Zach patiently waited

Perfect way to start the trip: I was all excited, ready to go, with my bike all packed up. I got on BART to head to the airport, and casually started checking in to my flight – but it kept rejecting me. That’s when I realized my 11:59pm flight was not for Friday night, but Saturday. Whoops. I skulked back home and hopped online to log into my weekly dungeons and dragons sesh with my college buds, but instead of rolling dice we just spent 3 hours lamenting the terrible state of the world (with a brief side quest contrasting the qualities of Pee-Wee Herman vs Ed Grimly).

It’s all going to work out fine, just instead of a relaxing day bumming around the twin cities, I’m just going to hit the pavement running tomorrow. Bums on!

bike on BART

One day down

We got a great start yesterday. Rolled out of Minneapolis on its amazing bike infrastructure. It was all bike lanes and cycle paths for at least 30 miles. We already ran into other cycle tourists – one guy was in his 60s, going solo from Washington to Maine, and averaging over 70 miles a day! Overall it was just a full day of really pleasant, easy riding. We ended up camping on the Saint Croix River, at a site that would have been perfect except for the crack force of mosquito commandos the patrolled the area. I knew we wouldn’t make it through the north woods without getting a few bites, but I guess I forgot how aggressive Midwestern mosquitos are compared to their western counterparts.

Samoa donuts!?

Got some rain last night, but thankfully it didn’t start until we were snug in the tents and stopped just as we got up. We skipped making breakfast given that we would likely eat less than we would be eaten, and instead grabbed some pastries from the bakery in (sugar) Rush City.

The mosquitoes. Are. Awful

We stopped briefly near the fire department museum in Rush City to snack, and to remind ourselves that Devo is a great band.  From Rush City we continued northward.  In Pine City, we made camp lunch at a picnic table in front of City Hall. An 18 year old in a giant pickup truck showed off the acceleration of his vehicle several times, presumably for our benefit. We rode through Hinkley, Sturgeon Lake, and eventually settled into a municipal campground on the shore of Moose Lake. Important showers were had. “The mosquitoes. Are. Awful,” said the camp host, and he was telling the truth.  
The Moose Lake Community Band rocked the amphitheater in the park to the delight of a dozen octogenarians, while a lone 12 year old girl spun mindlessly on a merry-go-round in an attempt to stay awake. 
We ate pizza at Poor Garys while debating how poor Gary actually is. Then, like bums often do, we ended the night at a local brewery. 
At the brewery, we met a local man who aired out every opinion he’s ever conceived in the course of 2 hours.  From him, we learned about Duluth (he hates it), taxation (hates it), square cut pizza (hates it), hot sauce (loves it), and heteronormativity (loves it.)


One more comment about the Moose Lake brewery: they have probably the best nut brown ale I’ve ever had. Just don’t feed the loudmouth and you’ll have a great time.

We had a killer breakfast at the lazy moose: wild rice + mushroom omelette, along with wild rice and candied pecan pancakes. 6 thumbs up.

As we headed north along more glorious paved bike path, the weather got cooler and the terrain got a bit more mountainous. By the time we got lunch in outer Duluth, it was downright chilly.

the bridge to superior

We got the red carpet treatment at the Thirsty Pagan brewery in Superior. Lots of good advice, and the owner even gave us free bike jerseys.

I celebrated our entry into Wisconsin by making a bee-line for some Culver’s frozen custard – it’s no Strickland’s, but it’s pretty dang good. Had a wet ride to a state park and nestled down for the evening.

more to come!

still here

Well, we’ve clearly fallen behind in the blog updating. Just posting here to confirm that we are still moving east through the beautiful upper peninsula. Good times have been had, characters have been met. No problems so far, though last night we learned that neither of our tents are as waterproof as we remember. We’ll have a longer post soon…

Bums are adopted by family; abandoned in the wilderness

yeah, so we’ve gotten really bad updating this blog… But we promise, stories and photos are coming soon. Had a great meetup with Mike Bush, Clair, and their energetic children, Rosie and Sylvie – much fun was had, but now we are on our own again, drinking away our troubles at the ByGeorge brewery in Munising. Stay tuned!

