Day 13 – To Marinette WI (Total Miles = 236)

Today we packed up camp and headed toward Marinette.  Marinette lies on the banks of the Menominee River, the border between Wisconsin and Michigan.  We rode 27 miles and have to say that, the miles are getting  s l i g h t l y  easier.  Now, we are not ready to say it was painless yet, okay?  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  But, we are both optimistic about the future!

We were about 5 miles into the ride when the road we were on had barricades looming ahead.  The signage read “Road Closed”.  Anything to the right of us was Green Bay waters, and left of us was the 9000 acre Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area.  Our options were few.  The only way around that I was aware of, was to go back and take Hwy. 41.  We do not ride on highways.  It is too dangerous.  We were weighing the alternataives when we heard a vehicle driving down from the portion of road that was barricaded.  Ken and I looked at each other, I raised my eyebrows, and ran over to the road to ambush the vehicle.  An older couple of very few words, uhm…no words actually…ensured us that the road was navigatable.  I asked the questions, and they nodded, yay or nay.  We determined that we were good to go.

It is kind of surreal ignoring a huge barricade.  It was so quiet, and there were not 100s, but 1000s of frogs jumping everywhere.  Then the stench of swamp and rotting frogs hit the senses.  Apparently, all the rain had flooded the road recently, making it impassable.  We could see why the road was still blocked.  There was still standing water, but we had no trouble getting around it on our bikes.  The shoulder was thickly caked with dead black rotting frogs, and the Green Bay waters were still lapping the road.  It really felt like we were in a dream…you know the kind when you wake up and wonder what it all means?  We were happy to see that the closed section was only a quarter of a mile, so the dream was over rather quickly.

Before we knew it, we were only 3 miles out of Marinette, on the outskirts of Peshtigo.  The names are so great here!  But, Peshtigo is known for the fire they had back in 1871.  About 1,200,000 (that is one million, two-hundred thousand!) acres burned with at least 1500 dead, maybe more.  It was the deadliest wildfire in recorded history.  Today though, there is a small haven for travelers on Old Peshtigo Rd.  It is The Outback.  A wayside oasis for those looking to connect with others.  There were locals and out of towners alike, all talking as if everyone were just old friends that have been around forever.  A comfortable spot, with cartoons on the tv, and the resident pups looking for someone to throw a bone.  We walked in to get out of the heat and sat at the bar.  The bartender was taking our order when the owner, Melissa, walked up.  She asked if we were on bikes, and we said yes, and she told the bartender the beer was on her.  Melissa is one of those rare gems that thrive on giving to others.  Now I know The Outback was closed down due to Covid-19 and she had limited income.  Yet, she saw how tired and hot we were, and offered us each a free beer, a place to stay, a shower, laundry, shuttle service…whatever we needed.  As I write this, the experience of meeting and talking with Melissa is hard to put in words.  What comes to mind is Luke 21:1-4.  Though she has little, she gives the most.  She is just one of those people that will be etched in my mind for sometime.  I don’t think she realizes how much humanity needs her down on Old Peshtigo Rd.  Ken and I have been invited to stay on our way back home.  I will so be looking forward to the reunion!

We also met Patrick at The Outback.  He walked in, and without even a howdy asked if we wanted to see his bicycle.  Ha!  He just cracked me up.  He was riding this awesome electric bike.  He had been down to Peshtigo from Menominee, MI to show the bike to his mother, who is resting in peace at a local cemetery.  He was so proud of his bike, and who wouldn’t be!  It was handsome, fast, and an all around cool bicycle that didn’t require as much sweat and tears as ours.  He was still drinking his beer when Ken and I hit the road again.  I knew…I just knew, that Patrick would be whizzing by us sometime soon.  And, sure enough, there he came from behind!  “No fair, Patrick”, I yelled.  He waited up ahead and we talked about Marinette for a bit.  But, before we parted ways, Patrick said “You know, money means nothing, it’s days like today that really matter”.  Yes, Patrick, days just like today!

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Barricaded Road

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Barricaded Road

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The Frogs Caked or Baked (?) On The Road

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The Outback

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My Friend Melissa

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Patrick and Me and His Fast E-Bike

3 thoughts on “Day 13 – To Marinette WI (Total Miles = 236)”

  1. I would love to meet your friend Melissa. Don’t you notice how God often plants the most perfect people in your lives at the most perfect times. I will skip the dead frog please. Great stories, great adventures, great photography, great people. What more could you ask for. Keep writing. Love the adventure. Miss you. Love you.

    Like

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