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    Carrier on Michigan’s 131-mile mail route is in it for the long haul

    Susan Kleiman pulled off her rural postal route on County Road 426 on a recent weekday after spotting an Amish family’s cow loose in a neighbor’s field.

    She alerted the owners of their wayward animal.

    “It’s just part of our neighborly response,” she said. “We watch out for everyone along our routes.”

    Kleiman, 53, is a rural mail carrier, and her Escanaba post office route is the longest rural route in the state, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

    Monday through Friday, she drives more than 131 miles a day. It’s a route Kleiman has driven for two years, and it takes her roughly 10 hours to complete.

    “I’m on my fourth vehicle since my first days on the job,” Kleiman said. “This route can split the ball joints in your vehicle in half.”

    With 361 stops on this particular Tuesday, she delivered mail to parts of two counties: Delta and Marquette.

    Kleiman, who joined the postal service in 2004, traversed many unpaved roads that can be muddy and water-logged. Road conditions along Rural Route 33 can change from morning to late afternoon because of warming and cooling weather conditions.

    “All rural carriers in the Upper Peninsula drive all-wheel-drive vehicles,” she said. “Weather in the Upper Peninsula can be a challenge.”

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