In an earlier post I mentioned “Rawkin’ Ray’s Pure Dumbassery ®” would play another role in this trip.  ‘Cuz, you know, I’m such a brain surgeon / rocket scientist.  (Can you have a brain scientist or a rocket surgeon?)

I told Connie that I’d be heading on past Cheboygen.  My goal was to get to the end of 23.   Cheboygen was about 35 miles away with Mackinaw another 15 from there.

The sun was beating down pretty heavy.   Sunday was the third day in a row with a 15 to 20+ MPH headwind sapping my strength.  While my legs seem to have acclimated pretty well to the stress of fighting the wind, my gluts were having none of it.  It hurt to sit on the saddle.


It’s almost as if I’d bruised my tail bone and chaffed the inside thighs raw on that first 82 mile day.  I didn’t give my body time to heal before putting another 62 miles on it.

It was only about 11:30AM.  I’d eaten breakfast around 9AM.

In the past, I could count on doing 50 miles in about 4 hours.  I figured with the headwinds, it’d take five hours to make the trip.  Putting me in Mackinaw around 4:30.  These headwinds were going to zap me pretty well.  Be nice to get a sandwich somewhere.

I’d checked Google Maps to scout out any little towns between where I was at and Mackinaw City.  Oddly enough, except for Cheboygen, there wasn’t anything.  In my post about Fireside, I’d mentioned Google Maps got the distance wrong.  It wasn’t 70 miles.  It was 62.  I figured the device I was looking at simply couldn’t display little town names and that Google was wrong again about there being absolutely nothing between Rogers City and Cheboygen.

Let me state that again:  there was not one single business.  Not one gas station.  Not one restaurant.  Nothing for 35 miles.  Not that big of a deal in you’re in a car moving a mile a minute.  Big deal if you’re on a bicycle averaging barely 8 to 10 miles an hour.

I was making progress about as I expected.  Around 3:30 I was still 10 miles or so away from Cheboygen.  What I didn’t take into consideration was the toll the wind and sun were taking on my already damaged body.   Nor did I plan for it (by toting along some fruit bars, candy, or Rattlesnake Pasta.)  I’ve never ridden for 35 miles without there being some First World Place That’ll Sell You Food.

It’d been six and a half hours since I’d eaten.  I’d surely expended every single calorie I’d taken in that morning.  I was starting to get . . . shaky.

I’ll cut to the chase.  I didn’t die.  Hell, my stored fat alone would have kept alive until Thanksgiving.

I was never more tickled to find a Dollar General and a rack of candy bars.


Yes, yes, there’s a real live restaurant right next door.  But I was so jittery that I needed a sugar fix right then.  I was unwrapping the candy bar as I walked to the register.  I couldn’t wait for the buffet’s MSG to hit my system.

Slowly, over the next half hour, the shakes subsided.  I started trying to figure out logistics.  It was 4:30 by then.  At the rate I was going, it’d be nearly 6:30 before I got to Mackinaw City.  Was I going to spend the night there or try to get back to Cheboygen?  I figured I’d answer the question once I got to Mackinaw.

I worked my way through the town, passed the city limits, and started the final 15 miles of US 23 North.  About two miles outside of the city, “Rawkin’ Ray’s Pure Dumbassery ®” made its second appearance of the day:

I’d run out of water.

My Camelback was bone dry.  I’d not filled it up since breakfast.  With everything else that was going on, I hadn’t paid any attention to the fact that it was so much lighter.

Son.  Of.  A.  Bitch.

The silver lining to running out of water is if I truly got desperate, there were plenty of houses.  I wouldn’t have the same level of embarrassment asking someone to let me use their garden hose to get a quart of water than I would have suffered asking for a plate of roast beef.  Plus, I was pretty hydrated anyway.  (Obviously, since I drank every damned drop of the water in the first place.)

But it didn’t help to pass this closed business while I was trying not to think of my dry hump: