We made it through our second of three big days in row across the UP. I was particularly worried about today since we had 100 miles to do and the forecast was calling for thunderstorms for most of the day. But when we woke up at 5:30 (one hour early to get a jump on the time change just down the road), the sun was out. I had envisioned this three-day push to be nothing but long, grueling hours in the saddle, but the riding today was pleasant and enjoyable.
Once we turned onto HW 69, the rolling hills got much more gradual. I felt fine doing 27 miles before stopping for a quick breakfast in Perronville. 15 more miles got us to Escanaba, where we had our first view of Lake Michigan. We stopped at a bike shop there to top off our tires with a floor pump and to buy enough chamois butter to get us to Petoskey. We followed the coast of Lake Michigan for another hour or so before having lunch in Rapid River. At Rapid River, the route put us back on HW 2, the same road that took us through Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
We checked the weather forecast at lunch and saw that a big storm was supposed to hit in the afternoon, so we ate quickly and got back on the road. There’s nothing like the sight of approaching storm clouds to add some spice to the last few miles of the day. We didn’t stop once for the next 40 miles into Manistique.
When we arrived, we called the local campground and found out that they were fully booked. Our next move was to go to the visitors center, where we met another former Eagle Scout working there who said we could spend the night right here. As soon as we set up our tents, the sky opened up and we huddled up on the covered porch of the visitors center. For the moment, we are trapped here and unable to get anywhere for dinner, but I feel very lucky to have some protection from the torrential rain.