From the Archive

Muskegon to Grand Rapids, MI – 51 miles

8/4/12 Muskegon to Grand Rapids, MI – 51 miles

As soon as I climbed in my tent last night, I realized I had made a mistake in placement. There was a bright light almost directly overhead, and since I did not put the rain flap on it was shining right on my head. I convinced myself it was no big deal if I just kept my eyes closed. I was too tired to bother. Then I had a hard time getting comfortable because the ground didn’t look that bad and I was too lazy to blow up the little air mattress I brought along. It is clear plastic and squeaks a lot so I don’t always use it when the ground looks soft. Big mistake. Looks can be deceiving. Not a good night as I had to keep shifting to try and find a comfortable position while keeping my eyes closed to the light. Another memorable camping experience to add to the list.

No matter how many times Randy and I agree that we are going to sleep in and not get up early, we both seem to be up by 5:30 or 6:00 am. This morning was no exception. Randy was pulling out the propane to heat the water for Starbucks via. We decided to pack up and ride to McDonalds for another cup of coffee and to use the wi-Fi before biking 4-5 miles to meet up with some of Randy’s friends from Grand Haven for breakfast.

We met Bob and Debbie at a restaurant called Russ’s for breakfast. It was fun to watch Randy and his friends catch up. Bob and Debbie are retired and spend part of the year in Tucson and part in Michigan, where they are from originally. They were very interesting people. They bike, hike, camp in a little A-frame camper, boat and seem to love to travel. Seem to be constantly on the go. While we were eating breakfast, we had a number of people come up to the table and ask if we were the people on the bikes. Enthusiastically asking the now familiar questions. I don’t think either Randy or I ever get tired of this. Perhaps it is ego or something, but I do always come away from these conversations feeling so grateful for the gift of this adventure so many seem to envy. I know how blessed I am.

We left Bob and Debbie and headed towards Grand Rapids. Once again, Randy found a terrific rails-to-trails bike path that took us most of the way. However, we ran into
the same experience of coming into a big town or city, where you have to negotiate the traffic to find your motel. I had booked rooms ahead of time to eliminate the additional task of finding a place to stay upon arrival, and also because I knew I was tired after camping last night and Randy didn’t look much better. For some reason, we had a hard time finding the place. And it was weird because our separate Google maps were showing different routes and our sleep- deprived brains were having a difficult time processing. Also, we were hot. After several wrong turns and what seemed forever, we finally arrived at the motel only to find a single employee working the front desk who was clearly overwhelmed. We took our place in line and watched. I had a flash back to Jordan the waiter in Casper, WY and fought the urge to leap over the counter and help the poor woman out. Just some basic organizational principles. Common sense. After almost 45 minutes, we finally got our room assignments. I wheeled my bike down the hall and inserted my key card. No response. Tried again. Flashing lights but no go. All of a sudden this guy jerked the door open and glared at me. I said, “sorry, I guess they gave me this room by mistake.” His response, a terse “This is my room.” I returned to the front desk for another go with the overwhelmed desk clerk. The room I eventually ended up in was terrific – huge and comfortable. In fact, it was so big I was able to spread out my tent and ground cloth to dry out from the dew the night before.

Soaked in the tub and met Randy for dinner. Watched a little Olympics before falling asleep.


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