Gavin Smith’s fundraising ride for Ecojustice has lasted almost two weeks and on Day 13 his thoughts return home. After battling a cold rain on the ride out of Marquette, he encounters some signs that leave him uneasy.

Day 13
June 23
Distance Travelled: 67.76 km (Van Riper State Park, Michigan)

It was raining again when I woke up. I went downstairs for muffins and OJ with Jen’s family. They took a quick picture of me with my bike and then left me to lock up the house as they went into town for work and summer school, respectively. The trust they placed in a stranger was kind of humbling, but as they put it, it wasn’t like I could make a quick getaway.

Before I left I walked down to the beach and stuck my hand in Lake Superior. That foggy beach was the place that had resonated the most with me on the trip. It felt like the ocean and reminded me of home in a strange way. I could have stayed for days. I biked the last 10 km to downtown Marquette and took a half-day off, visiting the library and its small photo gallery, having lunch and generally wandering around. I liked the town and really just wanted to sit in a coffee shop all day and read, looking out at the grey. But I had nowhere to stay and wanted to make some distance that day, so I forced myself into the cold, drizzling uphill ride out of Marquette.

Jen and John had told me that Marquette, originally a mining town, was divided on the creation of a new nickel mine nearby, which many worried would impact the local water resources and ecosystems. On the way out of town, I saw a couple “stop whining, start mining” signs.

I eventually made it to Van Riper State Park, on the shore of Lake Michigamme (pronounced Michi-gammy). I was able to set up camp when it wasn’t raining, and there was a concession stand still open at the beach despite there being almost no one around. I bought a pizza and took it up to a picnic cabin overlooking the lake, where I ate and wrote a letter to my grandma.

The next installment of Gavin’s ride includes a stop in Bruce Crossing, Michigan, will arrive on Monday and include a MacGuyver-like solution to a technology malfunction.