Today: 88.48 miles Total: 2171.2 miles 10.11.10
hehe. I like today’s sign. I came up with it when AN & UR were with us and I just remembered it.
So, we slept in a train.
The view from inside was strange.
I slept pretty horribly due to this huge light in the parking lot nearby (and the fact that I was super warm all night), but we woke up and had a real big breakfast. We’re starting to realize that not only are we not going to need to buy and groceries before the end of our trip, but that we have far too much food for the rest of the trip. We need to eat more! (not a problem).
There was a lot of roadkill today. I can NEVER time the holding of my breath perfectly enough to avoid the stench. And I HATE the smell of roadkill. I try to take a big breath before I get to the carcass and keep holding that breath for hundreds of feet past it. In reality, I always take the breath too early and end up taking a HUGE recovery breath 5 feet past a rotting skunk.
After “sleeping” in the train, I guessed what time I awoke to within 2 minutes. Again. I said 7:04. It was :06. I sat and waited for Chelsea for like 2 hours before we could finally leave at 9:30am. SLOW POKE! We rode 20ish miles and stopped to call Josh something-or-other, the Michigan State Bike Coordinator. He answered! On Columbus Day! Although all states have these “bike-traveler-assistants,” they never seem to actually exist, and getting in touch with them is more difficult than making pancakes on a camp stove without butter, oil, or any sort of grease–a situation I’ve been stuck in no less than 5 times.
Josh did exactly what I was looking for: provided turn-by-turn directions to Ann Arbor on bike-friendly roads. We got back on the road in a day of perfect weather. Why couldn’t this sunshine be here a month ago? It was too warm last night. I doubt it dipped below 50.
At the end of our conversation, I had a really intense set of directions. Having to actually do something other than ride in a straight line all day makes the day–to my susurprise–WAY more fun. At the same time, I am finally able to zone out really well as I ride. Even if not really thinking of anything, at least I’m not beating myself up constantly by thinking about pedal rotation, pedal rotation, pedal rotation, pedal rotation… AND, even when I DO think about the biking itself, it isn’t nearly as miserable. It isn’t…hard. That’s nice. I’m getting so close to home!
Chelsea did a great job of keeping up today. Even tonight, here at a house, I’m still choosing to be outside on a step on the back porch as I write this. We arrived at U of M in Ann Arbor after 18 miles of gravel, back-country-roads. To be honest, once I saw how well my bike performed on them, I found them terribly enjoyable and relaxing.
The roads today, while not biker-friendly, added up to a really pleasant and mellow day of riding.
Ann Arbor is a bustling city in the middle of nowhere.
It reminds me of a huge (40k students) Oxford, Ohio. Riding through the city, we finally found Dennison Hall, where Chanel texted me that her class was located. Holy huge campus. It’s SUPER college (adjective). Alpha-Delta-Frater-Omega-nities and everything! She came out after only 15 or 20 minutes of waiting (crazy good timing after biking all day) and we said HELLO. She had to be at work in 20 minutes, so she walked us to her house, gave us clean towels and keys, showed us how the shower can manage to set off the smoke detector, and ran to work. I can tell she’s stoked that we’re here. I’m happy to be here, too. It’s the first–the FIRST–familiar person I’ve seen in 6 weeks and 2000 miles. Everyone’s always asking/assuming/wondering if I’m staying with friends along this trip. I haven’t known a SOUL between Montana and here. So this is quite refreshing.
I enjoyed a long shower and ate the Easter M&M’s from the food shelter guy that I was actually intending to give to Chanel as a thank-you gift, but instead pulled from my pannier and instantly ate. So, in their place, I wrote a funny little note to put in the M&M’s container and put that in her desk.
There was the most perfect hills today on Kensington Road, approaching Ann Arbor, to set my speed PR. But I only got 40.4 mph 😦 Chelsea and I ate a great dinner at Ayaska, the Japanese place where Chanel works. I cashed in my birthday gift certificate. Chanel is a host/server/everything. We got appetizers, entrees, AND 4 rolls of sushi. I was legitimately full and it felt glorious. Sweet potato tempura sushi was awesome. Sang, the Korean owner, and Nine, a Thai PhD student, both talked to us after closing (when Chelsea and I stuck around, waiting for Chanel to finish her closing duties). They were super cool.
We left at 10:30pm and shared some gelato from the place next door. Then Chanel and I stayed up talking until 2am before I crashed on the couch in the living room while Chelsea slept on the futon.