This is a report on a 60.5 mile ride to Bunker Hill Township in Ingham County, Michigan on Saturday 12 Nov 2016.
This photo was taken at the 18 mile mark, at the east end of Assyria Road, northwest of Bellevue. It was the only photo stop other than at Onandaga and Bunker township halls. Unfortunately, I didn’t leave home in time to do more than that before the sun went down. At this time of year, with the sun low in a clear sky, it would have been good to get more photos. But at least I got the ride in.
At this point I needed to decide where to cross the Battle Creek River and I-69. The ideal would have been to keep going straight east, because a breeze was at my back and would help me ride fast enough to get to my destination before dark. But there are no roads that go straight east from here. The Battle Creek River and I-69 are in the way.
I could have taken three miles of gravel north to Five Point Highway, and then gone east toward Eaton Rapids. But that would have taken me north of my destination, and I was trying to minimize the amount of north-south riding. And besides, I had already taken that route earlier this summer. So I went south and then to Bellevue and then took a back road to Olivet that I hadn’t been on in quite a few years. There was a stretch of gravel on that route, too, but it probably wasn’t as rough as the paved shoulder of the main road (MI-78).
Before continuing, I took off the bicycle overboots that I have use to keep my feet warm on long rides at temperatures of 40F or lower. I almost shouldn’t have.
The route is shown on this map. (It’s probably more readable if you click on it to view it in a larger size.)
When I reached Onondaga I had to ride around a bit before I found the township hall. The parking lot was full of cars, so I didn’t get photos from all angles. The front of the building was in shadows, so there was only so much I could do, anyway. And I needed to move on quickly to get to Bunker Hill before sundown.
I quickened my pace after leaving Onondaga. Some of the road surface was not in the best shape for fast riding (“fast” being a relative term) but as I got closer to Bunker Hill the surface was in very good condition and I could make good time.
After entering Bunker Hill township I was passed by a car coming from the Lansing direction, flying one of those Michigan State University flags that you see on football game days. It reminded me that part of the arrangement was that Myra was willing to come and get me at the end of my ride, but only because the game would be over by the time she needed to leave home. I couldn’t tell if the people in the car were happy or not. It has not been a happy year for football. But it would be better if Myra was happy about the day’s game. (I later learned that MSU had beat Rutgers, as expected even this year.)
When I got to the town hall the sun was still up, and there were no trees in the way to keep it from lighting up the building. That was good. But the parking lot in front of the building was full. People were coming and going out of the front door, and kids were playing in and out of the building. Photos of people are good, but I hadn’t brought any permission slips for people to sign so I could put their photos on the web, and besides, I didn’t want to interrupt what they were doing. So I did the best I could.
A young boy, maybe 6 or so, and his sister were telling people that a guy was taking pictures, and were sort of trying to get into the picture themselves. (The above photo was snapped from across the road, before I got closer and they started paying attention to me.) The boy told me they were having a baby shower for his mother’s third child – a boy. I asked him if he was going to help take care of his baby brother, and he said yes, but he emphasized that he wasn’t going to change diapers.
As the sun went down and the cars started to leave I got a few more photos. Then I just waited, standing out by the road where Myra could see me when she drove by. Usually we time these things fairly well, but this time something must have delayed her. I pulled out my tablet computer and started to catch up on conversations on Ricochet, then put one glove back on because my hands were getting cold. A car drove by occasionally, but no Myra. I had kept my jacket on all day, but started to wish I had thrown an extra sweatshirt or something into my pannier. Then after an hour, as the people who were cleaning up the hall were leaving, too, Myra called. She was having trouble figuring out where she was. By now I was shivering enough to make it hard to operate my phone, but I told her that if she was on Haynes Road, she needed to come further west. That didn’t make sense to her. “The road dead ends here!” she said. We spent some more time consulting our maps, and when she called again I was shivering harder. She said Google was telling her she should drive four miles north and around. That didn’t make sense to me, but I didn’t have any better ideas. Finally, after another round of this, we got together, by which time I was thoroughly chilled.
I wasn’t so chilled that I couldn’t load up my bicycle, though. I got in the car and cranked up the heat. We decided to eat at the Cracker Barrel in Jackson, 20 miles away. About halfway there, I thought I was pretty warmed up. But when we arrived and went inside, I started shivering again. This didn’t completely surprise me, because I had been through stuff like this before, quite a few years ago. So we went back to the car, by which time the shivering was really bad, and cranked up the heat again. I thought maybe if we drove the remaining 40 miles to Battle Creek in a warm car I’d be OK by then. Myra got me a hot coffee to sip as I drove, and didn’t complain too much about the heat being turned way up. And it turned out I was feeling OK when we went into the Battle Creek Cracker Barrel. I even took off my jacket while we ate. And by then the Google Maps on her phone had figured out where Bunker Hill really was. It had been taking her to the wrong place earlier.