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Hi from the library in Gibsonburg, Ohio:

I last posted from Spooner in Wisconsin where we enjoyed a nice rest with an extra day because we woke to thunderstorms. Five minutes after Jan paid for a further night, the sun came out. Oh well, too late now.

But the following morning, Thursday, we were pretty much packed the evening before and were soon saying a fond goodbye to Margaret, the owner of Green Acres; what a friendly and helpful lady; we had spoken lots about photography and she had given me lots of information on the area and, saying goodbye, I felt I was leaving an old friend behind.

It was a lovely ride on US-72 – we would follow this road until we crossed into Michigan. The roads were curved and undulating and edged with National Forest either side. Within the first 3 hours we saw an eagle, deer and fawns and, amazingly a bear! It was ahead of us, close to a curve in the road; initially, Jan thought it was a black car coming around the bend – until it ran up the embankment and disappeared behind a curtain of leaves; it had to be the biggest bear we have seen so far – and a reminder that much of the USA still has plenty of wild animals – even in the midwest.

There were some lovely villages – a couple had wineries – but it was a little early in the day and we had many miles to travel.

Finally, we crossed into Michigan and began looking out for suitable motels. We came to one tiny town that had a motel sign – but it was closed down. We stopped to fill up with gas and ask if there were any more motels nearby but the people were not all that friendly.

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Noticing a rack of stickers, I got the feeling this was a very Republican town and outsiders were not welcome. We have seen a lot of anti Obama evidence in the smaller, more religious/ Republican areas.

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Not very nice!

Soon we were close to the water again – in fact this lovely area of sand dunes and grasses is the very northern tip of Lake Michigan. Stopping to go look at the Great Lake, we spotted a couple of bikers who expressed the way we have often felt.

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These two photos are here because… well, I just love these airstream caravans; I would love to own one

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And before we knew it – well, 460 miles later – we were back in St Ignace.

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The UP is very proud of a product very familiar to us Brits – and especially where I live – in Cornwall; the pasty!

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The town was busy but we did get the last room left back at the out-of-town Cedars Motel – and, too hungry to bother getting back on the bike, we bought some pizza from across the road, ate it, showered and climbed into bed.

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Next day, more thunderstorms were forecast and we asked if the room was free for Saturday – it wasn’t and, it seemed every other hotel/motel in town was also fully booked. There was nothing special going on, but I guess, this being the last week of July, folk were having one last weekend away before the kids go back to school.

So onwards we went – first the Mackinac Bridge to ‘mainland Michigan’ and, darn and blast it, there were road works.

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The real pain of the road works on this bridge is that it meant we had to ride slowly across grating – quite nerve-wracking (and wobbly) Even worse when a stupid woman nearly rode into us because she was busy sending a text on her phone while driving!

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But we crossed safely and stopped for breakfast before having a quick walk to the lighthouse and bridge; easy to see it was not going to be a nice sunny day;

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Even the geese were not too happy with the weather.

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Goodbye UP, Michigan.

We decided to take the western coast of Lake Michigan so we would see some  new places – but the rain came down and we passed through lots of small and rich towns – Petoskey and Charlevoix – very pretty but very affluent and crowded. This was the weekend of a big yacht race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, plus lots of towns were having special weekends of one sort or another; so we queued in traffic and we wiped the rain off our visors and continued on until we found a chance to escape the lake area and head inland.

It was at around 7pm we finally found a motel – we had passed lots of motels in small, inland towns – but they were nearly all closed down.

The one we found catered to dirt bike and ATV riders – three bikes next door were busy revving for a couple of hours and sending gravel flying – but it was a bed and shelter from the rain – which now stopped and allowed the sun out.

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WiFi didn’t work in the last two motels by the way.

Next morning, the sky was blue again.

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And we had a much better day. Once again, we passed through town having a celebration – we really had to stop in this nice town of Chelsea – or as I will always think of it, Jiffytown.

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and, yet again, more anti-Obama sentiments displayed…

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I have to add this one here – our next town was Manchester – namesake of my own hometown. But there were some really extensive road works going on, so I really ought to have bought this teeshirt

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I’ll bet any money this woman was using her phone!

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Soon we were in

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and on familiar territory

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back to the farms and the cornfields and time for a rest before getting ready to ride back up through Michigan and crossing into Ontario – and Toronto next week

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So it is goodbye for now – our friends do not have internet – so we have to come into the nearest town – Gibsonburg – to use the library; sorry if there are typos and if this is quick, but have to dash.

Ride safe 🙂

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