Thursday, June 29, 2006

12th Day on the Road: Destination Day!! Rudyard, MI to Rosebush Cove! (72 miles)

TOTAL MILES TRAVELED: 699.2!! Pretty close to my 700 mile estimation. This is according to my bike odometer, of course. Who knows how accurate it really is.

Hello everybody,

Well, I made it!! So I'm here now at our cottage and it feels good to have finally arrived. It was a wonderful adventure all along the way. In this entry, I'll just talk some about what happened today and in a follow-up entry I will try to make some concluding comments.

Let's go back to last night, briefly, in Rudyard, MI. I had dinner and then breakfast this morning at the Varsity Grill. In fact, it was the only restaurant in town, as far as I can tell. I wanted to mention especially the waitress Jamie, who stands out for her cheerfulness and her effective way of interacting with her customers (especially her older ones!) She plans to go into geriatric nursing - this ability should do her well. One more comment about Rudyard: as I remember "the angel" about whom I spoke last night - in my motel there, the Northern Country Inn, there was a pillow on my bed with crocheted words as follows: "Live well, laugh often, love much". Maybe that's prophetic, another work of the angel of Rudyard.

Now on to my day's trip. I returned to the Old Mackinac Trail, quickly found a detour sign and it seemed to lead to nowhere because it took me about 5 miles out of my way. I think it was the work of the devil. With the assistance of a passerby, I found my way back to the Trail and proceeded to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Now it seemed like I was starting to get close, because of the Sault. My task though, was to find out how to get across the International Bridge. With assistance from Bobbie, and her colleagues at the Comfort Inn, I was directed to the proper way to enter the International Bridge and to avoid I-75. I found that it was possible to bike over this bridge, as opposed to the Mackinaw Bridge before. So I did that, and arrived at customs. I was sandwiched between a semi and a pickup truck as I approached the custom's agent. He asked me what was in my bags and then, realizing I was not a security risk, he talked to me about my bike, my trip, how much weight I've lost (I don't know myself how much!), and the fact the he also has a Cannondale bike. The line of vehicles in back of me did not seem to be an issue in this conversation.

Upon leaving Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, via Highway 17 East, I was joined by another biker and we rode together for about 6 miles. He was about 20 years of age, from Manitoba, and was biking to Montreal to take 5 days of French classes. Elliot, the biker, talked to me about the Mariner's Code and its connection with bicyclers. He saw a connection because when sailors would pass on the open seas, they would communicate with eachother about how things were going, if there were any problems, what they had learned, so forth. So when he comes across another biker, which usually is rare, he likes to check with them and talk about how things are going. So we had a nice discussion. And then he went to toward Montreal, on his naturally faster pace.

From the Garden River Reserve, I called Lynn and asked her to call Donna, the Sault Star reporter to advise about my arrival to the Island turnoff, which I thought would be around 2:15 in the afternoon. So I continued on my trek toward the Island and encountered a very long, demanding incline at the Laird hill. I also found Highway 17 to be, in many places, quite risky for bicycling (little space, many large vehicles). I arrived at the turnoff at the anticipated time and both Donna and Lynn were there to take pictures! They took pictures at the turnoff, at the bridge entrance, at Kent's Corner (where there was a welcome to St. Joseph Island sign - not for me, for all visitors). Donna then bought me an ice cream cone which I really appreciated since I was very hungry from not eating lunch. We then met at the cottage, where there were more pictures taken. This was for me a very exciting event!! Donna conducted a one hour interview and had found material in the blog to be very helpful. She asked many very good questions.

Later in the evening, my friend Steve called and we talked for quite a while. He obviously had read all of the blog material, had followed the whole trip very closely and asked a number of very good questions as well. He was amazed that I was able to do this whole trip at such speed and being so heavily loaded with weight.

I did want to mention, because I don't think I've said this before, that the idea of going to the "Lake Area" (Petosky, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs) was Marshall Eldred's suggestion and it was a very good one. But now, it's great to be at my destination, our cottage. Lynn has everything shaped up or shaping up with some new remodeling underway. Everything looks very nice, although there is much additional work to entertain us as we get ready for the rest of the summer.

For now, I am rejoicing on having made this journey successfully and am looking forward to getting some sleep!! (Which as I have mentioned was difficult for me to get during my trip for some reason.) Finally, before I follow up with another account in the next few days, I'd like to recount that this was a 700 mile trip that I was able to do at about 70 miles per day. I was able to arrive on Thursday instead of Sunday with two days of rest that were unplanned for. So all this seems quite surprising to have been able to have done this.

I will go to bed without the thought of having to get up in the morning and bike 70 miles, which will probably be a good thing, and give myself time to digest the experience.

Until later, Bob.


Beach Brother John said...

Bob Dylan said, "Take care of all your memories, for you cannot relive them". This blog has you helped with that. Welcome home...

Pru said...

Bob! Congratulations on completing your amazing trip, and early at that! I just happened across your blog a couple of days ago with a link from my cousin Kitty Eldred's. Have a good rest and enjoy the wondrous view from your beach. We'll be coming up from Nashville on Sunday. See you and Lynn soon. Tom & Pru

Linda Pelton said...

CONGRATULATIONS, BOB! We in the Counseling Program (and all of the Human Services Division) at UC are so proud of you!! Are you riding the bike back to Cincinnati at the end of your visit to the cabin? It will be easy - it's all down hill! :-) Take care and enjoy your summer! Linda P.

Anonymous said...

When I spoke to Bob last night I told him how impressive it was that he averaged 70 miles a day riding a touring bike weighted down with 50 pounds of baggage on a route he was creating as he went. When experienced cyclists do a trip of even 500 miles, they use thin-tired racing bikes and have a sag wagon to carry their baggage and provide food and drink along the ride.

Marcia and I have known Bob and Lynn since the late sixties in graduate school at Purdue. I knew he was strong-willed, but his focus over two intense weeks to accomplish such a difficult task is truly amazing.

We followed the trip each day, reading the blog and comments and marking in red on a map how far he went each day (and comparng it to his planned itinerary). Within a few days he was a day ahead of schedule and ended up three days ahead even with two very smart rest stops.

We're looking forward to Bob's written reflections on his trip. I feel confident this trip will inspire him to an even more interesting retirement path than he has planned.

I envy those of you who will be able to share his success and bask in his contented glow in mid-July. We hope to visit the cottage next summer.

And many congrats to Suzanne for procviding us with such an excellent and timely blog.

Steve & Marcia

GailKiley said...

YAY!!! Congrats on getting there safely. I'm proud to know you- have loved reading this blog. And if you are feeling old, as Professor Emeritus, you just need to zip the title up a little. How about Emeribob?!

Brian said...

Bob, Glad to see you made it. I was worried till we spoke on the phone during your trip. Very impressive task you have completed I feel better about growing old now. Retirement sounds like a blast. Brian