Archive for July, 2014

Finished… now what?

Sunday, 27th July 2014; 9:27 pm

OK, so I’ve done it.

I’ve ridden a motor scooter to every county in Michigan. Some of them multiple times. And a baker’s dozen of counties in Wisconsin, plus a few in Indiana and Ontario, along the way.

So… now what?

According to legend, Alexander the Great once lamented that there were no worlds left to conquer. Fortunately that’s not the case for me; if I decide to do more of this, I have some options for new places to ride.

On my first big ride, I briefly considered going all the way around Lake Michigan. Then I checked the distance and concluded that it would take too long. Plus going all the way would require going through Milwaukee, Kenosha, Chicago, and Gary, which is mostly urban sprawl. So I took a shortcut home across the Lake. But on further consideration, finishing the loop might not be so bad. What about a ride from here down to Indiana, then through Milwaukenochicagary (in a day), and up into scenic Door County (the peninsula sticking into Lake Michigan) for a couple days, taking the Badger back across, and riding home? That could be a nice way to spend 6 or 7 days, and provide some closure on the first ride. (You may have noticed that the map on the main page now includes those counties, un-colored.)

Other than that… I’m not really sure. I might consider some vacation plans that don’t revolve around the scooter… or even involve it at all, if you can imagine that. I’d like to get in better shape and do more backpacking, either nearby or out of state. I haven’t been to Europe in almost 20 years, which is pretty amazing when you consider that I accumulated half a year there in five trips from 1983 to 1996. To say nothing of other parts of the world. Maybe even the foreign land of California.

So there are definitely worlds left to conquer.

But right now, I need a good night’s sleep in my own bed.

Return to Ludington

Sunday, 27th July 2014; 6:18 am

Got a little sleep in one of the reclining seats in the “quiet room” on the Badger. Rested enough for a ride, at least. It’s overcast with patches of rain on the radar. Have to watch out for that.


Saturday, 26th July 2014; 10:26 pm

I was worried about getting to Manitowoc way too early, but rural detours conspired to send me all over two counties… and just like five years ago, I found myself chasing my shadow into Manitowoc as the sun disappeared behind me. (I’m more comfortable riding after dark than I was, but it’s still lousy for navigating unfamiliar territory.)

First order of business was exchanging my ticket from tomorrow to tonight (more properly: from Monday morning to Sunday morning). A mere formality. Boarding starts at midnight (Central time).

One of the downtown bars is having a street party with a live band, which can be heard throughout much of the downtown district. They’re playing journeyman covers of 70s and 80s hard rock and metal. Not really “my scene”.

I found my way to a pub serving microbrews, which should not be surprising to find in Wisconsin in 2014. Time for a couple pints.

The beer isn’t just to help me sleep, but also to relax. The long day of riding – 12 hours, give or take meals – has left me tense and cranky. You should’ve heard the string of colorful metaphors when my camera bag accidentally pressed against the horn button and bumped the turn signal on. Fortunately I was stopped at the time; it could’ve been messy if I’d been on the road. It’s a bit of a come-down from the mood I was in this morning (because I really am happy with how the trip has gone). It’s probably for the best that I’m getting an extra day after returning home, to ease myself back into my regular life.


Saturday, 26th July 2014; 7:14 pm

As I predicted, the afternoon was more “efficient” than the morning. But not too efficient. I was essentially just following the turn-by-turn directions printed from the route I worked out a couple months ago. When I saw “turn onto WI-55, go 58 miles” my heart sank. Sure, simple is nice, but over an hour on the highway (especially with a strong crosswind) sounded tiresome. But WI-55 turned out to be a small highway, running through state forest and native territory, and actually pretty nice. And for almost 60 miles.

Aside from the wind, the weather has been beautiful, with partial clouds and temps around 80F. (A little warm is nice at 50mph.) Tomorrow is still looking wet here, reinforcing my decision to leave now. (Looks like a chance of rain in Michigan tomorrow, but I might get home before it starts.)

Because I’m coming for the northwest rather than down the coast, I decided to go around Green Bay, instead going down to Appleton, then cutting over to the lake. I’ve stopped at a nice sandwich place here of supper.

I actually got this far too quickly; the Badger doesn’t leave for another seven hours, and it’ll take me well under two hours to get to Manitowoc from here.

Eagle River

Saturday, 26th July 2014; 1:35 pm

I’ve stopped in Eagle River for lunch at a family restaurant. The Northern Highlands have been nice, but I have to keep moving southeast. Looking at the map zoomed out, I’m about a third of the way to Manitowoc, but I’ve been taking the slow and scenic route so far. The further south I get, the more I’ll be going through farmland and eventually taking highways, which will go more quickly.


Presque Isle WI

Saturday, 26th July 2014; 11:20 am

Presque Isle WI is also not an island. Or near one. It’s near Presque Isle Lake, also on the Presque Isle River.


As I crossed into Wisconsin, if planned to take a short side trip that would take me a shirt distance into the corner of Iron County, just so could color it in. But County Road G turned out to be so damn nice that I road it for a couple miles before turning around. I’m in the Northern Highlands area, and it really is very beautiful: lots of trees and lakes.