Sunday, September 03, 2006

Things do not always work out or tripus interuptus

So I was standing on the side of the road outside Bay City, MI. The day before had been over 100 miles and I said to myself, now I am really in to this trip. It had been a beautiful day except the wind was directly out of the east and I was heading directly east. The weather forecast was great, other than the wind, for the next several days and I was confident that the wind would be manageable. Not. It blew all that night and that day along the side of the road I had the prospect of many more days of predicted 10 - 15 mph east winds and now Ernesto had entered the fray and rain was predicted for the next several days right over the area I was riding into. I was near a relatively easy location to be able to stop and was heading into a long stretch where the ability to get home would be very limited. So I had a decision to make whether to press on slowly toward certain difficuly conditions with limited options or turn around, ride with the wind for a change and find a way home. I opted for the later.

I had ridden 1000 miles, crossed Wisconsin and Upper and Lower Michigan, almost to Ontario so it still was a reasonable trip. It was a difficult and not a satisfying decision to make but it has to be one or the other and I chose the other.

After my last entry at Interlochen the riding had been mostly very good with good roads, lovely scenery, beautiful towns along Lake Michigan. I did stay in a nasty motel in Leroy, MI because I decided that trying to go another 23 miles on top of 72, most of which involved climbing, was not what I wanted to do. The next morning's riding validated that decision. There was quite a bit of climbing up on to the Pere Marquette plateau and the wind, old reliable, was out of the east. It would have been a very tough slog at the end of the day. Further down the road I got on to the Pere Marquette Rail Trail which was 30 miles of straight, flat off highway trail. Sweet, except for the east wind. Got to Midland, MI, home of Dow Chemical, a very spiffy little town. Found a really good bike shop and had them check why my brake was sticking and the creaking as I climbed while I got some food. Finished off the day on another straight, flat road and now the east wind was really blowing. Finally got to Bay City to the state park camp ground and had a great evening. The guy at the convenience store confirmed the good weather forecast and I was feeling good. I would be in Ontario the next day.

But the wind continued to blow throughout the night. The weather prediction by morning was for rain to be starting the next day and all weekend and by mid-morning I had made a decision that I could not keep fighting this battle. Just not enough at stake to go on and so, I am writing this from home. I rode with the wind at my back to Midland, got my gear boxed up and shipped via UPS, took the bike back to Ray's Bike Shop to have them ship it home to Now Bikes and got on a non-stop from MBS to MSP on good old reliable NWA.

That is the end of that story. I am disappointed that I did not get to ride across Ontario, New York and New England but perhaps next time.


At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary I am so sorry you ran into such awful weather and had to cut the bike trip short. Here it is the day before Labor Day and I was just checking out your trip for the first time since you left and here you are back home. Since being temperary resident managers here at our condo, I don't get much computer time so I had a lot of catching up to do. Sorry you didn't get to where you wanted, but I still enjoyed reading what you had written. I'll be better for the next trip. B. Hoppe

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Phil Lucero said...


Sounds like a good start. Maybe you can pick up where you left off next time. Good to read about your adventures. I might be leading the next trip to Argentina with kids. Rick and I are talking now. Should be exciting. I hope all is well.


At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Joe62C2C said...

Rode Belfast ME to Bellingham, WA July8-Sept. 22. Too bad you did not get to travel Ontario, NY, VT, NH & ME. I rode Adventure Cycling Norhtern Tier with the Lake Erie Connector and found the north side of Lake Erie and across Michigan to be delightful. Folks in Ontario were such courtious drivers and the Lake Michigan crossing on the ferry from Ludington to Manitowac (sp?) was great fun. New England hills were a real and CONSTANT challange as I started my trip westward. During 74 day trip with 5 days off, I lost 30 pounds and gained lots of fitness. Had only 2 1/2 days of headwinds the whole trip. Headwind of note definition = more than 5 mph. One headwind day of 35-40 gusts could have served as rest day except for riding companion's need to get to Williston, ND to bike shop which turned out could not help with failed rear spoke problem (but that is another story).
Hope the future allows you to "go east young man" and enjoy the scenery and climbs.

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all part of the journey. Keep riding, don't be disappointed.


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