Huron National Forest

Tuesday, 24th July 2012; 1:33 pm

I broke camp at about 8am, and headed south on M33 into Atlanta. Which is much smaller than the one in Georgia. I filled up at exactly 16600 miles, which helps keep track of how far I’ve gone.

From there I took my first diversion off M33, onto a nice wooded road paralleling it (but bendy). But that only lasted so far and I was back on M33. Fortunately the reason there are limited roads to choose from around here is the limited demand for them: traffic was sparse.

After passing through Fairview, I entered Huron National Forest, which was the “destination” for today. And it was a good one. I took a chance on a road running along the Au Sable River, and it paid off. It was a nice wooded, winding ride, and offered access to great views of the river an the various dam ponds along it.

One stop didn’t offer much of a view, but was worth the visit nonetheless. It was in the middle of an area that had been clear cut back in 1995, to allow a new planting of jack pines. The ornithologists reading this already know what this is about: Kirtland’s warbler. This is one of the few places (the others being west of here) where the warbler nests in the spring, and it only does so in stands of youngish jack pines. These used to develop naturally following wildfires, but humans control those now, so we have to simulate them by clear cutting.

At one point when I’d stopped to take pictures, I heard the growl of hawgs coming from around the bend ahead. A herd of a dozen of them roared past, and I gave them the two-fingered low-hand salute that bikers not-so-secretly share. Several returned it, and one waved for me to join them. Which might have been fun (if I could keep up) but I pointed that I was going in the other direction. 🙂

I’d planned two routes for today, one with a shorter (but less interesting) itinerary, in case I was getting tired of all the riding. I started on the longer route, but improvised a little, late in the morning. I was making good time (even with the sightseeing), I was enjoying the day, and i had enough gas, so I extended the route a bit.

It turned out I didn’t have enough oil. That surprised me, because I’d added a pint back at Tahquamenon. Probably the heat (air temp and engine temp) using up more than usual. The “add oil” indicator came on, so I dug out my emergency 3.2oz bottle of 2-stroke oil and put it in the oil reservoir, making a note to keep an eye open for somewhere to buy a full quart. Which I found a mile later (easily close enough to ride with the oil light on). At least now I’m set for the rest of the ride (and then some).

I stopped briefly at Rifle River Rec Area (which I didn’t stay at last night because it’s too far south, and won’t stay at tonight because it’s too far north. Not having a swim suit, canoe, or mountain bike, it had little to offer me today, so I went on into Rose City, where I found the Faull Inn (not a typo) restaurant and bar. The Philly cheese steak sandwich is on special, very large, and yummy.

I’m out of the national forest region now, so the ride will probably get more farmy and less fun. But my concerns that the ride at this point would have descended into anticlimax and just wanting to get home, have not come to pass.

That’ll be tomorrow.

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