Copper Harbor - Houghton, MI - The Only Thing Fast On This Tour Is The Ferry - CycleBlaze

July 22, 2021

Copper Harbor - Houghton, MI

Heart 0 Comment 0
Jacinto had already done several steep climbs when he saw this sign!
Heart 1 Comment 0
Does this look like fun?
Heart 0 Comment 1
Jeff LeeYes!

But I love climbing :)
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
The reward in a view.
Heart 1 Comment 0
At a rest area on Highway 41. It shows the typical snow depth.
Heart 1 Comment 0

I have been sleeping well this trip. There is something to be said for easy scheduling and mostly flat riding. Today was a climbing day however, over 2,000 feet! Eeegads! Jacinto was upping the anti by choosing the steep route up Brockway Mountain Drive. 

Jacinto was happy to discover that checkout time at the Pines Motel was noon. It didn't matter he had a big climbing day ahead . . . 

We had both a fridge and a microwave in our room, but no access to ice. This happens more than I like. A cold drink is an important part of my ride. This trip I brought along a silicone ice cube tray. It makes four skinny ice cubes - two for each bottle. I have only used it 3-4 times this trip, but each time, I felt smug. Today was one of those days. Ice! It was 64 degrees and cloudy when I left. Some people would argue the need for ice. 

Because I decided to retrace my steps to Copper Harbor (13 miles), I delayed the climb away from the shore. I didn't mind the view going back. This time I was on the water side. Plus, things tend to look different going the opposite direction!

Traffic was again light and considerate. There's plenty to be said for cycling in Michigan. You've got to like trees though. 

It seemed as if I rode downhill all the way to Copper Harbor. It's amazing what fresh legs can do. As soon as I turned, the road started up. I used the granny a few times, but it wasn't a bad climb. Most of the elevation gain was in a mile of 4-5% grade, my estimate. 

I stopped at almost every potty I saw, which was quite a few. It got to the point I had to laugh at myself, but I didn't want to be caught with the need to pull my shorts down in the humidity. Speaking of which, I'm happy to report I haven't suffered from the humidity at all. Perhaps because we haven't encountered any warm temperatures? I've noticed that pulling my shorts up is more difficult and our clothes have trouble drying in the room overnight. But I haven't had any trouble riding or feeling over heated. That is a positive for me.

Jacinto and I had the same route today, with the exception of the beginning climb. We both planned to take Cliff Drive, which paralleled Highway 41. I had taken the google guy to look at it and it was paved. Or so I remembered. When I got over there, I saw two signs - rough road and loose gravel. Hmmm - it sure looks good here. I took the turn. About a mile down the road (with six miles to go), it turned to gravel. Loose gravel. Just what the sign said. I tried it for a short distance and decided that was a no go. I hated to turn around, but I would hate to wreck even more. At the end of the day I had a bonus two miles.

I got back to Highway 41. It wasn't bad here. The shoulder wasn't the huge shoulder it had the past couple of days, but it was at least 4' in this area. Traffic was fairly light. I could take this right into town. At that moment I felt a few fat drops of rain, enticing me to take the easy route. Noooo - I'll stick to the plan. I had read in a journal that Road 203 was cyclist heaven. I've ridden some good roads, but never thought to describe them as heaven.

Just as I was taking the turn on 203, I saw a cyclist in a bright green shirt behind me. He also took the turn. We rode together for a mile or so. He had been out for a day ride and ridden 40 miles. He said that 41 on into Hancock had a good shoulder, but 203 was better, especially going this direction, because it is downhill the entire way. How could I not like such a road? I ignored the rain drops that were now coating my sun glasses. I debated how many drops were necessary to cover my electronics. I wasn't there yet. 

It's interesting how the need of the moment is what is at the front of my mind. It might be wanting a cold drink, or a snack that's in a pannier, necessitating a stop to access it. Cold, rain, or a climb. All of those things can take over my mind. I can mentally debate for miles about stopping for a V-8 coming into town. My debate of the moment was having a potty break. An advantage to being on a highway is the frequent bathrooms. Road 203 had no bathrooms. I kept hoping there would be one, since it was on the water. I was getting to the point of desperation, when I saw a potty next to a house with construction going on. There weren't any people at the house, I hurried to the potty and back and rehearsed my apologies the entire time. I don't think anyone saw me and I moved on.

I had eaten an apple, a banana, two hard boiled eggs, a bar, and one Perpetuum tablet today. It seemed like a lot of eating for the effort. I was thinking about the leftover steak in my pannier and how I didn't have a fork. 

The road was indeed downhill and then flat all the way to Hancock. Hurray! There's nothing better than an easy entry to town. Traffic got a little heavier as I approached the bridge, but not overwhelming. The cyclist had warned me about the bridge construction. It really isn't an issue for a cyclist, as the pedestrian bridge is open. I could see the bike path under the bottom and how to get there. Good for me! I wasn't going to wander around figuring it out. It looked much easier to take the path than the street to the motel. I was ready to be there.

For some reason we are in a handicap room right next to the office. I'm afraid it might be noisy. It's spacious though, with room for the bikes.

I checked in on Jacinto. He was approaching town and offered to stop at the Mexican food if I didn't want to walk to town. Does he know me, or what? I would be so happy to not walk anywhere.

Jacinto had a good day - he ended up with 3,231 feet of climbing. He said the first couple of pitches on Brock Mountain Drive were steep enough, but then one came up that was signed as 'steep hill'. He said it was a good thing he had front panniers on that one to keep his front end on the pavement. I warned him about the gravel, so he didn't even try Cliff Dr.

He bought one meal at the Mexican restaurant, that goes with the steak and potato leftovers from last night. He is quite sad that he forgot the Chinese leftovers from two nights ago at the motel fridge. Jacinto does like to build a stock pile of food.

Dinner time! 

My legs feel good. Tomorrow is 52 miles and not so much climbing. I've enjoyed the relaxed, easy mileages. Now it's time to turn the dial up and do more normal touring days of 50ish miles.

Kayakers at Tomahawk.
Heart 1 Comment 0
This is supposed to show the Sandy beach across the water at Eagle Harbor.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Abandoned houses in this area are frequently missing their front steps. To discourage intruders?
Heart 0 Comment 0
This was the only house with its own flock of pigeons.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A good looking old Ford truck.
Heart 0 Comment 0
I successfully navigated the bridge to the bike path! I’m almost to the motel in this photo.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Today's ride: 57 miles (92 km)
Total: 961 miles (1,547 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 4
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Robert FlynnCongrats to Jacinto that is one kick --- climb fully loaded . Do they still have the patches at the store at the top of Brockway Mountain that says I climbed Brockway ? One of my best touring trinkets I have kept . I am really enjoying your journal it has brought back so many memories for this old tourist .
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Kelly IniguezJacinto says he didn't see any building at the top at all? I would say the altitude got to him, but it's not high altitude!

A souvenir of the effort would make the effort more worthy.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago