June 4
Williamston to Grand Blanc, Michigan

I spent the morning researching the Web for a Canadian Internet ServiceProvider with a toll-free 800 number access option. Outside urban areas,there is seldom local internet access and the user is forced to make a longdistance call to an urban center, so I prefer an 800 number. In the Lower-48states, I use an Earthlink 800 account unless it is possible to make a localcall to some urban center. There is typically an hourly surcharge of a fewdollars for 800 service and access through a local POP is unlimited, soit makes sense to use local POPs whenever they're available. For Canadianaccess on the Alaska-Florida trip I used Web Networks, a Toronto companywith 800# access throughout Canada, but Web Networks has since scrappedits 800 program. This morning I called several companies in Canada to askwhether they had 800 service and had no luck. Finally, I established an800 account with UUNet, a Virginia company, which is good throughout NorthAmerica, not just Canada.

I did not get going until around 2:30 PM. Rain was predicted but it remainedsunny all day. I'm chubby, but in all fairness I must emphasize that I hadjust finished lunch when this picture was taken.

I am using panniers front and back, a back rack and a handlebar bag tocarry about 60 lbs on my bicycle this trip. Though it is warm here, I expectcold weather above Lake Huron, so I am carrying quite a load of foul weathergear. At the suggestion of a friend who has done this ride, I left my cookinggear at home. He said there are restaurants very frequently along my proposedroute.

I am carrying my cellular phone (about 1 lb) because I have been sufferingfrom severe asthma for the last few days and may need emergency medicalassistance. I can barely breathe at all sometimes when I get a whiff ofallergens, unless I use an inhaler. [all photos are from my Olympus D500Ldigital camera]

Michigan has what I consider the best low traffic volume paved road systemin the world. I plotted out a course on regional and county maps. Startingfrom Williamston, I headed across Bell Oak Road to Morrice Road and thenturned right on Beard Road. Then here is my route. I don't have time toprovide more detail right now, but I'll update it later.

Would you believe buffalo on Morrice Road, Perry, Michigan? There isa game farm there. The line through the image is part of the wire fence.

 

The day was a beautiful quiet ride through Michigan farmland. This imageepitomizes Michigan bicycling. Here it is early June and there is freshcut hay. Normally, hay isn't harvested this early, but this has been anincredibly early spring. I saw nearly ripe cherries on the trees. Surprisinglyenough I saw almost no people tending to the fields. I must assume thatmost farmers work day jobs and farm in the evenings and on weekends.

Traffic was mostly light. I came up with three ways to describe traffic:

 low volume no cars in sight most of the time
 mid volume one car in sight at any one moment
 high volumecars in sight in both directions--difficult riding

Here is low volume:

I was surprised earlier to see a buffalo, then I saw an elk farm.

The Shiawassie River was quite pretty--even with a telephone cable inthe middle of the photo.

This interesting historical marker (adjacent to the Shiawassie RiverBridge) is self-explanatory:

If farms characterize Michigan, then the old farm houses are an importantpart of that image. This one was particularly pretty.

Departing at 2:30 PM, I knew I wasn't going to make the border, but Iwasn't even close. I decided to aim for Goodrich, but just 6 miles shortof Goodrich, I asked a man watering his lawn how far I was and where a motelwas located, only to find that there was no motel. The man's advice wasto backtrack 3 miles to Saginaw Rd, then ride north 2 miles to a motel inGrand Blank. By then it was nearly dark, so I had no choice. I stayed atthe Scenic Inn--a reasonably clean class C motel ($44) with a restaurantnext door (good food and big screen TV for hockey).

The bad news -- a digital phone system. When I saw a hold button on thephone, I plugged my tester into the socket and sure enough, a red light.So, I was not able to make an upload today.

60 miles

 

 
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