58.05 Miles / 2891.38 Total Miles
363 Ft. Elevation Gain / 96,518 Ft. Total Elevation Gain
This morning was a mad flurry of activity. Before I went to bed, last night, I went to the front desk of the hotel and paid to extend our stay another day, even though we hopefully would not be staying past 1:00 PM. I on a rental car at an Enterprise Car Rental location, that happened to be right across the street from the hotel, and they had cars available.. When the various businesses, we were going to call, started opening for business, Chris and I kicked in with the phone calls, per last night’s plan.
Velocity Wheels not only did not have any wheels in stock, that would work for my bike, but they also did not have any of the rims that would be required to build me a set of wheels. The call to SIC Transit, in Ann Arbor, turned up one wheel, coincidentally, made by Velocity, but it only had 34 spokes, which usually means, not as strong as the 36 spokes of my current failing wheel. A call back to Velocity verified that the 34 spoke wheel is actually much sturdier than my current failed wheel, and would be a good choice for my bike. Kevin, the fella who took our call, at SIC Transit, had a set of quality used wheels at his house, that he was willing to drive home and pick up, for us, but his home was 60 miles (2+ hours round trip) from the shop, so we would end up having to wait for him to arrive the shop with the wheels, which would put reaching our next destination at risk. I decided on the new Velocity wheel, and Kevin promised to jump on moving my tire, cassette and brake rotor to the new wheel, as soon as we arrived the shop.
We grabbed the rear wheel off my bike, walked over to Enterprise Car RentaL, rented a car, stopped at Burger King to pick up some breakfast sandwiches, then hopped on the highway to Ann Arbor. It was clockwork from that point on. After the 40 minute drive to Ann Arbor, it took Kevin just 30 minutes to set up the new wheel, with my existing parts. While he was doing that, I found the brake pads I’ve been looking for for my bike, Ed and Chris found some things they’ve been needing for their bikes, and Michael rode to the shop to see us one more time. He is an awesome guy! Kevin, Thanks for getting my wheel set up so quickly and for all your help! Michael, Thanks for all your advice and your willingness to do anything you could to help! You both made my day! You both made my week! You both made moving down the road again possible!!!
Finished with our business at the bike shop, we jumped back in the car, and headed back to the hotel, where we dropped Chris off, with the new wheel, so he could work on making sure my bike’s brakes and derailleurs were properly aligned with the wheel. Then Ed and I headed back to Burger King to pick up lunch. By the time we got back to the hotel, with lunch, my bike was ready for the road (YAHOO!). So we quickly pounded down that lunch, packed up our gear, put on our cycling clothes, loaded everything up on our bikes, and were out the door by 1:15 PM. With a 58 mile ride ahead of us, we all had our headlights at the ready, in case we ended up having to ride in the dark.
On our way out of the hotel, I stopped to say goodbye to the front desk manager, Ali, who helped me out several times, while we were there. Thanks for all your help, Ali. I truly appreciate it!
It was slow going, getting through the streets of Dearborn and Detroit. Don’t get me wrong–the roads were great, with nice shoulders. There just seemed to be way too many traffic lights–a lot like riding where I live in Gilbert, Arizona. We passed the headwaters of the Detroit River, as we left town, then miles of heavy industrial facilities, then just wide open country. At one point, we were routed onto a dirt road. We don’t do dirt roads, so we had to consult Google Maps for a better option, and fortunately, there was one.
In January of this year, the Navajo Generating Station, formerly a major power source for the Four Corners region of the country, was demolished. And we passed another demolished coal fired generating station, as we entered Muskegon, Michigan. So I was surprised to see the coal fired generating station in Trenton still operating.
Throughout the day, I had been in touch with our Warm Showers host, Larry, and as we got closer to his house, I messaged him for recommendations of places we could get dinner en route to his house. He sent a few suggestions, and we picked Inky’s, an Italian food place, that happened to be right on the route. As we pulled up to the front door, the owner’s daughter came out and told us where we could safely secure our bikes to a fence behind the restaurant. Hmmm. This is usually not a good sign, but the restaurant is on a busy street, and someone could stop a vehicle and pretty easily grab one of our bikes. We appreciated her concern for us. It was Inky’s 64th anniversary, and the place wa decorated with balloons and banners, with many longtime customers there for dinner–and here walk in 3 bedraggled cyclists. The staff quickly seated and served us, which was very impressive, and while we were there, we had customers pop by our table to inquire about our trip, and it’s always fun talking about our trip. We had a great meal, and I totally understand why the place is so popular.
After dinner, we rode just 2 miles, to get to Larry’s house, and he was standing on the corner, waiting to welcome us. After showing us where to park our bikes (in the garage), he gave us a tour. His house, which is at least 100 years old, had a guest bedroom on the third floor, where a couple of us could sleep on two beds, and two sofas in the living room. Ed went for the bedroom, Chris went for the living room floor, and I went for one of the sofas. This had been a long day, for me, and I wasn’t in the mood to climb all those stairs over and over again.
Larry was a great host and quite an interesting guy. For one thing, he’s a beekeeper, which brought back memories of the Honey Hub Hostel. He’s done quite a bit of bicycle touring, and has also hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, so I had a lot of questions for him. And he knows the way to a cyclists heart is through his or her tummy, so he had fresh watermelon, sliced and ready for us, and it hit the spot–big time. Larry: Thanks for being such a great host! Wish we had had more time to hang out and talk with you, but after such a long day dealing with my wheel problem, then cycling like maniacs, to make it to Toledo, before dark, we were wasted. You come visit one of us, and we will make it up to you.
In summary, this was one very long, difficult, expensive day. That wheel problem costs me about $550, by the time I paid for the car rental and motel room. But our Warm Showers hosts, Michael and Larry, really brought some positive light in, with their goodness and generosity. I really REALLY appreciate them for all they did to restore joy and happiness.