The Michigan Trip
This trip was to be a 3 week trip to visit relatives in Michigan. The plan was
to make the trip out via freeway in the shortest possible time (4 days). Visit relatives
for a week and then take my time coming back via the upper peninsula & along
the Canadian/US border to Glacier and then home (8-10 days). Since I was shooting for
fast miles on the trip out, I decided to forgo picture taking till the return trip. What follows is a
brief rendition of my experiences on the way out.
To Michigan & Back
My plan lasted for a little over a day. I made my first days mileage via 80 and rolled
into Wendover on the Nev/Utah Border just after dark. I was whipped but felt good about
making the mileage, until I started looking for a room. It was Saturday & I hadn't thought
about the implications of Saturday night on a Nevada border town in the late summer.
Turns out half the state of Utah shows up to do a little gaming this time of year & the motels
were full up. I had just decided that I was going to have to get a room at a hotel Casino
& asked the motel clerk if she would find me a room so I wouldn't have to drive around any
more as I was exhausted. I guess she decided to take pity on a tired old traveler & said if I
wouldn't mind waiting they had a room that just needed a little house-keeping. I expressed my
un-dying gratitude & collapsed in the lobby for a few minutes while they changed the sheets
(thank goodness for quickies).
The next morning, I got an early start and had planned on rolling to Salt Lake City for brunch, but
dead smack in the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flats, appropriately, I had a flat rear tire. After
my pulse rate returned to normal, I dug out my handy BMW tire repair kit & CO2 air gun. Several minutes
later, failing to find any foreign objects in the tread, I decided to spend a cartidge to locate the hole.
At that point, I discovered a rather large, unrepairable cut in the sidewall. After a brief but fervent period
of cursing & whining, I dug out my BMW directory & got to work with my cell getting a tow & trying to locate a new tire. I
had low expectations of finding anything open till Tuesday, but hoped maybe I could find someone who knew
someone, etc, etc. Turns out there was a motorcycle accessory shop in SLC that had a tire that was close
enough & they would be open till 3:00PM. After finding out to my chagrin that AAA didn't cover my bike & a few hundred $ later
I just made it & was back on the road by about 2:30. At that point, my schedule was blown & I decided to make a
scenic side trip over by Denver to visit an old shooting buddy via Hiway 40. I made it to a small town called Vernal that nite,
which I later found out the surrounding villagers most unkindly refered to as Venereal.
Nexy day, I after some nice roads & a mountain top downpour or two, I rolled into Parker in the middle of one of their late
summer thunder/wind storms. Mooched a great dinner, free bed, and had a nice visit with the Zane and his mom
Next morning after some chilly back roadin, hooked up with the 70 to the 80 to a small burg just east of Omaha.
Whats that great line I heard in a movie, oh yeah "I thought I was in hell, but turned out it was just Nebraska".
I made it just into Michigan the next day at Benton Harbor & treated myself to a room with what up to this point I had
always thought were exorbitantly priced jacuzzi tubs. That nite I decided it was worth every penny. Hot, hot water and
lots of foam sure seemed pretty close to heaven after 2200+mi in the saddle.
I slept in & rolled into my Aunt & Uncle's place just outside Lansing about noon. I spent most of a week there & visited my Cousin
Ed. I was unable to hook up with the other side of the family and headed back about a week later, rested & ready for a nice
back country cruise home.
On the trip back, I went over the Mac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula, hooked up with Hiway 2 which I mostly followed over
to Glacier National Park in Montana. Then, down for a brief visit with some ex-in-laws by Yellowstone and then got tired of the trip as I
had been fighting a series of heavy summer thunder storms most of the way. Fortunately, I had good rain gear & was under no time
pressure so I learned a lot about riding in inclement weather, something I hadn't done much of up to that point. Anyway from Butte, Mt, I
freewayed it over to my favorite Hiway 50 across Nevada. Then over the Sierra's on the road I live on Hiway 4. Pics & comments of
the return trip follow.
* Aunt & Uncle's little green acre or so
* Good company & food.
* Lake Michigan & pier off a nice little park after a nice dinner
of perch per Aunts advise.
* Sailboats as evening approachs.
* Looking back over the bridge after a breakfast at Bob's Big Boy in
Mackinaw City & of course lots of candy again per advise.
* UP here I come.
White Fish Point
* Great Lakes Ship Wreck Musem & Light house.
* They really do have beaches in Michigan, Lake Superior.
Ship Wreck Museum
* Modern deep water diving gear, an inner space suit.
* Old Timing Diving Gear, check out the hand pump.
* Ships Bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald of oldy but goody music fame.
