Port Huron, Michigan to Grand Bend, Ontario
This was a very tough day of riding. I said that yesterday, but today'saverage speed of 9.8 mph was actually worse. The problem today was a constant15 mph headwind all day long. The temperature stayed in the 50°s allday, but it did not rain and the sun was shining at some points.
When I sought information about this trip from the bicycle touring mailinglist, I was advised that the Blue Water Bridge is closed to bicycles, butmy friend Lee explained that a few years ago, he was permitted to walk acrosshis bicycle across the bridge as a pedestrian, and he complained about thecrossing at Marine City, so I decided to head directly across the bridgetoo, even if that meant walking my bicycle. Oops. This sign on the doorbelow the bridge crossing was alarming and there was another one on theentrance ramp:
Having learned to ignore road closed signs on my Alaska-Florida trip,I proceeded anyway. When I got to the top of the ramp, I couldn't see anybodyto talk to, so proceeded through the "vehicles with permits" gate,but an alarm went off and somebody yelled at me. I approached a bridge authorityemployee and asked "what are bicyclists supposed to do?" He askedme where I was going and whether I had money with me. I told him about myLake Huron Loop. He said to relax a while "and I mean a while--butwe'll do something for you--don't you worry."
I was just setting my bicycle against a building less than a minute laterwhen he said "okay, let's go" and motioned me toward an MDOT pickuptruck parked nearby. As fast as we could lift the heavy bike into the truck,we were on our way. It all happened so fast that I neglected to grab thehandlebar bag with my cameras in it, so I never got any photos of the bridge.Next thing I knew, we were clearing Canadian Customs on the other side.The customs agent asked where I was from and where I was going, then whetherI had any alcohol or tobacco with me, or anything that I was going to leavein Canada; then she waived me through.
It turns out that the bicycle/pedestrian prohibition is the Canadians'fault. The sidewalk ends abruptly right where semis cross over toward thetruck gates. There are no booths not located right in the heavy traffic.To avoid liability when a bicyclist or pedestrian is run over crossing toa gate, the Canadians have prohibited pedestrians/bicyclists.
At the exit, I went to the Sarnia visitors center and got a map of Sarniaand directions on getting to Lakeshore Drive. Then I went to the Ontariovisitor center and got information on places to stay on the Bruce Peninsula.The two young ladies who helped me, retrieved information from their computerand listed out several locations where I could find a place to stay.
Following the directions I received from the Sarnia information center,I headed across town and out to a very exclusive neighborhood of lakefronthomes similar to those found on Sheridan Road on Chicago's North Shore orEast Jefferson in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. These homes were difficult tophotograph because they were set back in the woods from the roadway, soI didn't get any pictures. The one public access point did not reveal muchof a view:
I talked to some folks from Michigan (DeWitt) there, who advised me thatI had parked my bicycle against a "hedge" of poison ivy. Oops!I have not started itching yet--many hours later, so maybe I don't needto worry.
Initially, Lakeshore was an excellent road, with a nice shoulder/bikelane, but as always, it dried up and there was nothing but a gravel shoulderwith quite a rut between the shoulder and the pavement. I hate those grooves,because I am always afraid I'll slip off the pavement, lose control in therut and fall onto the pavement, in front of some vehicle.
As I proceeded away from the wooded lakeshore neighborhoods and out intothe country (open fields), it became painfully apparent that I was headingnortheast and the wind was out of the northeast--at about 15 mph. As theday progressed and I headed on a more northerly course, so did the wind.It was brutal. There were times when the wind held me to about 8 mph. Istopped several times today to sit on somebody's grass and rest a bit.
I am constantly keeping my eyes out for interesting signs, scenes, birds,animals and people.
I don't think I've thought about the distinction between #1 and #2 sincefirst grade.
There wasn't any protection from the wind at all (and the shoulder isunpaved). While I was eating dinner, I overheard somebody say that it hasbeen so dry here that some farmers have given up on their first corn plantingand were either plowing it under or replanting between the rows so as notto let the soil dry out any more than it already has.
At the intersection of Hwy. 7 with Army Camp Road at Stoney Point therewas what appears to have been an old army barracks now occupied by Indians.There were some very poignant political statements painted on cars, buildingsand signs along the road. Apparently Anthony Dudley George died in a confrontationwith authorities in 1995. I know nothing whatsoever about the confrontation.I never saw or heard any such news. I am continually amazed at how littleCanadian news reaches Michigan or how little media attention is given tomatters involving Indians, even in Michigan. There have been recent armedconfrontations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula too, but I never saw a wordabout it in the press.
I spent all day hunkered down pedaling into the wind. Because I spentthe morning programming and reading my email (97 messages in 2 days), Ididn't get out of Port Huron until almost noon. At 6:45, I had reached GrandBend. There were a couple of nice motels -- I chose the Blue Water, an immaculatelymaintained older motel (B+).
There is a nice restaurant next door, but the laundromat is a coupleof blocks down the road and I was too tired to walk or ride, so I washedone bike outfit (of my 3) in the sink. I hope it dries by morning.
Note: Don't these Olympus pictures look great?I only edited them as to size and compression. The Olympus D500L digitalcamera is wonderful. If my pictures do not look good on your computer, itis either your Internet Access Provider (AOL is about the worst) or yourcomputer (most Windows machines display graphics too dark--there is nothingI can do about that).