Day 1

My legs are dead. Every time I move one of them it’s pain. Two days of bicycling will do that to you. I’ve traveled approximately 100 miles in two days. I’m writing this at my first Couch Surfing host location…Dowagiac, MI. I’m staying with Johan Arroyo Lopez at the Institute for International Cooperation and Development – Michigan (IICD). He is currently working in their Fight Poverty Program and will be traveling to Africa in the next few months to work with locals on educating them with lessons learned and derived in the program. In the little time that I’ve been here I am awestruck by Johan’s leadership ability, compassion and good hearted ness. I can tell that even at his young age (19) he’s going to change the world for the better in some way or another. I am so grateful for his hospitality and generosity that I hope someday I can help him with his cause. But more on Johan and his philanthropy later.

Day 1 started out pretty smooth. Finished some lil loose ends and got on the road around 11:00am-ish. I’ve been making (I think) a good pace so far…just a tad under 10mph. Wasn’t really in a hurry as some of my research said travel slow on purpose. Part so you can enjoy the scenery and another part the price savings. Saw some nice countryside…stopped at a park and watched some stay at home moms chatting it up…saw a cool horse & buggy…stopped at an off the beaten path ice cream shop, ate and of course got some ice cream…smelled a lot of fertilizer…not sure how farmers can do it. Roads were smooth for the most part. Well…until I hit the dirt road from hell…somewhere around Lake Allegan. Take note that if you ever see a sign that says “Seasonal Road” that translates that this road is going to fuck you in some shape or form sometime and probably sooner than later. Of course I ignored this sign the first time I saw it. It seemed ok at first. Dirt road…pebbles…but could still peddle normally. Then about a quarter mile in Satan reached up through the ground and turned the earth beneath me into mush. Yep…I got stuck and bad. And to top it all off every single bug ever known to man decided to come out of the woodwork…literally…and have a Mexico-Rican buffet all the while swarm dive bombing my face…and remember I’m still stuck in the mud. I had to push my bike and trailer for about 2 miles I figure. Hands down the worst experience of my life. I was so happy to finally reach paved roads. I learned my lesson because it was not much later I saw another “Seasonal Road” sign. Daddy learns good. I went around. It wasn’t much of a detour but I would have rather cut my legs and arms off to go through that Forrest Armageddon again.

Now I’m exhausted. I had picked out a few camp sights around Lake Allegan as I thought it might be cool to camp out (roughing it as they so say) my first night. I reached the edge of the lake and started looking for some sites. Low and behold…at this moment…I think the good lord himself put me in the right spot…Tri-Ponds Family Camp Resort. I was so happy to know I was done biking for the day. It was 6:30pm-ish when I pulled up to their office. A gentleman was just walking away as if he had just closed up for the day and he heard me approach. I tiredly asked him how much it would cost to camp out for the night. I originally said that I wasn’t going to spend any money on this trip. If you can get around the world without doing so, you are a better person than I. I was exhausted at this point and would have given him a gold bar if I had one. He reopened the office and we began to chat. I explained that I was currently touring the US and my 1st major milestone was going to be Phoenix, AZ and then to continue around the globe. He shared with me that his father in law has done many cross country tours and when he married into the family discovered that many family members were cycling enthusiasts. Because of that he said he was sympathetic to my cause. He proceeded to give me a cabin for free!!! I was floored by his generosity. I think I said thank you to him a hundred times.

The cabin was beautiful and had more than what I needed. I proceeded to unpack and settle in for the night. While doing so I ran into the Owner and thanked him a couple dozen times for his generosity as well. We began to chat and told me about the history of the resort and how he has gotten older he has been able to spend more time developing it with his family. I could tell he was a really down to earth person. Later on I went looking for some food to eat as my supplies were running low. I was fortunate enough to run into the first gentleman I met and asked him if there was anywhere nearby were I could buy some food. He said they had some basic stuff in the office…mostly to get people by for a weekend. When I walked in and saw what they had I felt like I was in God’s pantry. I kept piling food on his counter. I may have shocked him a bit and as I saw this look on his face I reminded him that I needed carbs!!! He quickly recalled the diet of people touring. You eat like a horse because of all the calories you’re burning off.

I managed to get all my “groceries” back to the cabin. I was able to ge wi-fi for a short while so I watched a movie while I ate dinner. When I finished…I was finished…full belly and exhuausted. I tucked myself in and drifted off to dreamland. I think that was the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on.

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