Thursday, September 29, 2011

MI UP ride review, Sunday.

So Saturday night, we officially stayed in Harvey MI, at the hotel which used to be terrible, but now is ok.  It's not great/perfect, but it's ok.  We stay at a lot of "america's best value" because we have a discount card.  and a AAA card.  No AAAAARP for us, unless we drink our sodey pop too fast.  You're thinking:  where the hell is Harvey?  It's right near Marquette, which has a bunch of stuff we should go back and look at.  For example?  everything that we didn't see, which is everything there.  I invite you to go to Uncle Google, type in Harvey MI or Christmas MI, zoom out to 2 miles and follow along.  Switch back and forth to earth or whatever that other thing is to see what we see.

Sunday:  Yeah, ok, so the bed is like a rock again, we've figgered out that nearly every hotel bed has a hard bed, so it's no use complaining about it.  By now we're getting used to it and adjusting to it, getting some decent sleep.  It helps that we're exhausted when we get to bed each night.  Some days we actually get planned ahead enough that we don't have to take in all of our luggage, that saves a bit of time and effort.  Even though there's no rain in the forecast, we covered the bikes each night...meaning we had to go back out after the bikes had cooled off enough to cover them.....didn't want to melt the covers. 

You may remember that Val had just acquired this bike shortly before this trip, and I guess we should feel lucky that it did have some saddlebags installed on it, even though they were tiny.  We ordered some giant sized saddlebags, the order confirmation stated:  delivery in 21 to 56 days.  We still have not received them, but did get an email telling us that FedEx has them.  The two covers, a 1st aid kit and Val's sack for bungees totally filled the right side bag on her bike.  Her rain kit, extra gloves, and a few other bits of special necessary crap filled the other one.  I'm not going to list the contents of my saddle bags, they're large and voluminous.

I told you that story just so I could tell you this one:  once upon a time, in a land far far away, a little motel thought they'd serve breakfast to everyone that stayed there.  The memory of this makes me want to ask:  does anyone really like those waffle things?  I've made them, and I've eaten them, and I think that they're not bad, but they're not very good, either.  I've learned that I do better all day if I have some protein with my breakfast instead of all carbonhydrates.  Eating cereal is not really an option, either, since milk sometimes causes my stomach to rebel and has more sugars than proteins anyway.  So!  This is why we went to McDonalds most mornings.  Fairly cheap, sorta fast, plenty of napkins. 



couple pics snapped as we cruise thru

Off we go, easterly in direction.  As I look at the map showing the road we took, I see that we are quite near the lake.  Very near the lake.  But, I did not realize this until now, because there are so many trees that you can't see anything most of the time due to the thick stands of trees on both sides of the road. I'm not saying that they should be removed, I like trees.  I understand the importance of them, but...we're here to see the damn lake!  Must be time for a pic.  First 2 are just some things along the road as we're cruising thru town.  Yes, Virginia, there is a SantaClaus, but Mrs Claus lost her head and is not being featured here.  Santa is in Christmas, MI, of course. 

Seems like we gassed up in Munising and hit the Pictured Rocks road.  We saw a sign for Miner's Castle and went there, saw "pictured rock".  And now so shall you. 

One from my camera, and one from Val's.  I don't know why the bloggy software didn't turn this second pic like it did Santa and the other rock pic.  I'm glad we turned to take this side trip, it's about the only scenic thing we see until we get to Grand Marais.  H58 is a nice road, pleasantly twisty, in nice condition, lots of shade.  It even shows the lake for about half a mile!  At some point along the way, we stopped at a scenic overlook because I had drunk too much coffee.  I was very careful to avoid the poison ivy when I went along the trail to find a place to offload the used coffee.  No pics of that activity, I know you're happy about that.

sand dune

Yeah, imagine that...a sand dune along the highway.  It wasn't the only one either.  Ok, so we pull into Grand Marais and top off the gas tanks.  We had not really gone too far or too fast, so we still had a lot, but...it's better to be safe than to have to walk a long ways.  I ask the guy at the gas station where the best place for lunch is, and he indicates that we need to go across the street....so we do.  They make beer there, 2 varieties...red and brown.  I accept one, but I can't remember which one. It was pretty good. 

