Friday, July 18, 2014

Ready to ride to the finish!

Breakfast is served at Chamberlin’s promptly at 8:30 and it was a typical B&B selection of quiche and sausages served on real plates with real silverware, cloth napkins, fresh-squeezed juice, etc. In other words, a pleasant departure from the typical hotel “continental” breakfasts. Nobody was in a hurry to get going on this last morning of the trip. The weather was yet again warmer than the day before, and we only had an easy 40 miles to get back to our cars in Manistique.

We actually split into two groups, with half taking the “low road” while the hardier souls went with the “high road” route. I was with the former group and we proceeded through the nearby town of Curtis itself and then straight down to US-2. As I mentioned earlier, US-2 is a busy road, but with a nice wide, smooth paved shoulder. It felt quite safe to ride along it for a number of miles, but boy was it noisy with the cars, RVs, and trucks passing by!

An easy route south and west back to Manistique

Along this road, near the town of Blaney Park, we reconnected with the rest of the riders for our main sag stop of the day. From there it was just a couple more miles on the main highway before we veered off onto some quiet county back roads that would take us almost all the way to the end. This was another nice road with some interesting sights and a few hills thrown in for variety.

The only difficult part was when we rode the last couple of miles south back toward US-2 into the teeth of what had become quite a strong southerly wind. It was a bit of a struggle, but once we turned back onto the main highway it was much easier and a bit of a downhill run right up to where we finally turned into the parking lot of the Gray Wolf Lodge.

Back at the hotel, we gathered chairs and found other places to sit while we ate the box lunches that had been prepared to order back at Chamberlin’s. It was a nice way to end the tour as goodbyes were said, people packed up, and we eventually headed out for home or our overnight destinations

Another successful bike tour in the books!

Carrie and Denise at the Finish Line

It was hard for me not to compare this trip with the one that I had taken just over a month earlier, which really isn’t fair to Bike Tour Vacations. The Ohio location simply had a lot more to offer as far as accommodations, route options, activities, attractions, restaurants, etc. They also had the nightly wine & cheese receptions, better maps, marked routes, catered meals, and a larger staff on duty. Of course I paid almost twice as much, but felt that I got my money’s worth.

Judged strictly on its own merits, this tour delivered what it promised and everything went smoothly even though things were not very tightly organized. The problem is more that conditions in the U.P. are just not conducive to the type of road cycling that I enjoy the most, and I doubt that I would choose to do any similar trip in the “north woods” or other sparsely populated area in the future.

Categories: Tours


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