June 17
Harrison to Laingsburg, Michigan

I got up early -- around 6:00 AM -- finished yesterday's Web editingand packed everything up quickly.

Last night the heat in my room wouldn't shut off, so at about 11:00 PM,I washed a bike outfit in the sink, wrung each item out and rigged up aclothesline above the heater between the TV and the air conditioner, whereI hung everything to dry. It worked. The room was unbearably hot, even withthe windows open; hence my early rise. Also, I was determined to get hometoday.

I rode my loaded bicycle to breakfast at the Jack Pine cafe, the localhangout. They seemed shocked by my lycra attire, but nobody said anything.I had an order of french toast (mediocre--one piece not cooked enough).I should note my dietary restraint. I have not eaten a second breakfastyet on this trip. I can feel the fat melting off me.

As I indicated yesterday, I did not intend to take many pictures today.I was striving for a 3 day reverse DALMAC. The DALMAC tour goes from Lansingto St. Ignace in either 4 of 5 days, but by paralleling Old US-27, I feltI could make it back to the Lansing area in just 3 days.

The area between Harrison and Clare is one of pretty rolling hills andfarms.

The day started right off as clear and warm and as it progressed, itstayed sunny and got hot. I had difficulty staying hydrated.

Since my original plan called for me to ride closer to the Lake Huronshoreline, I did not have maps of Isabella, Gratiot or Shiawassie counties,the area in which I was riding most of today. Luckily, I have ridden justabout every paved road in the area on one ride or another over the last7 years and I was able to "wing-it" on roads I did not recognize.

I had to stop and take a picture of one of America's original billboards.

When I was a kid, it seemed as though Mail Pouch advertised on most barns.Now those ads are fading away with the weather and the collapse of the oldbarns (since those barns are not practical for storing modern large farmequipment).

My trajectory from Harrison put me into Mt. Pleasant on Mission Road--oneof the absolute busiest streets in Michigan. I circled around the congestionby heading east behind the Meijer store, then south to Pickard, then acrossPickard to side streets heading south (I'll try to plot it on a map in acouple of days), ending up at the Embers restaurant, where I crossed Missionand followed the service road south through Central Michigan University.Though it was almost noon and I was hungry, I was afraid to try eating lunchin Mt. Pleasant. As a college town, Mt. Pleasant represents the worst conditionsfor bicycle security, so I followed the DALMAC route to Shepherd, whereI ate lunch.

From Shepherd, I followed Luce Road to a couple of miles south of Alma,then cut east to Alger Road, which I followed to a point south of Ithaca.

At that point I was lost (I'll try to plot my course on a map, becauseit was quite pleasant and new to me). As I was riding south on State Roadin Gratiot County and could not recognize where I was, I saw some peoplefishing in the Maple River and stopped to ask them where I was. They pointedout that US-27 was just down the road, but that they were not from aroundthere, so could not tell me how far it was to Price Road. I ended up crossingUS-27 and proceeding several miles east to the community of Bannister, aregular rest stop on some rides to Mt. Pleasant. I was surprised never tocross the new expressway between DeWitt and Ithaca. It must narrow downand use the existing US-27 right-of-way and bridges at the Maple River crossing.

For about a year, I've been having trouble with allergy induced asthma.When I left home and rode east through mid-Michigan, I had a couple of attacksso severe that I had to use my prescription inhaler. I had no need to useit in Canada or northern Michigan. Then today, I had a bad asthma attackas I rode through a large wheat farm in Gratiot County. I started chokingand had to stop and take a hit from my inhaler. I can only conclude thatI am allergic to mid-Michigan. The attacks are getting more and more severe.

This trip was undertaken as a training ride for my Alps ride in July.It served its purpose better than I could have imagined. It is fitting thatI felt very comfortable today doing more than a Century (100 miles) on aheavily laden (85-90 lb) touring bicycle in only 8-1/2 hours. Oh sure, mydamned right foot hurt this afternoon, but I got considerable relief bymoving the cleat back another 5 mm. After the 80 mile mark, the little toeon my right foot started feeling swollen again, as though the circulationto it was being cut off by pressure from my sock. I am starting to believethat the shoe itself is too small -- mainly in height.

My daughter took my picture as I arrived in Laingsburg, a small townabout 12 miles from my home. It was only 6:00 PM, and I could have madeit home, but I had ridden a great distance, and my daughter wanted me homeearly, so she insisted on picking me up.

Note 6/18:I did not get the Website updated last night because we went out to dinnerand then this morning we drove early to Detroit to see our heroes, the Detroit Red Wings andgoalie Chris Osgood parade in honor of their retention of hockey's StanleyCup.


Photo © Ed Noonan - June 18, 1998

I will be producing two new packing lists (with pictures) in the nextcouple of days while packing is fresh on my mind. I hope to develop a newpacking list for self-contained touring based on just finishing this tourand to develop a packing list for sag-supported touring as I pack for theAlps trip. Keep tuned for the Alps trip.

104 miles

  
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