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Old 02-12-2013, 09:20 PM   #1
Tim the Enchanter OP
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Three Great Lakes and a Ferry Ride.....30 years on

Well, gather ‘round kids and let me share a story with you that started 30 years ago.
In the summer of 1982, three young men began a journey that they would speak of for many years to come. Tim (that’s me), Mike and Stan wanted to go and “push the envelope” a little from their homes on the northwest side of Chicago. In their early/mid-twenties, they were naive and adventurous. Tim and Mike had purchased 1981 Suzuki GS1100’s from CCS on Howard Street in Chicago the year before. Stan had a Yamaha 650 Special II that was a couple of years old. His purchase was forced due to the theft of his 350 that he used to ride to school at Gordon Tech.
We had basically ridden from stop light to stop light in the city, but wanted to do a little more with the bikes. We had all been camping before, but not on the bikes. Well, why not combine the two and go riding and camping for a week? Sounds good to all involved! It would have to be something big. Something that our other motorcycling friends would never think of doing. CANADA!
We were going to leave the country with our motorcycles! That was pretty exciting for a couple of 20 something’s from the big city. The trip was made in just over 2,000 miles with many a story to share. Over the years, the stories were less talked about, and the memories faded. The conversation changed from “remember this” to “what did we do then?”
Fast forward to 2011. We still keep pretty close tabs on our friends from the old neighborhood. I talk to people and explain that I still regularly see my childhood friends and they are surprised. The oldest one, Mikey V. (not the Mike on the ride) I’ve known since we were 4 years old. So one day while we’re hangin’ out, I get the idea to retrace our trip from 1982. I pitch the idea and it is met with luke-warm reception. Mike has now got a 2004 Honda VTX 1300. He rides about 400 miles a year. His big trip is to Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin to the AMA races at Road America. Stan has a Yamaha 750, which hasn’t been started in about 5 years. Me, after that trip in 1982, I couldn’t stop. I’ve been through a couple of bikes with about 50,000 miles on each bike. I currently ride a Honda ST 1300.
Pushing the issue, I arranged for several meetings to hammer out the plans for our “Three Great Lakes and a Ferry ride.” We all basically knew what roads we took and where we went. This time around, there was the internet and more to consider than just taking off for Canada.
These meetings consisted of pizza and beer and never a map was opened, although I had mileage and camping spots picked out. At the last meeting, Stan bowed out citing the lack of time involved to get his bike running and the time it would take to bring his riding skills back in order. It was Mike and I.
We decided on the same week as back in 1982. The week before the July 4th holiday. What follows is a “then and now” type of story. It has taken several months to get this little story together and post on ADV. It is this that had made me realize what a pain in the ass it is, especially if you’re on the road at the time your posting. So a sincere Thank-You to all the folks who share their stories and keep us reading your posts for hours. (I can’t be the only one, can I?)

In late June of 1982, the boys assembled at Tim’s house on a Friday after each of them were off work. We pushed off at about 6:00 PM for a cabin of a friend’s in the north woods of Wisconsin. The cabin was in a remote part of the woods near Hazlehurst. Thru the night they road, reaching their first night’s destination at around 2:00 AM.
A true hunting cabin it was. There was no plumbing, but only a hand pump in the cabin for water. An outhouse was in front of the cabin for, you know, outhouse type stuff. The boys carried on a bit into the latter hours of the morning doing what 22 year olds do. The next day, we would ride east through the UP of Michigan, and into Canada.
We woke on Saturday morning to bright skies and were ready to put some miles behind us. We went outside the cabin to our bikes and saw Stan’s rear tire flat. Son-of-a-bitch! Not a soul amongst us had fixed a flat, but what were we to do? We did pack tire repair kits so we had at it.
Stan’s tire off the bike.

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Old 02-13-2013, 03:58 AM   #2
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looks like a good start! Fix the tire and get on with it!
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N-Id-Jim View Post
looks like a good start! Fix the tire and get on with it!
Let the adventure begin. I'm in the need of a good read. Please don't show anyone in daisy dukes again unless its Daisy herself.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:37 AM   #4
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What? No GPS, no SPOT, no titanium panniers?

My major "Road Trip" days were over by the early 1980's but it is great to see three bikers in the woods again without five gizmos bolted to the handlebars for orientation, documentation, and communication. Let me just get my glasses and I'll be ready go. (In full disclosure, this was fingered on an IPad.) Please entertain us with your version of the "good old days".

Rutabaga screwed with this post 02-13-2013 at 07:39 AM Reason: Grammar
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:40 PM   #5
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Let the adventure begin. I'm in the need of a good read. Please don't show anyone in daisy dukes again unless its Daisy herself.

That's NOT me. It's my buddy Mike but it is rather creepy!
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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The plans for the 30th anniversary ride were made pretty much by me. I wanted to ease into the camping thing because it’s a fair amount of work, especially if you’re only in a spot for the night. So the plan was to slab it up to Appleton, WI Friday afternoon for a hotel, then camp for 2 days in the UP of Michigan, cross into Canada through the Soo, camp a night, ride the Chi-Cheemaun ferry between Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay, hotel in Toronto, hit Niagara Falls and the head for home. That’s what we did 30 years prior, but without a plan.

I met Mike at his house in Park Ridge at about noon on Friday. He had his bike in the driveway and was tucking a few final things in. Neither one of us had eaten lunch yet, so we decided to jump on I-94 up to Kenosha, WI and grab some grub at the world famous Brat Stop.



