One of our first steps in planning a cycling tour is to establish a theme, give it a name and pick a logo. In the past, the geographical location of our adventure has always been the focus. Not so this time. Our newest tour name is based on our life status. Although for all practical purposes we have been empty nesters for several years, the marriage of our third and youngest child this summer has firmly established this rank. With joyful wedding memories still vivid, we are embarking on our Liberation Tour.
Continuing our propensity to follow shoreline, this trip will take us along the coast of the three northernmost Great Lakes – Superior, Huron and Michigan. Taking advantage of our son Carl’s home in Milwaukee, we will depart from there and make our way by ferry over to lower Michigan. We plan to travel the perimeter of the “mitten” with a foray into the UP to explore Mackinac Island, Whitefish Bay and Drummond Island. When we return to Wisconsin, we hope to detour into Door County for our first visit to that scenic peninsula.
Per normal we have no detailed plans, only a vague route. Daily distances and lodging will be decided the night before, based on terrain, weather conditions, sightseeing options and whim. We haven’t done much research into how challenging (read “hilly”) this route might be. Rich is convinced it will be flat. Compared to Scotland, that’s bound to be true. We look forward to a US tour once again, where we can follow our natural cycling rhythm minus any cultural differences.
Time and distance are pretty fluid. The route is roughly 1250 miles, and we are allowing 4-5 weeks. We’ve always had good luck cycling in September with fewer tourists on the road and still-mild temperatures. And we are prepared for chillier days should we delve very far into October. For someone who is normally highly scheduled, I look forward to the flexible nature of this trip.
Our trademark custom jerseys have arrived. The bikes are in the shop for their pre-trip tune-up. I have my trusted detailed packing list. It’s just a matter of dragging the panniers out of the closet and corralling all our gear. The kids are well established in good jobs and happy marriages. We’re ready for the Liberation Celebration to begin!