Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leaving Da Yoop! Part VIII: Headed toward Home

Today we left Houghton and began our ride home. We backtracked down US 41 but in Crystal Falls we turned south so that we could ride through Wisconsin to Illinois, where we'd stop somewhere in the Effingham area for the night.

The route down through the Michigan U.P. and across the Wisconsin border took us on some really nice roads and I spotted a wolf standing near the edge of the woods as we passed through some desolate, unsettled areas. Iron Mountain was a cool little town, sort of nestled in a crotch of some rugged hills. Things quickly got flat and more open, though, as we rode into Wisconsin.

We got off the highway to ride through Manitowoc, check it out, and pick up some AMA Grand Tour points. It was a fine town, with some beautiful homes and a vibrant downtown area.

After this pleasant diversion, we got down to the business of eating some miles. We went through Milwaukee, going over the Green Bay bridge and then headed west to make a wide berth around Chicago. We made excellent time covering those 640 miles - even with the excursion through Manitowoc - and found ourselves in Tuscola for the night, well before dark, and early enough to have dinner and relax a little.

Next day: More utilitarian miles to reach Memphis around 3:00 PM. We took Mike's mom out to Corky's for BBQ, and then crashed for the night, Mike in front of the evening news with his mom, me with a good book, something I'd not had time to do this entire trip.

Last day: Our last day on the road would cover just a little over 600 miles to Pearland TX and home. We chose to wait to leave Memphis until after 9:00 AM, to avoid Memphis morning traffic but, more importantly, to get into Houston well after the evening rush hour had died down. And this is exactly how it played out. One last gas stop in Livingston TX and Mike and I said our goodbyes, then rode together through Houston to the south side where Mike split off for his exit and we waved goodbye to each other. I pulled in to my garage just around 8:30 PM and was greeted by a very happy cat!

Miles ridden: 3900
Days on the road: 10 days
Number of smiles: Countless!

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