Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day #33: It Ain't Over...Until It's Over

Today's Route: Clare, MI to Bay City, MI (62 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 1668

As the saying goes, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings."

Lesson Learned: Don't publish a blog posting summarizing the day's events until the day is over. Like, really over.

Three things happened yesterday evening after I posted yesterday's blog entry.

  1. There was a fireworks display for the Clare Summer Fest. The fireworks were shot off not too far from my camping spot, and so I had a decent view of the show without even having to move. The display certainly wasn't of the same caliber as the fireworks displays for the Seattle or Chicago Fourth of July celebrations, for example. But, they were fireworks nonetheless.
  2. I saw a bunch of horse-drawn carriages go by on the street just outside the park where I spent the night. After the firworks display, the carriages went in the opposite direction. Perhaps the Amish were the pyrotechnicians for the evening. Uh huh. Apparently, there are quite a few Amish in the area. I always love to see Amish carriages. They give me this warm, fuzzy, happy feeling inside.
  3. I saw my first firefly! No, scratch that! I saw three of them!!! (Which is very worthy of three exclamation points.) Aside from the crazy rainstorms and lightning, fireflies are the only other thing that I miss about living in the Midwest. Oh yeah, and I suppose I miss my family, too.
For the record, I attempted to take photos of the horse-drawn carriage, the fireworks, and the fireflies. But, even with some editing, the photos turned out pretty rotten. Sorry!

Today's route was very flat. And very straight.

Supposedly, guys like curves, right? I would like to take this opportunity to declare that I like curves, too. At least when it comes to bike routes. They need not necessarily be vertical curves (as in hills), but a little bit of horizontal curves here-and-there are super sexy in a route.

The morning started off with 31 miles on the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail. It was as straight as a gun barrel and as flat as the heart activity of a person who has just been shot dead by that gun. Yessiree, straight and flat for 31 very long miles.

Poor girl! She doesn't yet know that she is about to face 31 long, straight, flat miles.

I can say that I enjoyed the signage along the trail. There was frequent and comprehensive information about the number of miles until the next intersection, attractions in upcoming towns, etc. Some of the signs were even quite humorous.


I stopped in Midland at the Grove Park to finish off the leftovers from last night's pizza extravaganza. Though the pizza was not nearly as appetizing in appearance, it was still pretty dang good for a bike touring lunch.


I liked the ASL piece in the Grove Park playground. Now, I totally get the purpose of playgrounds - physical development, social development, etc. Hell, just learning the value of play, itself, is super important. But why don't more playgrounds do things like this to stimulate other types of learning?

Love this!

As you can imagine, bike touring is generally more pleasant without the presence of precipitation. Whenever I discuss the weather with the locals, I need to keep in mind they desperately need the rain; they are generally elated to see the droplets fall from the sky, as it did for most of my ride today.

To me, everything looks pretty green and well-watered. It was only when I rode over a bridge and saw a suspended boat that it dawned on me just how desperate this part of the country is for water.

This suspended boat is proof that Michigan is thirsty for rain.

Tonight I am staying with a Warm Showers host, Donna, in Bay City. Not only does she host cyclists, but she also hosts foreign exchange students and raises foster children. What an amazing woman. Her five year-old great niece is visiting, and so they spent a good chunk of the day at the carnival. Someday, Donna wants to bike all over Europe. You go, girl!

Me & Donna.

Funny thing is that Andy will be staying at Donna's place tomorrow.

As I arrived into town a bit early, I scouted out this awesome coffee shop, called Brewtopia, which is about one mile away from Donna's place. As the neighborhood was a bit sketchy, I asked if I could bring Shirley into the shop. That was fine.

Shirley and my refreshing White Chocolate French Soda.

I enjoyed chatting with the baristas and a few customers, who all had lots of questions about touring. One of the baristas mentioned that she was playing her guitar tonight at the shop. I guess that's the good thing about riding through a big town on a weekend - a little bit of culture. I rode over to Brewtopia a bit later in the evening for some musical entertainment.

The first band consisted of a cute high school boy on a guitar and a lesser cute high school boy playing the bongos. The only thing they had going for them was the guitar player's good looks; the band music wouldn't have been too bad if the cute boy didn't open his mouth to "sing."

At 8pm, Elise, the barista from earlier in the day, took the stage. She played some covers and some of her own tunes. She was spectacular. And adorable, too! Here's a tiny snippet from her performance:

After seeing Elise play, I was excited to get back to Donna's house to meet the two other cyclists who were being hosted by Donna. Emma and Mary are traveling across the country, from east to west. They started in Brunswick, ME and will end their trip in Seattle, WA. We shared recommendations and other stories from our trip. Emma and Mary are keeping close count on the number of showers they take while on their adventure, as well as the number of jars of peanut butter they consume. They are curious which number will be higher. All the best to you, chicas!

Me, Mary, & Emma.

All right, I think the day is done. But I suppose I'll wait until the morning to publish this post. Just in case.

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