Day 33: Gladstone, MI to Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Today comes an important trip milestone, one we’ve awaited for over 3500 miles (5600 km): the Canadian border!

First, though, there’s the small matter of the remaining 175 miles through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At least we get a great sunrise to start us off:

From there, we round the top of Little Bay de Noc, passing Rapid River to end up on Highway 2 eastbound. We make it as far as Manistique before realizing that our paltry breakfast of carrots, celery, and peanut butter just won’t cut it. Good thing there’s a delicious café that serves up veggie omelets and cinnamon french toast with a homemade vanilla sauce! YUM. This is also a great opportunity to warm up, since it’s not exactly warm and inviting out:

Halfway up Highway 77 from the 2 to the 28, we come across yet another pallet painted like a flag and decide that it’s finally time to snap a photo. We’ve seen a few dozen of these by now:

The crosswinds on the 28 are vicious, since we’re now getting inland lake gusts from Lakes Michigan, Superior, and Huron. It’s everything we can do to keep the bike riding straight down the highway, but we at last make it to the border:

That’s the entry line into Canada; the US line is much longer, stretching halfway up onto the bridge that crosses St. Mary’s River. As usual, crossing into Canada is anticlimactic. The border guard asks exactly one question, which is whether we have anything questionable on board our vehicle. He then looks over at the Vespa, we all share a laugh, and he welcomes us to Canada!

As you can see at the top of this post, we waste no time in making pilgrimage to the local Tim Hortons. That obligation discharged, we meet up with our CouchSurfing host, Patricia, at her antiques shop in town, Winnie B’s Vintage Emporium. We all head out to grab some beers and wings at Reggie’s:

Patricia then whisks us about town for a tour, which extends into an ice cream stop (for some absolutely enormous double-scoop waffle cones) and a half-hour drive north to her friends’ glass art studio off Lake Superior:

We’ve made it our mission to touch all five Great Lakes on our way to Toronto, and this is number two! Back in town, we help them haul a bedframe from their daughter’s place in town, something a previous tenant left behind. It’s only a few blocks and the frame is light, so we move it the old-fashioned way:

We’re all pretty well stuffed from ice cream, so we skip dinner and watch Colonia instead - it centers around a cult compound in Chile used by Pinochet’s regime as a torture camp, and as such is pretty heavy and disturbing though very engaging. Hopefully we’ll be able to sleep afterwards…