Day 63

2. July 2000, Marquette to Bay City

Today we drive through the state of Michigan from Marquette to Bay City. Michigan modestly calls itself the automotive capital of the world with almost all of the big American car companies and its suppliers located somewhere around the state. It is no surprise then, that most of the cars we see on the street here are in fact American. Unlike California where there are many, foreign,especially German cars on the street, in Michigan it has to be GM, Ford, Chrysler, etc. or at least a VW New Beetle which is produced in North America. People seem to have a special interest in cars though and many pass us by on the highway giving us a thumbs-up. Tomorrow we will drive past Detroit ("Motown" - motor-town I believe it is referred to) but not see it as we avoid any heavy traffic. Seeing anything has been a problem recently as the planned rally route always seems to run on some gravel forest roads. The original idea was to have tests on that route but when that idea was given up, noone did bother to change the route, instead forcing us to drive on it by implementing new passage checks. We end up seeing nothing but trees and expose our cars to washboard vibrations without any competitive relevance. Driving all day through woods, we feel like we are still in Alaska. It is a pity really, because much of the American life is actually going on on the highways and when we do get the chance of driving on them, we realize what we are missing out on. For example there are traffic signs that read "Prison area - do not pick up hitchhikers" which, being European, we have to find amusing. There are signs advertising a "Mystery Spot" without any explanation or a "bottlecap museum" or the "largest in the world" this or that. Or you end up just watching the vehicles and people on the highway - far more interesting than watching trees all day (with the odd deer jumping around). It is not that we do not like forests - it is just that we have seen too much recently.
Yesterday we arrived in our final time zone for North America. The time zone changes are always a bit difficult as they mean that we have to get up one hour earlier the next day. Add to that our late arrival sometimes and the work on the website and we end up getting little sleep (but with three in the car, we can always have one person sleeping in the back). But from tomorrow on, the schedule seems to be less tight with our start at 8.17 am. On the U.S. Independence Day we will have a rest day in Niagara Falls, Canada and after that we just have to keep on driving to catch the airplane to Africa.

TC 244: Marquette OUT
PC River Rock
TC 247: Creighton IN
47 232.11 km
TC 249: Gould IN
47 68.93 km
TC 250: Gould OUT
PC Hetherton
TC 255: Bay City IN
33 494.70 km

Overall 1 hour 47 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

forest and gravel, forest and gravel, forest and gravel (here Hiawatha National Forest)

Sunday before the Fourth of July, Independence Day, Americans are getting ready to celebrate with parades of floats.

$1.50 for taking Mackinac Bridge. Quite good value considering what detour we would have to take if it was not for this bridge.

In the end we get to drive on the highway



for a change: forest and red sand

English-born Phillippa, now living in Australia and Christine from New Zealand, the "Antipodean Rovers".

Makinac Bridge, Lake Michigan on the right, Lake Huron on the left.