Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Marquette to the Porkies

 Day 88 – Marquette to Baraga ~ 78 miles

We woke up this morning and had an awesome breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee. We want to send a huge shout out and thanks to Nancy for being such a gracious host! After breakfast we packed up our things and headed toward the huge climb out of Marquette. It ended up being about 6 or 7 miles of climbing before the terrain began to level out a bit. We made it up after a while and then we were cruising along pretty good. It was a nice day weather wise, blue skies and a wind that wasn't to bad. And the shoulders were comfortable.

We got a bit separated at one point and its just our luck that Kris got a flat. And it was his trailer tire. Zach was a bit ahead at that point and a driver that saw Kris fixing the flat pulled over to let Zach know that Kris had stopped. So Zach turned around to see what was up. The culprit was an inch long screw that worked its way into the tire and punctured both sides of the tube. We got the tire patched and pumped back up and we were off again. We were also hoping to see a moose today, but no luck.

We stopped for lunch at one of the only gas stations around and had a shitty meal. After eating we continued on, and at some point made the turn back north to head toward the Keweenaw Peninsula. We are so close to Duluth at this point that one of the road signs we passed had Duluth on it. We made our way toward Baraga and stopped in L'anse for dinner and breakfast for the morning. After stopping we biked about 5 more miles to the Baraga State Park Campground. Its not a bad little campground right on the Keweenaw Bay, but it is awful tonight. It just so happens to be the weekend of “Christmas in July”, an event where people bring and set up there Christmas decorations in the park. It is really pretty gross that State Parks even allow this to happen. Its basically just RV's with giant snowmen and christmas lights. Such a waste and it totally takes away from the natural experience of the park. So we got a site as far from the madness as possible. We showered, ate, drank a few beers from the Keweenaw Brewing Company, and waited for Bre and Andy to show up.
They arrived around 9:30 and it was so amazing to see them. It is the first time Zach and Bre had seen each other since the beginning of the trip. We stood and talked for a bit and then got their tents set up and went into Baraga for a few more beers and some food. We spent the rest of the night talking around the campfire before heading to bed. Tomorrow we are heading 30 miles north to Houghton/ Hancock area.

Day 89 – Baraga to Hancock City Campground ~ 33 miles

We woke up around 9:30 or so and got our things packed up and ate some breakfast. Bre and Andy drove to Houghton while Kris and Zach biked. We all left right around 11 and headed north. It was a pretty nice ride, following the shoreline of the bay for a good chunk of the way. We only had about 30 miles to go so we waited to have lunch until we got to Houghton. As we arrived into town we passed right by Michigan Tech and headed into downtown to meet our friends and have lunch. We chose a seafood and grill called Joey's. We all enjoyed our food and each others company. After we paid and walked out we realized that Kris's trailer tire had gone flat again. We fixed it and then headed across the river on the lift bridge to Hancock. Google gave us the wrong directions to the camp so we called the campground and got the right directions.

We arrived and got a site for two nights. We set up camp and then the four of us went down to the river for a swim. We swam for a bit and then showered and decided to head back to Houghton and go to the Keweenaw Brewing Company. We went right next store to the brewery and got some pizza and brought it over to the brewery to eat. The brewery encourages that, which we thought was pretty cool. We spent the rest of the night at the brewery, sampling beers and playing cribbage and Apples to Apples. We had a great time. Kris was the champion and sampled all the beers.

After the brewery we headed back to the campground and had a fire and then went to bed. Tomorrow is a rest day!

Day 90 – Rest day: Hancock

Zach and Bre woke up before the others and went for a walk along the river. The other two were just getting up as they got back. The four of us got in the car and headed to find breakfast. The first place we stopped was packed and had a line out the door so we tried Perkins, which was closed down. Our third and final decision was to get groceries and head to McLain State Park to have a picnic of sorts. It was a good decision. The park is really nice, right on Lake Superior. We ate and then attempted to go swimming. It was to shallow and rocky and there were fish eggs floating everywhere in the water. We got out.

We headed further into the park to check out the lighthouse. That was also a good decision because we were able to walk out onto the breakwater and jump out into the cool clean Lake, no fish eggs. We were about to walk back in when we saw people jumping off of the lighthouse platform into the water. We had to do it. So we scrambled the rest of the way out to the end on the boulders and swam out to the lighthouse. There were ladders that went up to the platform, but someone, probably the Coast Guard had cut the bottom rungs of the ladder off so swimmers couldn't reach them. It took us a bit but we were able to find a way to get up. We jumped off into the water and it was a lot of fun. After swimming we headed back to the campground.

At that point it was time for Bre and Andy to head back home. It was really hard to see them go, but we are really happy and thankful that we got to spend the time with them. And we have to remember that we are going to be back home in a week. After they left we headed into town and picked up groceries for the night and morning. We spent the rest of the night charging gear and relaxing. Just before bed the rain moved in so we hopped into to avoid getting wet. Back on the road tomorrow and headed toward the Porcupine Mountains.

Day 91 – Hancock to Union Bay Campground ~ 68 miles

We woke up this morning and kind of dozed in and out of sleep while the rain fell. When the rain stopped we got out of the tent. We had breakfast and headed south. We had another hill to climb out of Houghton just like the one out of Marquette. Not something you want to do right away in the morning. And to make matters worse we had a brutal headwind. We eventually made it to the top. We were split up at this point. Kris was a machine and blasted up the hill. We didn't see each other for another few hours. The headwind was so bad. 15 to 30 mph gusts directly at us. It continued like this all day.

Not only was the wind bad but the hills were pretty much nonstop as well. You know its bad when you have to pedal to move downhill. There wasn't much to see and we weren't able to stop for food until we reached Ontonagon. Once we got there we stopped for our late lunch and got groceries for the night and morning.

We biked out of Ontonagon and headed about 12 miles or so into Porcupine Mountains State Park. We found the first campground we came upon and called it good. We are exhausted after today. We set up camp, ate, and then showered. After showering we played a couple games of Polish golf, or testicle toss as most call it, on the neighbors set. The campground host gave us some wood after we told him the story of the trip, so we are spending the rest of the night around the fire.

Tomorrow we are meeting up with Mona's (Kris's girlfriend) Dad and sister and they are going to bike with us for a bit. We are headed back into the Central time zone for the last time tomorrow, thankfully, and are staying in Ironwood. It will be our last day in Michigan! We are so close to home we can smell it.

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