Day 59 - Lake Huron Campground to Port Crescent State Park ~ 70 miles
Today was a very hard day! We left the campground this morning and it was already scorching hot. We hopped onto the highway and headed towards Harbor Beach. At Harbor beach Kris waited a while for Zach and he finally showed up. He had a slow leak and had to find an air compressor in Forester to fill back up. At this point we are both out of CO2 canisters and Kris has the only bike pump. Once we met back up we went to Subway for lunch and then used Kris' bike pump to try and fill up the tires more. This is where we found out that the pump was broken so we went across the street to the gas station to refill the tires. We then set off on the detour that the people across camp from us last night told us about. It took us inland a ways and we had a strong headwind. It was so incredibly hot but we made it to the next town of Bad Axe and stopped to get more water, cold drinks, and sit in the stations AC for a while. It was there that we found out that it was 97 degrees! No wonder we felt so awful!
After we left Bad Axe we headed north and were hoping that the wind would give us a push with the direction change but it didn't. It switched back into a headwind and we battled on towards Port Austin. Kris got a flat tire about 6 miles before the town in the middle of nowhere. We went to the nearest house and got in the shade from their trees. No one was home but we started to repair the tire when we realized that our pump had broken earlier that day. Kris tried to fix it but to no avail and so Zach offered to take the repaired tire up the road to find some air. About 10 minutes later he was back and we were soon on the road again.
We soon reached Port Austin and got some supplies for dinner at the grocery store. The state park was only a few miles past and we soon made it there. The campground was very full but we found a nice site right next to the water. We celebrated surviving the day by immediately going for a swim in the big lake. After walking about ¼ mile out into the water it was finally deep enough to swim. It was great but we reflected on the fact that lake Huron is showing major signs of the water levels dropping in the great lakes. You can see where the old shoreline is and how far it has dropped. After the swim we went back and made chili-mac and then chatted the rest of the night before dozing off to sleep.
Tomorrow we will head to Bay city where someone who contacted us earlier hopefully will have a place for us to stay and it wont be as hot!
Day 60 – Port Crescent to Bay City, MI ~ 65 miles
This morning we had breakfast, packed up and headed out of the park. About 3 miles down the road Kris had another flat tire, seems to be a slow leak. There was nothing around except for a canoe outfitter. They luckily had an air compressor and we were soon on our way again. We passed through many nice areas and houses with beautiful sand beaches. We got a bit separated during the day and weren't able to stop together for lunch. Zach stopped and got pizza at the last opportunity but Kris didn't, thinking there would be something in the next town. There wasn't! We eventually connected back up about 10 miles outside of Bay City.
We later arrived in Bay City and didn't have a message from the people who wanted us to visit so we had to figure out our next move. We decided to find the next state park and pitch a tent there for the night. In downtown we found a coffee shop and checked the email to see if they maybe had messaged us but there was nothing. We crossed the bridge over the river and found a cheap motel. There was no one at the counter and decided to leave. As we were leaving a lady walked by and told us we didn't want to stay there because thats where all the registered sex offenders stay. We quickly left and and made our way towards the state park. We stopped at a small market next to the park and got our food for the night. As we were getting ready to leave an older bearded man stopped us and asked about what we were doing. After a small conversation he said we could camp out at his place and take showers which was only a couple of blocks away. He seemed nice enough and trustworthy so we followed. When we arrived his yard was full of old antique cars and motorcycles, a museum of sorts. He took us through some thick underbrush to the backyard and we set up camp. Just think of Narnia. The neighbor boy was around too to who spent days hanging out with Dave and helped keep us company. Dave showed us the house and all of his collections, there were a lot of them but some really cool things. We took showers and spent the night listening to Dave's stories from his life ranging from run ins with Timothy Leery to space shuttle launches. Before we went to bed we watched music videos that he had cued up on his TV. One of the most interesting people we have met on the trip. Can't thank him enough for sharing his time and space with us.
Tomorrow we will have a short ride to meet Tom and Lois DiMuro just down the road. We have been in contact with them for months and are very excited to finally meet them and spend the day at their house! Today we finished the Thumb of Michigan!
