7/30: Day 2
I woke up even earlier today, when it was still chilly, to try to avoid the traffic on the road outside the campground. Strangely, Cedar Springs is a city that doesn't sleep so this strategy didn't work. But no problem; it was just a few miles. I had thought to get breakfast to go at a shop next to the trailhead, but they were only doing drive-thru. So, a quick stop at a gas station for a coffee and some extra beef jerky.
It was less than ten relaxed miles of nice paved trails and pretty morning light to the town of Sand Lake. No doubt there is a story behind that name. I stopped for a snack and a rest, and then got back on the trail. This is where the day took a turn! For forty miles, White Pine trail is unpaved, and more of a loosely packed snowmobile trail through the grass. And of course there is still that slight uphill grade. And remarkably also a headwind!
It was an incredible slog. Each time I checked my GPS, I was astonished that so little distance had passed. I saw perhaps one or two people the entire forty miles, and I don't blame the locals for not taking full advantage of this trail. I could have ridden on the parallel road but choosing between traffic and a vigorous leg workout was an easy decision. The weather was excellent. The trail passed through some Amish farms and some wooded areas; it was quite nice scenery. I stopped often, definitely just to take photos and not to rest.
The pavement restarted at the town of Big Rapids, and I was counting down the miles. I waited until I got into town for a long lunch stop and bought a cold drink to bring with me to a park with a great view of the Muskegon River. I had made extra noodles the night before and made tuna salad with them. This is a trick I learned after once accidentally making twice the amount of noodles I needed on a different trip.
The trail was blissfully paved on the way out of Big Rapids, although naturally still uphill. I did make one other stop at a trout pond and enjoyed seeing the fish hoping to get fed. The night's campground is a really nice spot on the Muskegon River, where I've spent some time lying flat on the picnic table to recover from the day. I considered going into the 'town' a mile away to get an ice cream, but the idea of riding the bike any further was unattractive. Tomorrow should be a nice recovery day!