Start and Stop Cycling

Progress to date: 5 days, 203 miles

For once the weather forecast was right. Just when we hoped it wouldn't be. Even through the tent we could make out the lightning blips illuminating the sky. By 5:30am they were even brighter and thunder followed. It still seemed far enough in the distance that figured we had a chance of beating the storm if we acted quickly. A shout out to Jim proved he was no longer sleeping either, and he agreed to packing up while things were still dry.

It almost worked. We had everything ready to go and were about to take the tents down when the first raindrops fell. Then a few more. Then a whole lot more in rapid succession. Back to the tents, along with our gear as the storm raged in earnest. Not much to do but read or snooze in the meantime.

Ha if out in the tent
Wet campsite

It was 9:30 by the time the rains slowed. This time we got everything stowed on our bikes before it started up again. A mad dash through the campground got us to the park ranger office. There we took refuge on the porch along with our bikes. Not a bad place to be, as it had both wifi and charging stations for our enjoyment.

Plugging in at the ranger station

Our next foray was in heavy drizzle and got us almost 2 miles. Art's Tavern was our breakfast stop, and we even saw a few short bursts of almost-sunshine during our repast. By the time we emerged, we felt confident that the day was improving. At the time, it was true. And weather was not our next showstopper, but a flat tire. Still only 8 miles into our journey, we were sidelined once more as Rich changed his inner tube. Relieved to be on a bike trail not the road, we rejoiced in our good fortune along with staying dry – for the moment.

Flat tire

It's a good thing that we had already reset our sights for that day's destination. We had planned to go to the very end of the Lelenau Peninsula and stay at the State Campground there. But another night of camping no longer held the same appeal. And alternate lodgings were limited to a town just 20 miles away. As it was, it still took us the better part of the day just to get that far. Our final 12 miles were far from dry, but at least we managed the distance without further incident or delay.

Leland proved to be an interesting little town, and even more so our motel. Perched on the edge – literally – of the Leland River, we reached our room from a walkway overhanging the rushing river water. The small dam adjacent to the motel office created a man-made waterfall and a surprisingly amount of noise. Downstream, boats were moored and on the opposite bank was historic Fishtown. What used to be shanties selling everyday goods for fishermen and townspeople are now populated by boutiques, restaurants and other trendy shops. But the look and feel still harks back to the fishing days.

View from our motel

It was a good place to stop for the day. Our final nighttime entertainment was watching salmon try to jump up the waterfalls. Most would futilely fly through the air to flop back in the water far short of their intended target. It made for some good laughs. And yet I knew how they felt, trying so hard to get somewhere and not quite making it.

Fish jumping upstream - by Rich Hoeg


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