Day 61 – Dave Who's House to the DiMuro's House near Standish, MI ~ 44 miles
Dave woke us up at 7:15am to tell us that the coffee was on and about the break news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were splitting up! We were sad only for a moment and then laughed as Dave kept talking about now it was his turn to have her! We had coffee and packed up for the day. The neighbor boy came over and they were going to bike us down the road. As we were leaving Zach had another slow leak in his back tire that he hasn't been able to fix so we had to use Dave's compressor and fill his tire before setting off down the road.
Dave biked us around the neighborhood and showed us a great view of the Saginaw Bay. We said goodbye at the store where we had met the night before and parted ways. We continued on for about 4 miles where Tom and Lois where waiting for us in the parking lot of a McDonald's. They had drove down to meet us and Tom was going to bike with us to their house, where we were going to spend the night. It was great to finally meet them.
We headed out and had a decent ride along highway 13 with really spacious shoulders. We were able to chat side by side as we rode along. It was about a 40 mile ride to there house and we only stopped for a water refill because we were making pretty good time. As we reached the town of Standish we got off of highway 13 and were on the backroads to the DiMuro's home. We arrived sometime between 1 and 2pm and sat on the porch and had some beverages and ate an awesome lunch of hotdogs, coleslaw, and some amazing black bean dip that Lois makes. She is going to send us the recipe and we are glad because it is so good!
After lunch we started to work on our bikes and other issues. Kris's pump hasn't been working so he tried to fix it. He and Lois ended up going to a store to find a replacement O-ring. It sort of solved the problem, but the pump still isn't working at 100%. Its going to get sent back. We spent the rest of the afternoon servicing and cleaning our bikes to get them running in top shape again for the next few days. Kris put a new tire on the back because the old one's tread is pretty much gone.
After that Tom and Lois started to prepare dinner and we sat around the table outside and had some more beverages. The prepared an awesome home cooked meal of steak, potatoes, corn on the cob, bread, and salad. Just a treat! It was exactly what we needed and enjoyed every bite!
After dinner we sat in the living room and watch a few episodes of Pawn Stars. Lois made us home made ice cream out of strawberries and bananas. They went to bed around 9 and we stayed up for a while longer and watched the TV and Zach tried to find the slow leak in his back tire...patched it...but it still leaked.
We went to bed around midnight after watching Zoro. It is so nice to be sleeping in a nice bed under a roof. Tomorrow we are headed to Harris State Park.
Day 62 (July 1st) – DiMuro's home to Harris State Park ~70 miles
We woke up this morning around 9am and headed down for an awesome breakfast of french toast and bacon that Lois had prepared for us. We ate like kings and slowly got ready for the day. Tom went out to check the air on our tires one last time before we left and came in to tell Zach that his patch job on the rear tire didn't work. He ended up giving us a brand new tube so Zach could continue without worry. Before we left Lois played “witch doctor” (inside joke) and treated us with essential oils, Thieves oil to be exact. She put it on Kris's feet and on Zach's shoulders. She didn't need to be messing around with Zach's poison ivy foot. She even sent us with a small bottle so we could use it to treat our sore throats that have been bothering us for the past few days.
We packed up and they even gave us some power balls that they had made for energy. The three of us left around 11. Tom was going to ride with us to Tawas, which is on Lake Huron. We rode about 35 miles to the city and had a great ride. We were on country roads that were nicely paved with little traffic, so we were able to ride side by side for a majority of the time. We reach Tawas and Lois had stopped at a few places to find us a replacement pump and a few tubes. That was so nice of them to do for us and we can't thank them enough. We reluctantly parted ways, but we hope to see them again. We had so much fun spending time with them. It really says a lot about some one who opens up their home to a complete stranger.
We continued North on highway 23...back on the awesome shoulders and stopped for lunch in Oscoda. We stopped at Subway as we were eager to see what the new sub of the month was. We were disappointed when we saw it was the Buffalo Chicken. After a few rough incidents we don't trust the chicken there anymore. But we ate there anyways and then continued on our way. The time and miles flew by today because the wind was sort of behind us, it was nice and sunny, not too hot, and we were able to have conversations as we rode next to each other.
