6/30/2014 – 321 mi – The UP
Up with the sun this morning, and an amazing view of Lake Michigan. Packed camp and riding before 8am. SO MANY MOSQUITOS. A bit cool, needed a layer when riding. Stopped at the Seul Choix (pronounced Sis Shwa) light house, which has been restored by local historical society. It wasn’t open at 8:30 am on a Monday, so we couldn’t go up to the top.
Down the road, we went to a state park with historic iron smelting town preserved/restored as an outdoor museum. The history was interesting, but we were charged $5 per bike, and we didn’t stay that long. We did learn how important iron has historically been to the UP. After that, we noticed all the town names with iron in them along route 2: Iron Mountain, Iron River, etc.
Our conclusion now that we’ve ridden through it is that indeed, Michigan really is very flat, and windy.
Lunch and quick supplies stop at Walmart in Escanaba. Kevin had work related phone call at 2pm, which he made from a park in town. Once on the road again, decided to take a road parallel to 2 for something different. Had 15 mi of unpaved road to change things up a bit. Rejoined route 2, and continued west until it was time to camp. Landed at Bobcat lake campground in the national forest. Once again, the spot is really pretty, under the forest canopy with a view of the small lake, but the Mosquitos are insanely bad. So bad I didn’t even take any pictures. We could have left, but we were tired, and its not like there was a hotel close by. Kevin and I had a discussion (code for I complained about camping with mosquitos) about strategies to be employed in the future to try and not camp next to bodies of water, admittedly difficult in this part of the country.
7/1/2014 – 354 mi – Yoopie Twopie, WI, MN
Woke up to rain. Packed up in the wet, but rain stopped for most of it. No breakfast in camp – too wet, too cold, way too many mosquitos. On the road by 7:30, stopped at first roadside diner for breakfast. The place was straight out of the 70s, or maybe earlier, with wood-paneled décor and diner furniture that maybe really was from the 70s. Breakfast was good and cheap. The 70s atmosphere was enhanced when a couple pulled up in an old VW bus, mustard yellow. Guy had a 70s ‘stache and everything. If it weren’t for 1 or 2 recent model cars outside, we could have been transported back in time.
The sun came out some time after we crossed into Wisconsin. We both thought northern Wisconsin was very pretty. The rest stop below is on Lake Superior.
Stopped in Duluth MN at Aerostich. Picked up some glove rain covers I forgot to order in time before we left, and Kevin really needed a new wallet. Kinda neat to visit Aerostich in person after years of getting the catalog and ordering stuff online. Headed generally west on 2, which goes to Minot, where we’ll pay a visit to my cousin stationed there. Rather than just take 2 the whole way, Kevin snapped a photo of a map in Aerostich that highlighted the curvy and scenic roads in MN. The diversion was a total waste. The northern MN version of a curvy road is not even an average road in central NC. It drizzled rain the whole afternoon, becoming more steady as we headed west. The temps dropped to below 60, turning the travel conditions to cold, wet, and on boring straight roads. Oh well, it can’t all be good. Somehow, we were still in good spirits. We called it quits at a hotel in Bemidji. Its too cold and wet to camp, and two nights in a row of intense mosquitos is enough for now. In sum, its not like we’re surprised, but the northern mid-west has some intensely boring roads.