Mostly Heaven on Earth

Contributor: Mick Elmore

I gave Hell a miss. Heading south to Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Dexter-Pinckney Road, I saw a sign that it was only about 30 kilometers out of the way. I stopped and thought about it.

I had detoured further on the trip, including 45 kilometers from Appleton to Green Bay in Wisconsin to sit outside a closed Lambeau Field while the Packers trounced the Detroit Lions 42 to 21 on September 20. After the game, I pedaled a leisurely 45 kilometers back to Appleton.

Drinking beer in a brewery across the street from the empty Lambeau Field parking lot during an NFL game was so unique it was worth it, but going to Hell to get postcards stamped was a bit much, so I continued south.

The trip has been like that: there are just too many good places to go so it is better to be happy with the ones I can visit.

After 33 years living overseas, I returned on July 31, 2020, and in August started a reconnect with America pedaling around the country. I left Minneapolis and hugged the Mississippi River stopping in Wabasha, Minnesota, where I had my first experience staying with Todd Hein. He lives right next to the mighty river 10 kilometers south of town. Great conversation with beer and pizza in the evening was followed in the morning with Todd giving me a lift in his speedboat to an interview that 10 kilometers upriver at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. It was a great introduction to

From Wabasha, I hugged the Mississippi to Winona, Minnesota. I stayed with Rod, and Melissa Gordan, where I savored a hot shower, spaghetti, wine, and more great conversation as the November 3 election drew closer.

Meeting people has been the highlight of my journey, and I have learned is contagious. When hosts are good to you, you want to return the favor and be good to others. And for the most part, strangers have been really good to this lone cyclist.

On the way to Madison, Wisconsin, I stopped at a convenience store for water and fruit. When I came back outside, I found a big cookie sitting on the back of my bike. A cookie in a bag from a stranger can brighten up even a good day.

I caught the last Badger ferry of the season across Lake Michigan and, in a couple of days, was just outside Paris. Michigan, that is. TeriLynn Hope Meier and Dave put me up for two days offering great conversation and even better advice about where to go as I traveled east in Michigan.

From there, I pedaled to my hometown Richmond, Indiana, where I’m waiting out the pandemic when I can travel in a country that has Covid-19 mostly under control. See you in the Spring.