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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Huron and Erie

As I drove down 123 South, I passed a lone bicyclist. At the junction of 28,I found a dozen more, an army of cyclists. They were going north and I south. It was a worthy hand off. They north and me south. I was heading for Lake Huron via the bridge. Got some smoked, fresh and spread trout. Funny how this works. Trout on both ends of Superior tour, but not in middle. Took 23 South after the Bridge. Getting passed all the schlock, I found a steady pace and fine road. Some overlooks, but they were occupied. Stumbled upon a public beach that was not announced. I did a U-Turn and backed the Scamp towards the beach. I used the Scamp to change from street clothes to beach clothes. Back on the road, some chores and heading to Harrisville SP. Stopped at a quarry view overlook. Amazing how the land has been carved out for calcite and all the freighters in harbor. Moving on to Alpena, I was looking for a brewery, but it was closed and another one was a month from opening. Nearest brewery 20 minutes south of Harrisville.  A man could do well with a brewery here, unless the folks here don’t drink beer. When I finally arrived at the SP, I was very lucky to get the last spot on the beach. I faced the Scamp East so I could enjoy the sunrise from bed. After setting a minimal camp, I took a walk and then a swim. I grabbed my book, a beer, and a chair and spent the end of the day on the beach with the sun warming my back. Dinner was fresh trout. I cleaned up and broke the minimalist camp and headed to Oscoda, 20 minutes further south to the only brewery in the area, Wiltse’s Brew Pub. It was Monday night in America. The place was packed and apparently they were down two servers. It took fifteen minutes before I could request a flight and fifteen more to get it. Forty-five minutes later I leave with a growler of good ale. Forty-five minutes??? Should have been more like fifteen. I got back to camp, set a good fire and lay out on the table looking heavenward. The sun woke me as planned and I hurried to the beach to watch it ascend from the lake. Magnificent!!
When I went out the seagulls en masse greeted me. Last night I skinned and boned four chicken thighs. I took the skin and bones out to the beach and fed the gulls. It was glorious and chaotic as they laughed and laughed. They were disappointed with my banana skin.
I went back to sleep until 8:30, had breakfast and took a swim. I read some and then took a shower. When I started to break camp, I discovered I had a flat tire on the Scamp. I changed into working clothes and found my Jeep Lug wrench didn’t fit the Scamp lugs. I borrowed a lug wrench from my neighbor across the street. Changed the tire, broke camp, set up everything to hit the road, and took another shower. Within a couple of miles out, I found a shop to fix the tire. While that was happening, I walked to NAPA, down the road, and bought a lug wrench. Got back and tire was fixed and I hit the road once again. I was an hour and a half behind intended time. I was heading to Caseville and a brewery named Thumb Brewery. When I got there at four, I found they were closed for the season. There are not many breweries in this area. Also driving Lake Huron is frustrating because when I am on the lake, I am looking at houses. The entire shore is house after house after house. BORING!!!! Lake Huron is like the East Coast. I really miss Lake Superior. And no Breweries!!! Lake access is very limited and exclusive. Seems like the temperature has risen ten degrees from my last three weeks. Doing one night stands to get through this non-scenic route around a lake. I found Sleeper SP, which was empty and took whatever site I wanted. In this case 150, simply because it was in the middle of it all. I had lake trout for dinner, the Yankees in Tampa, and a fire. I have a tree cover so not a good look at the evening sky.
It has taken three days to civilize me. After three weeks on the savage and wild Lake Superior, crossing the bridge has been life altering. Lake Huron is a different lake. It is civilized. Also the first four breweries were either closed or not opened yet. The flat tire, well I was not in good spirits. Lexington Brewery was closed and it wasn’t until Port Huron did I find some brew, Thumb Coast Brewery. Good stuff and spoke with the brewer. Tasted a new brown ale with maple syrup not yet ready for sale. Very good!! He told me about a new brewery down the road on my way to Algonac SP. Took a Lost Souls growler with me. Harsens Island Brewery didn’t have a license to fill growlers, darn. Drove by the campsite and got a view of possible sites. One I spied was available; took it. Big, very big ships going by on the way to Lake Huron through Lake St Clair from Lake Erie. I am looking at Canada. This is what I mean by civilized, especially after my Lake Superior experience. I am going to be blowing through Detroit and Toledo to get to the East Harbor SP. Then I blow through Cleveland to get to Geneva-on-the-Lake SP. Civilized.
