Today we rode out and back to Brimley, Michigan, a total of 87 miles. Knowledgeable locals, including two workers at the local truck stop diner, said it is better to return to St. Ignace than to leave for our next destination by a different route from Brimley.
Before leaving, we had a nice chat with Joan and Harold, on their way from Winnipeg to Toronto to see family. Joan handed Jeffrey a donation for Human Rights First. No one, no one, we have met on this or any Ride, thinks it’s fair to let refugees apply for asylum without a lawyer.
Then we were off to Brimley. The country is beautiful and sparsely settled. There were no services for a 25 mile stretch.
There wasn’t much to Brimley proper. Maybe the activity is at the nearby casino. We were greeted by the sort of sign common in these small towns, touting its high school students’ athletic prowess.
Jeffrey asked directions from two high schoolers, and took the opportunity to talk with them about Human Rights First. Then we rolled down a hill, around a corner, down another hill . . . to Lake Superior, the fifth of the five Great Lakes on our route, the most expansive freshwater lake in the entire world, big enough to hold South Carolina, cold enough that ice is still floating on it in June (but not where we could see). The dot marks our spot!
Here I am, mounted on a driftwood branch Jeffrey drove into the sand – such is the lot of a puppet! – in a panoramic view.
The wind, 18 mph from the NNW, was cold. The still-air temperature was 55F at 1:30 PM.
We made it! Jeffrey looked for a place for a celebratory lunch. The only restaurant we could find was closed. So we headed south from 46.3778° north latitude, the most northerly point of this Ride.
En route, a man in a truck pulled up and asked Jeffrey to be on the lookout for a demented woman who has gone missing and may be in the woods near the road. Jeffrey pedaled slowly and looked carefully but saw no sign of the woman. Then we met a most interesting gentleman: Denver, a road worker who coordinated 2-way traffic over a single lane in an area under construction.
Denver is Chippewa-Algonquin. He belongs to one of the nations already established when Europeans came to North America. Denver’s father was killed in a car crash when Denver was two, so he was raised in the area by his grandparents while his mother followed her siblings to Akron, Ohio, to work in a tire factory.
Denver and Jeffrey had a great discussion about society and economics, much of which was too extensive or sensitive to be reported here. Jeffrey remarked at how odd it is that Europeans and their descendants assumed the power to control who comes into this territory, without even consulting the original inhabitants and their descendants. Denver said that indeed, no one asked his opinion. He recognizes that some controls on immigration are necessary but stays away from politics and does not venture to say where one should draw the line. In any event, he shares the universal disgust at the notion that the U.S. expects asylum applicants to find counsel themselves or do without.
Denver said he doesn’t do much on the Web but he will check us out.
This evening we met Ralston, a restaurant manager who immigrated from Jamaica after marrying an American whom he met during four years of seasonal work in the local hospitality industry. Ralston said he had no idea that our government expects asylum applicants to navigate the system on their own. Jeffrey said he didn’t think the local population is diverse; Ralston said appearances are deceiving, that as warm weather begins and events like car shows are held, the place looks more cosmopolitan.
We relished today’s encounters and slices of life.
Yes, we have visited all five Great Lakes. But the Ride is far from over. One can’t appreciate the region without visiting its greatest city.
On to Chicago!