We woke up to another cold morning and put on all our layers, yet again. Yikes! While it was nice in a way that it was mostly downhill the 12 or so miles into Detroit, it did nothing to warm us up!
Breakfast at a campsite down the way about 10 miles, though, with our usual warm oatmeal, did help some.
Really, it was another pretty day and we were looking forward to those hot springs!
Just after we left Detroit, where we stopped only to use the outhouse that was the only facility to be had at the local store, we turned onto the road that went by Breitenbush Hot Springs and were flagged down by my parents. They needed to fill their water tank and dump the gray water and the nearest place to do so was about an hour's drive away. They just wanted to let us know, as they'd talked about going ahead and checking out Breitenbush for us, but now needed to take care of the van instead. They asked us to leave a message for them with the people at Breitenbush as to if we were there, had skipped it or had come and gone.
We forged on, not deterred by a sign that said that reservations were required at Breitenbush, thinking we weren't staying there, so no big deal. Plus, either way, we were riding that direction. Eight very scenic uphill miles later, kept company by a bevy of dump trucks who were trucking asphalt up the road because of the paving project but not much other traffic, we came to the road for Breitenbush. It was uphill, gravel and a mile and a half long. I suggested we just skip it. Anthony, who I think was feeling bad about rushing us somewhat on the trip, was emphatic about going. He's not a water type person, nor is he comfortable with clothing optional, so it was surprising that he was pushing to go.
We met some employees part way up the road and learned that it was $15-$30, sliding scale, per person for a day pass to the springs and there were a limited number of day use passes available, usually booked way in advance. At this point, I strongly advocated for not going up. It was expensive and we might not even be able to get in! Anthony still thought we should go.
A little later, the employees passed again and said they'd called ahead and, yes, there were day passes available for us, which was very lucky, they said. Okay, we went on up. We payed the low end of the spectrum, still feeling like it was a lot of money and ate a quick lunch (what we brought, although we could have had lunch at their buffet for another $12 each, I think it was), then soaked. And it was nice. Very nice. The view from the tub was nice. The water was a good, hot temperature. It was very relaxing. $45 relaxing? Well, I don't know, but pretty nice and we were on vacation, right?
If Anthony had thought of it sooner, here, rather than these words, would be a picture of us in the hot springs with our helmets on. We noticed that we rarely took them off for pictures, so he thought it would have been funny to have one of us in the springs, heads sticking up with the helmets. You'll just have to imagine it, though.
After a good long soak, Anthony and I opted to wash up in the showers while Davan explored the grounds with my parents who'd shown up, but opted not to soak again, having just soaked for $5 each the day before.
By the time we were done with all that, it was snack time. We sat in a nice glider on the grounds and ate our Cliff Bars while chatting with my parents, feeling nice and relaxed...except that we had to ride some more. That, I must say, was tough, getting back on the bikes to work after such relaxation. We were able to go out the back way to the road, saving us from having to backtrack, but not from more gravel.
My parents passed shortly, asking how far we wanted to go before stopping for the night. I blurted out 15 miles, not having had an answer ready, as we weren't expecting them to drive by yet. If I'd known the hill that was ahead, I may not have been so generous with my distance...
We did, though, make it up the hill and then up and down some rollers, then just before starting a decent, Davan announced she really needed to relieve herself and couldn't wait for camp. I had needs, as well, so off into the trees we went. The ground was very, very hard at this particular spot and Davan was valiantly trying to dig her hole, but making little progress, so I took over. That went okay, but then, digging my own hole? I broke our trowel. Sigh.
Just after we started riding again, we hit a nice decent...and construction. Construction is not our favorite thing to ride through, as it's hard to keep up with the pace cars and it's scary to get left behind with all the construction vehicles not thinking there are people passing through. However, with the downhill, and the fact that we were the only ones coming from our direction, we made it through the construction zone with little issue.
Another mile brought us to a camp chair sitting out by a turn off. That was our sign, I realized, even though it had not been predetermined. With a squealing of stopped to find my step dad actually on the other side of the road, waving us in. They'd parked the RV on the side of the road with the chair, but he thought the spot on the other side was better, so we pulled in there and made my mom move in the middle of making their dinner.
It was pretty cool with a little shelter someone had made:
(sorry it's blurry - my mom took this one and was having camera issues) and a distinct lack of a large water tube the other side had sticking into the stream, which turned out to be used in the construction.
It was a little late with the lengthy stop at Breitenbush, but, after setting up camp:
we still had time for dinner, conversation and snacking before bed. We didn't bother to do laundry this evening because we were due to be home the day after the next and figured we could live that long. We just hung our things up to air out.
We were really getting close to the end now. I felt quite mixed about it. I kind of wanted the trip to go on, but the thought of the luxuries of home was appealing, too. Anthony and Davan professed to feel the same, but they also seemed like they were leaning more heavily toward looking forward to being home.
My parents, who were still with us, for the third night now, announced that they were having so much fun tailing us that they were going to just stay through to the end. So, there would be no additional phase for us.
We went to bed with it feeling a little warmer - I had to actually take my shirt back off in my sleeping bag - looking forward to whatever was next to come.