THE BIG TRIP IS HALF DONE!
I arrived safely at our campground Thursday night, completing the first half of the “500 at 50” bike trip in three days and around 310 miles. The weather was mostly terrific for biking throughout, with cooler temperatures and very little rain. The wind was not as cooperative, coming from the north and west (i.e. in my face) most of the time. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to having some tailwinds on the way back.
Following are some highlights and lowlights of the trip so far. (BTW, sorry this is a bit late – the Internet has been flaky here.)
Day One – Farmville
I pushed off from home around 7:30 a.m., and things progressed smoothly through the familiar territory of Chelsea and into Stockbridge for breakfast at Cravingz, and Mason, and up into East Lansing where I had lunch. Then it was off into the unexplored wilderness (cornfields, mostly).
I’d scheduled a stop at D&K Bike Services northwest of St. Johns, which turned out to be a shack in the middle of nowhere. And it was locked. Turned out the owner was present, however, and Dave (shown here) told me that bike tours like the DALMAC come through his area, and that he and his son accompany a few tours in their trailer, supplying spare parts and service. He also related a story which I’ll share later (but the lesson is, don’t adjust your wife’s bike seat unless you’re a pro). When I told him my planned route to Alma, he shook his head. “You can’t do that,” he said. “That road turns to gravel.” He gave me an alternate route that led through Maple Rapids that was several miles longer but paved.
It was after 6:00 by the time I got through Maple Rapids and onto the road that would take me into Alma. I was tired physically, but the toughest part was staying focused as I went past farm, after farm, after farm,…you get the idea. It was a relief to finally reach Alma and ride through the pretty college campus on the way to the hotel.
The Woodridge Inn & Suites was fine (you can read my TripAdvisor review here) but I hadn’t eaten a full meal since lunch in East Lansing, and was getting woozy from fatigue and a lack of salt. Dinner at the Big Boy next door revived me and I made a note to pack some pretzels for the rest of the trip.
The next day at breakfast someone asked me what I thought about during those long rides. “Anything but farms,” I told him.
Up next – Days two and three…