit goofy, eh? Sort of like we are crazy guys on the bikes!

Lutheran church. Most churches here are Lutheran
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One of our pasties
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When we stay in motels we enjoy nature shows. The one about the Asian carp is often on. We thought it was mostly sensationalism, but here is the carp in a sobre government pamphlet.
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From Iron River to Crystal Falls features a pile of quite impressive hills. By the time we got to Crystal we were quite ready to quit. People in the gas station said a storm was coming in, so we took the excuse to lodge at one of the two motels in town. Both are 50's vintage Ma and Pa operations. Ours has no wifi and not much of anything else. The lady seemed surprised we wanted a room. Still, there is a reasonable bed and no mosquitoes, so it's fine.

The town has some impressive brick or stone buildings, but like the motels lacks anything fancy. We did nt explore a whole lot because the place seems to have hills in every dirction. We have had enough of hills, so our beggest climbright now is going to be the climb into bed!

Hills and hills on the way to Crystal Falls
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Near town we find a short but nice bike path
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The historic (but hilly) downtown of Crystal Falls
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We make some new friends at the gas station
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Typical 50's motel - the best accommodation the town has to offer.
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Today's ride: 76 km (47 miles)
Total: 4,317 km (2,681 miles)

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