Archive for July, 2009

Ducks all in a row

Monday, 27th July 2009; 5:01 pm - Location:

The preparations for the big trip have been a bit quiet lately. Rest assured, this does not mean that the trip is off, or anything like that. It just means I don’t have much left to do between now and launch day. The time off has been scheduled, the camp sites have all been booked, the gear has all been purchased. About the only major outstanding task is to get the scooter checked out and declared seaworthy by a mechanic… which I have scheduled for Friday.

Where next?

Friday, 17th July 2009; 6:42 pm - Location:

I know this is getting ahead of myself, but I’ve been thinking about where I might go after riding around Lake Michigan to Wisconsin. I have a few ideas.

Michigan also has an east coast, along Lake Huron. Unless you count right at the Straits of Mackinac, I’ve never even seen Lake Huron, which is a bit wrong, I’d say. To remedy that, I could ride up the middle of the Lower Peninsula, down the Huron coast to Lake St Clair, then back home across the palm.

Although I’ve driven through some of it on the way to Isle Royale, there’s a big chunk of the western UP I’m missing on a scooter. I could take the Badger back to Wisconsin, then head north and west to explore the Porcupine mountains and environs, then take the Badger back.

There’s a whole stretch of territory in the “wrist” of the state, along the borders with Ohio and Indiana. That would be more about the travel than the scenery or destinations, but I could see that being worth it, working in a detour to Amish country in northern Indiana.

I’ve quickly mapped these routes and they leave out only about a dozen counties, which I could easily pick up on a ride up the fingers to the eastern UP and back down, also places worth going.

Any one of these trips would take me about a week, the same amount of time as the trip I currently have planned. They’d involve fairly little duplication of places visited. And the notion of visiting every county in the state over the next several years is kinda neat. Sounds like a goal.

Against the wind

Sunday, 12th July 2009; 3:33 pm - Location: , ,

Most of the ride the rest of the way was windy. The current weather report says 15mph from the west, so the fact that I was able to keep my speed up to 35mph most of the time was pretty good, I guess. My gas mileage sucked, though: I filled up this morning in Pinckney, then again in Portland, and I’d gone only 80 miles on a gallon of gas.

I took a more rural route to Lansing, bypassing the traffic on Grand River Avenue, and taking lots of roads between cornfields. I took a route around the south side of Lansing instead of through the city center, but that was still kind of trafficky, kind of like riding 44th Street instead of Michigan Avenue in Grand Rapids.

Between Portland and GR I spotted Bambi just a little ways off the road in a field. I pulled over to take a picture, but by the time I got my camera out, he’d run off.


Sunday, 12th July 2009; 8:40 am - Location: ,

I nearly met my maker this morning on the way to Hell. As I was leaving the dirt road and picking up speed on the paved road out of the recreation area, a great blue heron or sandhill crane suddenly flew into the air from the edge of the road in front of me. I was moving pretty fast, and so was the bird, so I didn’t get a very good look at it, but it had a wingspan of four or five feet. Hitting it wouldn’t have been good at all, for either of us.

I had breakfast in Purgatory… or rather at the McDonald’s in Pinckney. It’s decorated with a Hollywood theme for some reason, with little shrines in various corners to certain movies, especially those featuring heroic male leads. The Lord of the Rings was in front of me, with autographed stills and what is probably a replica Elven tunic behind glass. There’s a Star Wars shrine behind me, with an authenticated frame from The Empire Strikes Back and Yoda (again, a replica) in a glass case.

HellHell itself was… nice. Sorry. Apparently there was a Harley-rider convention there yesterday, so it’s probably best that I saved it for the trip back today. The following Sunday morning, it was… quiet. Of course I took photos of the handful of tourist gimmicks: the Dam Site Inn, the little wedding chapel behind Screams ice cream, etc. But wander a little ways from these and you see some rather pleasant lakes, the creek (with the dam)… all part of the reason there’s a state recreation area right next door.


Disturbance at the heron house

Sunday, 12th July 2009; 7:04 am - Location:

A somewhat exciting night at the campground last night. Shortly before midnight a police cruiser shows up (which has the welcome side effect of silencing the drunks). Then a fire paramedic unit. Then a park ranger. And finally an ambulance. I heard one camper inform another that the incident involved a woman with a hip replacement or dislocation or something.

LittleAppletonBut it was all over within an hour, and I slept as well as one can expect on a thin pad with a tiny pillow. This morning as I walked the campground one of the campers was already up. Or still. He was staggering around his site a little aimlessly. He offered me a beer which I might have welcomed last night, but not at this hour. Instead I explored Appleton and Little Appleton lakes.

Comics meeting

Saturday, 11th July 2009; 10:37 pm - Location:

I just got back from the Michigan Comics Network meeting in Brighton. They were suitably impressed that I’d gotten there by scooter. I’d meant to stop and pick up a can of beer on the way back to campsite, but the small rural party store I’d noticed on the way was closed. On a Saturday night. Go figure. Too far back into town to find an alternative. The campground is a little noisy, presumably because several of my neighbors were better prepared.