Posts Tagged ‘Red Arrow Highway’

Indiana wants me

Sunday, 14th June 2009; 1:49 pm - Location: , , ,

dune-overlookThe night was rainless but dewy, so everything outside was damp. I woke this morning around 6:00 to the sound of birds -lots of them – chirping. I took my time breaking camp… because I could. I went for a short hike which started with a climb up one of the big dunes, right by the campground. I did it barefoot, figuring I’d be coming right back down. The slope was at least a 30degree incline, and I admit I had to stop a few times to catch my breath. The view from the top immediately took it away again. I could see forever to both east (behind me as I climbed) and west (over the Lake). But I couldn’t work up the nerve to go back down the way I’d come. I can handle heights when I don’t have to look at them, so the climb up with my face in the sand was OK. But the climb down… no go. As I stepped closer to the slope, and still couldn’t see the path down (making it look like a sheer drop), my acrophobia kicked in. Rather than stress myself out, I turned around went down the other (much gentler) side.

buckAfter retrieving my shoes I kept walking, and had a pleasant surprise. I stopped briefly on a bridge through some wetland, turned my head, and there was a buck staring at me, motionless. He couldn’t have been much more than 20 meters away. He was so still that at first I wasn’t 100% sure he was real, then he moved an ear. He stood perfectly still long enough for me to get out my camera, fight with the autofocus (which kept locking onto plants in front of him) and take a couple decent shots before he abruptly leaped out of view.

Around 9:00 am I pushed the loaded scooter from the campsite to the ranger office rather than upsetting the quiet of the morning for my fellow campers. Two-stroke engines are annoyingly noisy. After leaving the state park I continued south, just past the Indiana border… so I’ll be able to say later that I’ve covered the whole way from Indiana to Wisconsin. On the return trip I went some distance on a local access road which runs along the Red Arrow Highway, which has itself been superceded for most travel by I-94. Two degrees of separation from the expressway, but still going my way: perfect.

I’ve stopped in South Haven again, this time for lunch, at Subs ‘n’ More on Phoenix Street, the “main street” that runs directly from the interstate to the harbor, and loaded mostly with tourist-focused shops for the last few blocks to the waterfront. It’s sunny today which means watching out for sun when I stop. My protective riding gear does a good job the rest of the time.

Saint Joe

Saturday, 13th June 2009; 6:10 pm - Location: , ,

I stopped in St Joseph, and by chance I parked near the only other place I’ve been in St Joe: the Amtrak station. It shares space with a pizza restaurant in the old train station building… or rather the restaurant shares a little bit of space with Amtrak, since it’s an unstaffed station with just an automated ticket machine.

You can tell that someone is trying to revive the downtown/waterfront area. There’s a park with lots of artsy sculpture along the river, a freshly redone beach area on the Lake, a carousel/ballroom and a big fountain under construction just off the beach, and an old building being renovated into megabuck condos just up the hill.

I saw something I hadn’t noticed on my train rides through: the rail bridge over the river rotates to let tall boats through. Freaked me out when I looked down the railway and saw the control booth for the bridge sitting right in the way. I watched it close, then an Amtrak train went over it (too early in the day to be the Pere Marquette to Grand Rapids). Kinda neat.

I’ve stopped to eat at Gersch’s Gourmet Burgers & More, a small but fairly popular (it seems) sit-down or to-go place with super-fast service, on the south side of St Joe on the Red Arrow Highway. “Now open on Sunday” the sign on the door declares. Naturally, at a burger place I got a chicken sandwich. Yum.

Shakedown cruise flight plan

Saturday, 23rd May 2009; 4:13 pm - Location: , , ,

I’ve set a date and itinerary for the MI way shakedown cruise. I’ll be leaving on Saturday 13th June, spending the night at Warren Dunes State Park just north of Indiana, and returning home the next day. I’ll take Chicago Drive and the Blue Star and Red Arrow Highways there and back, explore the Indiana shoreline a little, maybe sample some Harbor Country wine, and whatever else occurs to me to do.

Looking at the online reservations for the state park, it became clear that weekends later into the summer were going to sell out soon. Even the weekend I’ve chosen only offered a handful of sites left, from nearly 200. (And that’s because my equipment is only a single tent.) I’m guessing a lot of Chicagolanders plan to put their toe over the state line. The weekend before was a little more open, but I have plans then, and the weekend before that is too soon.

See, I’ve decided to make this a fully equipped shakedown, with everything I plan to bring on the long trip, whether I need it or not. But I don’t have it all yet. In particular I need a cargo carrier for the rear rack. Maybe a fancy “top case”, maybe just a covered milk crate… I’m still exploring the options.

But now I have a deadline.