Monday, August 15, 2011

Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad...

I woke up Saturday to rain. In my tent. (I had left the fly off the night before for star-gazing and breeze-feeling purposes). I untangled myself from my sleeping bag and scrambled to pack up all my gear before it got soaked. Unsuccessful.

Dripping, I loaded my bike with gear (and now an extra 15 lbs of water weight) and coasted the fifty yards down the road to the camp restroom. I plugged in my phone and wrote down my directions for the day. I didn't have a bike map for Michigan, so I had been copying down the directions off of the 'route planner' app on my phone.

I rode the first twenty or so miles on the Kal-Haven bike path, a sandy trail with a slight, but persistent, uphill grade. Seventeen miles in I stopped for a coffee break at 'Mr. Grocery' (which sells coffee, booze, cigarettes, and a vast assortment of pork rinds and frozen burritos, but seems a little light on 'groceries'). I pulled the spigot on the coffee carafe and a dribble of pale brown water spilled into my styrofoam cup. The only creamer option was French Vanilla Coffeemate.

My bloodstream spiked with a lot of sugar and a tiny bit of caffeine, I continued pedaling towards Grand Rapids. The weather ping-ponged between rain and sun. Twice I set up my easel and began painting, only to have the sky open up and rehydrate my already damp art supplies.

As I continued my northward slog, the small sandy roads got even smaller and even sandier. Fifty miles in, I realized that I was no longer biking on roads, but on a series of narrow beaches labeled with street signs. Time to figure out a different route. Half walking, half biking, I backtracked to the last semi-decent road. Afraid of getting caught in more sandtraps, I stuck to major roads. Cars swooshed by, spraying me with muddy tidal waves. Forty-two miles, a bike full of sand, and one flat tire later, I was finally in Grand Rapids. I have never in my life needed a beer so badly.

I am now spending a couple days in Grand Rapids catching up on bike maintenance, laundry, and REST. I'll do some painting and drawing this afternoon and tomorrow head out towards Lansing.

Saturday's mileage: 92.1
Total trip mileage: 500.67

Sandy, unbikeable road
For sale: Honda crotch-rocket (should I switch bikes?)


  1. Whoa, Jen. What a terrible day! Meanwhile back in Madison the weather's lovely.

  2. All roads go good places, as long as they go! I left you some photos from mine...