Shoreline West Bicycle Tour

This August, Anne and I will participate in the 25th Annual Shoreline West Bicycle Tour. This nine-day, 500+ mile bike tour, travels up the Lake Michigan shoreline. It begins in New Buffalo, just north of the Indiana state line and nine days later ends in Mackinac City. Each day will include mileages between 50 and 70 miles. This will be an epic ride for us. I haven’t ridden anything as long since RAGBRAI in 2002, and Anne has not ridden anything this long since 1982, when we rode the big bicycle trip around the country. In 1982, we rode from the Cabin on Lake Superior to Ann Arbor, a distance of 434 miles. That ride took seven days. Along with the picture with this post, the following journal entries were all from 1982. We were so much younger then.

Wednesday, 7/14/82, The Cabin to Foley Creek Campground, We woke up to Duke coming over for freezer jam. We get up and say goodbye to the early birds, then eat and finish cleaning the Cabin. A last look at the beach and we’re off. We mail a card from Dafter, then pickup Old US-2. Lunch in Rudyard is shortened by ominous looking clouds to the north. Fortunately [really now?], we head into a headwind, so we don’t catch the rain. We stop at the Foley Creek Campground for water and decided to stay. It is a tad close to the highway, and has no showers, but otherwise is nice. We rode 44 miles.

Thursday, 7/15/82, Foley Creek Campground to Mackinac City KOA, A tourist day, we take the ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island and play on the Island all day. First we shop and Mark discovers why tourists are called “Fudgies”. Then we ride over the island, by Skull Cave, battlefield, etc. to British Landing. We ride back around the east side of the island and then do the Fort. We ride to the Grand Hotel, but the admission charges deter us. Pizza before the ferry ride across the strait fills us. Good thing, since we have to backtrack five miles from Wilderness State Park. We got 24 miles.

Friday, 7/16/82, Mackinac City to Petoskey State Park, We think it is raining out, so we stay in the tent until eight, but it is mostly wind. It waits until we are on the road to rain. It pours when we get to Bliss and the lady in the store is not very friendly. Some hills right after Bliss. Sun comes out at Cross Village, so we have lunch on the beach there. The road from Cross Village to Good Hart and most of the way to Harbor Spring is great! It is full of shaded low traffic views of the lake. A couple of good hills too, but that’s the breaks. We take a long break in Harbor. We rode 48 miles. [We’ll repeat in reverse this day’s ride.]

Saturday, 7/17/82, Petoskey State Park to Otsego State Park, Well we finally found someone who gets up later than us! We have breakfast in the park in Petoskey, and then hit the Grain Train for natural munchies, pasta and bulgur. We follow the railroad as far as possible, which saves some hills. We get caught in a thunderstorm, but take shelter at some very nice people’s house. They treated us to lunch, which included their own smoked bear meat. The sun comes out in the PM and gets hot again. Stop for long break at a roadside park, and then catch a parade in Gaylord. We get lucky at the state park and get a no-show’s site, the last one, guacamole for dinner, and then the beach, 53 miles.

Sunday, 7/18/82, Otsego State Park to Harrison, We set the alarm, but it is pouring rain, so we wait until eight, to get up. It is still raining when we leave. It begins to slack off when we reach Frederic. We stop at a Laundromat in Grayling and dry the tent, sheet sack, shoes, socks, etc. Leaving Grayling, we run into the military reserve plus the National Guard, so we don’t eat lunch until Higgins Lake. Ice cream sundaes at Big Boy in Houghton Lake tide us over until camp, which has vacancies, salad for supper, then to bed, 75 miles.

Monday, 7/19/82, Harrison to St. Charles, We set the alarm and get on the road early. Good riding in the morning and not too hot. We feel good, lots of nice pastoral scenery. Coleman seems like a nice town. We eat in the cemetery, rather than backtrack from the store to the city park. The afternoon starts to drag at about 2:30. We are both hot and tired and the towns are either non-existent or at least don’t have a store. The last store before St. Charles (about 6 miles out) has a newspaper article about a girl who biked 2,500 miles from Oregon to Saginaw. Mark is jealous. We got 89 miles.

Tuesday, 7/20/82, St. Charles to Ann Arbor, [The journal kind of fails us on this day. As I recall we got up early again and rode hard all day. Our destination was Anne’s parent’s house in Ann Arbor, but we stopped at Anne and Bill’s place, and partied into the night, hence, the lack of a journal entry. They had just gotten back from their honeymoon. We spent a week reconnecting with friends in Ann Arbor, attending the annual summer art fair and eating out. I claimed a century for the day, although Anne begged to differ. We didn’t have bike computers then, but instead relied upon state highway maps.] We got 101 miles.

A little context here, Anne was 28 and I was only 27. 😆 We had been married for two years. We had been on the road for almost four months by this week, more than half of the time on the bike. We had ridden 3,000 miles by this week. We stayed on the bikes until September, when Chet, my boss, finally caught up with me, and called us back to Saint Louis. We ended up with 5,000 miles.

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