“Yea, though I bicycle into the beast of cities, I shall not fear, for I shall awake tomorrow and be delivered by a winged angel to my home.” Psalm 4242, from the Book of Kelvin.

I wanted to get a photo of the airport fire fighters for my blog, but they left. After 33 years of fire fighting, I know that as soon as you sit down to dinner, stuff begins to happen. They were cooking sheesh-ka-bob on the grill when the old, sweaty guy biked in. At least the Lieutenant warned them I was coming. Then they had a medical call as soon as they sat down, and while they were out, an incoming aircraft with “133 souls-on-board” was leaking fuel from a wing. Their beautiful dinner sat on the table getting cold.

The Delta Agent was perhaps the exact opposite of a fire fighter. I loved my career because my job was to figure out a way to help people, especially when no one else was willing or able. The agent told me the following;

1) there is no storage space in this airport for your bicycle, it can not stay in the airport.
2) there is no fire department at this airport.
3) the fire department does not have a routine telephone number.
4) the fire department will not let you store your bicycle there.
5) you can lock your bicycle up to a pole where the motorcycles park.
6) I have no means of contacting the fire department.
7) I am not from this area and I have no idea of any street names or where anything is.
8) it will cost $162 to change your flight because that is the actual cost.

And on and on the brick wall stretched. I am often amazed when businesses do not bend over backwards to help their customers. Thank heavens, fire fighters still do. My bike is safe and sound in the dorm room at Station 200.

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I was watching the Tour de France this morning in Howell while I was writing down explicit Google bike routing directions. It didn’t help. Of course, I quickly took a left onto a dirt road. I kind of enjoy them; there is very little traffic and I feel as if I am seeing the “real” Michigan.

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I was routed onto several bike trails but I quickly became confused at forks and intersecting trails. Three times I stopped and looked left and right wondering which way to go. And three times a cyclist appeared and gave me some local knowledge. The last trail was the Edward N. Hines bike trail and park that stretches 20 miles in a linear fashion (which I like because it makes it harder to get lost). At age 20 in 1890, Hines became an advocate for the improvement of country roads. In 1903, he became a member of the Wayne County Road Commission. Hines was the first to suggest the painting of a line down the middle of the street. It is written that the idea came to him after watching a leaky milk wagon travel down a road. Imagine if by a twist of fate, he had been inspired to invent a better milk container. We would all still be getting into head-on collisions.

My travels in Michigan have been punctuated by prosperous towns and decaying towns. Pockets of prosperity seem to pop up around a business that still provides employment, such as Dow and Corning in Midland. Brighton had a beautiful town center and park thriving with pedestrians.

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In contrast, towns like Saginaw seem like the surface of the moon.

I am flying home tomorrow, Tuesday for Mark and Kristina’s wedding this Friday. I will return to Romulus (the town where Detroit’s airport is) next week to continue my journey.

Bonus photos: hand carved marble and granite lawn ornamentation. Boy, I wish I had a few extra bucks and a large truck.

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