The sky is dark and overcast. At least it's not raining yet. But we know for sure we are going to get wet. So we don our rain jackets even before setting off. We are leaving Sault Ste Marie and heading to Paradise 60 miles away. But we also have a contingency plan. Google Maps shows lodging in Brimley, just 17 miles away. Should it really pour, we can bag it for the day there.
Minutes after leaving the motel it starts. First drizzle then moderate rainfall. Yup, we're getting wet. But it's all part of cycle touring, so we forge on and don't let it get us down. Instead, we focus on navigating our way out of the city.
By the time we are on country roads, the unthinkable happens. The rain stops. Rich even sheds his rain jacket. Not me, I still need mine for warmth. We're almost afraid to say it out loud, but surely the sky is brightening. Instead of checking into a motel in Brimley we stop at a local breakfast café. We emerge well fed and in high spirits. Sure it's a gloomy day. But it looks wonderful to us!
Buoyed by our weather luck, we rejoice in our surroundings. If it was raining, we would be pedaling through without seeing a thing. That would be a shame, as we have been looking forward to this particular stretch of Lake Superior shoreline on Whitefish Bay.
Now confident in dry conditions, we are emboldened enough to stop and sightsee along the way. This “purple cow” calls out to us from the roadside.
Little do we know that the real thing is just down the road. I'm delighted to find that the Point Iroquois Lighthouse is right on our route. No detour means no argument with Rich about going to see it. From the top, I can see Whitefish Point, where we are ultimately headed.
Just as I reserve the right to visit lighthouses, Rich is allowed to call out a stop for birds. He spots a heron in a pond and stealthily stalks it for a photo. The heron gets away, but we enjoy the reflection in the pond.
The Scenc Byway provides a number of wayside rests that are far nicer than most. A sandy beach provides a great spot for a break. And oh, by the way, check out that bit of blue sky! This rainy, cloudy day just keeps getting better.
Our bodies are tiring and the miles begin to drag by the time we make the turn north to reach Paradise. But at least the cycling is easy. And we are dry!
It's abundantly clear that the town is not quite as much of a paradise as it once was. Abandoned businesses and shuttered buildings abound, and finding a place for dinner is reduced to a single option. I'm rather enamoured with the idea of trying Brown Fisheries, but not being a fish lover Rich is less thrilled. Especially when a gander at the menu reveals that fish is all they serve. Still, we venture inside the venerable establishment. The waitress regales us with her description of the fresh whitefish caught and fileted onsite daily, and even Rich relents and orders it. Sixty miles of hunger can overcome many taste preferences.
It's all a matter of perspective. Normally a cloudy day might have dampened our spirits, especially after all the bright sunshine we've had. Instead, every moment that it wasn't raining felt like a gift. This cloudy day made us very happy indeed.