We all have those places that you see when you are traveling down the road such as a little museum or a trail or something else that would be cool to stop at, but you are always in a hurry or trying to get somewhere and you never have time to just stop. The great thing about traveling by bike is that these are the stops that are the most important breaks in the day.
Today was Mill Creek just outside of Mackinaw City. The girls have been driven by there dozens of times and always want to stop, but we are always on the way to a race or on the way home from a long day. No matter what the excuse, we have never stopped there.
Today however, this same place is totally different. It is a reason to stop, A reason to take a break. Plus it is something that can be educational to add even more value to our trip.
The Mill Creek park is a recreated water powered saw mill that was used to create all of the lumber used to build the town and fort on Mackinac Island.
Today was also our first long experience on dirt. We are riding a rails-to-trails trail for about 65 miles through northern Michigan. The first challenge is that dirt seems to add about 1-2 minutes per mile to our travel time. So over the course of many miles, that really starts to add up. The other problem with rails-to-trails is that trains do not go up big hills. Which also means they do not go down big hills. So after a day of riding on this trail, you realize that you are pedaling constantly. There is no hill to coast down. There is no rest. These trails are just a long steady grind. This makes me a little worried because we have an even longer stretch coming up in a couple days.
Today was also the first time the girls met other cycle tourists. We met a group of 3 women that were on a 4 day tour over Memorial Day doing the trail we were on in both directions.
Finally, today was the first day that we camped. We rustic camped in a state forest campground. This is the first time we tried out the tent and sleeping bags and all went smooth on that.