Michigan in a nutshell

My last etappe through canada went really fine. A sunny day. Strong winds blew me along the straight road towards St. Clair River. I made 55 miles until noon. After a quick fastfood-lunch I got to the small ferry from Walpole Island to Algonac. What beautiful colours and some really fancy houses on the U.S.-shore.

After my arrival at the U.S.-side of the river I had to face a Border-officer. He was really inquisitive. I had to answer all the thinkable questions like “What do you have in your panniers?”, “How could you take 4 months off from work?”, “Which ties do you have to Germany?”, “Do you own a home in Germany?”, “How did you get all that stuff into the states?” and many more. I even had to show him the booking-receipt for my flight back to Frankfurt. That whole procedure made me almost think I am doing something wrong :-/

But finally they let me in again and here I am – Michigan!

I got fresh grocerys and a nice big Bud and then settled in to Algonac State Park.

For the following day strong tailwinds were predicted. I made an appointment with warmshower-host Shawn next to Flushing. That meant a 100-mile-ride but I really wanted to harvest those strong winds. I was a fool – I had no clue about the horrible condition of Michigans streets. No shoulders. Scattered pavement full of pottholes. Trucks, Trucks, Trucks. Many google-recommended parts of my route led me on unpaved gravel-streets. There at least I could avoid the worst part of the Friday-Afternoon-out-of-Detroit-traffic.

At my first coffee-break I met Adam who came from Poland 25 years ago. He is a Physiotherapist and wants to do something big on a bicycle too. When he saw me stopping at the Diner he left his practice and came over to ask me some equipment-questions and to give me some hints about POIs on my route.

It became a long day and I smuggled myself from Diner to Diner along the roads. Finally – on the home stretch to Shawn – some heavy rain hit me.

All those things were forgotten soon after a nice shower and a delicious Pizza at Shawns beautiful home. It became a nice evening with a short tour through the little town of Flushing and a lot to learn about Flint and its ancient and younger history. Shawn is an experienced cyclist and did some backpacking-trips with his family too. Like so many before he strongly recommended to visit Yosemite National Park.

At the beginning of the following day I spontaneously decided to call Craigh and Penny to ask for another warmshower-stay. They live in Midland and surprisingly it was a beautiful etappe to get there. Almost no traffic since I let the Detroit-belt behind me and it was a saturday. Everything went smooth.

I experienced a very laid back evening with Craigh and Penny and their dog and cat. Finally they gave me the opportunity to take the following very rainy sunday off and to stay for another night at their home. On that day Craigh took me to the community center to swim a few laps and visit the sauna and steam-room. Later we met some friends of them to cycle to a small restaurant for dinner. Well, that was a perfect stay and I gained some fresh power.

The next day was sunny and some strong winds blew from the east – Yipieh! I could stay on a well paved “Rail-Trail” for almost the whole 100 miles that day. After the first hour of riding I stopped at Deans Bicycle-shop. The day before my kickstand broke. Dean mounted a new kickstand and gave me a lot of hints regarding my route and the best doughnuts in Clare (“Cops and Doughnuts”) – 10 min later I hit the road again. The doughnuts were delicious.

Later that day I met the retired cardiologist Aaron on the Trail at Reed City. He is on his way across from west to east. He made it from Portland, Oregon in 30 days! We had some chitchat, he gave me a box of fresh strawberries and told me that just one hour ago he met a group of cycling teachers calling themself the “Spinning Sisters” … I coincidentally met them later again on the Campground. Funny thing, we met next to Albany before!

This time I joined that group for their early run to get the ferry above Lake Michigan the next morning at 9:00. That meant getting up at 4:15.

At 05:45 we hit the road and made it to the shore until 7:45 (35 miles!). Now I am onboard the SS Badger from Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI for the next 4h.

Goodbye Michigan!

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