Houghton Lake, MI to Gaylord, MI: - Mackinac Island after abandoning the USBRS (US Bicycle Route System) - CycleBlaze

May 14, 2019

Houghton Lake, MI to Gaylord, MI:

A strange yellow orb in the sky, but the usual north wind.

I swear there was no wind this morning until we started our ride. That was good because people here read 30 degrees on their thermometers this morning. Rhona was so concerned about the cold she let me sleep in a little.

We cycled north along Houghton Lake and soon took a break at Higgins Lake.

Notice no wind. It is restricted by law to only blow on the roads. Don’t want to upset the fishermen.
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Things were going pretty well until Google Maps decided to take us on a scenic route toward a supposed bike trail along a railroad. It routed us through a (hard hat required area) for a Georgia Pacific factory. Just when we bogged down in the soft sand of the trail a worker driving a fully loaded loader caught up to us.

The guy sees cyclists routed through the yard frequently. He suggested we go back to the pavement and go on a dirt road which would get us to Grayling.
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And that’s when the trouble started. It was a dirt road, but sand not clay.

We could ride slowly for a while but then our skinny road tired would break through the surface and one or both tires would slide sideways.
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Rhona thought it was a good time to get my thoughts while we were slogging along the three miles.


However, it was warm and sunny and we were out in the woods on a bike tour, so really no reason to complain.

A three mile bike path took us next to a military base in Grayling.
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And then the roads got really bad.

This was not the worst section by any means. We were nervous getting too near the deepest potholes because when we dropped a pebble in one it took forever to hear it hit bottom. Rhona did have fun calling down into the pothole and listening to the echo.
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A few years ago we did the Dalmac tour in Michigan. Our route was one of three and we noticed the roads were badly potholed. Some Michigan riders told us there was an ongoing political paralysis in state government about coming up with a plan and funding to repair the roads. It doesn’t appear that they have resolved the problem yet.
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There’s a lot to like about Michigan, but I don’t think we’ll ever bike tour here again. I don’t even want to drive our car on some of the roads.

We stopped along Otsego Lake just before coming to Gaylord. Two young girls were paddling a duckie without much skill but with a lot of enthusiasm and merriment. When we left they were singing a song
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The Gaylord water tower. The word “Alpine” along with snowmobile trails everywhere just makes it feel colder.
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The restaurant had some antiques of interest.

I remember this style of pump in operation.
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$.29 3/10 price. I’ve seen prices jump that entire amount in just one weekend.
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Today's ride: 58 miles (93 km)
Total: 674 miles (1,085 km)

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