We reached Harrisville, passed the State Park entrance, and went to get groceries. We just got something small and a couple things for breakfast. We headed back to the park and got our site. It is really busy here because of the 4th coming up and isn't ideal, but it will do. Nothing we haven't dealt with. We were going to swim, but the water here doesn't look to pleasant to we are going to wait on that, but the beach is nice.
We are headed to Rogers City tomorrow to Presque Isle and from there it is only a few days to Petosky and our rest day! We are starting to realize that even though we still have a ways to go our time on the trip is beginning to dwindle...bittersweet. Just passed 3800 miles today!
Day 63 – Harris State Park to Hoeft State Park ~ 78 miles
Woke up this morning and got ready for the day. We ate breakfast and then headed out towards Rogers City. We had a nice large shoulder today and saw some great inland scenery as the road took us away from the lake for some time today. On our way to Alpena we passed the 45th Parallel which is half way between the equator and the North Pole. We stopped for lunch in Alpena before taking off again towards Rogers city. We quickly made it to the turnoff for Rogers City and decided to take the business route instead of the highway. We stopped at a extremely large Limestone quarry that we dubbed the Grand Canyon of Michigan. It was huge and went on for almost a mile at certain points. We made our way into Rogers city and didn't find anything in terms of a grocery store. We stopped and asked for directions just to find out that the grocery store was on the main highway so we had to backtrack.
After the grocery store we headed to the state park which was only a couple miles down the road. We made it to our campsite and decided first things first, lets go for a swim. The water was great but we had to walk out a ways. After a long swim and hanging out on the beach we went back to camp to get ready for the night. After setting up camp, dinner, and showers we decided to watch the sunset and do some more filming. We learned that Michigan has more shoreline than the Eastern seaboard and touches 4 of the 5 great lakes. It also boasts more historic lighthouses than any other place in the country. We also learned that Lake Huron, even though not the biggest has more shoreline than any of the other great lakes. All in all we learned a lot from Hoeft State Park, one of the top 5 state parks in Michigan!
We went and watched First Ascent, a really neat climbing movie and then dozed off to sleep. We were awoken at around 1am to thunderstorms. We quickly got everything under the tent and attached the rainfly before hopping back inside as the rain started. Hopefully it will let up by morning when we head to Mackinaw City.
Day 64 – Hoeft State Park to Mackinaw City ~ 56 miles
This morning we waited for the rain to let up before getting ready for the day. The wind was supposed to be at our backs but it didn't seem to be that way. After we got ready we headed out and battled some huge hills, hot temps, and strong headwinds. There was literally nothing until we hit Cheboygan 35 miles down the road. In Cheboygan we stopped for lunch and decided to press on to Mackinaw City, which was only another 20 miles or so.
Once we reached Mackinaw city we had some great views of Mackinac island and the Mackinaw bridge. We proceeded to go down the strip looking for the cheapest hotel. We finally found one and were able to escape the heat. Once we got settled in we headed closer to the bridge to do some filming about it and the island. The bridge really stands out as it is over 500 feet tall and 5 miles long. The island is really interesting because there is an old hotel where many famous people have stayed and there is also an old fort. The entire island has a car ban so people commute by walking and there is a great bicycle culture on the island too. After we filmed we stopped at a brewery and which had over 350 microbrews to choose from from all over the world. We then went back to the hotel and ordered pizza and hunkered down for the night. We were also able to dry off all of our wet equipment and relax and avoid all the rowdy 4th crowds in the campgrounds.
Tomorrow we have another short day to Petosky where we will meet up with Mona, Baker, and Mona's family for a couple of days. We are excited to see them and to watch some fireworks and celebrate America's Birthday!
Day 65 – Mackinaw City to Petosky (Sharron Frost's House) ~ 55 miles
Happy Birthday America! Before we took off this morning we ate hot breakfast and then watched a documentary about Washington crossing the Delaware river during the revolution. This got us ready for the day. Hopefully people will be watching out for us on the roads this holiday day. We headed out of town and were already dripping sweat. After the first 30 minutes it seemed to be over 90 degrees. We decided to turn off the highway and head towards the water to be away from traffic and the heat. Soon we hit some Monster hills that punished us for miles. We also realized that our main camera was broken and its shutter wouldn't open. Hopefully we can fix it later. We then passed the North Country Trail and marveled in it's glory.