the cutest family you could ask for

Yous better check yourself before yous wreck yourself

6/30 Thursday

  • Hot riding
  • Beautiful rolling countryside down to lake – reminded me of the bodensee in Germany
  • Pub crawl in port wing
  • Local drunks are astonished and amused by the dumb things done by people on a show called ‘dumbest things done by people’
  • Got to cornucopia aka corny just in time for weekly town live music party
  • Shout-out to the whitecaps – men our age playing music for boomers
  • Watched local witch dance with abandon
  • Zach’s drawers were rescued by good samaritans with bad judgement
  • Camped at amazing spot 20 ft from Lakeshore
  • Took first dip in the lake – 5 stars

7/1 Friday

  • Bayfield was busy with tourists
  • Great bike shop right outside of town – unfortunately the attached brewery was not open yet
  • Greg nearly experienced death-by-hammock
  • Great little coffeeshop in Washburn
  • Took another dip in the lake, taking care not to disturb any fortnight birthday cakes
  • Great bike trail through Ashland
  • Camped at frontier campground/bar/grill/gas station
  • Had post shower nightcap at bar, but any conversation was inhibited by gambling machines

7/2 saturday

  • Rode to cute Finnish museum – learned that the word ‘sisu’ is only for Finns
  • Learned that the next town, hurley, used to be known as a wretched hive of scum and villainy
  • Picked up some Finnish salty licorice – yum
  • We just barely missed embarking on a life of sin in Hurley, thanks to the bike path
  • Crossed into Michigan – again, no sign
  • Began amazing 20 miles long bike path in ironwood
  • Met loquacious local who has mastered the art of comedic indirection. Met him several times on the trail – he cannot drive for medical reasons, so the trail is his lifeline. He’s never left the area, and is a local celebrity – he truly is ironwoods ambassador. And, as Randall would say, there’s some humor in that, if you think about it
  • Stopped at visitor center in Wakefield – friendly volunteer advised us that ‘da yoopers’ are not appropriate music for Sunday school
  • At pizza pub, met previous owner, who used the proceeds from selling the bar to buy a house down the street from where she grew up
  • The bar’s new owner is still figuring out what kind of wine “piñot” is
  • Great ride through forest to campground on the lake – gorgeous sunset was observed.
  • Weren’t even bothered by the outhouses that were just upwind

7/3 Sunday

  • Another great ride through the forest
  • Another great swim in the lake
  • Another mediocre square-cut pizza
  • Met tandem cyclists on a day ride – one reviewed our entire route, and gave ‘no opinions, only observations’
  • Had ice cream in Ontonagon before making a delicious curry at the very nice town campground
  • Another great lake sunset

7/4 Monday

  • Wet
  • Wet
  • We both woke up to find the waterproofing on our tents did not stand up to the rainstorm
  • Everything we own was wet and filthy, including our souls
  • Added 20 pounds of water weight to our bikes
  • Soggily dripped into Syl’s for breakfast – towels were provided
  • Zach procured ill fitting pvc hazmat suit from ace hardware, which would keep him wet, dry, hot, and cold simultaneously for the rest of the day
  • Rode through the rain all day – it was quite a slog
  • Disappointed that beer belly bob’s was closed, along with the rest of the town of Greenland
  • Greenland’s fourth of July festivities appeared to have been washed away
  • Made burgers at convenient pavilion in Laird township – 5 stars
  • Finally made it to Baraga, where we had a hot meal, but they were out of everything from a busy weekend, including humanity
  • Decided that, rather than set up our soaking wet gear in the rain, only so it could get more wet, to just stay at the hotel where we ate
  • Celebrated our nation’s birthday in the best way possible – watching Independence Day between commercials
  • Absolutely destroyed the bathroom trying to clean/dry our gear

