Sand Trap

We’re camped out in a Christmas tree farm field near Gaylord, MI.

We’ve been riding NNW for the past few days, moving from place to place by rail-trails and roads, working our way to the top of Lake Michigan. Tomorrow we’ll arrive in Mackinaw City – after which we turn West – for a while. Tomorrow is also an exciting day because we’ll break our first thousand miles. Our odometers stand at 964 tonight; maddeningly close.

I thought I’d share a particularly challenging scenario we found ourselves in today.

Google maps is usually reliable – it’s how we get everywhere we go on this trip. However, the bicycle routing feature is still in beta. Today it led us astray.

A rail trail is a former railroad that is usually paved or covered with stone dust, and used by cyclists and runners.

This rail trail however was three miles of deep, sandy single-track. Our relatively thin road tires sliced through the sand like a knife through soft butter. We rode, we fell, and we walked.

We couldn’t turn back, because doing so would mean backtracking for miles. So, we committed to the three miles of sand.

Gradually, we worked our way out of this sandy mess. Through a series of dirt roads, we found the refreshingly obliging pavement again, and continued on.

Raphael at work:


Tarmac, at last.


At dinner tonight, we came to the consensus that we’re now entering bear country, and we have to adjust our camping habits accordingly. Tonight marks the first night we’re hanging our food, snacks, and toothpaste up in a nearby tree. We’ll be ordering our bear spray soon too.


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