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May 15, 2016

By meriwether, May 19 2016 08:13PM

I’m sure you’ve all been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear whether I headed north or south from Chicago . . . or not. Well . . . north along the coast of Lake Michigan won out. So . . . on Wed I saddled up and rode about 60 miles north to Kenosha, WI. It was a depressing ride weaving my way out of the Windy City - fog, mist, dark. Could not even see Lake Michigan even though I was riding right along the shoreline on the Lakeshore Trail. Just an ugly, ugly day. Thursday, however, was 180 degrees from Wednesday’s ride, although it started out cloudy. As I got closer to Milwaukee, blue sky finally made an appearance and the rarely seen sun was welcome; it turned into a beautiful afternoon while I followed a lake front bike trail along the coast into Milwaukee - and that Milwaukee beer garden at which I stopped helped too!


I passed right on through Milwaukee and headed just a little further north where I stayed with Warm Showers host Dave and is son Evan who is graduating high school and will be attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, from whence I had just come. So we had a lot to chat about since Dave is also a cross country cyclist. Throughout that night, I was visited by Lillian, who was very affectionate and attentive. Lest you jump to conclusions, Lillian is one of three family cats. Lillian periodically would hop up on the bed, climb over me to nuzzle against my hands, and then curl up on the end of the bed to keep watch; it seems I was a source of endless fascination for her.


The fair weather lasted less than 24 hours - Friday started off as Thursday ended, but I finished the day’s ride in rain and falling temperatures. And yesterday . . . in a word - painful. Temperatures in the low 40’s, wind out of the northwest and again in my face (thought I was back on the west coast) which made it feel like the low 30’s, feet and hands like ice cubes, snow and ice pellets bouncing off my face. It’s the middle of May - just about 5 weeks away from the summer solstice, and this is the best the Midwest can do for me??


My reward at the end of yesterday's ordeal, however, was a cruise across Lake Michigan from Manitowoc, WI, to Ludington, MI, on the SS Badger, a National Historic Landmark (one that moves) - the only coal fired car ferry boat still operating the the U. S. It was built in 1952, just 3 years after my appearance on the scene . . . so it’s an OLD boat! In spite of the temps that had now dropped into the upper 30’s, I braved a number of walks along the decks of the 406 foot long Badger to watch the Wisconsin shoreline fade into the distance, and the Michigan shoreline emerge from the clouds on the eastern horizon.


Will now start cycling south from Ludington through one of my favorite areas of the state - the West Michigan Coast. I’ll be on the Hart-Montague Trail which is one of my favorite fall rides that I’ve done a number of times. Haven’t decided whether I will stay to the coast or where I will start angling eastward toward Toledo. Regardless, it is the home stretch and most likely I will roll into Toledo at the beginning of next week.


As Always . . . Proceeding On . . . To The Home Stretch,


Many thanks to repeat donors Lou and Bernie Barth for their recent donations to both Habitat For Humanity and Save The Children in support of my ride.


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