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

July 19, 2021

Michigamme - Houghton, MI

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I planned to be out the door earlier today, in honor of the longer miles, and the warmer temperatures. It was slightly brisk when I left at 9:15 and was 84 degrees in Houghton when I arrived. 

Look how short that was? Now let's go back and fill in.

I walked down to the office, Baggie in hand, to beg for more ice. I also had Jacinto's coffee cup. The ladies were ready for me, with two scant baggies of ice, one for each of the cyclists. I was advised to watch for moose today and was able to negotiate an 11 AM check out for Jacinto. 

I mixed my Spiz meal replacement drink with chocolate milk this morning. That was a big mistake. It was far, far too much sweet stuff in one cup. I managed to choke down a plain oatmeal (the blandness helped take the edge off of all of that sweet). I also spooned down a yogurt. That was it. My stomach wasn't happy. I hoped time would help. 

Both the kilt dude and the office ladies assured me that there were some big climbs between here and Baraga, I would be working hard. Looking at the elevation profile, It appeared to be a mostly downhill day today. 1,000 feet elevation gain, 2,000 feet loss. That's one problem about not climbing, you don't get to go down either!

Highway 41 was fairly quiet this Monday morning. The shoulder wasn't quite as clean as we pampered cyclists have come to expect. There were quite a few places that the cracks on the shoulder had been sealed. The surface wasn't as perfect as we've been having.

During the day we went through three areas of one way traffic with stop lights. On the first one, I didn't get through fast enough and the traffic started coming through the opposite way. I made it, though.

I stopped at every single rest area. They were generously spaced, bicycle speed, more than car speed. Actually, I think trailheads and beaches were labeled as rest areas and furnished with potties. That worked well for me. As long as we are on a bigger highway, it looks like I won't have to struggle with road side potty stops and pulling up my shorts in the humidity!

At mile 13, the road split and most of the traffic took 141. That was just fine with me. Today we had a few log trucks, just enough to notice them. I tried counting how many sets of wheels they had, but couldn't count fast enough. At least seven, but I think as many as ten? That is a lot of lug nuts to check! 

AD Carson's group had ridden from Marquette all the way to Baraga. He said L 'Anse had been much more expensive, but they found the nicely priced Baraga Lakeside Inn, which had an adjoining restaurant. That does look like a nice place to stop - it was a charming area. In general, I found the Keweenaw Bay to be the most beautiful of our trip so far. Mostly because the view is more open and the shoreline is visible. I could see making this an overnight spot. 

A group of kayakers in the water yelled at me that I had a cool bike and it looked fun to ride. That put a smile on my face for a few miles.

I was ticking the miles off in a satisfactory fashion. No hot foot issues. With all of the potty breaks, I had time to snack on food. My early morning stomach issues were past. Thank goodness.

I called Jacinto to see if he were stopping for a cinnamon roll. He was only at mile 19 and I was at mile 36, but he hadn't done the big downhill yet. 

Temperatures were definitely warming up, but as long as I kept moving, the breeze kept me cool. I still had ice in my stainless steel bottles. I had an extra bottle of Armour electrolyte drink, just in case. The sky was hazy with forest fire smoke, but I didn't cough too much today.

Cassell came up at mile 50. I was all but done. A cyclist hailed me to the side of the road. He asked the usual questions. I think he didn't own a vehicle. He was quite proud of his free bike that someone had given him, a Schwinn. Steve was on his way to buy his buddies a cold Mountain Dew because they were working construction and it was hot out.

I had been warned that the way into Houghton was a mess. There was a short construction zone. Right next to it was a paved bike path. Would it go where I wanted? I do not know. I stayed on 41. As a fact, my directions for the day were to ride 41 for 57 miles and then turn right. Those are my kind of directions! 

We are at the Super 8 on the edge of town. We debated crossing on over to Hancock or staying on this side of Portage Canal. Price helped make our decision.  Generally I try to get on the far side of town for easy departure in the morning. Today we stopped short, which is nice for today.

I pulled up in front of the Super 8. A man came over to check out my bike. He must have been an engineer, he was checking out the drive train and how long the chain was. He had never seen a recumbent bicycle. He twice asked me if I thought helmets were worth wearing. I asked him if he wore a seat belt? Yes. How about getting the vaccine. Oh, yes. I told him helmets fall in the same category - you hope you never need it, but. 

We had an extended conversation. I was ready to check in, but wanted to be polite. I never did find out the man's name, but did find out he graduated from here in 1966 and comes back every year to visit. In his opinion, the area has gone downhill since the mining closed in the late sixties. He said a big company bought out the mines and when the miners were going to strike for better wages, the company said to go ahead, but if you do, we will close all of the mines and they did. It had been a mining area since the 1800's and that's all the work there was. This is his version of the area as a local.

Jacinto stayed on 41 all day except he did take the bike path at the construction. It was paved at that moment and then turned to rough dirt. Those sorts of trails make it difficult to choose the trail option. We don't all have bikes that do well on soft dirt.

It was a good day. We have found a wok place to eat. It will be nice to get some green veggies.

Tomorrow we get a day off, our first one since Frankfort. The next section of our trip has more climbing and bigger miles. Hopefully my legs are up to it. Jacinto is always ready to climb!

A cyclist’s clothes drying rack.
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Tunnel of trees today.
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I was told to watch for moose. If I were a moose, this looks like a good spot to hang out. Alas, no moose.
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The same ladies told me that all cemeteries have a sexton’s office and it has a public bathroom. Would the building in the center be the office? I did not go check.
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Jacinto stopped as instructed at the Hilltop Restaurant at L’Anse. He said it’s so big it will take all week to eat!
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Alberta, MI was founded by Henry Ford to build a sawmill to furnish wood to construct Model T’s.
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Keweenaw Bay.
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Today's ride: 58 miles (93 km)
Total: 849 miles (1,366 km)

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Robert FlynnI see the cinnamon rolls are still as big as ever . Hope Jacinto enjoyed it . I envy you two , these next 2 or 3 days are awesome to ride . Tell Jacinto he has another good sweet spot coming up called The Jampot that is run by monks .
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1 year ago
jerry witherspoonHoughton - Hancock. Actually, Hancock is on the island side as I recall. I flew in there once for a day. The airport was on theHancock side. My airplane partner met with a business group exploring placing college dormitory type dwellings in the caves on the north side. I enjoyed this quaint small city complex. You’ll find it interesting.

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1 year ago
Kelly IniguezTo jerry witherspoonSpoon,

That is exactly where we are, across the river by all of the college fraternities! Although, we are right on the river.

I've heard from several sources that they are working on the bridge and it's a mess to get across. I've taken the google guy for a walk, there's pedestrian walkways on both sides. Hopefully there's some sort of access for us.

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1 year ago
Kelly IniguezTo Robert FlynnRobert,

I've heard of the Jampot. I will be sure and give Jacinto the update - although he might still be eating that cinnamon roll!

I've been enjoying the UP - I'm much more of a country sort of rider than a city rider - even if city amenities are welcome.

Do you have a suggested route to/from Copper Harbor?

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1 year ago
Robert FlynnTo Kelly IniguezKelly we took the Jack Stevens Trail from Hancock to Calumet , but I am sure you would not like it , it is gravel most of the way but a straight shot there and complete solitude . From Calumet we headed to Brockway Mountain drive up to the top where the view was worth
the agony of the climb and then into Copper Harbor .There is a really good bike shop in downtown Houghton that could give you the best routes . This is the peak time for tourists in the area so they may be able to route you off the main roads . This whole area is now a mecca for mountain biking On the way back from Copper Harbor we stayed along the western shoreline as much as possible
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1 year ago