CHAPTER “8”….DAY 4…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

THURSDAY AUGUST 18, 2016…..DAY FOUR!!   MILES TODAY: 261.7   TOTAL MILES: 1615.3

If all goes according to plan and the creek don’t rise today should take me to my “first” final destination of Waterford, MI. For the next few days after today I will be visiting with friends and relatives. I will continue my attempts to do a post for each day and I promise that I will actually try to make my friends and family sound interesting.

My morning was pretty much the normal thing. I did the morning phone call to Lisa and got her up and going for work. I then proceeded to get myself moderately presentable for public viewing and headed to the lobby for my breakfast.

Part of the breakfast experience is watching the other “residents” of the hotel coming down for their bite to eat. Every once in a while you get someone who has fun just stopping at various tables and talking to people. People are always fun to watch even if they are doing nothing but when that person comes along it will put an added touch of spice into the mix. It is always great fun to watch. This morning I had such a person. He ate his breakfast while talking to a fellow sitting at a table right next to him. In the conversation he asked the other gentleman where he was from and he got Nebraska as the response. So the talkative fellow went on to say that he was from London, Ontario he was “near” Nebraska once. I thought that was a scream. Then he asked if the guy had a farm there. The fellow laughed and said that he didn’t farm but that he was a professor in Lincoln. The fellow went on to talk to a little girl eating breakfast with her dad and then to a couple of older ladies sitting off in the corner. I kept waiting for him to open a suitcase with an assortment of Fuller Brushes but instead he eventually trotted off with his head held high and enjoying life….gotta love people like him.

That was enough of the morning entertainment and it was time to hit the road.   I rounded up my gear and headed out to the bike. A quick check of Google Maps said I was to leave the parking lot, turn right, and follow Main St. to Cleveland St., hooking onto Ohio 23, and then to M-62 that would take me to U.S. 12. It was only a couple blocks to Cleveland St. and being true to myself I never did see it and went right on by.   After about 1 or 2 miles I had pretty much figured I had missed it so I did the maneuver that I am getting pretty darn good at…….pulling off and checking my phone. I love it when this happens though……..when I checked my location I found that I was only about 4 miles from U.S. 12…..HOLY RAND MCNALLY BATMAN!! So back on the bike and I was scooting away happy as a lark (in case you didn’t know it larks are apparently really happy).

Then I saw THE sign…….It was a sign from……yes, a sign from……well, from DOT (Department of Transportation). It said “Sturgis 20 Mi”. I have always known there was a Sturgis, MI but I rarely ever went to west side of the state when I lived there and since I moved out of Michigan 32 years ago I am NEVER on that side of the state. HOWEVER….on this trip I took the more westerly swing bringing me up to the southwest side of Michigan so I would pass ALMOST right by Sturgis. My turn to Kalamazoo was 10 before Sturgis but I made the executive decision to make the 20 mile round trip ride out of my way…….Why you ask?   Because I’m biker and I assume that everyone will think it’s funny if I take a picture in Sturgis, MI. More than likely NO ONE will think that it is funny but that will not change my assumption.

I rode to Sturgis ONLY as far as the town limit sign. I stopped, pulled out my selfie stick, and shot the picture of me in front of the sign. I immediately uploaded to social media with the caption “I came all the way to Sturgis and there weren’t any bikes, babes, or beer. Then I realized that I was in Sturgis, MICHIGAN……..no wonder I couldn’t find Mt Rushmore.” I laughed at what I did so that meant that my job there was done. I jumped back on the bike, backtracked to my original route, and continued on to Kalamazoo.

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I stopped at Kalamazoo Hooters (which is actually in Portage) and got my usual burger. Akala, my waitress, took charge at getting my shirt decorated and I have to say they did a marvelous job. They had a good time at it. They stood around the table where they had the shirt writing, drawing, and laughing. When I showed the picture of me with my shirt collection and gave my “shirt speech” I became sort of a celebrity there in the restaurant. They passed the picture around and even the manager came over to the table and talked to me for about 15 minutes. All things must come to an end so I grabbed my shirt and away I went.

I had now traveled almost 1,600 miles and BAM I hit traffic. There was construction on I-94 (which I was on), M-14 was CLOSED (which is the route from I-94 to U.S. 23….where I wanted to go), and there was major construction on U.S. 23 (where I went next). So after 3 ½ days of cruising right along (even when I was lost) I was now creeping and crawling with less than 100 miles to go.   I plugged along and finally exited U.S. 23 in Howell onto M-59 and a straight shot to my hotel.

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I let everyone that cares (both of them) know that I was safe and sound in Waterford, MI. Then I called Ed, my very, very good friend from years and years back. It is that friendship that no time or distance can have any negative impact. What we were 40 years ago is what we are now……just slower and more wrinkled. I make sure that the effort is made to hook up with him on every trip. The plan was to meet with him, his wife, and their son at 7:00.

Then I heard that some of my classmates were at the club where the first gathering of our 50th Class Reunion weekend. The “meet and greet” is scheduled for Friday and they were decorating. On my way to meet up with Ed I stopped at the Pontiac Country Club to see who was there. They weren’t starting until 7:00 so when I stopped by there were only two people there. I chit chatted with Bill and Don for a couple minutes and headed on over to Kennedy’s Irish Pub and to have dinner with Ed, Diane, and Eric. Diane’s other son, Kevin, also stopped by. It was a FANTASTIC night. I could sit and talk with Ed for HOURS AND HOURS……but, alas, we are both OLD so when 11:00 rolled around we were afraid that our vehicles would soon turn into pumpkins so we hugged and off we went. Ed to his 5th wheel in Tawas, MI and me to the Waterford Quality Inn. I think that I was asleep about 5 minutes after getting into the room.

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

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