"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door" … "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
~ Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein

Friday, June 5, 2015

Riding in the Rain to Escanaba

Our Route: Nahma - Escanaba 

Rain hits thankfully on our shortest day. Not cold, no thunderstorms just light rain. Months ago we'd envisioned cold rain or even SNOW. This ain't bad in comparison!

Departed:Jun 04, '15, 10:45AM
Starts in:Nahma, MI, US
Distance:36.7 mi
Elevation:1121 / - 1105 ft

Total Duration:04:55:21
Moving Time:02:53:20
Max Speed:27.1 mph
Avg. Speed:12.7 mph

Riding Wet

Robb and Will on a foot bridge in Gladstone's beautiful lakefront park

We'd try to wait out the rain in the morning knowing it would be a short day, only 35 miles with little in the way of historical sights or other attractions to engage our time. But, shortly after leaving Nahma it began lightly raining and kept that up steadily all day, sometimes lighter, sometimes heavier. Most glad we were of a lunch break at Jack's restaurant in Rapid River where we could change into some dry clothes, add a few more rain protective pieces of clothing before continuing the last 15 miles.

Emerging from the Woods

But, after riding for miles and miles with little but trees, road and trucks for company, we were a bit startled to suddenly come upon - Civilization - or rather congestion, houses, businesses and even a McDonalds in the far northwestern corner of Lake Michigan. Leaving the small town of Rapid River we pass through the increasingly industrial areas of Gladstone and finally Escanaba our home for the night.

Lovely statue of grandfather & boy looking out to the lake
Gladstone lakefront park
From up here, in this corner of the wilderness came the raw materials of the midwestern's 19th century horrifically rapid growth. Iron ore, lumber, white fish in unbelievable quantities got shipped from here to other Great Lake ports like Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit - creating those cities, providing jobs for the millions of new immigrants. From here men made millions and millions more raised families in this new land of opportunity. What they clearly did not realize was that by extracting resources in the extreme they were laying the foundation for their own demise. Today Escanaba and environs still thrive on shipping ore and lumber but a greatly diminished scale. Unlike the abandoned iron town of Fayette or the struggling village of once mighty Nahma, this area reinvented itself enough to survive.

Escanaba's House of Ludington

Home for the night was the magnificent and welcoming  Ludington Hotel now known as The House of Ludington, once of Escanaba's historical treasurers. Great food, a great bar topped off by our wonderful hosts Suzelle and Ed made for a comfortable evening.

Dramatic Evening Sky Should Signal a Great, Dry Riding Day Tomorrow - Maybe Even a Tailwind?

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