When we finally reached Cross Village we stopped for Powerade and then went on our way. We instantly hit The Tunnel of Trees, which is 20 miles of one way road with two way traffic that winds through trees that are overgrown over the road into a tunnel. We followed this and enjoyed the windy road but more importantly the amazing views of Lake Michigan and cooler temperatures. Somewhere around half way through the road we hit the 4000 mile mark. We were very excited and have been waiting for it! We made our way into Harbor Springs and it was complete chaos having been in peace for the last 20 miles. The 4th of July was in full effect in that tourist town and we quickly left.
We made our way towards Petosky and once we were there we called Mona and she gave directions to Downtown. We made it through some crazy traffic and then met up with Mona. It was great to see her and the Frosts. We had to climb one more hill in the heat but we finally made it to Sharron's House. We had some great late lunch foods and conversations. There was a parade that was going to start at 6 and it was getting to be about that time. Zach was able to take shower before it started but Kris waited until afterwards. It was great because the parade went right in front of her house. We sat down and watched the parade and enjoyed. Al, Sharron's husband showed up and we then grilled out before the fireworks started. We got all packed up and quickly made it down to the water to watch them. There were people lighting large lanterns and releasing them into the air. It was a beautiful sight to see with the setting sun. The fireworks were great, especially being able to watch them from the Pier, looking back at shore where they were being launched from. We talked to a few people and one of the guys made a donation to the trip. It is just great talking to people that take a genuine interest in what we are doing. After the fireworks we walked back up to the house and on our way we walked past a cupcake shop that Sharon had gotten cupcakes from earlier. As we walked past they asked if we wanted some to take home...free of charge. We said of course and they gave us a dozen specialty cupcakes of all varieties to bring home. They all look amazing! We are heading to be thankful for friends and family and feeling completely content. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! Rest day tomorrow!
Day 66 - Rest day, Petosky
We woke up this morning around 9 or so. Kris and Mona spent the night outside in the tent last night so they could be with their dog Baker. They ended up putting on the rainfly at about 5 in the morning because it began to lightning and thunder. Sharon had to work this morning so we lazily made coffee and breakfast and took our time getting ready for the day. And of course sampled a few of the cupcakes from last night. It did rain a bit but it didn't last long. We gathered our things together and started to walk downtown for a day of strolling.
We made it downtown and stopped at a local cafe for lunch. They had great sandwiches, and everyone seemed to know it because it was super busy...especially because of the holiday week. After lunch we walked to a children's clothing store called Circus where Sharon is working. We stopped in to say hello and then continued on our way. We stopped in a bunch of the local shops and eventually made it to the ice cream shop. We sat in the shade and enjoyed it. It was extremely hot today, definitely in the 90's plus humidity. We walked back up to the house and then decided to head down to the beach. We were about to take our first swim in Lake Michigan on the trip. We went down to the beach and swam and laid in the sun. It was great. 4 out of the 5 lakes complete (swimming wise).
After swimming we went back to Sharon's place and we had dinner...in a couple stages. First came the brats and corn on the cob. Then we decided it wasn't enough so we ordered pizzas as well. Great combo. Sharon also gave each of us a session of massage therapy treatments as a gift. It was absolutely amazing. After all of the stress both physical and emotional it was exactly what we needed. Such a treat!!!
We aren't ready to get back on the road tomorrow, but we have to keep truckin'. We are headed to Traverse City tomorrow. Should be about a 70 mile day.
We have had a blast here in Petosky and we just want to say thank you to the Frost family! They have treated us so well and we appreciate all they have done for us. It is going to be hard to leave and hard for Kris to leave Mona, but one more month and we will be home again.
We just feel so fortunate and lucky to have so many great and generous people looking out for us. It has made the trip!
Lets hope for good weather tomorrow with a nice tailwind...