Hank – After our morning tea we revisited finding a place to stay in Grand Rapids. I couldn’t find an available WarmShowers host. The campgrounds nearest to Grand Rapids don’t offer tent sites and several require a two-day minimum stay, which means we would pay double for one night if they had a tent site. We didn’t have much luck with the hotels until Kathy called one Best Western directly. Yesterday the central call center said there was a room available with no discount for $157. This morning, speaking directly to the hotel, Kathy got a room for $84. Sweet!
Winnie and Eric were sleeping in so we quietly left their house without waking them. In a couple of miles we were on the Musketawa Trail heading to Grand Rapids. What a pleasant surprise to find it’s paved the entire way. Last night when I checked the tires and chains I noticed Kathy’s rear tire was a little low. I aired it up and told her to keep an eye on it. After covering about 8 miles she said we should have a look. It was getting soft again. I swapped out the tube and found the cut in the tire where some sharp object nailed it. We went through a lot of broken glass in Muskegon yesterday so maybe that’s where it happened. That is flat number seven for her. None for me after 2800 miles.
About 15 miles into our ride we stopped in Ravenna to eat. Near the Ravenna trail head we struck up a conversation with Mark and Tony, who were out for a ride, and followed them to the Ravenna Round Table where we had a fabulous breakfast. Mark and Tony are old college friends who live in Grand Rapids. They get together just about every weekend for a ride. They were very interested in our travels and asked lots of questions. Tony was kind enough to point out a couple of good restaurants in Grand Rapids for us.
We were soon back on the trail, which was being used by many other cyclists throughout the entire time we were on it. (I don’t think I mentioned it but that was our experience yesterday, also, on the Hart-Montague Trail and the connector to Muskegon.) There is one more stop you can make in Conklin where you can get a drink, ice cream, etc. Since we just ate we skipped it. But many other cyclists were taking advantage of the opportunity.
Rolling on into Grand Rapids, the trail ended and we were back on roadways. We worked out way through downtown and across town past East Grand Rapids to our hotel.
In other news, we learned our photo was in the St Ansgar Enterprise Journal newspaper (see photo in the gallery above). And we were also featured in the Mitchell County Press News. That’s three newspapers we’ve been in so far.
Kathy – Today’s 48-mile ride was pretty sweet on the paved trail. The temp was fabulous at a mere 75 degrees and sunny. Once we got off the trail our last 14 miles were a bit hilly in town. We are not used to the bigger cities. We reached the edge of Grand Rapids and we still had a 14-mile ride to the other side of town. Since the east tends to be more populated than than some of the other states we have visited so far, our days of 30 – 200 people towns may be less frequent now. We met and talked to a few people throughout our ride with many asking us questions about our travels. Again we had people tell us we should write a book and we informed them of our blog. We weren’t planning on a hotel tonight but it seemed our camping route just did not work out for us today. Oh well, I never turn down a hotel especially on a Saturday night in the city for only $84. Asking for the military discounts often reduces our cost. Overall it was a good day and a perfect day to ride!