Day 82 – Kitch-iti-kipi To Escanaba (Total Miles = 1380 Miles)

After immersing ourselves in the beauty of the sunrise, we packed the bikes up and headed out.  Before we left, Bradley explained that seeing swans on the lake this early, meant winter was coming on fast.  I guess the swans spend the winter on the lake.  Bradley said they will swim in circles together to keep an area of the lake free from ice.  Boy, I wish I could see that!!

With that in mind, Ken and I hoped to make it to Escanaba.  That meant pedaling over 50 miles.  With no stops planned, except for lunch in Rapid River, it was going to be a grueling task.

It wasn’t really the pedaling, or the wind that made this ride difficult.  It was riding on Highway 2.  The berm is wide enough and clean enough to keep us far away from the cars, and the road is flat, so no hills to climb…but the sound of the accelerating vehicles is maddening.  It can just suck the energy from you.  We can’t hear each other talk, let alone think.  And, even though we were on highway, there are still no restaurants or gas stations to be had!  Other than our 1 hour stop for lunch, we were out on the road for almost 7 hours.  6 hours of non-stop vehicles coming up from behind.  We were spent by the time we made it to Escanaba.  And, guess what?  We had to get a hotel because rain was coming through, again.

But, because of my earlier calculations on timing, and factoring in knowing the 7 day forecast, we were already prepared to spend an extra day sitting in the hotel staying dry.

So, no pictures to share today, but we are expecting some nicer days and plan to camp one more night before rolling into Menominee on September 14.

BTW, we heard from B&B (Remember Brad & Betty?) and they informed us that the Badger ferry is closing early this year.  They will stop sailing on September 27.  We probably would have made it by that time, but it is good we stepped up our game to get home.  Thanks B&B for the heads up!!


Day 81 – Manistique To Kitch-iti-kipi (Total Miles = 1328)

The next morning was all we hoped for!  A beautiful, sunny, relatively warm day!  Joyous!!  And, we were headed to Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest spring.  200 feet in diameter and 42 feet deep, the crystal blue water can mesmerize you for hours.  These waters can stand shore-to-shore with the blue waters of the Caribbean.

The spring has a self-operated raft that glides along a cable so that you can see the spring from the middle of the pond.  Large, no huge, brown trout swim the waters of this spring.  The trees, the clouds, our beloved sun, all reflect straight through to the bottom of the pool.  It is difficult to tell where land starts and water begins!!  A stunning maze of all that nature, and our Creator, has to offer!

Although Kitch-iti-kipi was the highlight, the cabin and grounds where we stayed the night was phenomenal in its own right.  Gerometta’s Resort was located right on the shores of Indian Lake.  Sally, and her husband Ted, built this resort from the ground up 51 years ago.  Sally lost her husband 2 years ago, and tears well up as she talks about him.  Not wanting to give up her heaven on earth, as she lovingly calls it, she convinced her son, Bradley, to move back home and begin to take it over.  For now, the two of them manage the resort together, but I can see the day when Sally will be able to just sit on her back porch, watching and praying, as the sun rises over the lake she calls home.

We woke up early enough to experience the sunrise.  Indian Lake was covered in fog.  The air was quiet, except for the sound of the swimming ducks dipping their bills into the water for a drink, and the far off call of a sandhill crane.  Then behold!  We saw the most elegant, white swan quietly savoring the first light of day…dipping her head down to savor the flavors below, then arching her long neck up toward the sky.  What an extraordinary unwrapping of the day.

The Self-Propelled Raft

You Can See The Water Below From The Raft

Ancient Logs Laying In The Depth Of The Waters

Huge Brown Trout!

Pressurized Water Bubbling Up Through Cracks And Layers Of Sand

The Reflection Of People Watching From Shore

Indian Lake

Sunrise Has Begun

Our Cabin

Day 80 – Naubinway To Manistique (Total Miles = 1313)

We actually hit the road early today!!  It was 8:30am.  We could have left even earlier, but I had to go to the post office to ship off my new stellar wall hanging.

We made 41 miles in 4.5 hours!  We had hoped to make 52 miles, but it began to rain, so we stopped at a motel for the night.  I did not stop to take pictures during the ride, except when we were stopped at a construction site.  I saw the beauty in some roadside wildflowers and snapped a quick one to share.

That is all I have to say about that…

Day 78 & 79 – Hog Island State Park To Naubinway (Total Miles = 1272)

We woke up early so that we could get on our way.  We knew the day was going to be windy, and we also knew more rain was on the horizon.  Yet, as usual, Sandy and Brent were up, packed, and on the road before we had our first cup of coffee!!

