Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 41 - London, Ontario to Brantford, Ontario (66 miles)

Not much of a sunrise today, as we woke up to wet roads, puddles, and gray skies.

Lots of people wearing brand new Canada jerseys this morning.....

Didn't take a lot of pictures again today, but I did think this little damn in Otterville was a cool scene. 

There were a lot of ginseng farms along our route today.

Once we finally got to Brantford, a few of us stopped downtown to check out the plaza area. I got this shot of (Jersey) Mark Scheer trying out Ian's bike.

Tomorrow, we head back to the US by way of Niagara Falls, where we'll have our final rest day on Monday. I'm thinking there might be a few more photo ops around that area, so check back.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 40 - Port Huron, MI to London, Ontario (90 miles w/ the side trips)

Today was our day to head into Canada, so we had everything lined up bright and early. They actually shut down the Bluewater Bridge from Port Huron to Ontario for us to cross. With the traffic that uses this bridge, that is a huge deal.

My other sunrise shot while waiting for our chance to cross the bridge. They said there would be no stopping on the bridge for photos, so I don't have any shots from up there. I did use the helmet cam to take some video, but as of yet, have not figured out how to get it ready to attach to this blog. I'll do so once I figure out how.

....and we all made it across safely.

Jeff's mom met us on the other side with bags of goodies ( butter tarts and nanaino bars). They were great. The sugar content alone was worth 20 miles from each one. 

Then we headed back down to see the bridge from the Canadian side.

Some very nice parks on both sides of the bridge.

After the bridge, we headed out into the Ontario countryside. It actually looked a lot like Michigan, only with nicer roads and people.

Dinner tonight was a little slow, as I think the restaurant was not prepared very well for the onslaught of 50 hungry cyclists. Dan was so hungry, he started eating the strawberry jam packets off the table....

We finally did get our food, but with the calories we burn most days, the hunt was on for desserts and/or refreshments. Of course we let Ian lead the way, as he has a knack for finding the best places. Of course, once he's on his way, you have to be quick to keep up......

Tomorrow looks to be one of the shortest days in a while at 66 miles, so we don't load in the morning until 8:30.

A couple of milestones today....
Mike turned 55 years old today.
We entered our 2nd country of the trip.
We crossed the 3000 mile mark for our trip.
We've climbed over 85,000 feet on our trip.
We have less than 10 riding days left.
We've raised 11% of my Tour de Cure fundraising goal.

Check back again tomorrow.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 39 - Birch Run, MI to Port Huron, MI (87 miles)

Almost done with Michigan. I say good riddance, as this is the least friendly state we've been to for cyclists. There were a few instances today where motorists came really close to people, and more than once slowed down just to yell or curse at some of us as we tried to get into town. Oh well, I guess every state has their jerks.....too bad Michigan allows theirs to drive.

Anyway, here's my start of the day shot. That's Howard and Shirley riding by that fence line first thing this morning.

I thought this little pond just outside Millington was really cool looking, with all the willow trees.

Check out how small this kid is that was riding the dirt bike around the yard. He's got the whole package for gear (pads, helmet, boots, etc).

These guys were really working to get that hay in. They don't have any modern machines, just a horse drawn wagon with a guy and pitchfork on either side, picking up all the small haystacks.

Apparently we were on the wrong day for the big bologna festival, which is a big deal in Yale. Apparently Yale is the bologna capital of the world.....or at least that's the claim.....

and we made it into Port Huron finally, and got to see the Bluewater Bridge, that we will be crossing into Canada on tomorrow morning. Looks pretty high to me.

I guess it has to be to get these huge ships under it.

In the morning, they will be shutting this bridge down long enough for our group to ride across. Apparently, this is a huge deal considering the amount of traffic that uses the bridge every day. And there are at least two places where we have to stop and walk our bikes on the bridge because the expansion joints are too wide (we'd get stuck if we tried to ride across them). Once across and through customs, Jeff's mom is meeting us with some treats at a park near the bridge. After that, it's on to London.......London, Ontario that is.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 38 - Mount Pleasant, MI to Birch Run, MI (74 miles)

What a difference a day makes.....only 74 miles, flat, and tailwinds for at least half the day. With weather threatening (luckily it stayed south of us), everyone was ready to get going this morning. Here's my start of the day pic from the hotel parking lot.

....and the mad dash to the continental breakfast area of the hotel. These places were definitely not design for 50 guests to wake up and want to eat all at the same time. Have to feel sorry for the business traveller who stays in one of our hotels and is on the same schedule as us in the morning.

Alma, and pretty much everyone else in the group got a picture of this, just in case Ian missed it. Of course there's no way he would miss this. He said he got the groundskeeper of the golf course by the sign to take his picture in front of it.

....and another detour for those who could read the signs left for us.....of course those of us less attentive riders actually kept going down the road until we got to the point where the bridge was out......

....of course just because we're not that attentive doesn't mean we lack the ability to get around obstacles......probably something we've had to learn over time since we don't pay close attention to details......of course we didn't have that extra mile or two added to our day :)

Lots of farmland out here in central Michigan. pretty flat, too.

