08-08-2011, 06:25 PM
KLR > Pee-wee's Bike
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Dayton, OH
DAY 1 - July 26, 2011 - St. Ignace, MI to Munising, MI
Finally... it’s time to ride.
We awake early to a refreshingly frozen room since I left the window open all night. With temperatures and humidity both in the high 90s the previous few weeks back home, it was a reminder of where we were and what we were beginning.
I made sure to grab a shower since it was unknown where that luxury would next be available.
Then we loaded the KLRs.
After backtracking 3-4 miles for a quick and delicious $3.99 breakfast at the same place we ate dinner the night before (Galley Restaurant), we’re officially kickstands up around 8AM heading counter clockwise following the UPAT!
The skies are seriously ominous and a little spittle appears on my faceshield now and then.
A few miles north of town we reach the first non-pavement of the trip. I announced long ago I needed a pic of that occasion. Needed like a KLR owner needs to pick up the penny he sees in the parking lot. Even if it is heads down. This was about the time I announced to DryFire to kick me when I annoy him by taking too many pics. We stop for that and also throw on rain pants (jacket liners were already zipped in due to the temps) and air down our tires a bit.
Then the fun really begins. Soon enough we leave what obviously looks like a road, and turn down something more UPAT-esque.
Another turn and we’re suddenly in the middle of a logging area. Looking to either side, it seemed like these perfectly spaced trees go on forever. It was pretty surreal and our first memorable “vista” of the trip. What a way to begin!
We were following all Primary Tracks at this point. It was decided when mapping out our route we would take some of Cannon’s Big Bike Go-Arounds when things from his RR looked definitely over our newbie heads, but sprinkle in enough of the Primary Route that I could leave my purse at home.
I believe this worked out to be about 50% each way, although the first couple days were heavy on the Primary Route.
What this translated to for this part of the UPAT was “heavy on deep sand”, which was very eye opening for both of us.
But here I am already getting ahead of myself......
We continue that morning heading north and are already loving the ride. It was amazing how quickly you could be completely remote. At least that’s how it felt.
We make our way to the two culverts Cannon's tracks warn about and have to pause to reconstruct a makeshift ramp to help minimize skidplate grinding.
Then after a few more miles we bust out onto Raco Field - the former WWII airbase.
What a strange, desolate place.
DryFire and I put our Rifle Marksmanship skills to the test... after all, we’re well-trained and think we’re pretty good at this stuff... so our range estimation skills get dusted off and estimates are made about how long each leg of the triangular runway is.
After odometers verified............ Man was I waaaaaay off!
I was using the structure at the other end and visualized someone standing in front of the windows. I know what standard window widths are and took my guess: 750 yards.
It was only after racing all the way down there did we discover the building was way bigger than I thought and the windows I was using for SWAGuestimates were side-by-sides! Those long concrete slabs were incredibly deceiving!
An important lesson to all of us - bring a good set of binocs when ranging Raco Field.
A lot of fun was had sporting a lap to see how fast the loaded KLRs will run through the gears.
I plan to write a helpful letter to the shadow government working underground at Raco so they can erect more of these signs since this is where we ended up after our loop.
If only that would have been on the righthand side where we would’ve seen it and could've complied!
With plausible deniability intact, it was time to press on...
We had shipwrecks to investigate and I already had Mr. Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" stuck in my head.
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MeanStreaker screwed with this post 08-08-2011 at 07:35 PM