Where the western side of the peninsula was all about the sunsets, the eastern portion is all about the sunrises.  I admit, it is harder to catch the sunrises since we sleep in so late, but I have caught a few, and I am hooked!  Just as special as the days evening counterpart, the sunrises are full of promise and wonder.  Sunrises fill us with gratitude that our Lord has given us another day, and it feels as if He is sending us on our way with a cherished gift.

Here too, the monarch butterflies were migrating.  Just wow!  I saw one, after another, after another, but I just couldn’t get a picture fast enough.  They flit and float away in an instant.  They migrate to California or Mexico for the winter and can go as far as 50-100 miles a day!  It can take them up to 2 months to make the journey…quicker than we are riding the perimeter of the Upper Peninsula!

With the tent dried out, we were able to get on the road in pretty good time.  We turned west onto Highway 2, and the wind pushed us back.  Not really sure where we were going for the night, but very much aware of the forecast, we just knew it would have to be a motel along the way.  We only made it 8 miles.  We stopped at the first motel we came to!  The U.P. is so unpredictable, with the internet availability sketchy, and long stretches of highway empty of businesses, we didn’t want to take the chance of being stuck in the cold and rain, with a useless sleeping bag, and a leaky tent.

We signed up for a 2 night stay in the little town of Naubinway.  It had everything we needed!  A warm, dry room…a restaurant/bar…and ice cream.

The rain did come, but not enough that we couldn’t get out and enjoy this small town that most people miss in the blink of an eye.  First, we stopped in King’s Fish Market and Sporting Goods Store.  Oh what fun!  It really was more of a second hand store, as it was full of a menagerie of this and thats…but not much in the way of sporting goods, or fish, for that matter.  I found another hanging for my travel wall.  I could not pass it by.  It is a handmade leather snowshoe with a stained glass picture of the Big Mac set in the middle; a one of a kind piece of art, made by Sally’s daughter and son-in-law.  We met Sally, the owner, and admired her large collection of deer antlers, all taken by her during hunting trips with her husband.  She mourned the loss of her husband, her best friend, her hunting partner.  But, she still hunts, only now, with her granddaughter.  Something tells me that there will be more trophies to add to that old wall in the store.

We had dinner at Moofinfries.  As the name suggests, they serve hamburgers (moo), fish (fin), and fries.  That’s it.  All deep…deep fried.  Really deep fried.  I think that people who love deep, deep fried food, would love Moofinfries…we loved the ice cream we awarded ourselves after eating the deep, deep fried fish and fries.  BTW, Ken and I suffered that evening…from the fried food, mind you…not from the ice cream!

The next day we left the fried food to the people who actually eat it, and had dinner and a beer at the Cove Bar.  I wish we had checked this out the first night because the food was really good here, as were the locals.  I played pool with Jimmy, while Ken talked with Dave about the local happenings.  The music was fantastic, as it always is in Michigan gathering spots.  I miss music while riding and camping, and so really appreciate hearing it when I can.

Ken and I had a heart to heart on finishing our tour.  He is ready to get it done…he has been ready.  I am not ready for it to end, there are still things I want to see, people I want to meet.  I have been hoping the weather would turn back to those beautiful, sunny, warm days we saw when we first rode across the border from Wisconsin into Michigan…an indian summer to go out on.  Yet, the days have been cloudy, rainy, and cold.  I had to admit to myself that fall and winter are in the air.  The days are getting shorter.  The tourists have left, and the locals are stocking up on wood for their woodburning stoves.

Pulling from my successful calculation experience…The Tour Da Yoop, Eh route is still 235 miles from our Michigan starting point of Menominee.  Assuming the weather would hold out each day, that would take us about 10 days to finish at our typical 25 miles per day.  So, we compromised.  If Ken would let me see my last, off the beaten path tourist destination, I would get him to Menominee in 6 days.  Taking the shortest route, it would be 153 miles, plus an additional 9 miles to see the tourist spot.  That is 162 miles.  With the benefit of having 7 day forecasts, and if we rode 30 to 35 miles per day (or 50 if we had to) we could do it in 6 days…easy!  It is September 8th…we will be in Menominee September 14th to pick up an already reserved U-Haul truck (the only rental I could find!!) and be on our way back to the Badger II ferry to Ludington, and our car.  We will have completed riding, in full, the entire perimeter of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Sunrise At Hog River State Park