Day 41 – London to Brantford, Ontario, Canada

69 miles, 1230 feet climbed

Agriculture, more of it, more variety. Corn and soybeans, of course. We also saw asparagus, tobacco, tomatoes, ginseng, and potatoes. We rode all the way across southern Idaho and my first sighting of potatoes is in eastern Canada?

The end of the route into Brantford was on the Waterford Heritage Trail. It began as packed gravel and sand but soon became a paved bike path. In the middle there was a diversion off the path in Mt. Pleasant to the Windmill Country Market. Most of us ordered sandwiches–I had pork belly and cheese with some tangy coleslaw.

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Day 40 – Port Huron, Michigan to London, Ontario, Canada

84 miles, 1306 feet climbed

We loaded quite early this morning at 6:15, all of us together rather than early and later groups, so that we could ride the Blue Water Bridge into Canada. They shut down the eastbound lanes for us, which is probably why we had to be on the road so early. The bridge has two expansion joints that have to be walked across. We weren’t allowed to take photos this time (like so many rules, some treated it as a suggestion), so I’m including some from 2004 below.

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Day 39 – Birch Run to Port Huron, Michigan

90 miles, 1033 feet climbed

Another pleasant day, weather wise. I am revoking my praise for Michigan road surfaces, however. Today’s were some of the worst on the tour and a greater percentage of the day’s ride than any other day I can recall. I do have the general impression that they were not as bad as in 2004, but that is the kind of faint praise that only a narcissist would spin positively. No new crops along the way but some good frozen custard not a a Culver’s at the turn south near Lake Huron (along with pizza, of all things, thus the name Pepperoni Cow). And my first Boston Cream doughnut at Tim Horton’s.

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Day 37 – Ludington to Mount Pleasant, Michigan

113 miles, 3271 feet climbed

Coming after the ferry day and evening arrival at our hotel, this day had the potential to be a grind. Luckily it was not. Western Michigan seems to be less densely inhabited than Wisconsin. We began by heading pretty much due south, then turned to the east. The first third or so was lushly forested. Then we encountered open lands with more corn and soybeans, along with a bit of wheat.

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Day 36 – Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Ludington, Michigan

7 miles (bike), 60 miles (Ferry)

Today was mostly rest, with a little casual bike riding mixed in. Not considered a real rest day by some in that they had deadlines to meet. We loaded luggage at 9 am but didn’t have to be at the ferry dock until 12:30 pm, leaving us with what we could carry in a backpack and on our bikes as our entertainment. I took advantage of the time to get closer to being caught up on these posts while my tablet PC was upgrading itself to the latest release of Windows 10. On the short ride to the ferry I grabbed a sandwich and soda at a convenience store and ate them on the dock while we waited to board.

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Day 34 – Mauston to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

96 miles, 2516 feet climbed

After a light catered breakfast (1 egg cheese omelet + meat + toast, or 2 eggs + meat + toast, 2 pancakes + toast–choose one). We headed off. Add that our first SAG wasn’t until the 40 mile mark and I was expecting to bonk. Instead, I did just fine. I even rode for a while with Jerry Springer (of Racine Wisconsin, not that other guy) for a bit. Jerry was riding a loop from his cabin in the vicinity.

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Day 33 – La Crosse to Mauston, Wisconsin

75 miles, 2493 feet climbed

This day was one of my personal favorites on the 2004 ride. Primarily because of the Elroy-Sparta trail, and secondarily because I got to get some pie from Gina’s Pies are Square in Wilton. I knew about it going into the trip because Bicycling magazine had highlighted it.

Sadly, Gina’s has closed and the trail is suffering from the effects of storms over recent years, including those this June. The maintenance budget is said to be minimal. My fear is that the trail won’t be rideable with road bikes in another 15 years and maybe not even with mountain bikes Very little of the trail resembled the medium gray decomposed granite surface that I recall from 2004. Instead, it was covered with sand and in a few spots, sandy mud. if this keeps up. In 2004 we rode the trail all the way from Sparta to Elroy; this year the second half was closed and we exited the trail in Wilton.

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