TRIP 2013

Update #15 - June 23rd
Grand Rapids , Michigan
Mission Trip 34: 4,039.16 miles (6,462.66 KM)
5,388.89 miles (8,622.22 KM) - Year Total

June 15 : Escanaba, Michigan to Manistique, Michigan - 61.76 miles (98.82 KM)

Today is my 57th birthday. I had a decent night at the motel. I left the motel around 7:30 AM. Before leaving town, I stopped at a McD's for breakfast. After breakfast, I got on US 2 heading East.

About 17 miles (27.2 kM) down the road, I had to stop at a gas station in the small town of Rapid River for a brief rain shower. The rest of the ride to Manistique went okay. The sky was mostly overcast and there is a chance for more rain tonight.

I got into Manistique around 3:30 PM. I rode around town to check out the churches. I couldn't find the police department so I stopped at the sheriff department. The lady deputy that I talked to couldn't connect with the minister who was the department chaplain so an offer was made to get a room through a Salvation Army voucher. I thought that the room was going to be at a small local motel but arrangements were made for me to stay at the Comfort Suites East of town.

Instead of eating something from out of my food pannier for supper, I decided to treat myself at the Big Boy restaurant next door. I opted to get the soup, salad, and dessert buffet. Before I went to get my food, I mentioned to the waitress that the reason why I was eating there was that today was my birthday. Before I got my ticket, one of the waitresses came to the table with a free dessert. It was a large fudge cake sundae with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream. and strawberries. The dessert was on a really large platter decorated with birthday slogans and there was also a lit candle on top.

I haven't decided on whether I'm going to head out early tomorrow morning or head back into town for church.

June 16 : Manistique, Michigan to Gros Cap, Michigan - 81.72 miles (130.75 KM)

I had a decent night. There was a pretty good breakfast. Instead of hanging out at the motel a couple more hours and then riding back into town for a church service, I decided to head out and see if I could find a church along the way. I left the motel around 7:30 AM. The weather was a little cool but I rode without my jacket on. I stopped at a grocery store in Gulliver to buy a few things.

Around 9:50 AM between Gulliver and Blarney Park, I came across the small Maple Grove Community Mennonite Church. There was a small group. Not all of the ladies were wearing Kaps or head scarves. Before the Sunday school class ended, I got to speak for a few minutes. The minister and his wife were away. The service was kind of long. Nothing happened afterwards.

The afternoon ride went okay. There was a bit of a tailwind that pushed me along.Between Blaney Park and Gould City, I met up with another cycle tourist who was heading west. He was on an older 18 speed and he was pulling a large two wheeled trailor that you could carry a couple small kids in it. He told me that he was from Canada. At a gas station a couple of miles down the road, I met up with another cycle tourist. He had started from Austin, TX and had ridden up the East Coast. He was on his way to Minneapolis and then he was going to go to Iowa to take part in Ragbrai before heading out West.

I was going to stop in Naubinway but I didn't see any activity at the church that I had stopped at three or four years ago. I decided to keep on going to see how close I could get to the Mackinac Bridge. For a while near Brevart, the highway was quite close to the lakeshore and there was a small beach.

Around 8:30 PM, I decided to pull off the road onto a fire road. I found a place to camp out near some trees. The ground was pretty level and was covered by pine straw. I got the tent pitched a little before it started to rain a little bit.

June 17 : Gros Cap, Michigan to Charlevoix, Michigan - 69.52 miles (111.23 KM)

I had a decent night camping out. Throughout the night, it rained a little bit but not hard. The tent stayed dry. I woke up a little before 6 AM. I got on the road around 7:15 AM. It was cool in the 50s so I had to wear my jacket. It was about an 8 mile (12.8 KM) ride into St Ignace and another 2 miles (3.2 KM) to the North toll plaza of the Mackinac Bridge. It was foggy until I got to the bridge.

