3:30 pm

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I'm afraid I'm losing appreciation for what we're doing. The places we are traveling through, with exception of Gary, Indiana, are just has beautiful as other parts of the trip, but we rave about them less. As we entered Michigan and were surrounded by lush hardwood forests, Kyle mentioned that had we seen this rode at the beginning of the trip we wouldn't be able to stop gawking at it. Now, however, it's just another road. Newness and beauty has become part of our everyday. We have become accustom to it. Our challenge now has been to see it all with fresh eyes.

Cold weather followed us as we worked our way into Michigan. It felt like fall. I welcomed the change and found myself looking up more. Trees seem to grow wherever people allow them to in Michigan. Large clusters of hardwoods closed in on houses along the road as if challenging the residences, seeing how far they would let them encroach. This must be what the license plates describe as "Pure Michigan." It was pure to us. We had no preconceived notions, it was unblemished and surprised us when we were looking close enough.

On our third day in the state (August 27th), we rode 70 miles to reach Ann Arbor. We were thrilled for 10 miles of bike trail that toured us through vast wetlands with dozens of Sandhill Cranes with red heads, long legs, and wide wings. When you see a bird like this for the first time, you wonder how any bird could be bigger birds.

Twenty miles from Ann Arbor, we saw a large red figure up the road. As we slowly gained ground in it, we were able to make out a familiar sight: three red matching bike jerseys. We exchanged casualties with our UK friends from Gary as irritated cars passed us on the shoulderless road. We then powered up the hill and passed them. Whether it's true or not, for the sake of the story we had to pass them going uphill. We rode the next 20 miles at a brisk pace without stopping to cement our victory over England.

We rolled into Ann Arbor and enjoyed a cappuccino before heading to our host's house. Michigan has been good thus far.

For those curious, we stayed in Cassopolis and Tenoshka the two nights before Ann Arbor. We stayed in churches both nights. We were fed well by both of them and gained new friends.

Photos: Charley and Debbie after making us breakfast in Cassopolis//cold damp day in the lush green of Michigan//cappuccino in Ann Arbor

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