The day began fairly early. I was on the road by 9. Cycled the 4 or 5 miles to the outskirts of Marshall and had a Hardee’s breakfast;0) It took me forever to finish my coffee, because it was cold outside, I hadn’t slept much, and I didn’t really want to do the 75 miles I thought it would take to get me to the host house for tonight. So I didn’t get back on the road until 10:30! And then, I headed the wrong way. Oh yay, some extra miles;) Having gotten back on track, I cycled into Marshall’s little historic downtown. It’s precious. Every little store is absolutely charming. And, as I was standing there, chatting with the owner of The Hall Tree dress shop, a lovely white phaeton pulled by a white draught horse came proudly down the street, with is driver standing as they proceeded. Very regal. The owner of the bike rental facility, and the carriage company offers sightseeing tours on the phaeton. Fun! I was so enthralled by this charming village, that I got off the bike, and walked around town. I never do that! I chatted with a few people, and then went on my way.
Once I was properly on the way to Battle Creek, MI, I enjoyed the ride. Today was I day that I didn’t feel like I was waiting for every “click” of the odometer. A lot of time was spent in my head, and enjoying reflecting on the trip so far, and on my husband. Battle Creek was Ok, but nothing compared to Marshall!
I did get off the bike, and check out a Goodwill store for a skirt and a second pair of shoes, but didn’t buy. I’m never comfortable with my bike/panniers out of my sight, even if the bike is locked. This was another way I wasted the day because I couldn’t get motivated to do the mileage. I was hoping to get onto the Kal Haven trail today in Kalamazoo. It’s a 35 mile rail trail. Someone was going to have to convince me that it wasn’t like the Lakeside trail at Pinkney, though. With all the hoof damage, etc. I wasn’t going to do that again!
Hoping to use one of the gift cards that Ginger and Jim gave me, I planned on stopping at a Pizza Hut in Battle Creek. When I walked in the door at 1:15, the host stood in front of me, and stared me in the eyes, without speaking. After a full minute of this, he screeched, “aren’t you going to sit down?”, as he stood behind the sign saying,”Please wait to be seated”. As I moved toward a table that would give me a good view of my bike, I perused the full buffet selections. Wow, it looked great. As I glanced over, the same host, simply said,”it’s closed”. I asked him what’s closed, and he said the Buffet closed at 1:00. There wasn’t another customer in the restaurant, so I asked, “what do you do with it, throw it away?” His reply was yes, then he said, “I mean we take it to the homeless shelter”. Hmmmmm. I left. Found a chinese restaurant that was close-by and got some mu shu pork. I ate most of it, and saved the rest for on the road, and hit the road again. Hard.
In Augusta, I stopped in a LBS – Custer Cyclery where I met my first Pugsley! Sweet! Dan, the guy in the shop (and, I assumed, the shop owner), owns it and is very proud of it. It’s very cool! Dan checked my tire pressure, sold me a mirror for my helmet (which fell off 2 hours later!) and I was on the road again, with some very good info from Dan about the Kal Haven trail.
I reached the trail head about 5:40. It’s a 35 mile trail, and I had a host family for the evening at the other end. Thus far today, it had taken me from 9 am -5:30 pm to do 45 miles, and I was determined to do this 35 mile trail in 3 hours or so. I hit it with a vengance. Most of the way, I was able to crank it out at about 14-15 mph. After a couple hours, I had cycled through Bloomingdale, and was between milepost 13 and 12, when I smelled gas. To my left, was a motor bike in the ditch, which was filled with water. The front end of the bike was hanging from a low hanging limb and the back was hanging into the water. There was a helmet floating near the bike. I cycled on for about 30 feet, and then realized what I’d seen. I jumped to a stop, and called 911.
The operator couldn’t understand me. The connection was bad. I was trying to hold the phone, which was tied to the bike, and get the bike turned around, so I could go back and see if someone was in the water, but I couldn’t manage the heavily loaded bike with one hand. I told the operator I was going to have to hang up. When I got back to the motorbike, I saw that there were shoes in the water too. The driver had to be in the water. You wouldn’t get out of that, and up onto the trail and attempt to walk the trail, without shoes. I couldn’t see anyone in the water though. Someone was ahead of me on the trail, though. I cycled to them,asking if they knew anything of the motorcycle. They inquired where it is. I asked about the driver and they told me he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Hopefully to be ok. The 911 operator called back. He wanted a plate # and I couldn’t get it, but told him what the 2 people told me.
Duty done. I hit the trail one more time tonight. Cranked out the last of 85 miles and found a Hampton Inn (one of my favorite chains)! Sadly, I never made it the additional 25 miles to the host household, but the expectant host gave me directions to my hotel. I’m sinking into a wonderful, comfy…. mattress…… zzz…uh, gettin….g…..slleee….