Posts Tagged ‘Charlevoix’

Charlevoix morning

Tuesday, 11th August 2009; 8:46 am - Location:

I got a little bit of a scare during supper in Charlevoix last night, when I looked out the window at around 8pm and it was dark. Not nightime dark, but darker than it should be an hour before sunset. It was cloudy too, and the air was hazy. I checked radar on my iPhone and it it showed a small storm possibly headed this way. I didn’t panic, but I finished my meal without stalling and returned to the campground. But other than a nice cloudy sunset with rain way off on the water to the north, nothing happened.

I woke this morning to low but thin overcast clouds. Bits of blue show through from time to time. The forecast says cloudy then partly cloudy, so I’m optimistic. However the surf is up a little and the forecast also says up to 10mph winds… which is about 10 faster than I’d hoped for the Bridge crossing this afternoon.

A few thoughts about the trip so far. I’m starting to get a little saddle sore, which didn’t come up on my two-day practice rides. I probably should have done a 4-day trip first rather than leaping from an overnight to 8 nights. Fortunately it only hurts at first when I sit down; as the feeling goes away it gets better. 🙂 I try to change sitting positions frequently, mostly by moving my feet. I’ve found that sitting with my thighs together, so they’re bearing some of my weight on the seat, helps take some of the pressure off certain spots at the base of my spine.

Yesterday’s equipment failure makes me nervous, because there will be no more Genuine dealers (until Green Bay). If anything further happens I’ll have to rely on Genuine’s roadside assistance (time consuming in the middle of nowhere, I’m sure) and/or the ingenuity of local mechanics.


Monday, 10th August 2009; 8:05 pm - Location:

Whether it was the distance from Traverse City or from rush hour (or both) the traffic on US-31 thinned out a bit as the evening went on. At times I even went several minutes at a time without anyone coming up behind me. I’ve found that it helps not to look in the rear view mirror too much. That’s probably a larger life lesson I should pay more attention to, but in this case it just means that sometimes I’m better off not knowing that there’s someone riding my ass. I’ve been torn between my habit of hugging the shoulder for safety (like on my bike) and sticking myself in the middle of the lane so that the only way to pass me is a full-fledged lane change. What annoys me the most are the people who try to push past me as if I were a bike riding in the gutter. It might be in a no-passing zone with oncoming traffic and they still pass me. I had one asshole honk at me as he passed me in a passing lane (in a van, I might add).

I got to Fisherman’s Island State Park around 7pm. I had forgotten that like last night’s campground it’s also “rustic” camping, so no shower tonight or tomorrow morning. It’s even more… well, rustic than Leelanau, with actual wooded gaps between sites, which is nice. Ironically you have to go past a huge landraping operation known as St Mary’s Concrete to get to it. I set up camp and headed into town (just past the park on US-31) for supper. The scooter looks a little weird without a tent, sleeping bag, etc. strapped on the back. 🙂

I got lucky and saw the return of the ferry to/from Beaver Island. I had hoped to work that into this trip but couldn’t fit it in. Another time. Really. They had to raise the drawbridge to let it into the harbor, which I had crossed back and forth just a few minutes before. I’m having supper at Great Lakes Whitefish & Chips; I’m eating the broiled whitefish sandwich, which is good.

Stations of the cross-country ride

Friday, 26th June 2009; 10:26 pm - Location: , , , ,

The best-laid plans for a cross-country ride can be thwarted by technical problems. I’ll never forget watching the rear wheel of my friend Adam’s bicycle self-destruct, one spoke after another, as we rode through Northumberland. Or the feeling of Cam’s beatermobile sputtering off the interstate at a small town in northern Michigan just as the only garage there was closing up for the weekend.

I figure I can fix pretty much any of the ailments likely to befall a bicycle. But I’ve never been interested in automotive mechanics, so even though I understand the principle of internal combustion, I’ve remained ignorant of the workings the vehicles that use it. So if I have scooter trouble, and it isn’t something that can be diagnosed from theory alone and then fixed improvisationally, I’m screwed.

Or maybe not.

As it happens, there are three scooter shops along my route who are Genuine dealers. If something goes wrong that’s covered by warranty, they’d not only be able to fix it, they’d fix it for free. They are Bayside Cycles of Frankfort (about the middle of the ride for Day Two of my trip), Practical Power Sports of Charlevoix (at the end of Day Three), and Riverside Rides of suburban Green Bay (near the end of Day Eight). (There’s also Vespa Holland, where I bought the scoot, but even though they’re near the lakeshore, they’re not quite on my way… and if I had serious problems that early in the ride, I’d consider aborting.)

There are no Genuine dealers in the UP. Not that this is surprising, since the population is so much smaller, and the scooting season is so much shorter. But even so, there are cities here and there and villages in between. If I have a break-down somewhere, there’s bound to be someone driving by before too long. And AT&T claims coverage in… well… most of the areas I’ll be driving through.

But seriously: People live there. If I can’t find someone in any of these parts who can get a simple engine like my Buddy’s working again, that’ll be very surprising. Plus, Genuine offers roadside assistance as part of their warranty package. I don’t know how well it works that far from a dealer, and I hope not to find out, but it’s part of my safety net.