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tour mapIn the summer of 2004, I sold or gave away most of my possessions from my apartment in Minneapolis and hit the road on my bicycle for a year, pulling a trailer full of gear behind me. The idea was to go south through the midwest, spend the winter along the gulf coast, go north along the east coast with the spring, and return to Minnesota via Canada in the summer. Because the movie Winged Migration was popular at the time, I called the Yahoo! Group that I used to communicate with my friends and family during the trip "Wheeled Migration." Below are the messages I sent to that group, in reverse chronological order, but you can find them in chronological order in the menu that will appear at left, or click a pin on the map above.

June 18: Da U.P. and northern Wisconsin

By Ben |

[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on June 18, 2005]

I strained my right Achilles tendon just before I wrote you last time, so I made an effort to cut down on my daily miles. I decided to forego the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's annual Sustainability Fair this weekend (you may recall I visited their location in the second week of my trip and nothing was going on at that time) because I'd have to ride fast and hard for six days... besides, it happens every year. My joints are feeling much better now.

To Kentuck Lake, Chequamegon Nicolet NF, WI

By Ben |

I slept all right with earplugs in last night, but I felt rotten in the morning and really didn't want to get back on the highway.  I stopped in Florence, WI to use the Internet and supplement my breakfast... just after that I left the highway behind and immediately felt 100% better.  The coffee may have helped.

There's a joke that small towns in Wisconsin (and other states, I suppose) consist of just a church and a bar, and the church is optional.  Well, the town of Spread Eagle, WI, has six bars and no churches, and half the bars feature dancers.

To Iron Mountain, MI

By Ben |

Today was cooler and very breezy, but I still made over 50 miles.  I crossed back into Central time, so now dawn will come at 4:30 AM... joy.

I stopped at the county campground near Iron Mountain, hoping for some peace and quiet away from the highway -- last night I needed earplugs to keep the noise out.  But this campground is full of families who want to play their radios for some reason.  After weeks of highway riding, I'm so sick of the radio I want to throw it in the lake, but earplugs work for that, too.

52.0 mi

To Garnet Lake, Superior State Forest, MI

By Ben |

I followed the Hiawatha Tour bike route shown on my maps.  It took me down highways that had low traffic and good shoulders.  There was only one hill; otherwise flat farmland and pine forests with a ferny understory.

I stopped for lunch in Rudyard and talked with the diner's owner.  He gave me a bumper sticker that says I ate there.

June 12: Reflections and Q&A

By Ben |

[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on June 12, 2005]

Some reflections on my ride through "the north": The region I rode through is referred to as "Northern Ontario" even though it's south of most of Ontario -- it's just north of most of the inhabited part. Sometimes it's just called "the north" or even "northern Canada" even though it's actually south of most of the Canada-US border and the majority of the provinces!