Gregolas and Mikeagorn ride again

Tue July 5

  • Cleaned hotel of woodchips and sand from our tents
  • “The Hilltop” breakfast. Giant cinnamon roll.
  • Greg broke “no food left behind” rule because granola side was more sweet than cinnamon roll
  • “Connies” for beer on the route. 
  • Google route through the back roads of Ishpeming, ended up at Grandpa Joe’s in the Cleveland mining district. 
  • Huge feast was prepared for us
  • Late night jam session on guitar, clarinet, and autoharp. Only situation I would ever play Coldplay

Wed July 6

  • Another feast for breakfast prepared by Joe and Amy – perhaps the most hospitable people I’ve ever stayed with
  • Gorgeous 15 mile bike path ride into Marquette with Mike, Claire, Rosie, and Sylvie. 6 year old Rosie rode her bike the whole way! She taught me a lot about how to ride a bike, and together we even went 17 miles per hour!
  • Rosie thinks people in cars are bored and that there should be more bikes and less cars. Rosie for president!
  • Marquette is a very nice little town with plenty of urban amenities
  • In Marquette, Grandpa Joe picked up Claire and the smalls. The three of us beelined for the brewery.
  • Beers + lunch at co-op cost us half the day
  • Greg briefly broke the no crashing rule when he experienced the first de-clipping failure of his long career. He brushed it off and avoided being placed on the DL
  • Mike rebuilt his headset on a sandy pullout halfway to our campsite
  • Sight confusion as we had not clarified which campground we were meeting Claire and the girls at – it turned out to be the one after the massive hill
  • Rosie took us on a mushroom tour of the campsite
  • Dinner was made, beers were drank, good times were had all around

Thursday July 7

  • Family road trip to pictured rocks Lakeshore trailhead in that most magnificent of chariots, Mike’s minivan
  • Lovely hike to lighthouse – entertainment was provided by Rosie’s games of 20 questions, and Claire’s wild flora expertise
  • Lighthouse had separate privies for the lighthouse master and the lighthouse assistant
  • Rest of day post-hike was spent lazing on the beach. Zach practiced skipping stones. Rosie tortured Zach with cruel tests of endurance, but later gave Greg a relaxing sand and stone massage on his elbows
  • On the ride back home, we learned Mike and Claire’s secret to parenthood – Thin Lizzy soothes and pacifies their children. Surely the result of some sick Pavlovian conditioning
  • Later, back at camp, Rosie made us all freshly burnt marshmallows. At one point, she ramped up production to four marshmallow roasting at once. Nonetheless, Sylvie seemed unimpressed
  • Greg’s camp chair got it’s first use after 500 miles – big hit with Rosie and Sylvie
  • Exposed Rosie to the dark path of 20-sided dice
  • Late night music listening/story swapping session – Sylvie is a huge Ween fan

Friday July 8

  • Mike passed us in his prized minivan leaving the park as Claire leaned out window and told us to “get a job.”
  •  Rode to Munising: vegan pastie, museum, brewery
  • Stopped at kitchy general store for a cookie as big as a hubcap
  • Kingston lake camping. Cheesy broccoli casserole. 

Saturday July 9

  • Breakfast.  
  • Bicycling.
  • Greg swam on 3 miles of sandy beach
  •  Stopped at visitor center for Pictured Rocks national rec center, old man told us about shipwrecks. 
  • Arrived Grand Marais: brewery, brian the bartender is kind of a lot; we both had the whitefish specials; hardware  store and depressing grocery store
  • Bought candy from a kids candy stand for 10cents per jolly rancher
  • Left town on a paved road, which turned into a gravel road, which turned into a road made of sand.
  • Hard riding. 
  • Corner store with old outboard motors for decor
  • Camped at Perch Lake; mushroom cheeseburgers for dinner

Sunday July 10

  • Breakfast at camp;
  • first store in miles the clerk said we rode on the worst road in Michigan
  • Stopped at brewery in Tequomenon state park; guitar guy sings john prine, tom petty
  • Ride to Paradise and another depressing grocery store; heavy metal golf cart
  • Stopped at Tequomenon river mouth campsite—lots of RVs.
  • Mac and cheese.  
  • It rained.