Friday, February 24, 2012

1979: Touring in the UP, Part 4

(Final installment on my 1979 UP Tour)
In the shade in Trenary, MI,  1979
The next morning was my turn around day for St. Ignace and I would have to save the western UP for another trip. I started out heading south and west, through the small towns of Chatham and Trenary. One of my favorite self-portraits was taken in Trenary, sitting on the sidewalk in front of a shop, in the shade of a couple of trees. Thirty some odd years later, Google Maps Street View will let me find that spot, with the same wood siding and door, but the shade trees are no longer there. From Trenary, I continued south to Gladstone and a campground near there.

The next day I was heading east, riding a mix of inland and Lake Michigan coast line along US 2. On my last night out, I camped just west of St. Ignace, and again split the camping fee with another rider, this time a girl from from Toronto who was riding west.

Looking across to Michigan side, from
west of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, 1979
It was fun meeting other touring cyclists in the UP, headed both east and west, some crossing into Canada at the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie) to short cut the distance to the northern East coast, others riding south to cross into Ontario from St. Clair or Detroit, or riding all the way down to the Michigan-Ohio border. A few years later when I helped some friends plan a trans continental tour, the later reported that after riding from Duluth, MN to Toledo, OH, Michigan was the single state they rode the most days and miles in.

I wish I had kept my contacts with all the riders I met on those trips. I am sure that today, I would have friended them on Facebook with a smart phone the same day, but now those names are lost in journals and note pads misplaced after too many moves in the years since. Who knows, maybe they will stumble across this blog, and we will strike up a conversation again.

I finished with 6 days of riding and including all the side trips and meandering, almost 500 miles.  It was not my longest tour, though it would the longest one I rode alone.  And the changes in my life that had just begun meant that I would not be touring alone for many years to come.

Sunset from Brimley State Park, MI, 1979
A final footnote on my 1979 UP trip. As I said, many of my journals and note pads are scattered, so much of this is recalled from a normally reliable memory. However, in the process of looking through my boxes of color slides from these trips, it became obvious that some details were blurred between my UP tours of 1976, 1977 and 1979.  I have the gross details correct, but may be off a year or two. The boat tour through the Soo locks, turns out to have been on a my trip in 1977. And I know a group of kids tagged along as I headed south of out of Sault Ste. Marie, but I may not be able pin down which trip it happened on unless I find that years journal. It is not a case of a fabrication, just misplaced details.

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