July 16, 2010 12:31 am
This was our longest day, 98.5 miles. It’s just past midnight, but I’ll try to fill you in. The reason for the long day was that the nearest motel to us was some 96 miles down the route. Elliot was inspired enough to wake up early, in order to get to another motel. We got up at about 7 am, and had a mad scramble trying to find Elliot’s gloves. After eating a solid continental breakfast of cereal and milk (sorry, no waffles), we were about to give up the search for the gloves, and simply buy new ones at Wal-Mart. Just then, Elliot remembered that he had taken the gloves off in the hardware store bathroom the previous day. A call to the hardware store confirmed that. Fortunately, the store was on our path out of Caro, anyway. We left at 8:15, our earliest start, yet.
The temperature was supposed to hit 90, with scattered thunderstorms. We actually experienced very little rain in the morning, just a few drops. Our route was a zig-zag, alternately going south and east. There was a fresh gale blowing from the south.
Outside a convenience store in Mayville, we saw two girls on a long distance tour. Ashley and Carrie were going from Seattle to New York City. Their panniers were totally water-sealed. Ashley’s looked like a dry bag that one would use on a kayak or raft. Perhaps that was a result of living in Seattle. They were using a mix of various regular and touring maps. (I don’t remember exactly where they were headed for the day, but it doesn’t really matter, as we could never have caught them.) We traded info, and wished each other well. Their blog is at http://sites.google.com/site/bikingbloggers/ . Ashley and Carrie, if you’re reading this, we wish you well, and hope you avoided the rain today!
The day was hot, but this is rarely a problem on a bicycle, as there is wind for cooling. The wind was our major difficulty all day. We would turn left, and have an easy time headed due east, then would turn right, into the teeth of the southerly wind, and feel like we were cycling through molasses. At least there were no bugs, and the wind kept us from burning up.
At 6 pm, we reached Memphis (Michigan), and were right on the doorstep of St. Clair, the first city with a motel in nearly 100 miles. Then the wind whipped up.
Something like an air raid siren went off from the water tower, and all the people on the street ran into the stores. Within seconds, there was thunder, lightning, and a deluge of rain. Since we were right next to an awning on the corner, we rolled our bikes under it for shelter.
We took the opportunity to have some food at Subway. A foot long meatball sandwich was only $4.24 with tax – I guess it was the special of the day. The rain had stopped by the time we finished our sandwiches. But when we got back on our bikes, the downpour returned with a fury. It was wet all the way to St. Clair. Just before the town, as a final insult, we were surprised by 2″ of water flooding across a low point on the road at the bottom of a hill. When we hit it, our bikes nearly stopped, and a car coming in the opposite direction splashed us.
In St. Clair, we couldn’t locate the motels. Outside a grocery store, we asked some locals for help. John said there was the St. Clair Inn, but it was pricey. When we said we were ultimately headed toward Marine City, he gave a detailed description of how to get to a less expensive motel in that direction. He kept trying to figure out how he could give us and our bikes a ride down there, but we assured him that we were fine.
On the way over to the motel, a truck slowed down on the highway, and the couple inside asked if we needed help. I said that we heard there was a motel just up ahead, which they confirmed. One mile.
We checked into the Anchor Inn at about 9 pm, which was nearly sunset, but looked darker due to the rain clouds. Monica and Tony Nouhan own the place. They were very kind. We got a big room for just $65, including tax. Tony brought over some rags so that we could dry our bikes if we wanted to. Monica gave us the menu to a local Chinese place that does delivery, and we got all excited about having Chinese food without even having to leave the room. Unfortunately, by the time I called, 9:15, their delivery person had already gone home. So we walked over to the restaurant/bar next door to the motel.
It was loud there, with people doing Karaoke with the usual level of talent. At that late hour, there wasn’t dinner, just fried appetizers. We ordered a basket of fries, fried noodle shrimp, and an order of chicken wings. It was good, but after a long ride in the rain, what wouldn’t be? Scotty and Debbie were running the bar, but they weren’t the owners.
There was a laundry room at the motel, so we dried out our wet clothes. Only $1.25, a bargain compared to a laundromat.
So here we are in Marine City. This post is dedicated to anyone who is a Marine, was a Marine, or has dated a Marine. 😀
Onward to Canada
July 16, 2010 9:04 am
This will likely be our last post from the USA for a little while. We will take the ferry across the river this morning into Ontario, Canada, and will spend the next 4 or 5 days along the northern shore of Lake Erie, headed towards Niagara Falls. Forecast for the next few days: sunny.
I chatted with Monica in the office for a few minutes before we left. She is a Christian, and said that and family gave her great support during recent changes. Absent from to body, at home with the Lord.