Archive for June, 2018

Lake Superior can wait

Friday, 29th June 2018; 9:04 pm

To make it official: I will not be doing the Lake Superior ride next month. I’ve been having some problems with my neck, and sleeping in a tent on the ground for 9 nights isn’t a good idea until I get that resolved.

I had a similar problem 7 years ago, which was mostly resolved with surgery, and that may be an option again for this, if physical therapy or other treatments don’t take care of it. There’s no reason to think that I won’t recover enough to do the trip next year, so that’s what I’m tentatively planning for now.

So… reservations have been canceled – with penalties 🙁 – time off from work has been un-requested, and… that’s about it.

Scouting for petrol

Thursday, 14th June 2018; 9:04 pm

When you have a fuel tank that holds barely more than a gallon, refueling is always a concern on a road trip. Even at 100mpg, that’s not much more than 100 miles. That can be a serious issue in the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula and western Ontario.

On one previous trip through the UP, the only way I could get from Point A to Point B without running out of fuel involved a 20 minute detour from the route I wanted to take, to get to a little shop with gas. On another trip, the gas station I was counting on turned out to be out of business, and I was narrowly saved by a mom-and-pop general store several miles away that had an old gas pump for snowmobiles and ATVs.

So I’m doing a little extra scouting for my ride around Superior. Not just checking for flags in Google Maps, but confirming that they have current gas prices and/or the shop’s web site is still up.

It looks like I’m going to be alright, as long as I remember to stop when needed. It helps that I’m mostly sticking to the shoreline, which is where most of the towns are located. And when I get to Ontario, I’ll be riding on the Trans-Canada Highway, which is the only road that goes through that area, so it gets all the traffic.

Passport acquired

Tuesday, 12th June 2018; 5:39 pm

I’ve received my fancy new passport card from the State Department! Complete with the disappointingly accurate photo of me, and the hidden transceiver that Obama* and the Mounties will be using to track me everywhere I go.

The fact that it’s wallet-size is handy… but a little too handy, if you ask me. It’ll be tempting to put it in my wallet, and if I lose my wallet, I’ll be trapped in a foreign country with no ID whatsoever!

You laugh, but that almost happened to me back in ’83, when my wallet was stolen from Adam’s and my tent in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fortunately I had my passport and traveler’s cheques with me, so all I lost was some cash, my driver’s license, rail card, and student ID. (I didn’t have a credit card yet… I was only 18 years and 3 months old.)

This card can’t be used for air travel, or outside North America, but I don’t see a need for that in the near future. If I find myself in a position to travel farther, I’ll spring for the full-priced passport book.

This was pretty much the last show-stopper for the ride around Superior. I need to bring the scooter in for some maintenance, but if that didn’t happen for some reason, I could still take the trip; it just wouldn’t be a good idea to risk my clutch or bearings failing in the wilds of the UP or West Ontario.

*I know what you’re thinking. That’s what they want you to think.