I paid my $5 and I had about a 10 minute wait for a bridge truck to come by. The bridge was under repair. It was being painted. On the other side of the bridge, there was a large group of cycle tourists waiting to be taken across. There was a dozen. Most of them were senior citizens. This was an Adventure Cycling group who was just going for a short outing in the Upper Peninsula. Four of the ladies who were on single bikes rushed the truck to get their bikes and gear loaded up. I almost got bowled over as the four ladies tried to cram themselves into the back seat of the truck. There were three other members of the group who were riding bents. Two of them were on a Rans Tandem and they were pulling a Bob trailer. The other bent rider was on a Halzec long-wheelbase trike with three 20 inch wheels. It had below seat steering and an 18 inch clearance. There were two wheels in back. I talked with the group for about 10 minutes before several trucks came by to pick them up.

I rode through Mackinaw city. I followed a really rough road until I got to US 31. I stopped for some lunch in Pellston. Between Pellston and Petoskey, there was a bike path being developed. They had the base down and were waiting for it to be asphalted.

I got into Petoskey around 3;30 PM. I bumped into two guys from Canada. They had started in Mantiwoc, Wisconsin and were riding to Ludington, Michigan to catch the ferry across Lake Michigan back to Mantiwoc. I only came across one church (a Lutheran) but I didn't find anybody there. On the way to the church, I had ridden passed the police station but I didn't feel like going back to I headed out of town.

I came across a nice paved bike path that took me to the outskirts of Charlevoix. I had to ride through a short section of road repaving. I got into downtown Charlevoix around 6:30 PM. I found somebody mowing the grass around the Methodist Church. The guy had a church bulletin with the pastor's cell phone number. The pastor came by and let me into the church. He had with him a grocery bag with a towel, wash cloth, some drinks, and some cookies. I'm camping out in the basement. There was a futon to sleep on and a shower.

June 18 : Charlevoix, Michigan to Benzonia, Michigan - 89.33 miles (142.93 KM)

I had a decent night in the basement of the church. I woke up around 5:30 AM. I left the church around 6:30 AM. To get my legs limbered up, I walked for about 1.5 miles (2.4 KM). The ride South to Traverse City went okay. I got about 37 miles (59.2 KM) in by noontime. I stopped at a roadside rest for some lunch.

I got into the outskirts of Traverse City around 3:30 PM. Traffic was heavy on US 31 so I had to follow a bike path. The path followed a railroad for about 3 miles. I stopped to watch a track repair crane stack up parts of old and broken ties from a rail car that it was pulling.

Instead of finding my way through the downtown area and then back on US 31, I followed an alternative bike route that went around Lake Bowman. Along the way, my rear tire went soft. I found a small piece of wire in the tread. I used the new pump. I was able to get the tire inflated up to around 47 psi but my shoulder started to hurt so I couldn't inflate it more. I walked the bike until I could get to a place that had an air hose so I can finish the inflation of the tire.

It was around 6 PM, when I finally got back on US 31 on the Southern edge of the city. I bumped into a local guy who was riding a trike recumbent. The trike had two 20 inch wheels up front and a 26 inch wheel in back. The frame was monotubing and the seat was about 18 inches off the road.

I follwed US 31 for about 30 more miles (48 more KM). A little after dusk, I rode through the small towns of Honor, Beulah, and Benzonia. I came across an open area that was a field that had been cut for hay. About halfway down the field, there was a hillock that was wide enough to put the tent up behind it. There was also a small tree to fasten Alice to.

June 19 : Benzonia, Michigan to Manistee, Michigan - 33.40 miles (53.44 KM)

I had a decent night camping out. I woke up around 5:30 AM. The tent was a little damp when I packed it up. I got on the road around 7:45 AM. I took a short break at a gas station near Bear Lake. I got about 26 miles (41.6 KM) in by noon time. I stopped at a church in the country for a lunch break.

About 5 miles (8 KM) out of Manistee, the highway was closed because of a three vehicle pile-up (two cars and a truck). The traffic got detoured. It was a long detour and I might have missed a few turns along the way.

