I always planned on this being the longest ride day of my trip, but now it was longer. See, it’s approximately 330 miles from Hancock, MI to Minneapolis, MN — the trip I originally thought I’d be making. But, because of my allergy issues and having left the bike in Marquette, MI, I was now looking at 370 miles on the bike plus a two hour car ride back to Marquette before that… woof. On the bright side, I’d gain an hour crossing into the Central Time Zone. Then again, my body wouldn’t experience it as an hour less riding.
I awoke at the crack of dawn and said goodbye to Kai’s mom Sandy. Kai’s aunt Nancy would drive me back to her place in Marquette to get the bike (Thanks again, Nancy, for agreeing to leave so early!). Sandy had a gift card to Roy’s Bakery in Houghton, MI that she gave us to use for breakfast. We grabbed pastries and tea, then set off.
This was my first one-on-one time with Nancy, and, like with her son, Conor, we had a nice conversation about Kai and seemed to see him very similarly. I feel like I keep commenting on this — discovering that I saw Kai in a similar way to how, say, his cousin or his aunt did. I think it’s because I find it comforting/reassuring — to know that there wasn’t some side of him that I never saw and that there wasn’t some side of him I did see and should have shared with others.
I told Nancy that I admired how her and Sandy’s families were so close. She explained that because both she and Sandy were divorced they’d really helped each other out over the years. They kind of melded their two families into one. I now better understood how Kai had become like a big brother to his cousins.
It made me think about my next destination. I was going to visit my brother Jim and his wife Mia in Minneapolis, where they were visiting her family. Jim and Mia married a couple years ago, and I was his best man at the wedding. I felt like it brought me and my brother a little closer. I also felt like Mia had pushed us to make more of an effort to be closer since then too, which I appreciated.
Mia’s family is originally from Bosnia. I had only ever met them at the wedding, but they promised me a Bosnian feast when I arrived. Considering I had a 7 hour ride ahead of me, which I estimated would take 10 hours on the bike with lunch and rest stops, I was pretty sure I’d be hungry.
The ride was mostly uneventful. I felt refreshed after my two days off, so I just kept my head down and knocked out miles. I decided against taking photos so as not to be slowed down. But I wanted at least one pic from Wisconsin, so:
Wisconsin was a blur. Too many miles. I remember thinking it reminded me a little of Pennsylvania — hills and forests and small towns. I ate a pulled pork sandwich for lunch at Old Southern BBQ in Hayward. I used one of my gas/rest stops to catch up with my friend Sasha on the phone. I don’t remember much else.
In the end, I arrived in Minneapolis perfectly on time — exactly 10 hours after I had left Marquette. This was something of an accomplishment for me. Up until now, I'd pretty much always arrived later than my estimates (due to time spent on breaks, taking pics, etc). I felt pretty worn out, but, to my relief, neither lightheaded nor dizzy. Jim and Mia’s dogs greeted me enthusiastically at the door.
As promised, we had a Bosnian feast — cevapi (finger sausages), steak, potatoes, homemade bread (Mia’s dad used to work in a bakery), and fresh salad from the garden. It was great! After dinner, we stayed up late playing cards. I was excited to explore Minneapolis tomorrow. But… things wouldn’t go as planned.