We dis-embarked from the ferry and road 12 miles to Point Beach State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan. We were both pleasantly surprised at how easy it felt to ride our loaded down bicycles and thought this is going to be a breeze! I should mention here, that Wisconsin is very bicycle friendly. They offer a lot of paved bike trails, rails-to-trails gravel routes, and the main roads have a wide bike lane. Best part!?…the drivers are really respectful of cyclists on the road. We were able to make good time to the campground, set up camp, and eat before hitting the sack.
Day 2 we awoke and headed out for a run. Now, you would think that living in North Carolina, we would have our fair share of mosquitos. But, we don’t! The mosquitos come out late in the summer and they are a miniature version of what we encountered on our run. I had forgotten the mosquitos here are like 747s flying through the sky and they sound just as loud, too! I thought it would be an adventure to run a trail instead of the road. I am always one to take a trail less traveled. Well, this one was less traveled for a reason. It was full of swamp and we climbed over trees and through mud. At one point, I looked down at the back of my legs and had mosquitos covering me from my thighs down to my ankles. We were so relieved that the loop was only 1 mile long. We were done, but happy to get in a total of 2.5 miles. Then, a very nice lady offered us a frittata and some fresh cherries for breakfast. In hindsight, that food was a blessing!
We are learning many rules of the road very quickly:
- Never turn down free food.
- Do not get on your bike and ride until you are carrying plenty of water.
- Always be sure your electronics are fully charged.
- Wear sunscreen whether you like it or not!
- Never underestimate the power of a westward wind.
So, look, I have always thought of myself as a very strong athlete. I can power through some tough terrain, although my Glamazons would say…only after a few choice words have been screamed and cursed from my mouth…sometimes some whining, okay? I figured Ken and I could easily knock out 25 mile days and spend the rest of the time meeting people, playing, and taking lots of photos. I understood I wouldn’t be riding my lightning fast triathlon bike, but sheesh, it’s only 25 miles, right? But, our first big day on the road, we headed out directly into the west wind, mostly riding uphill. I underestimated the mileage and it turned out to be 30 miles. 14 miles were spent on Devils River State Recreational Trail, a secluded gravel rails-to-trails bike path. 14 miles of pedaling a 100 pound pack-laden bicycle…the Honey Badger. All I can say is, I did not meet expectations. In those 30 miles we came across one gas station. As a matter of fact, we still have not seen one single grocery store and we have no food. It was scorching hot, and I was getting burned because I never use sunscreen…hey, I always tan. The horseflies were attacking me because I was riding so slow. Ken, on the other hand, was cruising along just fine and he had his sunscreen on! I just know he was rolling his eyes when I hit the screaming, cursing, crying stage (but I didn’t want to look to know for sure).
We did finally make it to our Warmshowers home. Warmshowers is a free worldwide community of cyclists that offer up their homes for touring bicyclists. Ken and I have been hosts for years, but this was the first time we arrived as guests. Fay opened up her home to us even in the midst of this Covid crisis. She cooked us dinner, served beer, and a fudgesicle! We camped in her yard, watched the fireflies, and were serenaded to sleep by the bullfrogs in the pond. We shared our lives and our thoughts on the state of our country’s affairs. Our views did not always coincide, but the one thing I took away was we all love our country, and we just want what is best for her in the long run.
RAWLEY POINT LIGHTHOUSE ON LAKE MICHIGAN
SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN
FAY & CHARLES – WARMSHOWERS