I woke up at 8:30am with a growl in my stomach. As my stomach growled, I remembered that the free continental breakfast lasted till 9am. Naturally, I had the desire to run out of the room to get some food! The night before, John and I had decided that we would leave sometime towards the midmorning, so I really didn’t want to wake him. I tiptoed around the room, gently getting ready. I made my way to the door of the room, and pulled the handle downwards. It made a small click and I softly tugged on the handle to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. Finally I gave it a hard pull, and it opened at last with a very loud squeaking sound. Undeterred, I stepped out in the hallway and tried my best to shut the door quietly behind me. However, I had to pull it hard until it slammed. “John is probably up now,” I said to myself. Oops.
I made my way down the hall and into the dining room. As the breakfasty smells hit my little nostrils, my Pavlovian response was nothing to be scoffed at. I was hungry! I nearly skipped to the counter and began to make a waffle forthwith. While the first waffle was cooking, I grabbed a glass of orange juice and downed it. I grabbed some fruit from a nearby counter as well. Then, my eyes settled on some bite-sized doughnuts. I popped a couple of those in my mouth. By then, the waffle was done and I decided to make another. Sliding away from the counter, I made my way to my seat at a table nearby and began to eat (more). It all was quite tasty.
Meanwhile, John sauntered in and we wished each other good morning. I hoped that I didn’t disturb him too greatly with my slamming of the door. He said that he was glad he made it for breakfast, so I didn’t feel horribly bad about it.
After breakfast, we went back to our room to get ready for the last bike ride of the trip. We took about an hour or so to let our food settle. We then filled up or camelbaks and waterbottles from the sink in the room, packed up, and checked out. We were on our way on this, our last day!
As soon as we got on the road, I took a sip of my camelbak. “I’ve got to stay hydrated,” I thought to myself. As I took a sip, an awful taste filled my mouth. It was semi-metallic tasting, but with hints of something else that my taste buds definitely did not like. It was a bit of a shock to me as I was expecting some nice refreshing water.
I tried not to let the bad tasting water dampen my mood, but driving through downtown Toledo did! Toledo is not set up very well for biking (or at least the parts that we rode), and after riding through Chicago, where it’s busy but with plenty of bike lanes, I think I was a bit shocked at the lack of biking ability. Aside from the lack of bicycling infrastructure, I found the residents of Toledo to not be very friendly either. For instance, at one point on Cherry Street, we were waiting to cross an intersection on the crosswalk. When the light turned green and the “walk” light came on, a truck that was making a right turn cut in front of us. The gentleman riding shotgun just stared at me with a menacing look. So, I just smiled and nodded my head in order to not have any provocation for these two to be upset.
We had rode about five miles that seemed like ten when we found that the connecting road out of town was under construction and completely closed. After a few minutes of figuring a new route, we were on our way again. I was sipping the “bad tasting” tasting water all the while, and though I soon got used to the taste, I noticed that my stomach was becoming less and less happy with me.
At last we reached Douglas Street, which would take us out of town. I was really happy to be on it! We rode for a while longer and then took a break. During the break, John informed me that he had stopped drinking the water entirely because it was so bad tasting. For a second, I thought about getting out my water filtration system, but we didn’t have enough containers to make it feasible. I decided to follow John’s lead and not take any water until we reached a gas station or some place where we could fill up with fresh water. My stomach was not feeling good at all, and every time I took a sip, it seemed to aggravate it. I wish I had thought to stop at a gas station while we were driving through downtown, but I was far too concentrated on getting out of that zaniness.
I didn’t know that the nearest gas station on our route from our current location was in Dundee. The heavily populated outskirts of Toledo soon gave way to farms, and the road was ringed with corn and soybeans. It was a very welcome sight after the craziness of riding through Toledo. However, I became more and more thirsty as the minutes and miles dragged on. I even thought a truck parts store was a party store for a minute. John and I laughed about how it was a mirage!
At last we made it to Dundee. We stopped to take a rest and decided to stay in Dundee for lunch. We ended up eating at La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. The food and service were stellar, especially considering they were serving two raggedy, dirty, and sweaty gentlemen.
After lunch we hung out in front of the establishment to let the food digest a bit. Then we headed on to a gas station to change out the nasty water for some fresh stuff. That water tasted as sweet as morning dew on wood sorrel! We also bought a bottle of vitamin water to replenish our electrolytes. Then, we were off again.
Alas, we were not off again for very long. I chose…poorly in terms of our route. Not being familiar with the area, I chose to head up Platt Road. Little did I know that Platt was completely filled with gravel, and not the small smooth-cut kind, either. After about twenty feet of bumping and almost falling, we decided to get off and walk our bikes. I really hated that idea because I had an open blister on my heel that got really aggravated by the walk. Nonetheless, we pressed onward.
After about a mile and a half, we hit Milwaukee Road. It was paved, so we took that and just headed west. We cut up a couple of different streets, and I must say that I was starting to run out of juice. John had also started falling back a bit as well. So, we stopped at the Washtenaw County Line for a break.
After our break, we got up into Mooreville and then took Saline-Milan Road up towards Saline. Of course, the hills started again, and those were challenging. When we got to Saline, I saw that John was nearly done. I certainly didn’t feel much better, but I felt the need to press on while I still had any kind of energy at all. It was only ten miles or so to our destination. “We are almost there,” I kept telling myself.
While we were sitting there trying to recoup enough energy to ride the remainder, a really nice young lady by the name of Michelle came up and spoke to us. She was looking to ride a century in the next couple of years, and wanted to know more about our bikes and what we did. Like an answer to an unsaid prayer, talking to her about biking for about forty five minutes helped us to (mostly) forget how tired we were!
After we bade Michelle goodbye, we started again, and rode back to Ann Arbor without incident. We were incredibly tired as we reached Ann Arbor, but I know that I was soon excited as we neared our destination! When we pulled up into John’s driveway, I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I felt almost as good as I felt when we got to Chicago. Once again, we had overcome quite a few obstacles and challenges to arrive safely at our destination!
We toasted to our success with some Recoverite, took a picture of our triumph, and then parted ways. When I reached my apartment, that same feeling of having accomplished something worthwhile swept over me again.
As the time between me and this trip fade, I wonder how it will change me. I feel another piece of me has changed and grown in the process of this trip, but I wonder if that will transfer somehow into the every-day process of living. Only time will tell, but I can tell you one thing: this trip was amazing!