700 mile day

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Sep 2008

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Where I stayed
Roger and Jane's

Flag of United States  , Michigan
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I need to get up and get going early so the alarm goes off at 5am (Central Time).  I have the tent and everything packed up and am on the road by 6am.  According to the GPS I have over 700 miles to travel to get to Roger and Jane's so it's going to be all freeway.  (Or, as they're called out here... all expressway.)  I check the tires before I go and decide the rear tire will hold out for another 700 miles.  But I'm going to need a new one very soon.
I admit to being influenced by stereotypes.  When I think of Wisconsin, one of the primary things that comes to mind is... cheese.  So I expected to see lots of dairy operations.  I didn't.  What I see is mile after mile of corn and a small bushy crop I don't recognize.  Unlike the vast flat expanses of grain I drove through in eastern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the fields here all seem to be broken up into smaller fields with trees between the fields.  Wisconsin grows a LOT of corn.
After crossing Wisconsin I go through a little of Illinois and through Chicago which is the typical urban mess.  The only difference is that in California I can legally split the lanes - ride my bike between the lanes so I'm not stuck in traffic.  I can't legally lane-split in Illinois so I'm stuck in Chicago traffic and I have second thoughts about the wisdom of following the suggestion of the GPS to make this trip through the US instead of my original plan of going through Canada.
Be that as it may, I make it through Illinois and into Indiana.  I cross a small corner of Indiana and then I'm in Michigan.  Roger and Jane live in a little town not far from Ann Arbor on the eastern side of the state so I still have to cross most of the state.  I finally arrive at 7:15 pm (Eastern Time) about 12 hours after I started riding.
They live in a rural area between a couple of small towns.  I follow dirt/gravel country roads flanked by overhanging trees to get to their home.  They're not home (Roger told me they had a meeting they had to go to) so I sit out on the front porch on the porch swing and enjoy the view of the fields under cultivation, the neighbor's barn and Roger and Jane's beautiful home.
After a while their niece's husband comes by to collect me (Roger had called him and told him I'd probably be there) and take me to his home just down the road.  He built this beautiful home himself and the woodwork, of which there is a lot, was made with wood from trees harvested off his father's property.  He feeds me dinner and we talk about my travels before Roger and Jane come by to take me back to their home.  Roger grew up in this home.  It was his grandparents' and his parents' before him.  We talk for a while before I shower and crash into bed.
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