Pretty clever of them to use a barrel to hold up the table top.  You can see under the center glass there's slices of polished agate nestled in sand.  Grandpa used to polish rocks.  I don't remember what I ate for lunch, fish N chips, I think.  Val's burger was quite good.  The clock keeps ticking, the sun keeps setting...we've got a long ways to go yet.



very nice war memorial on the shore


yet another thing we should have stopped to see, but!  time waits for no man!

Off we go, east bound on H58.  As we leave town, there's a hand lettered sign stating:  H58 is not paved.  The sign was not correct.  H58 was paved. Grand Marais Truck Trail Co Rd 407 was not paved.  It was really not paved.  It was the worst gravel road that I've been on.  It was rutted, it was wash boardy, it had soft spots, it had wet spots, it had bare spots, it had deep loose gravel, it was not level, not banked, and not too shady.  It was awesome.  Knowing that most of the motorcyclists in the UP had not seen this area made it more special for us, in my opinion it had some of the best scenery on the trip because it was not so closed in by treees.  I predict that in a couple years it will be paved, and it will really add a lot of business to Grand Marais.
Not too many pics, the road was so rough that they would not have been good.  Val kept the speed up, she did good going about 35.  We did not really take note of the mileage before the gravel, but we're sure it was about 20 miles of gravel.  We did consult the maps, figgered it was going to be about a 70 mile detour, so that's why we went.  Yes, I know that pic shows that the road is shady.  Not nearly as shady as most of the other roads!  Seems like eternity, but finally we hit pavement; Val doesn't look back but hits the throttle, takes us up to 65.  Remember...rain is not in the forecast, so WTH is that huge cloud doing??  She kicked it up some more, and we got about 12 big fat drops, which was really nice with the reddish dust on our helmets and glasses and windshields. 

We finally hit Hwy 123, which goes thru Newberry state forest area.  Newberry is moose capital of MI.  We still have not seen a deer or a moose or a bear or an elk or a wild pig or a wolf or a coyote or a fox or a beaver, but we've seen lots of hairy crows and a few hawks.  Val saw a herd of deer in a field in Northern WI, so we were on the lookout.  Our destination is the shipwreck museum and some water falls, the name of which escapes me.  Starts with T.  Sounds like.................ah hell, I'll think of it sooner or later.

Did I mention anywhere at anytime that MI is experiencing near record heat?  We start the day with full leather, but by lunch we've taken off our coats and chaps, just wearing helmets and gloves, shirts, pants, and boots.  So!  those raindrops felt good. 

We do have our talky walky radios on, and we yack back and forth a bit.  Gotta pee!  Need lunch!  Gonna take a pic of that barrel thing, wait up!  So when it started to sprinkle...she says:  should we stop and put on some gear?  Nah, maybe if it rains harder...so we kept on.  We're going north to whitefish point, you've heard of whitefish bay, right?  "they'd have made whitefish bay if they'd put 15 more miles behind them"  Sprinkles stop, we keep going, not sure what time the museum closes, it's 330 or so...getting cold!  Stop for coats, carry on.  Few miles....RAIN!  These drops have sharp corners.  We didn't do chaps, so pants get wet, boots get wet.  yep, cold.  But we carry on, since we've got some place to be and no place to stop.  Sun comes out, steamy, weird weather!  Finally, it's been 20 miles or so of piney woods, and we see the falls that we're going to visit, we come across a little town, there's an ice cream shop open for it's last day of the season. We've reached Paradise. We'll stop there on the way back.  There's only one way in and out!  10/12 miles north to the point and to the museum, and BTW, we're in the cranberry capitol of MI. 
I'll finish Sunday another day....stay tuned.
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