9th Day on the Road: Kalkaska to Harbor Springs, MI (74 miles)
Now I'm at 544.1 miles (of about 700 total)!
Hello everyone! To start off this morning, there was very good news from the motel clerk at the North Country Motel in Kalkaska, who told me that he didn't think it was going to rain today and that the trip to Charlevoix was mostly downhill as one moves toward Lake Michigan. I said to him "this is REALLY good news!" After breakfast, I set off from Kalkaska to Mancelona, which is 14 miles away on 131. It was a terrible, harrowing, scary venture because there was no space, there was a drop-off, and extremely heavy traffic and it amounted to 14 miles of terror.
At the Route 66 turnoff in Mancelona, I proceeded to Charlevoix. That trip was very beautiful with mountains around me but involving many long downgrades. So the clerk was right. In the last 10 miles of the trip there were, however, several ups and downs, but that was okay. I did, though, begin to develop a deriare problem... I got quite sore, and over the next 30 miles or so this became very painful. In fact, it may be necessary for me to take a day off tomorrow to try and heal, but we'll see.
So I entered the very upscale lake towns of Charlevoix, Petosky and Harbor Springs, where I am staying tonight. Harbor Springs does not have traditional motels; these do not fit into their self image. So finding a place to stay in Harbor Springs, which is a most beautiful place, turned out to be a challenge. I found one, and if it does not break my bank totally, I am at least grateful to have a nice place to stay. By the way, in this upscale tourist area, people who visit are called "resorters". One of the very nice things from Charlevoix to Petosky, and for part of the way from Petosky to "Harbor", was the existance of bike trails. So from Charlevoix to Petosky, I took a 17 mile bike trail, avoiding very heavy traffic. This was terrific.
On my trip today, in addition to my saddle sores, I hit a kind of "wall" at about 35 miles or so into the trip. I had to push hard to keep going. It reminded me of two things: First, a favorite poem of mine by Matthew Arnold called Thyrsis. My favorite line from that poem is the following:
Why faintest thou?
I wandered til I died.
The light we sought
Is shining still.
The next is the "Conyne Family theme song". This is a song by the Eagles called "Take It To The Limit!" These two rememberances also connect with Winston Churchill, who said something like "Never ever ever ever give up!" So these things all together helped me press on, as well as all the many nice things my friends and family have said to me throughout my trip.
The last point to mention is that I was just called by a reporter from the Sault Star, which is the newspaper of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The Sault Star is planning to cover my entry to St. Joseph Island and to take pictures and write a story about the event. That should be a lot of fun! The reporter I talked with also told me that the St. Joseph Island Township Council Agenda this month will include my trip -- I'm not sure what that means!
When will I arrive on the island? Well, perhaps Friday of this week, weather permitting (it looks very stormy every day of the week).
Til next time, Bob.