Day Four: Jackson, Mich. to Adrian, Mich.

 
 

Up until Day Four, I’ve been pretty lucky with how my route has been laid out. I’ve basically been biking in a big circle, and I’ve rarely had to backtrack for more than a mile or two. Today, that changed a bit as my plan to grab three burgers in three different cities meant I’d be going 25 miles out of the way… and I’d have to re-trace a big part of that to make it to my final destination.

The hard thing about a multi-part, multi-day ride like this isn’t really the biking. If you’ve spent enough time on a bike, your body knows what to do. If you can get the hydration and nutrition figured out, your body just has to stay upright and pedal.

The hard part is the mental stuff.

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It’s one thing to feel like you’re pushing forward when every stroke pushes you somewhere you haven’t been – it’s another when you’re seeing the other side of the same scenery you passed an hour ago. It’s not the same thing as forcing yourself to finish a workout on a treadmill, though. You’re on a country road, in the elements, and there’s not much of an option other than to push forward.

The good news is that the burgers on my route today made it worth it in the end. I started my day at the West Point Lounge in Jackson, Michigan, then swung out of the way to grab a Lake Superior Burger at the Great Lakes Eatery and Pub in Dundee, Michigan, and rode on to get dinner in the form of a ZZ Char-Broil at ZZ’s Sports Bar and Grill in Adrian. Three burgers, 89 miles, and the hardest mental day of the trip so far.

Tomorrow’s the last leg of my trip – right around 100 miles back to Fort Wayne. I’ll see if I can’t fit a burger or two in along the way.


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Bacon xtra buger at West Point lounge in Jackson, MI.

Overall taste: Four Stars.

The Bacon Xtra Burger was an awesome bacon cheeseburger, but what set it apart was you got to pick TWO cheeses. I’ve eaten A LOT of burgers (this week) in my life and I cannot remember a single time I got to pick multiple cheese as a standard option.

Use of Bun: Four Stars.

This burger is clearly built around the bacon and cheese, and they’ve chosen a bun that sits back, out of the way, and lets the stars shine.

Value: Four Stars.

$6.75 for a bacon cheeseburger isn’t bad (especially when you consider the two cheeses) but I couldn’t help feeling I could have used a little something else.

Extras: Four Stars.

“Xtra” is in the name, and it’s all about that extra cheese. Nothing too fancy, the cheese is really what’s doing the work here.

Gram-ability: Four Stars.

I know it sounds like I’m on repeat here, but this is really about the cheese. Don’t use a black and white filter, mention the cheese in the caption, and you’ll be in good shape.


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Lake Superior BURGER at Great lakes eatery and pub in dundee, MI.

Overall taste: Four Stars.

A burger like nothing I’ve ever seen before is the only way to describe the Lake Superior Burger. This thing came with a “fried cheese plank” on it. And for those who aren’t familiar with fried cheese planks, imagine a mozzarella stick (but cheddar) the size of a hash brown on top of a burger.  

Use of Bun: Three and a half Stars.

That fried cheese plank is great, but it means you have a lot going on with the burger already. I’m a firm believer that burgers are as much about the buns as anything, but the balance on this wasn’t quite right.

Value: Four Stars.

Four Stars. $11.99 for the plate might seem a little steep, but this is as much a burger you eat for the story as anything… and stories are priceless.

Extras: Five Stars.

Yes, there’s the cheese plank, but this burger also has sauteed onions and Great Lakes Burger sauce. Extras on top of extras, y’all.

Gram-ability: Five Stars.

I’ll go ahead and write this caption for you. “Two words: Cheese. Plank.” and then like seven fire emojis.

 

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zz Char-Broil buger at zz's Bar and Grill in Adrian, MI.

Overall taste: Four and a half Stars.

I think this is the 9th burger I’ve eaten in four days, but the ZZ Char-broil was the best burger patty yet! This burger didn’t need any frills to make it awesome. The bun, patty, and cheese were plenty!

Use of Bun: Four Stars.

This bun should win an award for best supporting actor. It fits in the mix perfectly and really makes the whole package shine.

Value: Four Stars.

$8.99 seems to be close to a sweet spot for these burgers, but the quality of the patty here makes this stand out above the rest. Well worth the price.

 

Extras: Four Stars.

Not a lot of visible extras here, but it may be a case of addition by subtraction. Too much would take away from the burger, so I’m not complaining.

Gram-ability: Three and a half Stars.

If there’s a downside to having your burger carried by a tasty patty, this is it. It’s not super Grammable, but only because they haven’t invested Tastestagram yet. Get on it, Zuckerberg.

 
 
 
Gavin Saxer