Sunday, July 6, 2014

Michigan - Lower Peninsula

Congratulations: Skippy's Suzi reached the 100.000km mark!
After we crossed the bridge there was the US border booths. Nobody cared about the dogs, nor about the bikes. After we answered several of the officers' questions they seemed to be happy to let us in. We might have been a bit suspicious, but certainly did not look like “bad guys” - maybe it helped to stay in a motel with proper shower the night before? Anyway the border guard did "educate" us that it is not possible to stay in the US longer then our current visa allows us to and if we want to get another stamp for another period then we have to make a "meaningful" departure (or something like that) and visiting Canada for one week is not "meaningful". Sorry to all Canadians, but those were his words.
Skippy found this nice looking grass bed during a break.
After a short pit stop to get some food and So Delicious ice cream we continued towards Wolverine Campground. We were the only people with tent there and obviously the first foreigner this receptionist checked in (... ever – well he was young :D ).
At Wolverine Campground.
Huge place with plenty of big tent sites and almost empty.
Next day we explored the adjacent Butternut Beach. There was a floating line to indicate the swimming area so that boats could not go there. The waterline reached all the way to my upper legs – not deep enough for swimming, more for water walking. We went over the line into the open lake and not for long two park ranger officers galloped to our way to chase us out of the dangerous water.

It would be common knowledge to swim within the dedicated area and any swimming outside of it is forbidden. If we would not know what is allowed we should ask first for permission before undertaking such a reckless endeavor. And if we do not obey we will be kicked out of the entire park area (even including the campground?) and issued a ticket! What a threat ... relax guys and welcome to the police state!

After two nights we left anyway – the road was calling. Well yes, first 100 kilometers course west (270 degree) and then course straight north. That was all what I can say about that road. We ended up in Newaygo and as usually in the end of a riding day we went first for grocery shopping and then looked for an accommodation. In fact we just turn around and rode all the 50 meters(!!!) to the next motel. It was cheap, allowed dogs without extra charge, had internet and cable TV – perfect.
Good for them they had advertised key features!
Neighbor and a lumberjack worker admiring our bikes.
We found a nice path to walk girls.
Hertta tired and real bikers do not need a bed blanket.
Wolfi makes laundry.
"Spielverderber" :D
Stop for photo session.
Americans love abbreviations ...
... and all sorts of warning signs in general.
Our new umbrella (we lost the old one in Mauritania).
I did some research about the attractions of the peninsula of Michigan and found a few. We rode M37 north and after 90 kilometers we turn west on M55 for a few miles. This was supposed to be a scenic road and I have no idea what was scenic here. The first stop was at the road side park of the Pine River bridge to add some more clothes and look at the bridge. When it suddenly started raining Skippy had a few moments of hassle. As we noted later this hassle resulted in the fact that Skippy lost her keys ... again! Luckily we still had one spare set for her.
Bridge over Pine River at M55 (built 1934).
“The Mortimer E. Cooley Bridge is one of only two cantilevered deck truss bridges in Michigan. This structure is notable on aesthetic grounds as well, as the winner of the American Institute of Steel Construction Award in 1936 for the most beautiful structure in its class. This is also a large bridge, with an overall length of 555 feet (source: internet).”

Next stop was Kaleva and the glass bottle house.

Asiala Park in Kaleva.
Skippy taking a film clip of me taking a picture :D
The bottle house in Kaleva, Michigan.

