This weekend Cale and I went on a short bike packing trip (think backpacking, but with bikes) on the shores of beautiful, somewhat-smelly-at-times Lake Michigan. We've done a bunch of short rides north from Port Washington, but this was our first overnight foray. It was... interesting. Here was the plan: Start further north (than PW) on Friday after work, bike up to Sheboygan, eat dinner and camp there for the night. Then on Saturday, bike up to Manitowoc, start heading back down, camp for the second night, then bike the rest of the way back on Sunday.
Cale and I were riding the usuals, Cale on his Pugsley and me on the green 1x1. We both strapped our sleeping bags to our bars. This past week, Cale bought some Topeak seatpost racks, which worked out very well. They didn't shift unless they really took a hit, and they were quick and easy to remove. Cale had the tent and a dry bag strapped to his, and I got a dry bag filled with our clothes and pillows and such. On a whim, I added a small Knog backpack to the party, so I could have our toothbrushes, wallets and my book close at hand.
We started out as planned, hoping to avoid the thunder storms that had been forecast for the weekend. About a half hour or so into the ride, we went past a couple of women that yelled for us to stop as we passed. We stopped and waited as they caught up. One of them started talking and we found out she was the mother of the girl who had gone missing on the lake. She asked us to keep an eye out for her, and I winced as Cale asked if we should call 911 if we found her. The mother was very calm as she explained that they were hoping the approaching storms would wash her body to shore. It was hard to hear.
After a few hours of riding (and apprehensively watching the shore) the sun was starting to set, so we stopped for dinner at Marjerle's Black River Grill. It was perfect- just off the lake, easy to find, and delicious. Cale had an excellent Perch fish fry and we got some classic cheese curds. The place reminded me of the bar Dad used to take me to to register the deer during hunting season. I'd sit at the bar and order pancakes while dad registered. Ah, memories.
After dinner, we set up camp.
We hadn't packed any sleeping pads, because we figured the sand would be soft enough. Turns out, I've got enough padding for that, and old man Cale does not. He kept tossing and turning and waking me up. Harumph. About 2AM, we woke to something else entirely, though. Strange Noises. There were some weird snorting noises about 10 ft from the tent. My sleep addled brain brought forth: Montauk monster. Yes, it was most certainly the Montauk monster. I muttered my convictions to Cale several times before falling back to sleep.
The next day we had breakfast in Sheboygan as we passed through. Our now revised plan was to find a way around Sheboygan (recon for next time), head North for a while, then turn around and head home. No second night for us. We spent a few hours trying to get back down to the shore, but it was pretty difficult. There were a few rivers we had to avoid, and a lot of private land blocked us from easily getting back down to the shore.
Private Land, to get back to the beach after Sheboygan (we got permission!):
In the end, we gave up on it, but now we know what doesn't work. We'll either pick up where we left off, or start in Manitowoc and work our way South.
And so South we headed, with a tail wind. All told we did about 60 miles, which turned out to be 2 miles too long. By the end of the trip I was tired of sand. Really tired of it. It gets everywhere! Yeah, you heard me, giggle gang. The most annoying had to be the sand in the brakes. So noisy and destructive.
And now, some more pictures: