Sitting in a café in Fairgrove Lower Michigan, the café lady said “oh so you’ve been through the Upper Peninsula (of Michigan), they say it is much more beautiful than the Lower Peninsula”. Well firstly – why hadn’t she ever been there, it is 3 days by bike, and being American I’m sure she owns a car. But secondly – no it is not more beautiful. Perhaps people get a different perspective in a car than by bike, but the Upper Peninsula was all trees initially which are nice enough but after 2 days of it they get a bit boring, then around the lake edge was nice initially, but that too didn’t change view in 2 days and also got a bit boring. The Lower Peninsula however offers different views every day, in fact if you imagined the odd field of sunflowers and villages with smaller stone like cottages then you could be in France.
|50kms of flat cycle trail.|
|Wind turbines as far as you can see and no wind.|
I imagined the area north of Detroit to be quite industrial. A flat grid like pattern of roads and just above the biggest car manufacturing area in the States. If anything it is the total opposite. Yes the roads are mostly flat and grid like in pattern, but that is where the imagined view ends. It is full of mature trees, beautiful and often mansion like houses that are well maintained and surrounded by beautiful gardens also well maintained. There are actually small towns that are still alive and functioning with shops, like the pretty Fairgrove mentioned above. Detroit city may be bankrupt, but it obviously was doing well financially once.
|Pretty and mansion like houses.|
I will say one thing for this area – it rains – a lot. And it is cold – a lot. Apparently this is typical Michigan so stoner camp ground manager told us. We had the ‘pleasure’ of staying in stoner camp ground. The manager was obviously high on drugs, had metal stuck all through his face, attired in all black jeans and hoodie with the hood up, and had vicious dogs at his feet that look scared of him. It was a basic campground, but all that there was available when we needed one. The funny thing is the day before, we stayed at the ‘best campground in Michigan’, with a little shelter over our picnic table and even a kitchen provided. The campground we are at today is overrun with lazy people driving little golf like buggies. Honestly people are so lazy they actually make you mad. They drive their cars and buggies to the toilets and laundry room. It is a way of life here. Back home New Zealanders escape into tents to get away from things and to connect with nature. When we go camping at home, it is to feel free, unencumbered by stuff, and preferably with no one nearby.
|Voted the best campground in Michigan. our shelter in a lightning and thunder storm.|
Well we have done 5,000kms now and have slightly over 3 weeks to go and 20 of those days are cycling days. We are definitely making progress, so that the end seems almost in sight now. I have had times when I have really had enough and feel like we just aren’t getting anywhere, but that isn’t so. Tomorrow we cross back into to Ontario for our jaunt along Lake Eyrie’s shore to Niagara Falls. It will be our last ‘great lake’ before cutting across the top of the north east corner of the States to Bar Harbour and our ferry to Nova Scotia. So keep reading to hear about our last bit of the challenge to go coast to coast.