Robert’s Corner - Grand Marais, MI - The Only Thing Fast On This Tour Is The Ferry - CycleBlaze

July 15, 2021

Robert’s Corner - Grand Marais, MI

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I woke in the middle of the night, snug and warm, listening to the rain pound on the window. I fell back asleep, secure that the storm would be passing through by morning. When the alarm went off at the leisurely hour of 8 AM, Jacinto looked outside and seemed doubtful about the probability of staying dry. Spoiler - we did!

Breakfast here was a lot of carbs and hard boiled eggs. Jacinto supplemented with two boxes of leftovers. He was well fueled for the day.

I left early, at 10:30. I told Jacinto I would be the rabbit that he could chase down the road.

The motel lady last night had told me that there was a shoulder on the road until County Avenue turns south at mile 4, taking most of the traffic with it. She was correct. We lost both the shoulder and the traffic. There had been just a couple of double logging semis, they must go left also. I didn't see more.

Whomever placed the rumble strip didn't have good aim. Sometimes it was directly adjacent to the white line, sometimes more to the center of the shoulder. Which meant sometimes I could balance on the skinny bit of pavement to the right of the rumble strip. Sometimes I couldn't. It took all of my concentration to keep my big bike lined up perfect. I was averaging 7-8 mph here, because of the effort. Finally I looked up enough to realized there wasn't much traffic, I could move left. My average picked way up! Cars were nice and moved over. On the rare occasion there was a blind spot or cars coming from both directions at once, I moved over. 

The sky was dark and cloudy. The temperature was 63 degrees with a forecasted high of 65. That was in my favor. I've discovered that hot and humid does not work for me. We haven't had real hot, but it was 85 degrees and sunny yesterday when I got in. My clothes were sticking everywhere!

I keep forgetting to mention - Michigan seems to have the market on red pick up trucks. A few cars, yes. But I have seen more red trucks here in two weeks than I have at home in years. Even Jacinto commented on it. When we went to dinner last night, there were perhaps eight vehicles in the parking lot. Three of them were red trucks and there was one red car.

My speed picked up once I started riding to the left of the line. I had to keep an eye on my mirror at all times and still couldn't look around, but at least I was moving faster. I was looking forward to mile 25 and making the turn.

Once I wasn't balancing on the verge of the road, my next item to think about was taking a pee break. I've stretched my usual 10 mile stop out to 15 miles. That passed and I was at 20 miles. Now the thought was becoming all consuming! I was debating how sticky and humid my shorts were and how difficult it would be to pull them back up and not moon passing cars. Just at the moment of desperation, I saw a porta potty next to some sort of government looking shed with numbers on the outside. Perhaps a pump house? I was quick to pull in. That was my only break of the entire day. I took only four photos and they were the one foot down and go variety.

I was happy to make the turn at Seney. I thought we were quite clever to take an extra day to get to Munising, because we would get off of M-28. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come. There was a direct north headwind. My speed slowed to 7-8 mph on the flats with effort. Hell. This would take a long time to get to town and I would be really tired, expending this much effort. No fun, no fun. It reminded me of the day coming out of Walsenburg, CO. Lots of work and not much progress. I gave myself the pep talk about how the tour has been easy so far and this is totally doable. All true - but doable doesn't equal fun. Plus, I wasn't mentally prepared for a hard day. I was thinking a quick, flat spin to town. Ah, well. Here I am.

I kept plugging away at the miles. I had the ELO radio station downloaded on Pandora, so I had some good tunes. The sky gradually cleared up to sunshine, but didn't get hot. I kept my ear covers on so the racing wind wouldn't hurt my ears. 

The miles were ticking down, slower than I'd like, but I was getting there. The road took a turn and the wind abated some. Maybe I would get there after all.

I looked at the elevation profile for the day - I had a big downhill to town. Yes! Then I remembered that we had to come back out the same direction tomorrow. That took a lot of the fun out of the downhill.

I had called Jacinto and said I was going to the store for snacks. Of course, what I really wanted was for him to volunteer. He didn't. He said that sounded great. Jacinto was only a mile behind me. I thought he would catch up, but didn't. I waited at the end of the guard rail. We had another puzzling overnight tonight. We are down a side road and not in town. That isn't like me. But we have quite a few lodging puzzles this trip. I'm going to fall back on my usual statement for this trip about how difficult it was to get lodging. I had called the closest restaurant last night, a diner, to ask them what the dinner special is. I was dismayed to hear that they wouldn't be open today because they had appointments. That means we need to walk on into town as opposed to a couple of blocks. I'm very sad about that. We also need to think about breakfast because there's no breakfast here.

Jacinto soon showed up at the guardrail and said he would go to the store if I would check in at the motel. What a sweetheart! I requested chips and salsa. I went on down the road to the motel, mentally retracing the blocks by foot . . .  

I chatted with the owner in the office. I asked a pressing question - how often do they mow the lawn? Twice a week! They have a HUGE yard. She said they have two mowers and work together. We talked about mud slides in Colorado and the big chunk of rock that fell off of Picture Rock a few weeks ago. 

I was sad to hear no bikes in the room. We could put them in her garage - but outside the room is acceptable also. Then I got stuck - where was our room? She could tell I was confused. #6 was on the second floor on the far end. Not convenient. I'm very sure I asked for a ground floor room. Thankfully she offered to switch me to a bottom room.

Jacinto showed up with chips and salsa. He's been slowly working on his three pound bag of pistachios. They are about half gone. Jacinto said there is a grocery store and a gas station. He went to both looking for V-8 juice. He said they had the same selection, it was a well stocked gas station.

Now we are walking into town to eat at the tavern. It is the only place open for food.  I'm getting really, really tired of fish and chips. I shouldn't be surprised - we are next to a lake. I've had more fish and chips in the past two weeks than I have eaten ever. I don't think I'm exaggerating. 

This school in McMillan has a new roof and ivy growing over the front door.
Heart 1 Comment 0
We had 20 miles of unusable shoulder on M28. The first four out of town were wide. I didn’t enjoy them sufficiently.
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It’s hard to make out these stunted, dead trees. Why are they dead?
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I had to laugh.
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Jacinto takes the best selfies!
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Marcela I.The succinct caption
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2 years ago
More water.
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Today's ride: 49 miles (79 km)
Total: 657 miles (1,057 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
jerry witherspoonYour discussion of the difficulty of riding on a skinny shoulder with rumble strips brings to mind my problems with three wheels instead of a single track bike. Are you used to always ride on the shoulder but with a trike it is difficult, particularly when the rumble strip is it replaced. So I have to keep my eye on the mirror at all times because I’m on the inside of the white line. Not good But there it is. Spoon
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2 years ago