A tough day! Before we left the hotel we took a few pictures. The hotel was run by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. They had an old dugout canoe that was over 32 feet in length. It was found back in 1953 (the year Ken was born). I was so fascinated by it, and could just picture that old white pine log being hewn out and then floating along the Michigan waterways in it. I have always said I should have been born back in the 1800s. But, maybe after you read this blog…you might say it was a good thing I wasn’t!
We stopped at the local grocery store to stock up on water and ice and it was there that we met Lyssa. She was riding the perimeter of the UP too, except in the opposite direction. She was staying in hotels, so was not as loaded down as Ken and I. But, she was doing it by herself. I am always amazed at women who can take off on such an adventure alone. Lyssa was putting in twice the miles per day that we were, so she was much closer to reaching her goal. We parted ways with her going in one direction, and the two of us in the other.
The route we were taking was Old Hwy. 2. It was lightly traveled, a bit broken up, but not a bad road to ride at all. We passed a sign that said Rogers Bar 8 miles. We don’t typically stop at a bar when we have so far to ride (30 miles), so I had forgotten all about it. I had my head down to avoid the flies, when Ken spotted it. Rogers Bar was so small and out of the way, I never would have noticed it. We rode past, but something made us turn around and go back. The ATV’ers were there, the locals, a guy who stops whenever he is passing through, and a group of young women (tourists for sure). There was nothing special about the place at all except that it had been there since 1939. At one time, when the road was the main highway, Rogers Bar was a lifeline to many folks who called the area home. You need to read the history of Rogers Bar in the picture below. The best part, it is still run by the same family! It is an institution in these parts and I am so glad we stopped in. We decided to have a beer and eat a vegi pizza, and that turned out to be one of our better decisions!
At one point, Old Highway 2 crossesd new Highway 2, and suddenly we entered a whole different world. This section of the road is being taken back by nature. The flowers and weeds will eventually fill the cracks in the road, and the road will disappear. One thing that won’t disappear? The horseflies…or as Ken calls them, the greenheads. Once they catch a glimpse of you they glom on, knowing you are fresh blood for the taking. The faster we would pedal, the faster they would fly. I don’t remember why I was going to stop but, I forgot I had clipped into my pedals (I usually don’t), and ended up falling to the pavement. Ken gathered me back up and we quickly rode on. We were so thankful we had eaten that pizza, indoors, because we usually stop along the roadside and eat lunch. We never could have stopped due to the flies. We had to keep moving or be eaten as their lunch!
We came to new Highway 2 again and turned onto it, thinking we would get some relief. Not for long. Our turnoff to Lake Gogebic was just a mile away. We stopped when we got there because the turnoff was a dirt road. It would be 4.5 miles long. We could take that route, or ride an extra 6.7 miles to stay on paved highway. Here, we made a bad decision and took the dirt road. It was a ride right out of The Twilight Zone. I can hear Rod Sterling now…This is the story of a husband and wife, too lazy to ride an extra 6.7 miles, and where did it take them?…The Twilight Zone. Like the ATV road we had taken a week ago (or was it 2 weeks ago?…a day ago?), it was deep, rocky dirt. Just like the last time, we could barely keep the bikes upright. This time though, there were hills to contend with. It was hot. And there were greenheads. It was like we had ridden right into the middle of a hornets nest. They were attacking our faces, legs, hands, and arms. Hundreds of them! Ken stopped and put his mosquito net on. I was too afraid to stop. My bike was like a ship listing in the water. I couldn’t keep Honey Badger moving, and the greenheads were taking advantage of every moment. I finally took courage and stopped to find a long sleeved shirt and my biking gloves. But, in my panic, I couldn’t find anything and the greenheads were swarming me. I almost relented, falling victim to their unceasing torture, I screamed out with every ounce of energy…”Okay, just carry me away into the woods and suck the life out of me”! The only reason I am here today is, I couldn’t let Ken and Honey Badger go it alone. As Jack, my stepdad would say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, and that’s what I did. I grunted, I growled, and I pshawed my way to the main road, and we still had another 4.5 miles to go, uphill, to get to the campground.
Side Note: I am so very thankful for my husband! Ken doesn’t say a word, or laugh at me, or complain about the circumstances. He just lets me get it done the way I need to get it done, while he quietly plugs away. We meet up in the end and usually have a good laugh, or a good cry. We’ve been together for 10 years, but are learning more about each other with every day. He needs my motivating presence to get him going on those days when it looks like rain, or wind, or it may be hilly. Once we are going and we run into trouble, he always gets me through it. Solid. Yep! Solid.
We finally rode into the campground, and I could barely tell the man our reservation details. He looked at me real funny, but I just ignored him. We set up camp and I still had to cook something to eat. We finished eating and then I had to wash the dishes!! What a wimp I would have been back in the 1800s! To top it off, the neighbor came over to let us know a foul storm was brewing. Sure enough, later that night we had another rain storm, but we made it through just fine…or we were just too tired to care.
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Story About The Dugout Canoe
The Journey Home
The Dugout Canoe
The Dugout Canoe
Hannah On A Journey of Her Own
They Need These Charts In The UP!
Sign Pointing To Rogers Bar
Old Highway 2 Being Taken Back By Nature
Flowers On Old Highway 2
Ken Waiting For Me At The End of Stagecoach Rd. (aka The Twilight Zone)
The View of Lake Gogebic From Stagecoach Rd.
Lake Gogebic – Beautiful Large Lake