- Sep 17, 2013
- Reaction score
The Garden Peninsula is notorious for its destain of the law, especially the DNR. This is the only place in Michigan where one of my best buddies was shot at when he was a DNR officer. He claims the peninsula is populated by hoodlums and outlaws. They have DNR hate graffiti rattle can signs sprayed on garage doors. They call tourists “terrorists”. On Sunday I started to ride my bike to the end of the peninsula, which terminates at Fairport. The paved Garden Peninsula roads have one foot shoulders with rumble strips and locals who try and see how close they can get to you when passing. It’s 50 miles from home on gravel and pavement before there is a gas station for hydration. Then, 8 more miles to Garden, where COVID put everything but the gas station out of business. No motels. The gas station/market in Garden closes at 4 PM. I got there at 4:01. The three camp grounds were full. I pedaled another 10 miles because there is a restaurant/bar in the middle of somewhere that was supposed to be, or might be open but the water line broke just before I got there so the bathrooms and kitchen were closed. I had three beers and two cokes for dinner. I asked about the hours they were open and they said “when we feel like it”. By then the sun was low so I put my sleeping pad and light blanket down in the bush and crashed, no tent. It was hot all day, mid 80s F so I was too dehydrated to hardly pee. Then it got cold at night, 50s F with heavy dew so I got damp and cold. I put on lots of bugdope, which keeps the bugs from landing but they kamakazied my head until I inhaled them all. We hear coyotes at our house all the time but they are far away. This pack was close and howled and circled all night. They must have wondered who was sleeping in their yard. I got up in the morning and scared a big coyote away, about 30 yards from my hobo pad. By the time I loaded up and took off it was 80 F again. Hydration was the biggest problem. My bike with gear was over 70 pounds but the bike rode like champ. It was a miserable ride almost immediately the whole two days but that was good because that made the whole ride consistent. How far? I don’t know, I ride so slow my gps died, even with an auxiliary battery, at 56 miles. I figure 120. - 130+ total miles there and back over two days. I really don’t know how these long distance bicycle tourists make it up here. There are so many vehicle tourists that there are no camp sites or motel rooms available, very few stores a long distance apart to get nutrition or hydration and crazy traffic. I rode about 1/3 gravel, just to keep safe as there was a constant stream of ridiculous huge cottages that people who have no trucking experience towing on paved narrow shoulder less two lanes. This is when I decided gravel would be safer. The Mackinaw Bridge is five miles long and the line on the bridge to pay the toll to enter the UP has been consistently 2.5 miles long. Expect to wait a half hour. It’s never been like this before. It makes me want to go somewhere else so I can be obnoxious, just to get even. If you come up here you should sleep with the bugs and wildlife on the ground, just to fully appreciate and get a small taste of what our ancestors had to deal with. Come, sleep on the ground, spend all your money fast and leave. For me the ride was a constant painful miserable experience. I kept telling the pain to shut up but it was deaf. That was yesterday, today I feel great. Weird, it’s like I accomplished something and I am on a high from it. I try not to think of the other 5 bicycle tour riders I saw that seemed to be under no strain and we’re going much faster and almost twice as far in a day. If I think of them it diminishes how I feel about my accomplishment. I hope they weren’t as miserable as I was. I can hardly wait to do it again. My wife wants me to take up pole vaulting or rock climbing so I can get it all over with.