Segment:

JW Wells State Park to Gladstone, Michigan

Length: 44.7

Trip total: 276.9

Weather: chilly (summer polar vortex) with winds out of the northeast (straight in our faces).

This was definitely our least favorite day of the trip so far. Highway 35 to Escanaba is narrow and has a lot of semi and holiday traffic on it. At first, I could hardly stand it. I kept checking the map for an alternative route. James and I separated by a couple of hundred yards (so we didn’t both get hit by some idiot driver). Adding to the stress, the road was under construction with various widths of shoulder with cones and barrels to dodge. It would have been fun with the ability to respawn when we got plastered. The was the first day that I was glad Lori wasn’t with us. She would have been miserable and perhaps mutinied. I wouldn’t have blamed her.

In Escanaba, we found a town bigger than we expected and the best meal we’d had so far. Checking Yelp, we found the Applewood Cafe on main street. This was after spending around an hour on the beach in the great city park they have. Lake Michigan water is cold, though. We didn’t swim much. James got himself some icecream from a park vender who managed to call him both old and overweight. James kept looking at his icecream wondering why he’d gone through with the purchase.

For lunch, I had the best grilled cheese (two types of cheese, tomato, bacon, and pesto) I’ve ever had. James’ sandwhich — some grilled chicken was also incredible. The sides, fresh coleslaw with olives and warm German potato salad (who serves this??), were also incredible. I don’t ever remember liking German potato salad. Where did this place come from? There was no one else in there (we were having a late 2pm lunch), but it should have been packed. With coffee and desert (chocolate covered bannana), we got out for around $22. Definitely someplace to go back to.

Past Escanaba, we switched to Highway 2 and the scariest stretch of road we’d seen so far. It’s no different than a four-lane interstate, but BUT, the shoulder completely disappeared on us at the bottom of a hill under a railroad bridge. We were doing around 25mph, traffic was going 65mph, and we prayed as we moved quickly into the lane of traffic and back to the shoulder. We were glad in Gladstone to get off this thing for the night. We found their city campground at the edge of town and on the edge of the lake and got a site right next to the beach. Yet another incredible camp site. This time, we did get in the water and freeze our tails off for several minues before drying off in the sun. Amazing what this sequence will do for your mental state.

Dinner in town at a local pizza place. Most bacon I’ve ever had on a pizza. Bought enough to take back to camp and make breakfast the next morning.

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Yep, that's Lake Michigan

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Obligatory lighthouse photo

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Obligatory campsite documentation

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