Thursday, August 16, 2012

Days 61 and 62: Ludington, Michigan, Rain Delay

So, first, a few milestones. We've now been on the road for over 2 months and covered, by my count, approximately 2,850 miles. With about 1,100 to go, I think. Today, we're in Ludington, Michigan, having gotten here by taking the coal-burning S.S. Badger ferry across Lake Michigan yesterday (Day 61) from Manitowoc, Wisconson. Total distance: 52 nautical miles, none of it bicycled! So it was a nice rest day for us.

The ferry ride itself was kind of...well...dull, except for the young Bingo caller in the main lounge, who had her patter down - aimed at the kids with corny jokes, but entertaining for us adults too (kind of like the best of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons). If you've been on a car ferry before, this was really no different -- only longer in duration than most and using a larger ship (we could have had reserved cabins with beds!). In truth, the crossing was more interesting conceptually.  Once we were out of sight of land, there was, well, not a lot to see -- except for the sea. Thinking about where we were, and what we were doing, however, was sort of cool.

The crossing took 4 hours and landed us in the Eastern time zone in the resort town of Ludington -- with a winter population of about 7,000 that, I'm told, blooms to about 23,000 in the summer. And I can see why. Lovely, long, soft sand stretches of beach along the Lake Michigan shoreline, with jetties, dotted with lighthouses, jutting outwards. We got in latish, around 7 p.m., so by the time we got to our hotel (OK, we actually put in a bike ride of about 2 miles to get there, so it wasn't a total rest day), we really only had the time and energy to order a pizza for delivery (pepperoni and mushrooms, if you must know, the 14" size).

But, wait, there's more.

The forecast for the next day was miserable. Thunderstorms and rain all day. We figured we would have another rest day, this time imposed by not wanting to get up and ride all day in the rain. But it also meant that we hopped back on our bikes, for the mile ride into town (and another mile back), to pick up food for breakfast so we wouldn't face the choice in the morning of either starving or getting soaking wet. And, yes, we also picked up a bottle of wine to go with the pizza (obviously the right move).

But our hope of staying dry in the morning proved fruitless. We had told the hotel (Nader's Lakeshore Motor Inn), both at the time of reservation and our latish check-in, that if the forecasted storm arrived, we would be staying an extra day since we were traveling by bicycle. We told them we would let them know early in the morning and asked was that OK? We were assured they had space and it was fine.

But, if you've read Bob's blog today, you'll already know that this didn't play out as expected. When I called the front desk, at 9 a.m. as the rain was pouring down, to confirm the extra day, the same clerk (Kelly, the owner's daughter) said, sorry, we don't have any vacancies for today. Apparently they had gotten a rush of reservations late last night, and had sold out without giving a second thought to their commitment to us.

So, at checkout time (an unextended 11 a.m., to add insult to injury) we got on our bicycles in rain gear for a short, half-mile cycle to our new digs, which fortunately could accommodate an early check-in. So as not to get extra clothing wet that wouldn't dry in this weather, I wore my Speedo, along with my rain jacket. Bob wanted to take a picture, but I didn't let him go there. Some things are best not preserved for posterity.

And this turned out to be a rain cloud with a silver lining. Our new digs, while almost twice as expensive, were also a lot nicer,  with a deck protected from the rain, with two rocking chairs, overlooking Lake Michigan. It was totally serene and pleasant -- a definitely worthwhile upgrade that made our second rest day even more restful. That, plus the massage I got later at the spa across the street, followed by watching a beautiful sunset over the Lake, and capped off by a soak in our room's private jaccuzzi bathtub. Not too shabby overall.



  1. Steve Froot4:30 PM

    Where are the metrics? :) My last couple of posts were eaten, even a test post. So here goes: Roger, you and "Bob" have been riding so far for so long, hard to believe it's been two months - I, for one, am exhausted.

    1. Roger4:31 PM

      The metrics are with your eaten posts. Unfortunately, it seems as though Posterous likes to do that from time to time. I definitely recommend writing them in another program and then cutting and pasting into the comments. Then you can do that umpteen zillion times until your gems of wisdom and wit take hold!