I had the Scamp facing east so the sun would wake me. It rose over Canada. Had breakfast and took a sweet twenty-mile ride. I got home, took a shower and broke camp. Did some shopping before I hit the Interstate hell known as 94 and 75 heading through Detroit and Toledo to the sanity of Erie Circle Route 2 to 163 and East Harbor SP. Stopped briefly at Ottawa NWR and saw lots of pretty birds including some eagles. East Harbor SP has 600 campsites!!! I found a beautiful site away from it all facing east and with some shade. In another part of the park 300 seniors are camping together as some festival, but it is on the other side and mostly this weekend, though they are coming in. I’m in a section usually used by tenters and folks who don’t need full hookups: electric, water, and sewer. I’m happy with just electric or nothing. Being with those big rigs is weird and scary. Hung up my bike clothes, which I washed this morning and my other wet things. I had lunch, I set up the hammock and took a nap. Very delightful. Took a walk, had dinner, listened to the game, had a fire, the moon appeared. Woke and took the route around the peninsula of Marblehead and saw the lighthouse. Headed to Geneva-on the Lake. Drove through Sandusky, so depressing and then to the opulence of Amherst. Went through Cleveland to drive by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as one does through Springfield Mass. I follow the coast road stopping here and there. All the history I took and literature I have read is coming at me on the road signs and historical markers. Saw some eagles. Stopped at Willoughby’s Brewery in Willoughby, Ohio. Took away lots. They had a very good smoked porter as well as other tasty beers. I get a sweet spot at Geneva. Since it was Friday I knew the two breweries in the area would be open. After a swim and dinner I headed out. First stop was the Cornerstone in Madison, Ohio. I took away a lovely white ale. Reminded me of Iceland and Sweden. The next stop was though hither and yon on such backwoods roads I couldn’t believe there was a brewery here with music as advertised. When I came over a hill, I saw an establishment that could only be a brewery and the parking lot was packed. I wandered a curious path from the outside patio, which was packed with folks dressed as if they were at a wedding to a bar that was a bar and not the tasting room, adjacent, that I was looking for. I got a ten selection flight. Took it out to the patio, where the action and the band was. It was a freaking wedding reception. How wonderful. Theater and beer. No a wedding and a beer. Same same. After the bridesmaids had there dance, the bride and groom danced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. After that, the band took a break and I left with a six of IPA from Cellar Rats Brewery in Madison, Ohio. . Had a fire and as I went to bed, I felt some raindrops. Good, bedtime anyway. No sooner had I cleaned up, secured everything the winds kicked up, the temperature dropped and it poured. I adjusted the awning and dove inside to close all windows and vents. Then the thunder and lightning came. The heater came on. I went to bed. I woke to a soaked campsite. After breakfast I walked down to the lake and took a swim. I love the water after a rain, cool and so refreshing. Got back to camp and finished the Willie’s Long Story. Brilliant!! I looked up and saw black clouds. Cleared the clothesline and secured everything out to in or under awning. Another deluge. Lucky the Yanks had a day game against the Mets. After the Yanks won and the rain tapered off, I took a nap. I woke at seven to clear skies and warmer air. Had a great fire and good beer and music on this Saturday night. I woke early Sunday with the sun coming in at my feet. I break camp and wander up Route 5 to Presque Isle SP. This is such a pretty and unique peninsula. It makes Erie PA, Erie PA. A perfect harbor. I continued up Route 5 to Evangola SP. I get a very sweet spot overlooking Lake Erie due west. The sunset was spectacular. I was wrong when earlier I said The sunsets over Lake Superior were in the water. The sunset tonight was into the water and a lot clearer than in Lake Superior. Lake Superior sunsets were hindered by the fires out west. Had a great fire and view of the moon over Lake Erie. I woke and left early; I had a long drive ahead of me to Taughannock Falls SP on Lake Cayuga, near Ithaca. The SP is in Ulysses, which seems obviously appropriate, as it is where I will end my travels. I plan on being in Berlin tomorrow night. I left Lake Erie at Blasdell, nine miles south of Buffalo, which I could see from the lake road. Followed 20A and 20 across to Seneca Falls and followed 89 to the Falls SP. The drive along 20A was over hill and through dale. It was a meandering path with steep hills in both directions. Warsaw was particularly interesting since trucks had to by pass it because of the terrain. I went through pretty little towns along the road when I discovered the Naked Dove Brewery in Canandaigua, NY. I got a flight that they served like a winery, one pour at a time with an explanation. I took a growler of their unique Local Hop beer, which is excellent. Once I got to 89 South, I came upon one winery after the next. WOW!!! Then I came upon the Boathouse Beer Garden overlooking Lake Cayuga. They had 21 taps of local NY beers. They were planning to host their first Oktoberfest and soon will be brewing their own beers. I took away a lovely IPA from a brewery in Honeoye, NY. I took a site at the Falls SP and then headed out to see these fabulous falls. I followed a very unique and well-marked and annotated trails through the gorge to the falls. These are spectacular falls that remind me of some spectacular falls out west and in Iceland. I was amazed they were here as well as this gorge. A miniature Grand Canyon, very miniature. This is good place to end my journey. I split the log that I have used for splitting other wood that I picked up at Presque Isle  early in my travels. I also cut up the emergency wood I had. Big bonfire tonight.
I woke early and drove the eight hours home.

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