Day 30 – Otter Lake, MI to Ovid, MI (Sleepy Hollow State Park) – 71 miles
We woke up shortly after 6 am and immediately checked the weather, as we had seen there were morning thunderstorms in the forecast. The weather app indicated that rain was imminent and the radar was showing severe weather on its way, so we immediately packed up camp & went to the campground attendant station to take shelter. We sat in the shelter & made our coffee, checking the current conditions of the towns along our morning route. It seemed it was raining everywhere except Otter Lake! This went on for about two hours, with only a few periods of sprinkle where we were. We longingly noticed the wind direction & enticed by the tailwind, left Otter Lake.
Smooth roads & the tailwind made for some great riding! Before long we had done our first 16 miles & were rolling into Clio for a real breakfast. We sat by a window with a view of our bike & noticed that for whatever reason, the bike attracted a lot of attention – more than typical, that is. We talked with quite a few people about it & the trip before moving along.
We had noticed the rear end of the bike developed a squeak a day or so ago. After a carefully executed DOE (Design of Experiments) 😉 we had isolated it to the rear brakes. Upon further examination the night before, Cap’n Jim found the problem was a stripped screw in one of the rear brake calipers. He Macguyvered it but wasn’t sure how long it would hold, so we set our route for one of the best bike shops in Michigan, Assenmacher Cycles. A quick check of their website *seemed* to indicate they were open Sunday. What luck! We really like Assenmacher Cycles. We’ve had them do some painting work for us on several bikes, including the tandem. Plus they put on a great ride, the Assenmacher 100, which we’ve done several times.
Still enjoying the tailwind, we made good time getting to Swartz Creek. While stopped at a light, we noticed a neat old Buick (open style – can’t remember the year 1909? 1914?) stopped at the same light coming from another direction. We turned at the light & so did he. As he passed us, I thought he looked vaguely familiar as he yelled to us, “Where are you headed?” I yelled back, “Assenmacher!” After he passed us by, I told Jim maybe I should have said, “Seattle!”
A mile or so down the road, we saw the familiar sign on the side of Assenmacher Cycles – and parked right there was that same Buick! Turns out it was Matt Assenmacher driving that Buick! And it turns out that the Swartz Creek store is NOT open Sunday – I misread the website but Matt opened the store for us & welcomed us in. Matt had all the tools to retap the stripped thread & get us back on the road with full adjustment on our brakes. Matt is a great example of community. “The plural of bicycle is community.”
After doing our grocery shopping & getting lunch, we headed out for our last 30-some miles of the day. Matt gave us a map from the Assenmacher 100 to get us quickly to our overnight stopping point, Sleepy Hollow State Park. After riding so many miles of countryside unfamiliar to us, it’s rather strange to be on familiar roads! The roads we’re riding today are part of the Assenmacher 100, as well as the 10,000 Meter T-Shirt Ride, both of which we’ve ridden multiple times. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the beauty of the back roads of Shiawassee County & lots of singing. “Traveling along there’s a song that we’re singing, c’mon get happy!”
The highlight of our camping night was the privilege of experiencing the automated vacuum robot ice cream vending machine at the State Park (Who knew the Michigan State Parks had vending machines??). For a mere $1.75 you got to select your ice cream novelty by (not so) secret code, then watch through a viewing portal as an automated freezer sprang into life by lifting its own door automatically. Then, by reading your secret code, a robot arm would move precisely over your selected treat, and then hover while the worlds strongest vacuum sucked up the ice cream, the arm moved over the ice cream escape hatch and then power to strongest vacuum was cut, dropping the ice cream where it could be enjoyed by the lucky recipient. It could be argued that the show itself was worth 14 bits, but you also got a Blue Bunny ice cream out of the deal! Yes, it was that good of a day!!
Brain Meanderings (back by popular demand):
– Graham crackers with peanut butter don’t stick with you for long.
– Life is pretty darn good at 20 mph with a tailwind
– bloodsucking mosquitos
– turns out the weather went around us like a 7-10 split!
– we may have to cancel tomorrow’s ride from blood loss to mosquitos.
– OMG best.ramen.recipe.ever – just add fresh mushrooms (sautéed), corn & kidney beans
Things that sound dirty, but aren’t:
– Shawn is sporting her big woolie