On a bright Tuesday morning, we made a brief stop at the post office. Waiting in the parking lot, we met an exorbitantly friendly Michigan militia member who offered his lawn for us to camp on that night. After canvassing for the day around Bay City, we headed back to his house and he greeted us with a massive salad made from ingredients from his garden and introduced us to his Chihauhau affectionately named Taco. We sit on his deck as he talks at length, telling us tall tales from his days fighting the mafia, building coal plants, and Taco’s numerous run-ins with bears. The next morning he happily sends us off, and we leave with PB&J’s sandwiches, Clif bars, and considerable knowledge of the Michigan state’s gun laws.
We split into groups to canvass again, and it turns out that Google Maps is not, in fact, flawless. We started to find that these gravel back roads often decide to spontaneously end with no warning. My group decided to trek through a couple mile long swampy field to get to the next house that happened to be something else that was awfully stingy–but also thankfully with a nearby anti-inflammatory of Jewelweed. Sitting on the road and crushed plant stems rubbing all over my itchy legs was not how I pictured Bike the Line would go–but the high spirits everyone maintained throughout the trip was infectious. Once out of the field, at the first house we canvassed we meet a wonderful guard dog named Molly, who upon seeing us, promptly sprinted up to us and rolled over onto her belly and looked up at us pleading for us to pet her. We make a camping version of steamin’ hot pho with ramen noodles and canned veggies for dinner, and once our bellies were full, we slipped into our sleeping bags before the next day’s adventure.
On Thursday, we met a retired high school teacher named Barry with a protective shih tzu named Morgan, who at first was quite suspicious of us comin’ up to surprise him at his very rural home, but after sitting with us for a while, he brought out ice cream, cherries, and plums and started to really come around to the idea of shutting down this pipeline. We barely spoke a full sentence to his neighbor, a man named Art, before he immediately asked what he could do to help our cause. That same afternoon, we met a whole range of supporters; a collie dog breeder, a junk yard connoisseur, a woman who collected every cardinal memorabilia she could find, and an incredibly amicable bar owner with a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tattoo that got nearly every person in her bar to sign our petition. Almost each person we met seemed to have a new story about Enbridge digging up the line near their house to fix something, or a nearby leak, and all of them agreed–you just couldn’t trust them with the Lakes when they were run by money.