M.O.R.E. or less day 8 - Hog Island State Forest to Jack Pine Lodge

June 8, 2021

Hog Island State Forest to Jack Pine Lodge - 72 miles

I slept hard, woke to the sounds of water hitting my tent, internally groaned. I'd been happy to have avoided rain so far; still, we could hardly expect our weather luck to last forever. After organizing the gear inside my tent I steeled myself to quickly pack up in the rain, only to be happily surprised.  The sound I'd heard was just water dripping off the trees. The tents were no less soaked than if it had actually rained, but it was better to load up in a damp fog than a shower.

6:50 a.m.

We would spend day 8 entirely off the MORE route. We had two goals: get to the night's accommodations before Jacob's volleyball match started and put ourselves in position to rejoin the route the following day. We rolled out of camp just after 7, hitting the highway in a cold, dense fog. All the taillights in the world wouldn't have reassured me, and mine was none too bright.

This is safe. This is fine.
7:51 a.m.

We stopped at a convenience store about 7 miles in for coffees and a bathroom break, then rode seemingly endless highway miles. 

Had to stop and get a picture of this sign for my horror movie loving husband.
9:02 a.m.

The largely flat route was a mixed blessing. There were no major hills, but my singlespeed was a bit of a liability with geared companions. Either they had to dial back their easy pace or I was forced to pedal like crazy. Riding in a paceline most of the day, I struggled to keep up. By that afternoon I was exhausted...and no wonder. Not only was I unaccustomed to spinning like a rabid hamster, but I'd also ridden half of my year's mileage in the past week. This trip was a definite Train by Event TM  type of situation.

Tell me you didn't train much last month without telling me you didn't train much last month. 

We at lunch at Woody's Pub in Manistique, where spent a long and thoroughly enjoyable meal chatting with the owner and his cook. Woody was excited to check out our bikes and text his cyclist son about our trip. I was very thankful for the extended break. In addition to the hard work of keeping up with the guys I was beginning to feel the hand numbness and neck/shoulder pain that had been an omnipresent part of my pre-physical therapy bulging disc experience. Of course, I hadn't done any of my PT exercises since starting the trip, so while the discomfort was unsettling it was hardly surprising.

5:01 p.m.

Our cabin at Jack Pine Lodge was just 20 more miles from the pub. I was doubly excited, both to watch Jacob's game and because Woody had spoken highly about the lodge restaurant. Unfortunately, we learned on arrival that the restaurant was closed on Tuesdays. Naturally this was a Tuesday. We found our cabin but no one to check us in. After wandering around, we finally saw a sign directing guests to check in at one of the campers. A nice older couple helped us out, and finally we were able to get settled for the evening. 

The first order of business was to hang our wet tents to dry in the warm breeze, followed by laundry and supper. My Knorr rice dish and packet of chicken was a poor substitute for the steak dinner I'd been anticipating, but I was glad to have it. 

Though the cabin had both wifi and a smart TV, I ended up watching Jacob's match on my phone. I was happy to be able to watch, but it was hard to follow the action on the small screen. Thankfully Jeff sent me point by point updates, and eventually Chuck took pity on me and let me watch the match on his phone while reading Jeff's updates on mine. Thanks to the guys and the wonderful family streaming the match, I was at least virtually present as Jacob and his team won their first victory of regional playoffs.

Super flattering picture of me following the match on the two phones.
7:13 p.m.

Once volleyball was over, we turned to the next task: route planning. We would intersect the MORE route early the next day and needed to get an idea of our day's mileage, resupply options, and eventual destination. Chuck and I pored over the maps and Matt's narrative for the upcoming section.

MILE 96.6-142.3 Remote section through tough terrain. Good gravel leaving Mead Creek campground until Highwater Truck Trail. Terrain gives way to rocky and sandy truck trails traversing the Seney Wildlife Refuge. During high water this area can become flooded and impassable. Stutts Truck trail and other roads are quite sandy. Small "store" in Steuben with variable hours. Very flat terrain.

MILE 142.3-156.6 Nice gravel roads through the Hiawatha National Forest. At mile 152 the route turns into Bruno's Run singletrack. Bruno's run is a smooth non-technical trail through very scenic terrain. Pete's Lake Campground is at mile 156.6 with bathrooms and water. Lot's of camping options in this general area. First good section of hills.

MILE 156.6-171.6 Continue on Bruno's Run singletrack. Forest Glen General Store just off-route at mile 157.6

MILE 171.6-185.5 Begin riding on Valley Spur trails which are flowing and smooth. After departing trails the route enters old logging roads and can be overgrown in spots. Continue following forest roads, two-tracks and snowmobile trail until route emerges onto a paved road just outside of Wetmore. Lots of good re-supply, lodging and dining options in both Wetmore and Munising.

We would rejoin the route at about mile 140 in the above narrative. The subsequent combination of singletrack and forest roads made us uncertain how much mileage we'd accomplish, which of course made planning ahead even more of an adventure. In this We penciled in a couple of likely camping options past Munising, noted the resupply options, and called it good.

In instances like these, we generally chose A and B (and sometimes C) goals for our day, and if we reached the furthest planned destination we'd then evaluate our next steps before proceeding. I can't emphasize enough what a difference it was to have a partner in this planning. Logistics had really been my Achilles heel during ARHC, and while I've grown in skills and confidence, it was such a relief to have another set of eyes looking at and suggesting options...not to mention knowing that if I ended up sleeping in a ditch on the side of some godforsaken road, at least I wouldn't be there alone. 


(No point in linking to the RWGPS or MORE info because neither was used)


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