Well, we're here in Birch Run, MI.....only a few miles from Frankenmuth and the giant Christmas store. Not sure if anyone actually decided to take the trip over there.
Heading to Port Huron tomorrow, and from there into Ontario Canada the next day. Looking forward to that and to our return to the states at Niagara Falls on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

Today's Garmin Stats

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 37 - Ludington, MI to Mount Pleasant, MI (113 miles)

I guess I'll start out today with an apology to those of you looking for pictures. With 113 miles today, I took a couple of sunrise shots and then, pretty much barely pulled the camera out again all day. I did get my start of the day shot though....

....and another shortly after. 

After those, I pretty much kept moving the rest of the day.

With the last of the century rides now in the books, maybe I can start working on all the little nagging aches and pains. It's definitely going to be an early one tonight.....

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 36 - Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI (7 miles of riding and one long ferry ride)

Our semi-rest day started with all of us early risers trying to find something to keep us busy until luggage load. Oh well, we only had 7 total miles to ride today. I did notice however, the reason behind our padded bicycle shorts as soon as I rounded the first corner and headed off down that pothole strewn road to the ferry, wearing my cargo shorts and a t-shirt.

Giant beer bottles in Manitowoc!

The USS Cobia. Apparently Manitowoc had a submarine building factory in WWII that produced 30 something boats. The Cobia was one of them and has been turned into a museum. The tour was well worth the price of admission ($12).

Had to be hard to sight an enemy plane coming in from towards the sun through one of these sights.

One of the torpedo rooms. The extra torpedoes were stored along the sides of the room with cots both above and below them.....can't imaging sleeping right under one of those things all the time. 

After the museum, it was out to the ferry dock to wait for our ride.

....and onto the boat for the trip to Michigan. Goodbye Wisconsin......thanks for the brats.

On the boat, there were lots of things to do.....movies, bingo, food, or just sitting around listening to some interesting tales from other bikers.....or not. This guy next to us wasn't too interested in Mark's stories.

Steve for a nice spot to read.....

....and Bill found a good place to .......Bill? Bill?

Here's Sandy, Beth, and Michael just hanging off the side.

Don't know what this coast guard ship is used for, but I thought it made a nice picture.

Hello Michigan!

Well, tomorrow will be our last century of the ride. Since we've now entered the Eastern time zone, and have an early start in the morning, this is it. Hope you enjoyed reading.
Thanks again for all the support. Check out the Tour de Cure site at the top right of the page if you haven't looked at it yet.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 35 - Fond du Lac, WI to Manitowoc, WI (56 miles)

With such a short day today, we slept in a bit. Luggage load was not until 8:30 this morning, but with this group, the bikes and luggage started piling up on the sidewalk before 8:00. It made for a scene that was probably a bit unusual for the downtown area on a Sunday morning.....or any morning I would guess.....

Saw a number of these huge windmills throughout the countryside as we headed towards Lake Michigan. 

Seems like there might be a bit of a rivalry going on among some of these small towns in this part of the state.

Well, that's about it for pictures today. With the shorter day, I think most of us just kind of blew through the miles today to get here for some much needed down time after all the mileage on this last leg of our trip. I know I didn't stop to take too many pictures myself.

Tomorrow, we take the ferry ride across the lake to Michigan and into the Eastern time zone, where we'll start our 5th leg of the trip with a 113 mile ride on Tuesday through the Michigan countryside. That will be the last century of our journey.....I don't think anyone's too broken up over that fact.

Well, with all my laundry done, directions and times for tomorrow's ferry ride across the lake in hand, and the staff at the Ponderosa Steak House pretty much exhausted from our onslaught, it's time to get some much needed rest.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 34 - Wisconsin Dells, WI to Fond du Lac, WI (83 miles)

Had a short (83 miles....yeah right) today. Actually one of the easier days recently, with not a lot of climbing and mostly nice roads. Started off looking like we might be in the rain again, but luckily that passed by early. Here's what it looked like starting out.

Roads were a little wet though, but that's ok by me, as it produces some cool photo ops with the puddles...

Here's Dennis, one of our late comers.

Right next to the first SAG stop today, we had this really cool waterfall.....

....and these guys swimming around.

The scenery here in Wisconsin is all either dairy farms or ponds and lakes. I like the ponds and lakes the best. Here's one we passed out in the countryside.

And of course we found a brat fry along the way. In one of the towns we went through, the American Legion had a brat fry every Friday and Saturday. A great place to stop for a snack.

This evening we had the famous "ABB T-Shirt Swap". Here are the shirts up for grabs. This is played a lot like a game we had at the office Christmas party called "Dirty Santa". Even after you pick a shirt, people can take it from you. Worked out pretty well, as I got a T-shirt from one of my roomates' pizza parlor.

...and one of the coolest things here was the coupon we got with our room keys. Buy one get one free drinks at the hotel's bar. We took full advantage of those. Tell me we're not a happy bunch here.....

Well, tomorrow is the shortest day in quite some time, so we're sleeping in to take full advantage of it.....and to recover from the coupons...

Thanks for reading. Good luck to all of you starting RAGBRAI tomorrow.