I got into downtown Manistee around 2:30 PM. I first church that I came upon was the First United Methodist Church. The pastor offered me one of the classrooms for the night. The church will be hosting a group of at least 50 cyclists from another Methodist church here in Michigan next week. Also during the Winter, the church converts a couple of the classrooms into a temporary shelter for homeless mothers with children.

June 20 : Manistee, Michigan to Hart, Michigan - 56.59 miles (90.54 KM)

I had a decent night. The pastor gave me the password to the church's secured wifi netork so I was able to update my website. I was able to get some sleep even though there was a lot of light coming into the room through the thin bamboo blinds.

I left the church around 7:30 AM. I walked about a mile before getting on Alice. The ride down to Scottsdale went okay. Instead of taking US 10 East and then get on MI 37 to go South to Grand Rapids, I took US 10 West to Ludington. I got about 28 miles (44.8 KM) in by noon time.

US 10/31 was a divided highway with no shoulder. I tried riding the gutter but I switched over to a paved walkway/ sidewalk. I had to pretty well get off Alice at every curb because there were no cutouts for wheelchairs. I didn't go all the way into downtown Ludington. Before turning South, I stopped at a McD's for some lunch.

About 5 miles (8 KM) south of Ludington, the rear tire went soft. I found a pinhole leak. I was able to get the tire inflated up to 47 psi and then I went across the road to a truck repair shop and I was able to complete the tire inflation with one of their air hoses. The rest of the ride into Pentwater went okay.

I got into Pentwater around 3:45 PM. I checked out some of the churches but I didn't see anybody around them. I found some activity at the First Baptist Church. The pastor was in the office. He was a pass-off minister. He told me that there would have been a liability issue with me staying in the church overnight. I asked him if the world was the head of his church instead of G-D. He didn't like it when I quoted Matthew 25:45 to him "What you haven't done to the least of these, you haven't done unto Me." and I called him a goat. I got a little lost in the downtown area trying to find Bus 31 heading south to Hart. I followed Bus 31 to US 31 and then I got on 72nd Ave for the rest of the ride to Hart.

About 4 miles (6.4 KM) out of Hart, the rear tube blew out again. I found a cut on the inside of the tire. It looks like the tread got cut by either a nail or a glass shard. I glued a patch over the damaged area and then I fixed the tube. While I was inflating the tire, this kind lady across the street came over to see if I was okay. She told me that she had a small air compressor that was powered through the cigarette lighter of her car. It didn't take long to inflate the back tire.

I got into Hart around 6:30 PM. I talked to a couple police officers but they didn't know a local pastor. Most of the ministers didn't live in town. They suggested that I go to the sheriff department/jail. The deputy that I talked to couldn't connect with the minister involved with the jail ministry. They tried the other ministers but they didn't have any luck. I was going to try and find the Catholic church because the rectory was next door to it but I decided against it. I remembered that I had ridden passed a Weslyan church that was near a paved bike trail that was supposed to go to Montague about 20 miles (32 KM) to the South.

When I got near to the church, I saw some activity at the church. Some cars were pulling into the parking lot of the church. It was a meeting of the church's pastoral search committee. They were between full-time pastors. One of the guys was able to connect with the interim minister and he gave me permission to stay in the basement youth room. There is an outside door and also a sofa to sleep on. Most of the rooms in the basement was taken up by a clothes closet ministry that the church runs.

Alice has officially 54,000 touring miles (86,400 touring KM) on her and I'm 53 miles (84.8 KM) shy of passing the 222,000 mile (355,200 KM) mark.

June 21 : Hart, Michigan to Ravenna, Michigan - 62.35 miles (99.76 KM)

I had a decent night. I left the church around 7:30 AM. It was just a quarter mile walk over to the Hart to Montague Rails To Trails. This was the state's first rails to trails project. The 23 mile (36.8 KM) ride was okay but in some places the path was pretty rough because of cracks in the asphalt. I stopped at a park for an early lunch.

