Monday, 7 July 2014

On a good day that could have been a great day

Today was supposed to be a relatively long day and it was. On fact, it was an even longer day on paper than in reality, as I returned to the Eastern Time Zone which meant I lost an hour.

However, it was an exhilarating day as well. It was nice, sunny with the wind at my back for most of the day. As well, much of the day was on Highway 69 which gently rose and more often fell in such a way as to encourage high speeds. At one point I was keeping pace with a couple of ATVs that were on a trail parallel to the highway. Mind you, they had to stop at the intersecting roads whereas I didn't. At one point, one of the drivers gave me a friendly wave.

Lunch came at Hardwood. I went into the only grocery store I had seen in about 20 miles looking for a sandwich or something. I choose the best option out of a very limited selection namely a frozen microwaveable ham 'n' cheese thingy and a bottle of cold Gatorade. There seemed to be an issue at the cash with the customer before the customer before me. As the store was quite cool, I let the matter sort itself out with the patience of someone having a good day of biking who knows he needs to rest a bit before going on. The matter resolved itself in due course.

(What little attention I paid to the matter leads me to believe it was some sort of credit and/or debit card machine issue. I have noticed the Yanks are way behind Canada in financial technology. You can't verify a credit card transaction with a PIN like I have done in Canada, Australia or the UK. As well, I have seen many signs in businesses about which personal checks they will accept. I can't remember the last time I wrote a check to a business.)
Getting back to Hardwood, the customer in front of me asked me about where I had biked from and where I was going. Then she insisted on paying for my lunch, such as it was. I accepted given the good spirits she was in. After the woman left, the clerk said: "That's Tina Murray for you. Her whole family's like that. If it had been her sister, she'd have insisted on driving you!" ;-)
It was a nice day, but a dry one. By the time I got Perronville, I was dying for a cool drink so I went into the tavern there for a Sprite and to cajole the hostess into filling up my water bottles with water and ice.  While was sipping my drink, one of locals informed me that there was a bad accident several miles ahead that the authorities were detouring traffic around. Not knowing quite what to make of this, I shrugged and thanked him for the news.

After I had turned off 69 onto 14th road, I came across a cycle tourer going the other way. We stopped to compare notes. He confirmed the continued presence of the accident. He was returning to Minneapolis after a seven week jaunt. I didn't event him in the slightest as he was a camping cyclist and was facing a twenty mile or more slog against the warm wind before he reached the next campground.

I had to take the detour. This involved talking talking to a Michigan state trooper and not making references to a Bruce Springsteen song about Michigan state trooper based in Perronville. The detour was no fun as the roads had no shoulder, heavy traffic and a certain amount of dust. At one point, I opted to get off the road completely to let a truck with an over-sized load go by. I used the time to reset my watch.

All things considered, the detour wasn't that bad, but it put a damper on an otherwise very good day. Among the stats, 155 km, 26 km/h average and a 70 km/h maximum speed.