July 7-13, 2019 Upper Penisula, Michigan
Organized bicycle tours are a fun way to meet new people and forge life long friendships. Over a decade ago I participated in a ride across Oklahoma taking me from the Texas border into Kansas. One such encounter in 2007 brought me face to face with Moni and a friendship was born. Now in 2019 here in UP we meet up again to enjoy a week of fun, fellowship and cycling as we explore a region of the country that we have never been to.
Day zero, which was a pre-ride for the official tour was a fast and fun 20 miler to a place called Kitch-iti-kipi. This translates to Big Spring and is the largest fresh water spring in Michigan. The crystal clear, emerald green waters were incredibly beautiful!
Sunday evening we hung around the fairgrounds for the official start on Monday morning. As the sun set over the fairgrounds, more and more cyclists rolled in. The eerie fog that rolls in from Lake Michigan created a very interesting sunset.
Monday morning came along and we hit the road, today will be a 65 mile day as we make our way to Escanaba.
From Escanaba we pulled two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) that were 74 miles plus. Our route took us from Escanaba to Cyrstal Falls on into Marquette.
On this tour we camp, the tent goes up every night. I have always found the traveleing tent city fascinating. The cell phone and electronics station is something of an electrical chaotic mess.
The youngest participant was a 5 year old little girl. She was so awesome! Not only did she not complain or fuss, but she was helpful with setting up. After she completed her chores she showed off her artist skills. This little girl was talkative and the giggle and laugh was fantastic. What a delightful child!
We had fun on the road and along the way. Lunch was provided on Tuesday and Wednesay. Long rows of bikes lined the fences and buildings where we stopped to enjoy box lunches.
Marquette, MI was a layover day. We had a day off and we enjoyed it immensely! We rode bikes downtown and toured the Historical Society Museum. The woman recommended a couple of restaurants for lunch and we took her advice and enjoyed lunch at The Vierling Restaurant & Marquette Harbor Brewery.
We checked out the local bike shop and cruised along Lake Superior. The lake is so beautiful!! I love the clear blue waters and the many nautical sites.
Black Rocks Brewery is incredible. There is so many bicycle themed things in there and the beer ROCKS. We met a number of other cyclists at Black Rocks, Mike, Bob and John who joined us for a lot of tall tales and laughter.
When we got back to camp, Curtis took a nap in the beautiful sunshine.
The flowers of UP, I am in heaven. The vibrant colors, wow just wow. Seems like I cannot pass up the colors as I cycle past them. Flowers have been and will always be a prominent part of my existance.
Leaving Marquette we cycled along beautiful Lake Superior. The sun was bright as it rose into the sky.
One of our rest stops was at Lakenenland, a local artist that created incredible beauty and humor with junkyard art.
Our final day was from Munising back to Manistique. We cycled through the village of Christmas where there is a huge cut out of Santa Claus as well as Christmas themed everything, street names, buildings, you name it.
We rolled into Manistique where our van awaited us. Moni camped in her tent Saturday night and we enjoyed the comfort of our van. We were tired and just enjoyed the relaxation.
The week long ride was pretty short at 343.5 miles with a nice bit of climbing; 8,978 feet. It took us through some beautiful countryside, on some relatively busier roads but that was simply because there are not a lot of alternate options. We met some great people along the way and on the ride. This gave us yet another good look at this region, UP Michigan from the seat of a bicycle. This was fun, the ride was fun and UP Michigan has not seen the last of us.
It was great getting together with Moni again. This ride is now one for the history book as we continue our journey.