I got into Montague around 1:30 PM. I was thinking about stopping early because the sky was clouding up and it looked like it was going to rain. I checked out a few of the churches but there wasn't a minister available.

I rode over to Whitehall. Right near a gas station, the rear tire went soft again. There was another pinhole leak. Instead of patching up the hole, I rushed over to a nearby hardware store and bought two new innertubes. It started to rain a little bit while I was fixing the tire. I finished up Bus US 31 and I got on Whitehall Road that would take me into Muskegon. About four miles (6.4 KM) down the road, the rear tire had gone soft again. There was a pinhole puncture in the new tube. I patched up the hole and glued on a bigger patch to cover the hole that was in the tire. The hole looked like it was either from a glass shard or a nail. As I was putting the wheel back on the bike, two emergency vehicles (fire truck and an ambulance) stopped because somebody called in that I had been in an accident.

After the emergency people left, I got back on the road. I didn't get a mile down the road when the tire blew out and there was an unrepairable hole in the tread. I called up my new contact with the bicycle ministry in Grand Rapids to see if he could help. He wasn't available to come and sag me back to Grand Rapids. He told me that I should contact him in about two hours to see if I needed him to come and get me.

I tried to hitchhike a ride into Muskegon but I wasn't able to. I walked the bike about a mile and a half until I got near the entrance of the Michigan Adventure amusement park. This guy stopped and told me that he was a cyclist. He said that he didn't live to far away in North Muskegon and he had a tire off a mountain bike that might fit. He told me to wait for him in one of the parking lots. When he came back, the tire was a 26x1.9 tire. It was slightly knobby but not really bad. The only problem was the fender might rub. It took a couple of stops to get the wheel seated so it would ride okay. The tire that I had on Alice was already worn out with 3,157.48 miles (5,051.97 KM) on it and I got it in Salisbury, Maryland back on April 06th.

I got into downtown Muskegon around 7:30 PM. I had to do some deadreckoning to find MI 46 going East. I cranked out the miles so I could be out of the outskirts of Muskegon before it got dark. About 10 miles (16 KM) from the dontown area, the highway became a two-laned road again. I used my headlight a little bit after dark. It was almost 10 PM when I finally found a place to camp out. I came across a field that had been recently hayed and I followed the edge of it to another field that had been recently planted with corn. I found a place to pitch my tent in some tall grass next to the field. I'm about 30 miles (48 KM) away from Grand Rapids.

June 22 : Ravenna, Michigan to Grand Rapids, Michigan - 33.44 miles (53.50 KM)

I had a decent night camping out. I woke up around 6:30 AM and I was on the road around 7:45 AM. The ride into Grand Rapids went okay. I got about 26 miles (41.6 KM) in by noon time. I spotted a Steak and Shake that I had a gift card for so I stopped in for a meal.

The ride the rest of the way into downtown Grand Rapids went okay. I did have a couple close calls with motorists who turned right in front of me. If they had waited a couple more seconds I would have been out of their path.

About a mile and a half from my contact Allen's house, I called him up. He came on his bicycle to escort me the rest of the way. We first stopped at the
The Motion Initiative Bike Shop . The bike shop is set up as a cooperative where kids learn how to repair bicycles in exchange to getting a bicycle for their own. The bike shop is part of United In Christ Ministries . Before I get back on the road again Monday, Allen is going to bless me with new front and rear tires and some other things. We then went to the community center. It was really nice. Allen took me over to his house to stay the weekend. I'll be sleeping in their four year old son's bedroom.

After Grand Rapids, I will be traveling Southeast to Northwest Ohio to where I was an high school exchange student for the 1973-1974 school year. From Northwest Ohio, I will be sort of backtracking the route that I took from Chittenango, New York to Chittenango. After a short break again in Chittenango, I will possibly riding up the St. Lawrence Seaway and then ride through the New England area (Connecticut, Maine, Massachustts,New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

The next trip update should be posted sometime between June 30th and July 07th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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