Day 31 – Ovid, MI (Sleepy Hollow State Park) to Grand Rapids, MI

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Day 31 – Ovid, MI (Sleepy Hollow State Park) to Grand Rapids, MI – 67 miles

Home! We didn’t expect to get home from my sister’s place so quick! We’re ahead of schedule & figured we’d take our time getting across the state. But 3 days of tailwinds pushed us along & crossing Michigan was a breeze! (Pun intended!). Certainly the thought of being in our own home and the familiar roads helped too!

We woke up this morning, plaqued by the bloodthirsty mosquitoes still! We have some great bug spray, but these mosquitos seemed to find any & every little piece of flesh not coated in spray – our eyes seemed to be their favorite target! We had run out of fuel for the stove making dinner last night, but the thought of packing up camp with the mosquitoes and no morning coffee was just too much roughing it for us so we started a wood fire in the firepit to make coffee. Shawn had snagged a few little half & half single servings at a restaurant the day before, so we were looking forward to the luxury of coffee with cream, instead of our usual black camp coffee. And what a luxury it was! We might have to do that more often! In fact, that might be worth carrying a little cooler bag for cream! As an added bonus, the smoke from the fire seemed to drive away those bloodthirsty mosquitos!

After our luxuriously creamed coffee & a breakfast of Greek yogurt with fruit & granola, we quickly packed up & left the state park. Tailwinds & blue shies were to be our lot for today. It was glorious! We rode 20-some miles before we took our first break off bike – we stopped in Westphalia for lunch.

It was a pleasure riding through Michigan! It was familiar ground, and we knew where towns were and how far away we were from home. Familiar towns like Saranac, Lowell and Ada, for once we had an innate knowledge of distances routes, etc. it was nice to just ride and not worry about the conditions of roads, where the roads were headed, or what we would find at the each town. We were stopping less to take pictures, certainly nothing seems out of the ordinary or picture worthy when it’s sights you’ve already seen before. But the tailwinds and a gentle decent to the Grand River made the time and ride go very quickly

We reached the town of Ada and headed to our neighborhood bike shop. We had called ahead to get some new tires and an additional spare. We were enthusiastically greeted by Mason (who ran to the door & held it open for us), Jill (whose name we spied on the sign-in book at the Bloomington Bike Company, way back in eastern Ontario), and Ted the mechanic. Ted gave us a tire swap, and did some quick checks on the bike. It was fun to reconnect with biking pals! I’m bummed that we didn’t get a pic of Ted & crew, so Jim put his artistic skillz to work and drew a pic (see below), so you can get an idea of how awesome they are!

On the way out of Ada we biked up the Fulton Street hill. When we did our shake down cruise (last month) we were in our lowest gear going up this hill, and in the past when we biked up this hill, even unloaded, we would struggle up this hill. But today, we went up like nobody’s business! A month on the bike and the hills of the east coast has been a huge help to our biking skills! Partway up the hill, we noticed a car parked on the side of the road with a guy standing beside it. When we got closer, we saw that it was our friend, Gary, who noticed us on his drive home from work & stopped to welcome us back to Grand Rapids! How cool is that?!? We stopped & chatted a bit before moving along up the hill.

After we crested the hill, we made one more stop for Jim to say hi to his old (as in former) work pals. It was great to see most of the gang. We had told them we would be there Tuesday, so we will make a repeat visit tomorrow to catch up with the rest of them. A little further up the road, we saw a car at an intersection with yet another familiar face – our friend, Pam – cheering us on and welcoming us back to G.R. We’re sure feeling the love today!

We got home to the apartment, unloaded the bike and enjoyed our own shower and some different clothes ( for a while!). Jim headed out to the neighborhood pub / pizza place get a growler of beer and a pizza. It’s sure nice to be home and relax for a bit! As we were eating we had the same realization…it’s nice to be home, but the road is calling! We have a goal, and we are not there yet. We may make this a short visit at home. So, for those of you here in GR, I hope you understand if we don’t catch up with you!

We do have some errands to run while here, and we’ll do laundry. Not sure if there is anything different we’ll do in regards to what we’re carrying on the bike – we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got!

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8 thoughts on “Day 31 – Ovid, MI (Sleepy Hollow State Park) to Grand Rapids, MI

    Al said:
    June 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Sorry I missed you, but keep on trucking!

    Aimee said:
    June 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve been mildly impressed by this bike-across-the-country thing, but cruising up Fulton St. so effortlessly? Now I’m REALLY impressed!

    Pam said:
    June 10, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    It was so fun to see you two riding yesterday! Even though I knew you were in MI, I thought it couldn’t possibly be you already. Then, in my rear view mirror I spotted Shawn’s distinctive white glasses. Yes! You are so cool!

    Bill Pierce said:
    June 10, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Glad to hear you’re back home already. When I was growing up in Michigan we used to call the big mosquitos “Canadian soldiers.” Now that I live in Canada, I’m perhaps a little embarrassed about it, but you know, we don’t really have that many of them, at least in this part of Ontario.

    An old college friend of mine from Olivet named George Parmenter grew up near Ovid. In fact, 80 acres of his family’s centennial farm was bought by the Michigan DNR and is now part of Sleepy Hollow State Park where you camped.

    Godspeed (and more tailwinds) on the rest of the trip.

      rathbike responded:
      June 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Ha, I’d never heard Canadian Soldiers used as a name for Mosquitos before! I’ll have to remember that!

    Al said:
    June 11, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Rain today -what a great day to be home….

    Lucy said:
    June 11, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    So you kept the apt. In eastown? How nice to ride into your own city and be greeted by friends on the road. That month seems to have gone by quickly. Enjoy the stay and off again westward. Love hearing your stories. John and lucy

      rathbike responded:
      June 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Yeah, we love this location! We love reading your blog too! Happy sailing!

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