* Little Whistle Stop just shy of the Wisconsin border. Had been riding in the rain
for about 2 hrs & that old motel sure looked good, well dry any way.
* What else do ya need: motel, gas station, restaurant & bait shop.
* Ashland & Lake Superior after the rain. Clean, crisp & cool.
* Flowers down the middle of Hiway 2, aromatic riding.
* A little while after Duluth, I passed a sign that said MX this way.
Being an old broken down MXer, I couldn't resist. Man, what a
* This was a small displacement race & the kids were havin fun and
rippin up the terre firme. I couldn't get over how nice the track was
prepared & NO DUST. Made me wish I was about a hundred years
younger so I could do it all over again.
Grand Rapids, Minnesota?
* Had to stop & see what Minnesota's Grand Rapids was like. Had a
late lunch at this neat lodge & walked down to the small lake out back.
* Forest Lake, I just know the bass were thick in there.
* Ft Totten, ND. Built near the end of the Plains Indian Wars
and then converted into a reservation. One of the darker pages of our
history if you ask me.
* Vintage firearms display, 1873 Trapdoor Springfields and vintage
artillery rounds. Now your talkin, Red Leg stuff!
Missouri River, ND
* After Ft Totten, I took a break from Hiway 2 & headed off towards the
Lewis and Clark trail over by the Missouri river. After a long day, was
coming down off a long hill with Williston in sight when 2 black wolves
jumped up onto the road from a deep, blind embankment. I had no time
to stop plus the downhill made it virtually impossible anyway. Thought we
were going to collide for sure, but at the last moment one of them accelerated
& the other held up just enough for me to squeeze by right between them.
Man the adrenalin was pumping there for a while. Thank you wolfs, I'm
sure it would not have been pleasant for either of use!
* Into Montana, back on 2 the next day. Lots of little farm towns and miles and miles of sun flowers, hay,
prarie grass, and numerous other vegetable substances that I didn't have a clue about.
Stopped in Wolfs Point for brunch, which after my close encounter the day before, I thought was
most appropriate. Left my favorite & well worn deerskin gloves in the Cafe & didn't miss them till I was
well past the point of returning for them. After some foul language, I settled down & a couple of hours later rolled
into another small town when I noticed my tach was going crazy. I vaguely remembered that was an
indication of some kind of an electrical problem that soon became apparent. When I rolled up to a stop light, the engine died
& the battery was dead so she wouldn't start. I pushed the GS into a supermarket parking lot that luckily was right there &
found a public phone. I called a local Big 4 shop, the only game in town. They said the service folks were gone
& further they didn't work on BWMers, but agreed to let me use a bit of their shop floor space to check it out. So I bump
started the GS & nursed it to the shop which was just a few miles up the road. Turned out it was the alternator rotor which is
a weak point of the GS & I always carry a spare. So a couple of hours later, I was back on the road with juice to
spare. Thanks guys & especially thanks for not giving me a hard time about my reliable BMWer breaking down & needing
help at the Japanese bike shop.
Glacier National Park
* Browning just outside of the Park, look at that passenger train.
There's something ya don't see much of any more, huh, Arlo.
* Turned out the damn place was on fire, after a few miles of this I decided
smoke inhalation was not in my best interests and headed South.
* Chico Hot Springs, a neat little vacation spot that my ex worked at.
Stopped by to say hi & headed on down the road.
* Clark Canyon Reservoir, I think on the Lewis & Clark Trail again.
* Same place where ever it was, had just started to hit the rain after
a very cool Aug morning.
* Neat little pitstop in Southern Montana, almost to the Idaho border.
It had turned cold as well as wet & I decided to run South on the 15 superslab.
It didn't do any good as it rained thru much of Idaho. I took the 86 to Twin Falls &
peeled of on the 93 South into Nevada. I finally drove out of it
after riding thru a helluva thunder storm between Jackpot & Wells, Nv.
From there I took the 80 a little ways and then rode with some Gold Wingers towing
trailers down to the 50. I'll never sneer at those guys again as they were going
as fast as I wanted to go. Then across Nv on the 50 & up an over the Sierras on 4.
Here's some sage advice, never ride over nasty mountain roads on Memorial Day
weekend after a long tiring motorcycle run. Its amazing how fast all those idiots in their
gas guzzlin SUVs want to drive up there. Nothing like barreling along at the limit with a 3 ton SUV
about a foot off your rear & trying to find a place to safely get out of the way. Usually, its full of
kids and the little woman to boot. Guess they never heard about taking it easy & smelling the
pine trees & enjoying the last of the fresh air for a few months. Well, anyway, I survived & rolled
home in some nice dry hot weather for change. Live to ride another day as they say
which is what its all about anyway.
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