Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Longest Day Of The Trip

The rain started at about 4:00 Am and continued on until my alarm went at 5:30. By then is was just the big drops from the tree hitting my tent. I guess that meant a wet tent to be rolled up I thought but at least the ride will be in the sun. When I crawled out of the tent that thought was gone as I saw that we were surrounded by a wet fog. The rain started coming down again as I folded my gear and got ready to roll. I lingered a breakfast until after 8:00 AM hoping for the rain to stop, and when it did I was off. It was only 38 miles from Plymouth down to Mackinwoc, where we would catch the ferry to Ludington Michigan, so there was no panic to get down there. We were to be on the ferry dock at 1:15 PM so it was an easy ride.
Most of the riders had left by the time I got on the road so I quickly caught a number of riders and we all rode along together in the rain. The rain wasn't really cold so it was kind of a fun ride once you got rolling. There was a paved bike path which paralleled the road so at least you weren't blasted by the spray from cars and trucks. At the 22 mile mark we came up to the shore of Lake Michigan. The fog had lifted enough so you could see the shore line. There were lots of beautiful homes along the shore and it was quite pretty despite the rain.
Picnic was at Carol's house. She is a long time friend of Cycle America and she always hosts the lunch before the ferry ride to Ludington. It was a great assembly point for the ride down to the ferry.
I had no idea what this ferry was like other than I assumed it was some sort of typical car ferry. As it turns out the S.S. Badger was launched in 1952. It is about 350 ft long and it is a coal fired, steam driven ship. I was shocked to see this thing. So at the appointed time of 1:15 PM the bikes are lead on to the Badger. All the while the coaling is underway which is quite an operation as 6 semi trucks of coal are backed onto the ferry and the coal is emptied into the bunkers. The ferry is suppose to leave at 2:00 PM but doesn't leave until 3:00 PM. It is a four hour trip across Lake Michigan. So arrival time is now 7:00 PM, but we lose an hour so it is really 8:00 PM. By the time we are rolling it is 8:30 and in camp by 9:00 PM.
The trip was exhausting and by time I had my wet tent set it was 9:45. The heck with supper I crawled in and when to bed.
Tomorrow is a rest day!


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