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Old 08-09-2011, 11:39 AM   #11
MeanStreaker OP
KLR > Pee-wee's Bike
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Dayton, OH
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DAY 1 Contd - July 26 - St. Ignace, MI to Munising, MI

We left Raco Field and continued towards our next destination - The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point... mostly on wide fast gravel roads, with a few sandy patches here and there, before hitting beautiful pavement via Rt 123 and N Whitefish Point Rd as far north as we could travel.

We stopped for a break at a working dock. I imagine these simple boats could tell some stories.

Walking out on the creaky dock, I asked for the first time (of many to come), “How do the people with houses exposed way out here deal with winter winds and snow?”

You’d think after all these years the border fence running through the middle of Superior would finally be complete. Typical politicians and their line-jumping Canadians.

We hopped back on the bikes and continued a short ways to the Shipwreck Museum. Parking next to two sparkling clean BMW’s, I hoped our dust wouldn't transfer and start a huge biker brawl right there in the lot. While de-gearing, some nice guys riding chrome came over. We all chatted about our trips. They were curious about the route and I showed them some of the GPS tracks as they looked incredulously at the dirt and transplanted foliage already covering our bikes and bags. It was very easy to identify the two guys who thought we were freaking nuts, and the two or three guys that had a glint of jealousy in their eye. Oh well, we all ride our own ride.

I love talking to fellow motorcyclists, but about the time the conversation was wrapping up, my stomach was getting pretty vocal.

Must. Find. Pasties.

Never had a pastie before. (PASS-tee; not a pole dancing accessory.) In fact, never heard of them. But meat? Bread-like stuff? Gravy-ish? What’s not to like?

Next we toured the Shipwreck Museum. It was obviously a sobering place, and be prepared now to hear Gordon Lightfoot at least a few times. Yep, you’ll be stuck with it repeating inside your head for the next 48 hours. Over and over and over.

After spending two hours in and around the museum buildings, which was probably just a tad too long, it was time to hit the road.

We were making good time, until...... Looky looky what we have here. Even in taking the big bike go around down to Rt 123 , thanks to warnings from Cannon, we are still fortunate enough to encounter a pretty deep stretch of SAND!

Thus far we had successfully made it through some sandy trails, but nothing compared to this stuff. It was also completely humbling as this was our first day and we were still wearing little kid booties when it came to this off-pavement stuff. As the trip went on and our experience grew, we were able to throttle through some sandy puckering spots... but looking back, I don’t think we could have done any better with this section even if we had ridden it on Day 5 ripping the throttle.

It was deep!

After almost washing out numerous times , we took a break and did an appropriate amount of whining and moaning.

At least it was a beautiful spot for it.

Then we hopped back aboard, decided to Nut Up or Shut Up........ and slowly duck walked a good ways (half mile? mile? two miles?) until things firmed up.

I’d call this particular battle with the sand a draw. Yes, I did have to walk it and never once put my feet on the pegs, but at least I stayed upright!

Things got more manageable and finally we were making time again.

Had to make a stop at the Log Slide outside Grand Marais:

Did you see those people about halfway up?

You can’t tell from the pictures, but that thing is incredibly steep.

Moving on! We need to make some miles and hit Munising to fuel up!

We get in to Munising around 8:30-9:00PM and demolish large plates of food.

After paying the bill, it’s obviously getting dark and we have to decide where we’re spending the night.

Both of us easily remember the many signs for state campgrounds we saw as we blasted our way into town. Surely one wasn’t more than 5 or 6 miles back the way we had come. At least that's how we remembered it. We were both so positive I didn’t even look at the GPS to see what was closest if we continued westward on the UPAT.

We were about to learn another important lesson. Distances seem much shorter when you’re famished and trying to reach a known destination.

We backtrack out with both the sun and temperature dropping fast.

That 5 or 6 miles wasn’t happening.

We ride.

And ride.

And ride.

It turns out the nearest campground was at least 30 miles east of Munising. As we’re riding through the darkness, especially the last three miles on gravel, I kept having visions of turning a corner and my puny KLR headlight barely illuminating a 2500 pound moose standing in the way before I bulldoze into him. I was sure he'd be a little miffed at the inconvenience and give my broken body a stomping before nonchalantly walking off.

We finally arrive at the campground sometime around 10:30 PM and are just happy to find a spot. With headlamps ablaze, we start pitching tents.

The nice people in the spot next to us came over and loaned us their lantern, which was a huge help. In the rush to set up camp, after the adrenaline of the day had worn off, and probably because our stomachs were packed to capacity shortly before, our guards were down and that led to our first tip over of the trip - DryFire walked right into, and over, the fire ring in the dark. I'm glad he did it and showed me where it was as I'm sure I would've done the same shortly after.

We set up camp, returned the lantern with much thanks, talked briefly with the nice folks near their beautiful RV, and went straight to bed.

UPAT Day 1: In the books.
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MeanStreaker screwed with this post 08-12-2011 at 07:24 AM
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