So long, Mom…

I’m off to drop the bomb, so don’t wait up for me. Some of Tom Lehrer’s lyrics may have gone over my ten year old head, but that one struck home. I thought of it as I rode off from our campsite this morning, not sure when I’d be back.

While Gil Scott-Heron told us the revolution will not be televised, Lehrer let us know that WW III could be shown in prime time and be over before we went to bed.

There was no plan. I headed north (north ¿!?¡?!) as I left the park. I figured I’d check out the lookout tower that was under construction a year ago when I was here. After that…? I used my usual road hierarchy – town roads (named), then county roads (lettered), then state roads (numbered). Since this peninsula is not on the way to anywhere else, there are no US or Interstate highways here.

If the road had an interesting name, it would probably win – Orchard Road sounds more interesting than Townline Road. The final arbiter is that, when I get to an intersection, I look in all directions. If one catches my eye and my heart, I go that way.

I did end up on Townline Road for several miles. After aimless wandering, it was a straight shot on the border between two townships and I covered some miles without having to think about turning – and there were no cars.

One could say I was scouting the route for the century I will ride next month but one would be lying. Since I don’t know the route, I was just wandering. Not to mention that I stopped in the first half hour to hike through a Land Trust.

That is a path – just not very wide

No map is necessary, because it is pretty hard to get lost on this narrow peninsula. Head west and you hit Green Bay. East and you find Lake Michigan. North and the end of the peninsula appears. South and you arrive in the town of Sturgeon Bay. With the sun shining, it’s pretty easy to know which way you’re going.

This spot is kin to Poniatowski, a town that is halfway from the equator to the north pole, and halfway from the Prime Meridian to the International Date Line. The equivalent spot east is in the  Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, near the Mongolian border. To the south, these points are in the Pacific (W) and Indian (E) Oceans and not particularly near any land.

I found an interesting-looking coffee shop in Bailey’s Harbor. The menu looked good, there were lots of available outside tables, and the sign said “masks and social distancing required”. I put on a mask and joined the line. It’s hot breathing through a mask after a couple of hours of riding. I grew tired of waiting and got back on the road. The state highway was freshly-paved, with a beautiful paved shoulder and not much traffic (it being Wednesday morning), so I headed down the road to Jacksonport, where there is a cafe I’ve stopped at in other years up here. That cafe was closed (permanently? for the duration of the pandemic? because it’s Wednesday?), so I continued on. I thought about lunch at the brewpub in Egg Harbor (a branch of my neighborhood brewpub, owned by a guy whose dad I knew years ago), but I landed on another road with beautiful pavement and it wasn’t going that way so neither was I.

Back in the park, I climbed the steps up to the lookout tower and looked out. From there it was downhill all the way back to camp. A shower, a couple of tamales, a glass of Tuscan grape juice, and I was ready for the rest of the day.

I don’t know how far I rode, and I really don’t care. I’m on vacation. The biggest tasks for the afternoon are chasing sun for the solar charger and shade for me. Sun is harder to find and requires frequent moving of the solar panel. Work, work, work.

The park has miles of paved roads. There is a shoreline road that goes to all the places that tourists want to go, and a bunch of interior roads that “don’t go anywhere”, so no one drives on them. I spent the next day exploring those roads and think I covered every mile of the park. The first photo above is from that day.

Since there is no WiFi and no cell service in the park, you won’t see this until I get home. Poison Ivy is ubiquitous in these parts. It likes recently-disturbed land. This spot was just outside the back door of our tent. Needless to say, we didn’t use the back door.
For the literalists among you, “poison ivy” is a metaphor here.

A week without news or internet and I didn’t miss either. My cell phone had no purpose. A surprise text arrived when the wind blew the right way.

Author: halffastcyclingclub

We are a group of friends who ride bikes. Some of us are fast, some of us are slow, all of us are half-fast. In 2018, one of us rode coast to coast across the US. It was so much fun, he's doing it again in 2022! If we meet Sal Paradise, we'll let you know.

13 thoughts on “So long, Mom…”

  1. What a beautiful beautiful trek. Sometimes I look at houses for sale up there when I get the wander(snow)lust but… your foot w/poison ivy in proximity should be an album cover. I don’t know about the music, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have a college roommate living in.a cabin in the U.P. When I visited Michigan finally for the first time I guess in 2008 I tried to arrange a visit with him but he was too remote and I couldn’t rent a car environment my friends wasn’t an option and he was working all the time. Plus mosquitoes and I got a sort of Unabomber vibe from his emails which were scant.

    That is to say a guy from Austin who’s on Strava recently moved to Marquette, Michigan and does all these epic rides. That and this post maybe wish I’d had more time and money to you get up there. Sounds like you had a good time. Do not use a cell phone or even a carbon watch and not care about mileage would be great. Even nicer to have a lady person in the tent.

    I love Tom Lehrer, heard as a kid growing up on my mom’s old records but didn’t recall this song about the bomb or mom, or know anything about The Coasters except they were a 50’s group .


    1. Looks like you had slippery fingers, or a cell phone that tried to “correct” you. There are some pretty remote regions in the UP, and probably some interesting characters that seldom see the light of day. The Coasters were a doo-wop group and recorded a number of Lieber and Stoller songs, including a few novelty tunes (including Yakety Yak and Charlie Brown). They were the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lieber & Stoller wrote Love Potion #9 for them but it ended up being recorded by The Clovers. The British Invasion group The Searchers had a chart hit with it in 1964, the version that most white people know best. Two of the original Coasters came from The Robins, who had a hit in 1955 with “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”.


      1. Sorry about any tie pose. Sometimes I use talk to text and forget to edit it

        I guess I know their music more than their name. Good stuff. I thought it was going to be a post about your mom dying. So I’m glad it wasn’t


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: