Chelsea, MI to Owosso, MI: - Mackinac Island after abandoning the USBRS (US Bicycle Route System) - CycleBlaze

May 10, 2019

Chelsea, MI to Owosso, MI:

Our first Beaverat sighting

It was a cold windy start to the day with, of course, a strong northwest wind. The one bright spot about these conditions is that Rhona is wearing so many of her clothes she has room in her panniers. Early on we saw a recently constructed but unmarked bike path adjacent to our road and enjoyed 3 miles without vehicles passing by but then for the next 10 miles we're riding a 3 ft wide shoulder on a two lane road with 55 mph+ traffic passing. The noise and wind blasts were unpleasant but most drivers crossed the center rumble strip in order to give us room. The route then moved onto smaller and much

lower traffic roads, in some cases dirt. I read Michigan has been converting some rural roads back to dirt because local governments don’t want to spend money on increasingly expensive asphalt. For the most part the dirt roads were adequate, packed smooth clay with very little or no gravel but on some roads we slalomed around potholes.

We lucked onto a neat little diner in Webberville.

It was decorated as “1950’s” era dinner with vintage looking Coke signs, napkin dispensers and such.
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Our food was good and Rhona even had the idea to have some of their homemade donuts.

Even the outside decor was attractive. The owner asked about our tour. She has a property on the island just south of Mackinac Island (Bois Blanc?) and was there two weeks ago. She said most of the snow was gone. Rhona’s eyes got bigger and she pulled her mittens on.
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Recently I’ve become interested in beavers. While training for this tour Rhona spied the first one we’ve ever seen while riding on Beaver Run Road. Today she thought she spied one in a ditch along the road. There was a lot of running water and it connected to a stream. We stopped and I saw something swimming underwater but thought it was a muskrat. Rhona stuck with her claim so we’re calling it a “Beavrat”.

We saw this red colored grass along the road.
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Here’s a closeup for our Biologist friend Paulson.Edit: Paulson’s best guess. Perhaps it is Japanese blood grass. The fact that it is so evenly growing in a strip may indicate that it is being farmed for seed or to sell as plugs, since it may be a seedless variety that spreads by rhizomes. At any rate, the grass is likely imported.
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The route into Owosso went along a very scenic Riverwalk. We did see several tree stumps which were gnawed by a beaver, or a very large Beavrat.
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Two wildlife sightings today...Rhona saw two Scarlet Tanagers. That’s not unusual, but the second sighting was. We both saw a fenced in area housing at least five full grown skunks. That’s the kind of thing you might see (and smell) on a bicycle tour.

Today's ride: 58 miles (93 km)
Total: 479 miles (771 km)

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