The Big Woods: Wisconsin to Mackinac Island

Anyone who’s anybody will know that we’ve been riding through Ingall’s country: where ma and pa grew up.  If you didn’t know, go read the books, and think about Libertarianism.

July 21: 89 miles, Birchwood, WI to Glidden, WI

We’ve been putting in big miles!  We suffered a bit of a post-Birchwood slump as we road away from such a nice day off.  Luckily cool temperatures and a friendly breeze gave us a good feeling about the day.  Before long, however, our butt-pain returned with a vengeance, and we did our best to enjoy the scenery as we limped along.  Our day ended in awesome Marion Park, which must be beautiful during the day with an amazing roller rink, but for us was so buggy we cooked dinner in the men’s room.  Two lessons: 1) don’t eat dinner in a bathroom, it will make you nauseas 2) if you have a choice of bathrooms don’t choose the men’s room- it smells a lot worse, always.

This is where bugs come from, and according to 17th century doctors, the plague.

This is where bugs come from, and according to 17th century doctors, the plague.

A park with a  tank is an extra special thing.

A park with a tank is an extra special thing.

We now have Pavlovian reactions of nausea and lack of appetite to the smell of urinal cakes (as if we didn't before).

We now have Pavlovian reactions of nausea and lack of appetite to the smell of urinal cakes (as if we didn’t before).

July 22: 83 miles, Glidden, WI to Star Lake, WI

A day of ups and downs, literally and figuratively.  It was beautiful, but the hills were West-Coast style steep, and we were accompanied by a retinue of horse, deer, elephant, and lion flies the whole day who were UP IN OUR SHIT.

Small-town Wisconsin

Small-town Wisconsin

Mercer, WI is Loon Capitol OF THE WORLD

Mercer, WI is Loon Capitol OF THE WORLD

Ian post-lunch

Ian post-lunch

The day ended with awesome, though, thanks to Hannah P!  An old Midd friend, Hannah drove to meet us in Bolder Junction, where we watched an unreal thunderstorm steamroll the town from a cozy, sheltered porch.  Hannah is a rockstar, and brought:

  • Watermelon
  • Sugarsnap Peas
  • Blueberry-Peach Cobbler
  • A WHOLE PESTO PASTA DINNER, which we made in the rain

As if that weren’t enough, Hannah took us out to ice cream!  Hannah gets a gold star in our book.  Thank you Hannah, congrats on graduating!

Hannah: Rock star, biologist, excellent sidewalk cook.

Hannah: Rock star, biologist, excellent sidewalk cook.

Also, our campsite was great- we took a bath in Star Lake, freaked out when we realized there were dozens of crawfish everywhere, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

July 23: 72 miles, Star Lake, WI to Crystal Falls, MI

We awoke to 50 degree temperatures, and happily put on our tights and coats, sweat free.  The day was automatically a good one, because apparently all the bugs died.  Little bastards.

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Michigan, home of the Sanders!

Michigan, home of the Sanders!

July 24: 87 miles, Crystal Falls, MI to Gladstone, MI

We’re in the UP baby!  Good winds and easier terrain made the miles fly by.  As we approached the Upper Peninsula (UP), we noticed a LOT of closed stores.  Michigan is hurting.  We stopped at one of the few open gas stations, and trapped the unsuspecting counter-lady with conversation and questions, flitting about like socially-deprived bikers, which we are.  She made us pizzas.

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Pizzas and conversation were found here!

Soon after we hit 3,000 miles!  WAIT- where was 2,000?  We’ve neglected these milestones, so enjoy both at once:

2,000 miles was a big deal!

3,000 miles slipped by, ignored and alone.

After these milestones, we also entered the Eastern Standard Time Zone!

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In Escanaba, we hit Lake Michigan, kind of.  We didn’t actually see any water yet, and had to attend to important errands like fixing our front bottom bracket and eating our first pasties.  TEGAN, yours are way better than anything we’ve had here, just for the record.  Ian still had several.

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Christine enjoying her first Great Lakes sunset!

The day ended with actual lake views, and a wonderful campsite in the town of Gladstone, where we enjoyed the cleanest bathrooms and (free) showers we’ve encountered yet.  We also became part of a bad ass gang of 8 year old riders, who can pop a mean wheelie.

July 25: 104 miles, Gladstone, MI to Little Hog Island, MI

Turns out biking in the UP isn’t great.  It probably is great to explore individual places, but riding on a highway for 150 miles isn’t so hot.  With sore butts, an extremely favorable wind, and a whole bunch of gumption, we decided to push through as many miles as we could before dark.  We dealt with many, many semis, strangely gesticulating construction workers, and ate lunch at the Foxy Den, where we met the most bigoted and racist scary dude to date on this trip.  Somber times.

Whoever came up with this business plan is a very, very silly person.

Whoever came up with this business plan is a very, very silly person.

Two stops for ice cream (Dairy Kream and The Anchor), a BRAND NEW FLAG, and our fastest average speed saved the day.  Little Hog Island had great campsites with beautiful views and that perfect privacy where you can pee anywhere in the middle of the night.  Really made us smile.

It says everything we have to say about biking cross-country.

It says everything we have to say about biking cross-country.

We’ve got two (TWO) rest days ahead on beautiful Mackinac Island, where we’ll spend our 1-year anniversary, ride horses, eat fudge, and stay in a B&B!  See you on the other side.

Ian feels ok about the Great Lakes.

Ian feels ok about the Great Lakes.

2 thoughts on “The Big Woods: Wisconsin to Mackinac Island

  1. grrrrr…..gladstone……they beat my softball team one year in the state tournament. one of the best games I ever pitched. dang center-fielder made an error…grrrrr………lol

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