HOUGHTON - The Kuhn family never tires of bicycling together.
In fact, David and Marthe Dalquist Kuhn can think of no better way to beat the Upper Peninsula heat than to spend a majority of their summer bicycling the entire peninsula. The duo from California is a week into their summer excursion - a bicycling tour in a large loop around the U.P., and they recently pulled into Houghton for a few days of rest before hitting the pavement again.
"We're going around clockwise," Marthe said.
Daily Mining Gazette/Stacey Kukkonen
David and Marthe Dalquist Kuhn show the route they take biking around the Upper Peninsula.
Marthe, who is originally from Houghton, and her husband David, arrived Thursday and are visiting her mother, Jill Dalquist, for a few days.
Although they've encountered various strangers and wildlife on their trip, the couple said they are enjoying the adventure.
"The clouds have been pretty cool, the thunderstorms have been awesome and the lightening has been neat," David said.
The trip started June 20 and the couple were joined by Marthe's brothers, Dan and David, who won't be participating for the next leg of the trip. The plan to tour the U.P. on the highways by bike began last summer for the bicycling enthusiasts, whose ambition is to someday bike across the United States.
"Specifically on U.S. 2," David said. "It goes from Washington to Sault Ste. Marie."
The Kuhns never had the time to take the big trip, but began a smaller tour, starting with a ride around the U.P., where they started in Naubinway.
"Bike touring is really popular in many states," Marthe said.
In their quest, the Kuhns began searching for a bike touring map of the U.P. but found it was only popular on U.S. 2. Determined to make the trip on other major U.P. highways, the Kuhns decided to route their own trip.
"These are great roads and people have been really nice," she said.
The couple is most surprised by the number of people who are shocked they are doing a bike tour here, as they see very few bike tours in the area. The Kuhns said there could be a good market for bike tours in the U.P. as there is a vast amount of nature and wildlife to see. And so far, they've come across whitetailed deer, different birds and miles of endless shoreline.
"On the road, it's so peaceful," Marthe said. "You can hear the birds."
Every fourth day or so, the Kuhns plan to stop and take time to regroup, spending time at the selected location, whether it be at a campground or motels. They are also taking time to enjoy nature by seeing the coast.
"Some things are hard about it," Marthe said. "It's been a wonderful way to see Upper Michigan."
The couple have been camping, traveling with everything they may need including changes of clothes, a stove, pots, freeze-dried food and other miscellaneous items. They have also been stopping at town stores to pick up goods like noodles, fruits and vegetables and meat.
They've even had interesting experiences meeting people along the way, including an older gentleman who offered them a strawberry rhubarb pie.
"That's a first for us," David said. "In all of the Oregon trips and rides we've ever done before, we've never had some guy pull over and offer us a strawberry rhubarb pie."
The Kuhns will head back to Naubinway July 7, stopping to spend the Fourth of July in Munising, even though they agree they are not looking forward to the "Seney Stretch." They hope to participate in many other tours in the U.S. and hope riders take a chance on the U.P. as they have done.
"There's so much to see," Marthe said. "There are a lot of people who bike on U.S. 2, but they don't go around."
David said he especially enjoys the trip from Eagle River to Copper Harbor, even though they aren't biking that route on this trip.
"It's been surprising how few other bicycling riders we come across," he said.
"Bike touring has such a potential," Marthe added.