Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LaSalle Relay - The "Corridor" II

After our disappointment over the condition of the roads of our previously laid-out bicycling route, it became sort of an adventure hunting up new ways to get across Calhoun County.

The corridor contains some very interesting country; lots of rolling forested hills, small marshes flanked by higher-ground knolls, extensive forested swamps, open and hilly farm lands and in the area of the headwaters of the Battle Creek River, large lowlands that would have been under water in LaSalle's time. Duck Lake is a typical Lower Peninsula lake surrounded by cottages cheek-by-jowl. Prairie Lake is not crowded for some unknown reason. Eastern Calhoun County is not as scenic as the western portions.

Actually, the tentative alternative bicycling route we have laid out is probably closer to LaSalle's actual route than the original. It contains a lot of zigs north and then zags back south but generally is closer to the straight-east line that I think LaSalle established after they ran out of prairie and oak forests where they could burn the grass to cover their tracks.

When we get into Jackson County, if the roads we have chosen on paper prove to be deteriorated we are going to be in tough shape. There are only two bridges across the Grand River and if the county roads leading to them are shot we are screwed. We can't make the bicyclists go cross-country and wade the swamps and swim the river. They might be willing but they would be trespassing on private property and I doubt they could get away with Neil Miller's "Dumb Canoeist" stunt.
Berrien and Van Buren Counties are a long way away and if the county roads closest to the Paw Paw River are not bicycleable (if that's a word) it would be a no go. Under such circumstances I would say forget the bicycling and stick with automobile touring.

Of course if we could sucker some people into walking like LaSalle and his troops did, bad roads would not be a problem.

I hope to get an opportunity to check out the Kalamazoo County roads for bicycling but intend to road tour myself under any forseeable circumstances.

As for Washtenaw and Wayne Counties, I am going to push for hikers and canoeists to finish the reenactment from the Portage Lake Swamp to Lake Erie regardless.

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