We continued our way along M22 and this was a scenic ride indeed! Benzolia was our next point for grocery shopping when I noticed I had a flat tire – my first puncture on this trip. I tried to find the hole but the tire had cracks all over and I could not tell where the problem was. I tried with my Airman compressor to pump the tire in order to notice the hole – no success. First things first and I enjoyed my vegan “So Delicious” ice cream portion of the day :D
My first puncture on this bike. Trying to see where the hole was.
I went back to the shop to get some tire sealant. The stuff did not fix any hole but when I blew some more air into the tire it showed where the hole was. That was all what I needed to know and with another “worm” the hole was fixed and I pumped the tire. Suddenly there was a loss of air pressure from the compressor ... my compressor died. I really hate those double problems. Anyway, me back into the shop and got me another compressor. A few minutes later we were ready to go to our destination of today.
Found the hole and plugged it with a worm. One can nicely see how the tire is suddenly worn very unevenly due to the low tire pressure.
Double problem - old pump went broken in the middle of repairing the puncture. Had to buy another one. A bit easier to handle when the shop is 50 meters away ;)

Not sure what Ulpu did on Skippy's seat :)
Hertta is having fun, Ulpu and Lyra taking a sun bath and Wolfi was working!
We arrived safely at the Cycle Moore Campground in Interlochen.The owner Steven welcomed us warmly. He and his wife also run a small museum, a bike repair shop and bike accessories store. Excellent combination. We were about alone in this huge campground and could enjoy some solitude and girls some freedom.
Common area with can recycling.
Nice air-streamer.
Another chilly night.
Full moon on Friday the 13th of June.
Pine tree flowers.
Next day I rode to Traverse City to get me a new back tire. I think because I was riding with it on low pressure it was so badly cracked all over and one side had no more profile left it was time to change – maybe some 1500km too early. Anyway I got one in fitting size in the second shop and even though they were not allowed to work on bikes, the guys were so friendly to do the job and I helped a little bit. They had all what one needed to take the wheel of the bike and it was so much easier then digging out my tools.
Here are few pictures from the museum at the campground:

Some old self-build bike.

Helmet for Ulpu?
More useless stuff (Tinnef).
Bug liked my helmet.
It was fathers day in the US and instead of going straight north we took a little detour via Sleeping Bear Dunes, Leland, Omena (that is apple in Finnish), Acme and then north on M37 towards Petoskey. For the next four weeks we needed to find accommodation with TV and a sports-channel – it was World Cup 2014! That equaled for football or soccer for American-English speakers! It was not until Levering that we found a somewhat affordable motel with TV. In fact the motel had some interesting do-it-yourself check-in procedure for that evening.
Break at Lake Michigan - too chilly for a dip?
Lake Michigan
Wow - so what???
Fun story: on my way to find accommodation for that night, I got two beers as a welcome gift even though we did not stay there as they "did not do dogs". The beer was really piss water and I had only one and left the other in the hotel room for the next guest. I wonder why the guy in the TV hides his face? Skippy said, he can see my stomach?
The self-check-in procedure.

Our bikes in front of the motel. Since all motels look more or less the same this might be the last one of this kind for a long time.
Germany – Portugal 4:0!

USA – Ghana 2:1

What a great start for Germany and my football geek Skippy!
Cute little coffee maker.
The main reason to move on was the highish price of the motel. So we made all the 17km from Levering to Mackinaw City to the American Value Inn. We were there far too early and went first shopping. The sad story was that the one and only grocery shop we found had not a single organic fruit nor veggie. The weather was clearing out and we went the 26 kilometers to the Walmart in Cheboygan.
Signs at our hotel to lure guests in ;)
Mackinaw Bridge - almost totally covered by fog.
The next day the fog was gone.
Mackinaw City - boring no dogs allowed.
We had a serious talk about our tactics for the next weeks. Skippy wanted to see all the games and besides this, she wanted to finish another part of her exams, whereas I only want to take some gravel roads and explore the attractions around the upper peninsula. Conclusion:
  • Match day = stay at motel with cable TV
  • Match free day = riding day/camping
Our track Lower Peninsula Michigan 9-19June
We found a way to publish longer videos in Youtube and here is another and now longer travelogue "Made by Skippy" ;)

Click here if you have trouble to watch the video.

Links and hints for more eco-friendly and plastic-free life:
20 Switches to Get Plastic Out of Your Life
10 ways to green your work ethic
My Plastic-Free Life
How to green your cleaning routine

No comments:

Post a Comment