Mount Pleasant, Michigan: Yesterday was a nominal rest day but in a departure from routine in the afternoon we boarded a coal-fired ferry for a 60-mile crossing of Lake Michigan. Halfway across the lake we advanced our watches to the Eastern time zone. But it wasn’t until disembarking from the ferry and approaching a “Welcome to Pure Michigan” sign that it hit us: we’ve not just entered the seventh state on this journey, but we’ve crossed into the Eastern United States and are getting close to our final destination. With less than 1,000 miles to go, in two weeks we will arrive at the Atlantic Ocean, unless we make a wrong turn in Canada.
With the end in sight, I have been working overtime to seek the best ice cream in America and the prettiest barn while continuing to pedal fast and furiously. Yesterday in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, I may have discovered America’s best ice cream: the Turtle Sundae at Beerntsen’s (see below picture). The Turtle Sundae is vanilla ice cream covered with pecans, caramels and hot fudge. A family tradition, Beernsten’s have been making ice creams straight from Wisconsin cows, and chocolates and candies on site since 1932. Beernsten’s is the new standard for which I will judge all other ice creams, including the triple scoop rainbow sherbert I devoured this afternoon at Happy Ending, an ice cream parlour in Isabella, on today’s 115 mile ride.
Also today I enjoyed the idyllic Michigan countryside from the vantage point of a bike saddle. From the moment I started pedalling around 6:45am while the full moon was still visible, I thoroughly enjoyed today’s long distance ride. It was slightly hilly, and as century rides go a fairly easy one. Yes, I saw plenty of corn fields, but asparagus, squash, apple and cherry orchards were also evident. Plus plenty of photogenic barns, some more than a century old, and most still functioning well. The town of Mount Pleasant, where we’re spending the night, is perfectly pleasant and tidy; it feels like the entire downtown just received a new paint job and there’s almost a “Pleasantville” aura to the downtown center.
Days 36 and 37:
Day 36 and 37 Route: Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI by ferry; Ludington to Mt Pleasant, MI
Days 36 and 37 mileage: 7.3 miles to/from ferry pier (Day 36); 114.7 miles (Day 37)
Cumulative mileage: 2,759 miles
Day 37 Climbing: 2,410 feet
Cumulative Climbing: 80,810 feet of climbing
Terrain: gently rolling