Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Musings from Michigan

We are officially 21 days and 1,121 miles into our trip! Today is our SECOND rest day, even though we should be on our third by now. We have officially decided to tone down our pace though, so things should be getting even more enjoyable soon. We have also been camping 7 out of the last 8 days, so David has promised me a few more hotels soon too. In reality, most of the campsites we have stayed at are cheaper and better located than hotels, plus they've mostly had showers, so I'm quite content.  Not having to set up camp a few nights would certainly be welcome rest, though.

We see at least one group of fellow cross country tourers each day, typically retired age and either solo men or groups of 2-3, especially if there are women. Our friends from New Hampshire who we camped with a few nights early on were the only people our age we've seen. I guess not many people working for a living can convince their boss to let them leave for 2 months and still come back, so thank you employers! Anyway, these other cyclists often have all kinds of good information on the route to come, including a barn outfitted with bunks and food for cyclists and a city park you can camp in and get $2 off breakfast in the nearby cafe the next morning!

Another thing we've noticed is that when all you wear is spandex and you ride around on a fully-loaded tandem with a trailer, you get odd looks when you pull into Le Roy, population 300 and buy your body weight in jerky, breakfast sandwiches, poptarts, and carrots. Inevitably, people will ask questions, and when they do, here's how the conversation goes:

Stranger: "Where are you biking from?"
David: "Just past Pultneyville this morning, and we're headed to Wallaceburg tonight."
Stranger: "I've never heard of either of those places..."
Leanne: "Basically, we started in Portland, Maine and we're headed to Portland, Oregon."
Stranger: "Wow, that's far! Don't most people go the opposite direction?"
Leanne: "Well, we're from Washington so we wanted to finish back at home."
Stranger: "But your jersey says New York..."
Leanne: "Yes, my aunt and uncle gave them to us, and they're from New York."
Stranger: "They're from New York, but your from Washington? So why does his jersey say New Mexico?"
David: "We live in New Mexico."
Stranger: "You're from Washington, but you're living in New Mexico, so how did you end up in Maine?!"

And on and on it goes :)

All in all, the trip has been great, the sights and people have been entertaining, our destinations delightful, and the weather has been phenomonal (knock on wood, because apparently we keep missing heat waves and downpours left and right!).

So no, Duane, we haven't needed rain pants :)

Today we have enjoyed a slow-paced morning at Ludington State Park. Our plans for the rest of the day include body surfing on Lake Michigan, attempting to smooth over some of our more horrendous tan lines, and checking out some local breweries and cafes. Loving it! The miles that brought us to this mini vacation were sponsored by David's parents, Richard and Karen Smith (who we are STOKED to be meeting in Walla Walla for wine tasting and a sag wagon to the finish line!), his grandparents, Alan and Connie Creighton, and his co-worker, Johnny A! Thanks to all of you for getting us this far! P.S. We just checked into our hotel for the night only to be told by the front desk worker that they "don't allow trailers, and certainly not bikes" into their dingy, $60 a night rooms (pic below). Ummm, excuse me? Those two things are essentially my life right now, and I don't appreciate having their feelings hurt! I'm a little peeved, to say the least. Oh well, at least we were able to stuff all our possessions into a garbage sack for the night :(

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