Home through mid-Michigan

Wednesday, 25th July 2012; 1:43 pm

Shortly after leaving camp this morning, on a short ride along the Pine River, I chanced across an antique gas station. It’s a fascinating look back into history. It’s located on what’s now a little-used route for residences and small farms along the river, which I’m guessing was more “important” before the highway system developed. The building is just a small wooden structure, with a pump out front. The last price charged was 43 and 8/10 cents per gallon; this would place it around 1970 when it was last selling gas.


Shortly after this I set out on farm roads, which stretched on and on and on. They aren’t unpleasant to ride on; I vastly prefer them to busy highways. They can be relaxing and even scenic in their own way. But after 20 miles without turning, they can get a little… old. The good news is that you don’t need weather radar in farm country: just look out to the horizon and you can see whatever might be coming your way. I had some storms get close, and got a few drops here and there, but again (this time by blind luck) found a hole in the front.

The ride was mostly uneventful. I rode through Greenville and Belding, mostly because those are two nearby cities/villages that… I’ve just never been to. Greenville’s been hard-hit by the closure of the Electrolux refrigerator plant there some years ago, then by the bankruptcy of a solar-panel manufacturing facility. But at least so far the city isn’t falling into ruins.

On my previous ride, my plan to ride out of town on Grand River Drive was thwarted by a race taking place there that day. So I chose to end this ride by coming through in the opposite direction. I picked it up at Lowell, switched to autopilot and rode home. Everything’s just as I left it (well, a couple plants need watering), and I now prepare to return to my life as usual.

7 Responses to “Home through mid-Michigan”

  1. carl says:

    Sounds like it was a good trip overall.

    Glad you are home safely and that your Buddy held up—being short on oil is not that serious.

    You have a new appreciation for much of the state and have absorbed some history such as that found at the gas station. That type of building and one pump was the norm in the early 20th century. You also were served by an attendant who cleaned the windshield and checked the oil–most cars burned some oil then also.

    Glad you were able to get away and hopefully the memories will help on the not so good days at work.

  2. MOM says:

    Welcome home. Talk to you soon.

  3. Taj says:

    Sadness. Look forward to this adventure every year Todd. You’re an excellent writer and these posts are part of my nightly routine. How long to scooter to Seattle?

  4. Todd says:

    Let’s see… it’s 2200 miles to Seattle from here, figuring maybe 150 miles/day, that’d take me 15 days. Get me a month of paid vacation time (you know, like Europeans typically get), and we’ll talk. 🙂

  5. Taj says:

    2 months unless you decide to stay. We’d love to have you visit. You know, your trip would be a great book.

  6. Todd says:

    It’d be like On the Road but without the wild spontaneity and interesting characters, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but without all of the thoughtful philosophy and psychological insight. :/

  7. Taj says:

    Or depending how it goes, there’s always an updated version of Smokey and the Bandit.