Day 15 – the last hop

When we left home two weeks ago our deadline was to arrive at Northwestern University by Monday afternoon in time for Nate to start his pre-semester backpacking trip in the upper Peninsula of Michigan. With 20 miles of mostly bike path left, it looked like we were going to make it.  Early on in New York State, and later in Michigan with all the flat tires, we had our doubts. But now we were within easy reach of our goal. I left my panniers behind and Nate had his backpacking gear in the trailer instead of our biking equipment, and Marie joined us on a borrowed bicycle. We headed south, drafting each other down the bike path. Marie had a chance to experience our drafting etiquette, calling out obstacles to each other along the way; “Cyclist up!”, “Dog up!”,  “Stopping!”, “Pedistranian” (sic), “Holes!”.

For a mile or so, we cranked it up to our top speed to give Marie that experieince as well. But we didn’t maintain that pace for too long. Later, a much older gent was able to overtake us, the only time in the whole 1100 mile trip that a cyclist passed us while we were moving. We consoled ourselves with the knowledge that he had probably not ridden from Massachusetts in the last two weeks.

Shortly it began to rain. We stopped, put on rain gear and covered Nate’s pack, but the cold rain and the detours dampened our spirits for our final leg. We had some difficulty finding campus and more difficulty finding Nate’s meeting place. Feeling like cold drowned rats, it was a rather anti-climatic ending to our trip. We waited while Nate checked in with his group.

With a tearful farewell we acknowledged the end of an adventure that we would always remember. Marie and I got some hot soup, hitched the empty Bob up to my bicycle (the first time I had pulled it all trip) and headed to the train station to ride Metro back to grandmother’s house.

Miles: 20
Hours riding: 2
Hours of Rain: 1
Miles of bikepath: 10
Serious cyclists:5
Pictures taken: 0
Tearful goodbyes:1 (or 3, depends on how you count)
Total Miles: About 1100
Total days of riding:14, including two very short ones.
Longest day: 121 miles


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