With the stove out of commission and no town nearby, our breakfast this morning consisted of the leftover sugar cookies from last night and some nutrigrain bars. A real breakfast of champions. Since we made it 11km down the road last night, today was only going to be 140km to get to Marquette. For the record, I won the tent pack-up race this morning after Oliver took the previous two mornings.
We set off shortly after 9:30am at a slightly easier pace than yesterday. Most of the morning was spent on relatively quiet backroads as we winded our way through some hazy Michigan forests. We learned later today that the haze is actually coming from the forest fires in northern Ontario. While it isn’t bad enough to affect riding here, we sure are glad that we didn’t go north of Lake Superior. Bad air quality, poor visibility, steep and winding roads would not make for a fun time. The haze in Michigan just made the dense forests look that much more oppressive.
We stopped for lunch around 80km into the day in the small town of Michigamme. While we were rolling through town looking for the one restaurant we thought would be open, a couple of guys on the side of the road started talking to us. Turns out they’re both big into cycling with the one guy running an all-seasons sport resort down the road that specializes in guided bikepacking adventures (Maple Ridge Resort). The other guy just bought a property in town and is in the process of turning it into a cycling cafe geared towards people on long distance tours. We all marvelled at the coincidence of us meeting here.
After lunch we made for Marquette on increasingly busy roads. According to our new friends there are some nice winding gravel paths nearby, but we’ve gotten a bit too hooked on rolling fast to give up our “smooth” tarmac (it’s really not smooth, with these Michigan shoulders we might as well be riding gravel).
We made a quick pit stop shortly an hour after lunch for a McDonald’s smoothie and to decide our end destination. While the weather is still nice enough to camp, I was a little wary of camping in a larger town after what happened in Ashland. We opted for a motel tonight instead of pushing on past Marquette and complicating the food situation.
Tomorrow looks like a similar day as we skirt east along the lake closer to the Sault.
Today, as is becoming common, was another day for maximizing sleep. By the time we finally got up, ate breakfast, lazily packed up, and hit the road it was after 10am. Since we didn’t make it all the way into downtown Marquette yesterday, we got to start out the day with the rest of the descent down “Michigan’s Mountains” (as the bike resort guy described it).
The route for the first part of the day had us meandering along the shore of Superior. We had finally reached a part of the lake that wasn’t in a bay or inlet; straight out from where we were would be the other side of the lake. It’s one huge lake.
We took a “brief” break next to a different lake, Deer Lake.
An hour or so later we rolled into Munising which, for all intents and purposes, could very well be a sea-side town. The buildings, activities, and people all look like this could be a town out on the Cape, not nestled in the heart of Michigan. We stopped for a hearty lunch at the extremely well-reviewed local pizza shop…which then necessitated that we stick around awhile to digest.
When we finally left Munising, we had one “climb” left in the day before we were into the flatlands again. I swear this stretch of road was somehow flatter than the prairies. It was dead straight and pan flat for a full 40km. Unfortunately there was a decent amount of traffic so it made for a bit of a white-knuckle ride. We did, however, take a stop for some B-roll footage.
It was a relief to make it into Seney, even though it actually was a rather short day at 130km in just over 4hrs. We washed off in the little river running through town then went for some Taco Tuesday at the one bar (and restaurant) in town. The plan was to try to camp by the river but the mosquitoes were absolutely atrocious so we opted for the local campsite.
Tomorrow is the last day of this block (the longest one of the trip!) as we head for Sault Ste. Marie!
Cheers and Ride On!