Day 40: Midland, MI to Otter Lake, MI

Dow Chemical’s headquarters in Midland, MI, with influence all over town, such as the school mascot: The Chemics

We woke up refreshed after a full 8 hours of sleep, and headed out of Midland, wrinkling our noses at the (real? imagined?) harsh smells coming from the Dow Chemical headquarters. We listened to new audiobooks as we rode through farmland interspersed with residences, feeling strong with the tailwind pushing us to Bay City. We hoped there would be a natural foods store in this larger town so that we could pick up today’s groceries.

vegan brunch at Heather’s in Bay City


While we didn’t find one in our Internet search, we did find a mostly vegetarian/vegan restaurant that was open for brunch today! So we took a longer break there, enjoying vegan coconut-crusted french toast, a tofu-veggie scramble, and fantastic tofu bacon. We’ve clearly abandoned our usual style of mostly vegan eating on this trip, so any meals like this are a real treat. Right next door was Jack’s Bike Shop, where, though they were closed today, the owner let us in to purchase some supplies.

Michigan bike paths are great!


After struggling to follow the bike path through Bay City (it was mostly sidewalks, sometimes poorly signed), we eventually got out of town and turned into a headwind. The weather was cool with scattered rain throughout the ride, so we kept our rain gear on most of the day. It was challenging riding, especially because we had a goal of reaching Otter Lake to get to a blueberry farm where they serve blueberry pancakes until 6PM each day. 

Blueberry Lane Farms’ many delicious blueberry products


We rode hard, sometimes on country highways, but mostly on well-maintained bike paths, until we reached Blueberry Lane, just in time to purchase two pints of blueberries, a few slices of blueberry pie, a blueberry cookie, and some blueberry lemonade. We were very disappointed to miss the blueberry pancakes, as the store was closing up for the day as we arrived. We sat down to eat the pie at their picnic benches, and the owners, “Blueberry Bob” and Theresa, came over to talk about our ride with us. They informed us that although we had missed the pancakes today, that they would be here at 6AM and would serve us breakfast.

foreground: blueberries! background: our tent!

Then, they told us we were welcome to pitch a tent right here among the blueberry bushes! The regular campground around here is pretty expensive, and would add a few miles to come back for breakfast, so we were thrilled at the offer of a free night’s lodging in such a unique location. They have toilets, potable water, and picnic tables, and it’s nice and quiet here. It’s a lovely place to spend the night. They warned us that their handy-man, Mike, would be shooting to scare away the birds for a bit this evening, and that they would let him know we were here. After he finished shooting for the day, he came over and chatted with us about the blueberry farm, the bird population, his grandchildren, and our ride. It was a good thing he knew that Bob gave us permission, because he’s been known to scare away blueberry thieves with his 12-gauge. 

Stats:
today’s distance: 68.4 miles
time in the saddle: 6 hrs, 12 min
total distance: 3,017 miles 

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