Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 67: Port Huron...No, wait...St. Clair, Michigan

Today was another last second route change, but we may have gone from bad to worse.

We started out from last night's stay in Lapeer, Michigan, headed for Port Huron, which is on the St. Clair River that separates the U.S. (Michigan) from Ontario, Canada. We saw, however, that, with the exception of two brief bike paths, we were mostly on one road all the way: Imlay City Road. So a lot was riding on that road being, well, rideable.

It sort of was, and sort of wasn't. For the first about 25 miles, until we got to the town of Capac, I told Bob it felt like a Sherlock Holmes mystery: The Case of the Disappearing Shoulder. First it was there, and then it wasn't. First it was wide and well paved, then it was cracked, uneven and narrow. To boot, the traffic was medium-heavy, and the scenery was just not inspiring. My photo mojo went back into hiding.

And the first bike path we came to, with great anticipation, was overgrown with grass and weeds. You would have needed a riding lawnmower to traverse it.

So, at Capac, we were pleased to realize that we were once again intersecting the ACA route, which would take us a bit further south, to St. Clair, Michigan, and maybe add 5 miles to our distance. Or we could keep going on Old Michigan Route 21 (which Imlay City Road had fed into), which was now getting less traffic and getting a bit prettier, and stick to our original Port Huron plans. Which would also take us to the second bike path, which might or might not be paved.

But how bad could the ACA route be? It had to be on smaller, back roads, right? So we quickly confirmed that there was room at the St. Clair Inn tonight, and off we went with the change in plans.

And fairly quickly regretted it. The road surface was bumpy and cracked. The scenery didn't improve much. And, by heading South, we all of sudden noticed we were riding into some serious-looking storm clouds.

By the time we were leaving the town of Riley Center (on the ACA route), it was decision time, as the rain was beginning and we were still about 20 miles away from St. Clair. Bob thought he could outride the clouds and the worst of it. I thought that if we stayed put for a bit, it would pass over and we would actually have sun again. Neither of us could convince the other, so we each put our own plans into motion.

I'll let Bob tell his own story, but I only had to wait about 5 minutes before the sun was back out and I was back on the move. But there was still some serious storm and thunder action moving up from the South, and it wasn't clear to me that I could miss its path. I didn't. As the rain began coming down again, I took shelter, about 8 miles out of St. Clair, on the porch of what looked to be a seriously abandoned house (I was worried that I was either going to fall through the porch or someone with a shotgun would suddenly appear). This wait was a bit longer, about 10 to 15 minutes, but, again, the sun re-appeared and this time I was able to ride all the way into St. Clair without having to stop again.

But between the rain and watching the storm clouds, I can't say it was much fun, and the 12 mile stretch of the ACA route that I had hoped would be rural and isolated -- Rattle Run Road (a great name) -- turned out to be almost suburban in feel, with a fair amount of traffic. Ugh.

So Michigan giveth, and Michigan taketh. Yesterday was great, today was just about getting from Point A to Point B. On the other hand, I'm still on a bike, getting to ride every day on a fantastic trip across this country, so what's not to like?

Here are today's route and metrics, about 53 miles in total:



  1. Looks like you're heading to Motown, yes?

    1. Roger4:49 PM

      Er, no. Heading across the north side of Lake Erie to Niagara Falls Ontario. I'll be in Canada for the next week or so, eh?

  2. Or are you gonna shuffle off to Buffalo?

    1. Roger4:51 PM

      Now you're talking....