Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tour de Superior: Day 2 Houghton, MI to Houghton, MI

Today is a bit of an optional day. We go from Houghton out to the end of the Peninsula to Copper Harbor and back ... 100 miles. It isn't necessary to do it to go around Lake Superior, but by doing so we get to see a few more parts of the coastline and hey, it's a great reason to get in another day of riding. Since it is Sunday, breakfast at the motel doesn't start till 7:00 AM (Eastern) so we get up at 6:30 and end up not hitting the road till bout 7:45. Not that we ate that big a breakfast ... we were just slow.

The ride starts going down to the river ... a 250 foot drop, then climbs 4-500 feet within 2.5 miles. The day was supposed to be cool with chance of showers, but by the time we got part way up the hill it was time to start peeling off the leg and arm warmers ... and slathering on the sunscreen.

At the top of the hill is the Quincy Mine. No longer operating, it is now a museum. Apparently they offer tram rides. Now if those were from the bottom of the hill and we could have taken our bikes up .... wishful thinking. We continue on and after a few more miles Jerry decides his knee is giving him too much trouble and is going to turn back. Hopefully a day of relative rest and ice will help.

As we ride on, we start seeing a bunch of old cars ... Model T's and such. We see one parked at a cafe, so I pull over to take a picture (above). There are 7 or 8 of these old cars parked. It turns out there is a group of them - 29 old cars - that are taking three weeks to go around Lake Superior. And we're doing it in ten days on our bikes! Apparently we'll see them again at Munising tomorrow.

We then run into the above sign ... at first glance we thought it was one of those "we've collected x $'s towards our goal of xxx", but no, it is a measure of the snowfall they received in one winter a few years ago ... 390 inches. That is a lot of snow to shovel! The ride so far today has been inland on the peninsula, but that is about to change ... we turn towards the coast right as it starts to rain. They had forecast isolated showers ... one just found us. Fortunately I had my new rain jacket, so I pulled it out and put it on. It worked great. Thanks George and Patti!

The rain doesn't last for long ... just a few minutes, and has stopped before we see the lake. As one would expect, the coast is pretty. It is a bit windy too - fortunately a tail wind pushes us along. We follow the coast up the peninsula. While we don't see a lot of wildlife, I do cross paths with a large snapping turtle. We then stop in Copper Harbor and have lunch.

After lunch we start out right away heading uphill. Ugh! It is a slow start. The afternoon ends up much that way - slow. It is a long afternoon - net uphill and against a headwind. But it is pretty and a nice day to be out. We get back shortly after 4 PM - a total of 100 miles and 3,800 feet of climbing. Of course we end the ride at Dairy Queen.

PS After a rest we went out to eat at Geno's, an italian place in Hancock. We were in search of good pasta. We found pasta. It was an enjoyable dinner. As we were headed out to the car after dinner, Dorothy's phone range. It was Jessica, Tanya, and Sarah, three of my daughters, calling to wich me a happy father's day. That was a nice treat and a great way to end the day ... I went to bed and got over eight hours of sleep for the first time in a long time.

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