What an incredible day! I left Chesterfield on a dreary day, headed for Ann Arbor, but life has a way of changing our plans. After cycling 20 miles, I found the REI I was looking for. It’s on Big Beaver Rd in Troy Michigan. The folks there, treated me like a celebrity! They loved my bike. They made over my journey, and me;) I got a working computer installed on the bike…. finally. I’ve missed so many turns, by overshooting the distance mark. I start enjoying the scenery, or otherwise get preoccupied, enjoying the ride, and just cycle right past my turn. With the odometer, maybe that will happen less. While I was at the REI in Troy, I met several wonderful employees. Rodney put my computer on. He was very helpful, and sweet. Bob, is a young man with enthusiasm and a heart of gold.There are a couple Bob’s at that store, so I’m talking about the younger of them. Well, Bob and I started talking about my trailer, and the fact that I’d sent it home, and was working off 2 “front” panniers, and a handlebar bag. I felt that I needed something a bit larger, but need something waterproof, and hate to buy a new pair of Ortliebs, when I have the “rear” set of Transits at home.Well, Bob asked if I could use a pair of Ortlieb panniers if they had some damage and were very inexpensive. We worked out a deal, and I got a pair of brand new Ortlieb rear panniers for less than $50!!!!! I’ve had to connect one side of one pannier with a zip tie, but will write to Ortlieb and see if I can get a replacement part from them. It would be easy to fix. Thanks Bob! I’m hoping to hear from you. I did promise Bob that if you e-mails me, so I have his contact info, I’ll send the panniers to him (hopefully, repaired), when I finish this trip. Cycling from REI, I went on, still hoping to get to Ann Arbor. Googlemaps left me floundering again, though. I stopped and bought a paper map, and got as far as Southfield. Discouraged, I stopped at a fire station, hoping for a safe place to stay for the night. There really wasn’t a piece of flat ground on the property, so the guys there, called over to the next firestation (#2) and asked them to “host” me for the evening. The lawn was very flat! It was a beautiful place to stay the night. The folks on the shift, welcomed me in for the night, and shared their meal with me. A very generous meal. We had huge pork loin chops on the grill, home-made mashed potatoes, and broccoli steamed al dente. Yum! They got called out about 9 pm, and I went into the tent, and crashed completely. Slept until 6:30, went in and met the new shift. They were just as kind and caring as the previous folks. So, to the folks at Southfield Fire station #2, thanks. Leaving Southfield, using my googlemaps again, I am wound through all many, many side streets and neighborhoods, rather than a simple, straight course, toward Stockbridge, MI. The final 15 miles are on a a lakeside multi-use trail. It starts out great!
But within a half mile, the excessive rain we’ve had presented me with a pool-sized puddle. I had no idea how deep it might be, but ventured in. It came up above the bottom bracket.Unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot a pic at it’s highest, as it took both hands to keep myself upright and pedaled as hard as I could, but here’s my point of view: I LOVED this;0) It may not be the best thing in the world for my bike, but I’m content to use my bike up, rather than preserving it for eternity, or even a decade, if it means I don’t do the things I really want to do on it. The trail got impassible for me, due to hoof damage, and a very soft trail bed.
I finally got on a hard-surface road, and cycled the remaining few miles of today’s 50, and stopped in a cafe. Dinner in Gregory, MI was good, and a lady came in for her dinner and we began chatting. She asked where I stay at night, and I told her I was looking for a yard to camp in. She said she didn’t have a yard, but she had a couch. We had a great evening chatting. She allowed me to take a shower, wash clothes and sleep on a very comfy couch! I enjoyed this time, and I was able to help her also. She had a new comp and camera and I got to teach her a little about how to use them.
Everyone….. every one of us….. has a story. It’s so amazing to get 8-12 hours with a person, and learn their story, and become a part of their story.
And have them become a part of your own story. I hope Denise and I will be friends for a loooonnnngg time.
I hope Bob gets in touch and that one day, we cycle together;0)
Today, is going to be the best day of the tour so far!
Watch and see.