Day 39 – Friendly people, blue skies

Cool, dry night air provided ideal sleeping weather. Even screeching kids in the night didn’t bother us. We slept until 6:30 am, 10 hours in the sleeping bags. This morning we headed toward M-22 for 3 miles. On the way, we saw a sign at a farm promoting their hops, confirming my earlier suspicions about the 15-foot tall poles stabilized by cables with what appeared to be hops growing up the poles. The Adventure Cycling map mentioned (correctly) more hills today- many more than we’ve seen in a while.

We rode about 15 hilly miles to aptly-named Crystal Lake with clear blue-green water. After a mile-long, low-gear climb, we descended to Frankfort. Scads of people from far and wide descended on the small town for the July 4th Parade. We bought food and rode around Betsie Lake to Elberta for breakfast #2 at the Lighthouse Cafe. Onward we rode to the south for more climbs, one of which featured a scenic overlook of Lake Michigan (see photo). A man from Eritrea congratulated us on attempting to ride across the US. We zoomed down to Arcadia, bought a cold drink, and ate lunch on a shaded picnic table.

The bright sun and blue skies followed us all day. Southward we traveled, through more deciduous forest and more climbing to Portage Lake and Onekama. I got a half-gallon of chocolate milk and started drinking it while standing in the check-out line. The woman in front of me asked me where I was going. Then, upon learning of my cross-country trip, she paid for my milk! Outside, another shopper commented on my enthusiastic milk drinking.

The last 10 miles of the day offered more climbing and riding past vacation homes along Lake Michigan. Betsy and I arrived at Orchard Beach State Park at about 3 pm and got a shady, breezy biker-biker site with a view of Lake Michigan for $21. Sadly, the beach was under water due to the rise in the lake level. Nevertheless, we’re happy to be here!

Empire, MI to Manistee, MI, 59.7 miles

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