Sunday 6/24/18 Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI (2.8 miles)
Monday 6/25/18 Manitowoc to Apple Creek Campground west of Wrightstown, WI (53.5 miles)
Tuesday 6/26/17 West of Wrightstown, WI to Tilleda, WI (71 miles)
One of my anticipated favorite aspects of bicycle touring is the complete lack of schedules. You wake up, you pedal until you decide you are done, that is that. However, the rest of the world is still on a schedule. So if you want breakfast (besides oatmeal), or a four hour bingo filled ride across Lake Michigan, then you have to play ball with the rest of society.
We arise early at our Ludington campsite in order to catch the morning voyage of the famed SS Badger. As we roll over to the docks, we stop at an establishment that opens early, and serves eggs and the like. Emily is on the moon when she finds out she can get a breakfast sandwich on gluten free bread, and a gluten free muffin. I can understand the excitement over a sandwich. However, the toast in a breakfast combo is by far the weakest link in the meal. The cheap filler thrown in based on diner tradition more then anyone’s actual desire. In this regard, Em has not been missing out. Then again, I have been ordering some enormous breakfasts of late, perhaps I just haven’t left room for some buttered bread to soak up the over easy eggs.
As we approach the ferry, we are waved past the police checkpoint and bomb/drug? sniffing dog. Our natural olfactory presence must render this working dog useless.
The bike rack upon the SS Badger is surprisingly full, which is good to see. We are unable to fit our fat-bottomed bikes into the mix, so we unload and check our barrage of bright yellow panniers. We soon find out that the SS Badger is much different than a floating greyhound bus. We do a quick lap and discover a movie theater, museum and gift shop. Back in the main room, I attempt to catch some Z’s. Alas, the “in flight” entertainment begins. 4 hours of summer camp like bingo and trivia. Emily walked away victorious in bingo and took the only prize that I would allow us to carry, a fresh deck of cards.
We rested for the remainder of the day in Manitowoc and hit the Wisconsin pavement fresh and bright eyed in the morning. We took advantage of the downtime to repair our tent poles with our newly received pole segment.
Broken tent pole segment:
Eastern Wisconsin treated us with smooth pavement through rural empty roads. The land started to gain some texture, and the rolling hills were a welcomed diversion from the flats of Michigan and Ontario.
On day one in Wisconsin we had lunch at a small hamlet’s local park. The men’s bathroom sink expunged its waste directly onto the floor. The basketball court was littered with picnic tables. The baseball diamond was in great shape though. This town has its priorities established.
Judging by the smell, we were definitely in dairy country. It was concerning that we did not see any cows outside enjoying life and eating grass. All were sequestered inside, or the young were separated in small crates. These sights reiterated my beliefs that as a society we need to adjust our base standards in food production. Our food systems create a feedback loop for better or worse. Bad systems degrade the environment, our health, and rely on more then our generation’s fair share of fossil fuels. On the flip side, thoughtful food systems can improve the vitality of our land and people.
Day two in Wisconsin we cruised through more rolling hills of corn, wheat, sugar beats and soy. Don’t forget the cows, but they were still hidden away.
We hit 70 miles for the first time in Wisconsin. Around mile 50 I coaxed Emily into moving on into threatening skies. A few light showers later and we were snoozing in our tent by a creek. The orchestra of the creek being joined by the light pattering of rain on our taught nylon rain fly.