BRIGHT AND EARLY next Tuesday morning, I push off from home on the first leg of my long-planned 500 mile trip to our campground and back. I feel oddly calm about something I’ve planned and trained for since 2007, when I first thought about doing this trip. Much of that is likely due to my other activities and goals this year, but it’s still a big deal to me.
Took the bike to Two Wheel Tango for a checkup today. They found that my drivetrain and chain were nearly worn out, so I’ll have new ones for the trip. The little wobble I noticed during my Lansing ride last weekend turned out to be a good thing, as it made me decide to have the bike checked again.
Here is a brief synopsis of my trip, with maps. Click on a map to expand it.
Day 1 – Ann Arbor to Alma – about 120 miles
The first day may turn out to be the most challenging due to the distance. My one-day distance record so far is about 113 miles, and it took about 12 hours. So that means fewer and/or shorter stops.
The trip begins with a familiar route to Chelsea, Stockbridge and Mason, all towns I visited in May, and from there through Lansing, St. Johns, and Ithaca on the way to Alma.
Day 2 – Alma to Cadillac – about 105 miles
A bit shorter distance and mostly on bike trails. According to my research they’re pretty good ones. They begin in Clare (the turn west) and then follow an “L” shape going through Reed City and north to Cadillac from there. I’m staying at Hermann’s Cafe and Hotel, a boutique place with very reasonable rates ($72 per night) and from the reviews I’ve read, outstanding food. Hope I arrive in time to actually eat some of it.
Day 3 – Cadillac to campground – around 70 miles
The shortest leg may also turn out to be the most challenging. The most direct route, M-115, is not bike-friendly, with narrow shoulders and fast traffic. So I’m taking back roads, adding distance but reducing risk. The last leg will be the toughest, as no matter how you approach the campground, the last 10 miles are mostly uphill. But I’ll get there somehow.
I will be reporting my progress through text messages. I won’t be bringing an Internet-enabled device, just my basic, Stone-Age, definitely not-smart phone. (And yes, despite working in high tech my entire career, I prefer it that way.) If you’d like to be on the list, just let me know. I will update the blog when I arrive at the campground, most likely after a nap.