UP Bike Tour Day 4 – UP at Last

It rained last night so my choice of a motel worked out fine. I slept soundly and hit the road at 6:30. The first miles on a deserted byway were a nice warm up for the best road ever. Military Road through the Nicolet National Forest was a dream out of a car commercial. Windy. Rolling. Through forests on a fern-lined road. I zoned out completely except for when the occasional dump truck passed me.

After Military Road the bliss ended. For most of the next 13 miles I was on high speed 2 lane roads with but a 3 foot shoulder and lots of massive trucks blowing by me.

During this bit of bicycling hell I stopped at a general store. It was filled with hunting and fishing gear. Culture shock.

Once I reached the town of Conover about 40 miles into the day’s festivities I turned east. My hope was for flat roads.  My hopes,we’re realized for about 4 miles before the hills began again. At least the scenery was pretty. More forests. More ferns. Puffy white clouds.

Every five miles or so the road would flatten out. Ahhh. Then more hills. I am such a sucker. To add to the fun, the road had expansion cracks every 100 feet. My body was getting seriously beat up.

I stopped in Alvin WI at a roadside bar. The stench of cigarette smoke hit me as I walked in but I had to eat. I’d done 50 miles on junk food.

I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with chips and a side salad thinking that a modest amount of food  would be served. The sandwich was normal but the side of chips was more than four people would normally eat. The side salad was bigger than my head!

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I did my best to down this gastronomic monstrosity but failed to finish it.

On the road again the hills were spaced farther apart. I left the Nicolet Forest and entered the UP,  the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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Long flat stretches ended with grinding climbs. New road signs caused confusion but I managed to find my way to the town of Caspian. To get th re I rode straight up a steep hill past the town’s water tower. This was by far the hardest hill of the trip and maybe the hardest I’ve ridden in a decade.

Caspian appeared to be rode hard and put away wet. After another snack break I decided to carry on, even though it meant more hills.

But the hills quit after a few miles and I had a two lane road with manageable rollers. Then a beautiful bike path appeared. No more cars! Yesss!

Just outside of Pentoga a touring cyclist came my way. We stopped and compared notes. He told me about a community camp ground on the lake ahead. He also said that the hills are nasty ten miles beyond so I decided to call it a day. Good move. This lake is gorgeous.

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So another 87 miles of riding are done. With luck I’ll see Lake Michigan tomorrow evening.

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