Couple of years ago I took off south on US 23.  I went as far as I could go, until 23 ran off with Interstate 26 right across the TN state line.  US 23 actually goes all the way into Florida and some day I’m going to have to pick it up and finish it when it’s done with its dalliance with 26.

Since I took it as far south as I could, I wanted to take it as far north as it’d go, too.  Turns out it comes to a screeching halt at the very tip top of Michigan’s lower peninsula.  Mackinaw City stops 23 from trotting over the bridge.

23 is a fickle bitch.  She messes around with I-26 down south and does the same around Findlay, Ohio with Interstate 75.  In fact, 75 and 23 are the same road from Findlay all the way to Bay City, Michigan.  (With some extremely notable exceptions that I’m not going to bother with talking about.)

Making a plan to “ride 23” all the way north was always stymied by the nearly 300 miles from Columbus I’d have to travel to get 23 alone from 75.

So I cheated.  I just drove the 300 miles.

Tomorrow morning I’ll pick up MI-13 north, pedal a little ways, then pick up 23 as it soothes its breakup from 75 by snuggling up close to Lake Huron for a couple of hundred miles.

To make up for the 300 miles I drove, I’m going to do a hemi-circle around the lower peninsula.  When I get to the top, Mackinaw City, I’m going to come down the other side.  Down US 31 all the way to Ludington.  Then I’ll cut across and 10 back to Bay City.

It’s going to be about 550 miles.  I’ve never riden that far before. The two RAGBRAI rides I did were short of 500 miles.  The part that really has me concerned is that for those two Iowa rides, I did an extensive amount of training to prepare for them. For this one?  I rode 55 miles on Easter.  Haven’t been on the bike since.  I’m woefully out of shape.  (Well, all right, “round” is a shape, so yeah, I guess I’m shape.)

The first leg of the trip will be over 80 miles to Oscoda, Michigan from Kawkawlin.  I haven’t ridden 80 miles in a single day in a year.  I’ve never ridden 7 or 8 consecutive 80 mile days.  Ever.

It’s going to be interesting.