Day 77 Manistique to St. Ignace, Michigan: In which we live to see the Lake again - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

July 16, 2011

Day 77 Manistique to St. Ignace, Michigan: In which we live to see the Lake again

Blue skies, flat road, wide shoulder - deadly. How can we boost our hit count with a dull situation like that? I took a photo of the road, just to test the premise that this could be in any one of a dozen states or any of the provinces.

After that I just fought to stay awake.

This all changed when suddenly our shoulder was gone and we were in to a 10 km construction zone. We immediately implemented our emergency strategies: own the lane, hope not to get run over straight on, wait for when it is safe for cars behind to pass, then pull to the white line. Hope that people passing did not cut us off or swerve into us to avoid oncoming cars. In this case, there was heavy oncoming traffic so it was not too often safe for passing. We accumuulated up to 30 cars chafing at the bit behind us. We pulled to the gravel and let them by, then looked for the safe time to grab control of the lane again.

I was no longer asleep back there!

Finally, after an infinitely long time we reached the end of the construction and shortly after that our view of the turquoise lake again. Hooray. And then Naubinway - milkshakes all around - we survived! Amelia, we WILL be there!

This road could be almost anywhere
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Our tour stops at all tourist traps, even if only to take photos
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Own the lane and/or die!
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Thirty drivers want us gone
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But we make it to see the lovely lake again
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..and celebrate with milkshakes in Naubinway
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We didn't see anywhere to camp around Naubinway and the flat road just lead us onward. It runs along the lake shore in a broad arc down to St. Ignace and has to be one of the most beautiful rides around. There are two national forest campgrounds along this shore. We were enjoying the ride so much that we did not even look at the first one. The second one is at "Lake Michigan" recreation area, about 30 km from St. Ignace. We found it to be dark and buggy and crowded. Moreover, the $18 fee seemed excessive for the sparsely placed pit toilets and park host that we would have to hunt up way down at the other end of the facility. So we pushed on, elated by the lake and confident that we would came up with something, closer to St. Ignace.

As we whizzed (for us) along, we were covered in sweat - as we had been all day long. We kept drinking to avoid any dehydration bonk, but the thought of a shower started to grow in our minds. The $45 motel in Manistique was a bargain compared to an $18 bug pit and we decided to look for another. We also kept our eyes open for a stealth camp by the lake. There were lots of places to put a tent on the gorgeous beach, but it was all very exposed. There were no signs specifically prohibiting camping, but we don't sleep easy when there is the thought that we might be given the boot.

The Lake Michigan shore
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Now this is a Lakeshore drive
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But not a single moose to be seen
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The day ends by the lake, but no rest for us yet
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A lovely rest area overlooking the lake was a prospect, but again here the explicit "no camping" sign turned us off. Oh well, we knew there were tons of motels coming up, so we just pedaled on. The first, second, third motel all sported NO VACANCY signs. So here was our first encounter with (a) it no longer being Spring, with rain and snow and (b) now being in the more heavily populated East.

Now darkness was coming on, and we lit up all our flashers. The fourth motel was the Point LaBarbe Inn and Cabins. Also no vacancy, but we roused out the ma and pa owners and asked just for a spot to put the tent. They distinguished themselves among all the kind and helpful people we have met on the trip by refusing, and so sent us out onto the darkening highway. We hope that any readers of this that find themselves near St. Ignace will studiously avoid giving these people any business.

Please do not patronize this place (especially in the off season when presumably they will feel less smug).
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The last place before total darkness was a KOA "Kampground". This would be our first experience with KOA. We were greeted by the gracious and smiling pair of Fred Dandona and Sally. They were most welcoming and fixed us up with our choice of spots plus directions to the showers quickly. In a sense they could afford to be gracious, since the price of $29 was by far the highest we have seen for a tent site ever. On the other hand, this is the land of freedom and you are free to take it or leave it!

In fact, we expect to find even higher prices at the hands of the Ontario government. When I figure out a suitably snarky comment on that, you will read it here first!

Fred and Sally had a place for us
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Today's ride: 140 km (87 miles)
Total: 4,689 km (2,912 miles)

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