One of the greatest things about this trip is how a day can end in a totally different way to how it began; and a morning can be poles apart from the night before.
As we climbed into our bed last night, we could still see lightning flashing through the curtains of our hotel room, thunder was growling and then cracking in the distance, and we could hear the rain drumming down on the tarmac outside. When we woke this morning, the sun was pouring through the crack in the curtains and it was beautiful blue sky outside. Even better, the storm had freshened the atmosphere and it was a perfect cycling day, with a tail wind to boot!
It was a short 35-mile hop from Iron River, MI to the small township of Sagola, MI. We got up late, had a hearty breakfast, and then rolled out of Iron River shortly before noon. It was a relaxed ride mainly on rolling county roads next to woods and wildflowers that reminded us of our childhood. Nothing spectacular to make us stop and pull out the camera, but green and pleasant, and a joy to ride through.
Pulling up to our motel, Anthony’s head was turned by the large truck parked outside. And when we say large, we mean LARGE. Regular followers of this blog will know that the trucks, tractors, cotton-pickers and other industrial-style “vehikkles” of the US are somewhat of a fascination for Anthony. Well, he is a boy after all. Kat feels the same way about shoes. So, imagine his joy when we met Kris and Bob, the owners of the motel, and found that the truck belongs to Bob. And even better, after dinner at the local bar (Thanks to Dan and Marilyn, and Hi to Joe and Jeff), Bob took us for a ride down the road in the truck (!) and to one of the logging plant where he delivers. Now for the “science bit”…
This baby is a 42-wheeler (yes, really… 42 wheels). When fully loaded, it weighs 160,000 lbs (that’s double the weight of the next largest trucks). It has almost 600hp, 6 cylinders and a crane arm big enough to lift up a house …talk about optional extras… leather seats, a/c, 26inch wheels and a massive crane! Anyway, riding high in the cabin of this herculean workhorse with Kat beaming like an excited schoolgirl, we finally got a true perspective of how tiny we must look when cycling on the seemingly ‘very small’ hard shoulder at the edge of the road. We have a new-found respect for the professionalism of Truck drivers…thanks Bob. It was a truly amazing experience and one we couldn’t even have dreamed of as we set off this morning. It’s strange the things that make us tick but it was so much fun! And we won’t even get started on all the logging equipment that Bob showed us… but we do wonder whether you can get them in “Tonka” size?
We spent the rest of the evening eating Kris’s delicious Raspberry Shortcake & Cream and chatting away with Bob and Kris, putting the world to rights. They’ve also given us some great ideas about our route over the next few days. Escanaba, MI tomorrow, and after that, watch this space…
And finally… Happy Birthday to Susie (SB), Kat’s sister.
P.S. We’ll be back onto Eastern time tomorrow, 5 hours behind the UK.