Michael's Excellent Adventure

Day 21, 7-8-2002

Sweat

Michigan is surrounded on three sides by water and can get unbearably muggy in the summer. I know from spending a heck of a lot of time there through several summers that sometimes it gets so muggy that it can't get any more muggy. It's hot, hazy, and overcast, and it's like being stuck in a veggie steamer. And it wants so badly to rain, but it can't. It's meteorologically constipated. So instead, it sweats. Today started very nice, and ended up being one of the above days. The riding was great, tailwinds most of the day, and towns precisely spaced every 25 miles, for breaks right when we needed 'em. Best of all, no more gaps in the maps. We kept very well fed and well hydrated, and made great time all day, with an average speed that hovered right around 20 mph.

We met my uncle John and aunt Lona in Frankenmuth, a pretty kitschy little accident of a town halfway between Saginaw and Flint. Like Disneyland, except outside the walls of that particular insane asylum. It beat the alternatives (of Saginaw and Flint) though, and John and Lona very generously treated the two of us to a really nice dinner at Zehnder's. Though I almost lost it when I thought to myself "This is the kind of place that really ought to be playing "It's a Small World After All'" and no sooner had I completed the thought than a group in Bavarian dress at the periphery of my vision struck it up. A little more than I could handle.

After dinner, we pushed on to Lapeer, making for a very late finish, around 9:00 PM. It was an unnecessary risk that I wouldn't repeat if given the chance. It did give us a 173 mile day, but it's pretty clear at this point that the freshness date on John's and my riding together is a few days old, so we decide to split up at the Canadian border. Given the experiences that we had when we didn't have bike route map coverage, John asks that I get him out of the state, which I have absolutely no trouble agreeing to. We're still friends, and I'm really glad to have had his company for most of the journey, but it feels good to be striking off on my own, now. I give him a copy of my cue sheet & map for New York, and that gives him everything I know about the road ahead — we'll each pick up maps of Ontario tomorrow, in Sarnia.

Next: Ontario, New York, and Massachusetts, solo!

—Michael