Posts Tagged ‘Green Bay’

Racing the sun

Friday, 14th August 2009; 11:25 pm - Location: , , , ,

Although I left the final decision until I reached the scheduled campground, I proceded from Escanaba as if I were going to take the Badger at the end of the day. Although J. W. Wells State Park was nice enough, I concluded that I was ready to go home, so I went into the ranger office and canceled my reservation (getting some of my money back).

From that point on I was in a race with sun. I wanted to get to Manitowoc before nightfall, because I don’t like riding at night especially if I don’t know where I’m going. I still had to stop for fuel of course, and I stopped… Quite a lot actually. I had to stop to take a photo at the Wisconsin border of course. I stopped when I saw a trio of cranes wandering along someone’s lawn by the side of the road.

And I stopped more times than I can count for navigation. The Wisconsin DOT royally screwed up the route I’d planned to take from Marinette to Green Bay (especially around Peshtigo), and none of my navigational aids knew how to deal with it. The GPS actually sent me into a subdivision with no outlet, telling me to “turn left” at the end of a dead end street. My preplanned itinerary and iPhone were almost useless. For example, Google Maps clearly showed a road that no longer exists. I ended up taking US41 for much longer than I wanted; at least it’s so screwed up at the moment that not many people are using it in that area. The GPS came in the most useful in getting through Green Bay. I just told it to take me to Manitowoc, and dutifully did as it told me. One hazard of this was that I wasn’t conscious that I’d left the city altogether (as opposed to taking a road along the outskirts as I would’ve otherwise), so I didn’t make a point of getting fuel first (as has become my habit). Fortunately I found a gas station before I ran out.

I had my first real spill at the station, in the gravel pulling out of the lot. I slipped and dropped the scoot. At about 2mph. All it did was knock the mirrors out of alignment and spill a little fluid. I hope. I got some bumps and a little scrape. The slacks I’m wearing will now have to be removed from office duty, due to a little tear.

The odometer rolled over (again), to 3000, in Rockwood WI.

I reached Manitowoc just as the sun set. This left enough twilight to successfully find the dock and get my reservation changed to tonight. This left a few hours to kill in town, which I’ve spent wandering the streets and the grounds of the maritime museum (which has a real decommissioned naval sub, built here), and getting a sandwich and a couple beers at the “family fun” Pizza Pit, one of the few places downtown still open and serving food. Several bars, but I wanted a meal.

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.