We were off on a 10 day trip but after 45 minutes we stopped to eat. No better time than now to let the food porn rip!

Fish Tacos




After lunch we continued north on the interstate and skirted around the west side of Milwaukee via Rt.41. There is nothing exciting about interstate riding, as we all know, but it gets you to where you want to go a little quicker than two lane roads. About 10 miles south of Appleton, there was road construction that had temporary concrete walls on both sides of our two lanes. Mike was in the lead when he switched to the left lane to avoid slowing traffic. I couldn’t follow, so hung in the right lane until it was safe to go around. When I did get around, Mike was about a half mile ahead of me so I twisted the throttle a bit to catch up. When I got a quarter of a mile from him I saw something bounce off of his bike and lodge itself against the concrete wall on the right side of the right lane. Now we got an adventure brewing!

An exit quickly approached and passed before I could catch Mike so I had to wait several miles for the next one. I pulled up past him and motioned him over to get off. I stopped on the exit ramp and told him I saw something bounce off his bike. Upon inspection it was a small cylinder shaped leather bag that was strapped on top of his pack. He said his raingear and leather jacket were in there. He said the raingear was the very same suit he bought in 1982 and the leather jacket was several years old. I took this opportunity to tell him that at least he has a good reason to go out and buy new stuff. Nuttin’ doin’. He says he has to go back for it. Crap!

We went the two exits back and sure enough, on our way; we looked across the divided road and saw the leather case wedged up against the wall. Mike said he had a plan. He wanted me to ride behind him and slow traffic to a stop as we approached the bag so he could stop and grab it. No f&%#ing way! Through this construction zone the speed limit was 50 mph, but folks were hookin’ around 70!

I told him once again that I thought he should just let it go. We crossed under the highway and got on the entrance ramp heading north once again. I was leading and accelerated on to the road when I checked my mirror. Mike was slowing down behind me. Oh shit, man, he’s going to try something! He faded out of my rear view as I approach the next exit, which I took. I sat on the exit ramp wondering. Wondering if I heard sirens should I double back? If I didn’t see him again, do I call the police or local hospitals? I sat there a minute or two staring into my mirror. Of course after what seemed like an eternity, there was a single headlight rolling down the ramp. It was Mike. He pulled up alongside of me and stopped. He had a big grin on his face as he reached between his legs and lifted the bag up to show me.
“Got it” he said. Terrific I thought. Risk your life for a 15 year old jacket.

On to the hotel. I booked the Country Inn in Appleton due to its close proximity to several eateries within walking distance. We checked in and got a cart to lug all of our camping gear and other crap up to our room. I walked to the corner to get some beer which we enjoyed on some benches in front of the hotel.

We met a nice guy who was there with his family because one of his kids played soccer and there was a tournament in town that weekend. He took a seat on the bench next to ours as the conversation changed topics several times. He was a veteran of the “Desert Storm” war and told us he had been injured when a bomb went off when he was out on patrol. He was unconscious when a fellow soldier carried him 200 yards to safety. He rehabbed and was released, but just couldn’t live around other people. He told us he went to live in the woods for 3 years before he could bring himself to exist in society again.

Mike served in the Marines so they had military service in common. They exchanged stories a little bit and thanked each other for what each had done for the other.

OK on to dinner. The hotel was right next to Fox Valley Mall. Well, what do you know about that? Across the parking lot is a Hooters! That will do.

Oh, this is Taylor!


We closed this place on our first night out. I wish I could say that would be the last place we closed on this trip, but I don’t want to lie to ya!
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:17 AM   #7
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Ah yes, daisy dukes. Please continue.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:51 AM   #8
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Subscribed!

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Old 02-14-2013, 09:15 AM   #9
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Hey there!

oh noble and wise Tim!

Nice story!!!


Ready for more, so get cracking !!

I'm not paying you to just sit there!!! LOL

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Old 02-14-2013, 09:22 AM   #10
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Looking good.

Keep it coming!
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:13 PM   #11
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As I said before, none of us had ever fixed a flat. Getting the rim off the bike was no problem. What we struggled with was taking the tire off the rim so we could get the inner-tube out to patch the tube and successfully reinstalling the tube and re-mount the tire on the rim. And we struggled with this mightily!

We had the tire irons that came with the Stop N Go kit, but we also were hacking and pounding and pushing and stabbing with screwdrivers, open ended wrenches and I think there was even a tree branch used for leverage. We got the tube out, patched it, reinstalled it in the tire and mounted the tire back on the rim. Using the air hose that came with the kit, we filled the tire with air. Oh shit! We could hear the air escaping from the tire! Well, we thought we must not have let the patch dry long enough on the tube. Hack, gouge, pull, bend, twist the tire off the rim again and we find we put another hole in the tube during the re-mounting process. We repeated this process, I think, about five times! I shit you not; there were at least five patches in this rear inner-tube! But alas! Success! We mount the wheel back on the bike and are ready to go.

After sleeping in late and then the fun with the tire, I don’t think we left the cabin until late afternoon. We certainly weren’t going to get nearly as far as we wanted to. We rode a bit and stopped to camp somewhere in the UP of Michigan. Camping spots are plentiful in that area so we just picked one at random when we were ready to stop. Little did we know that this would not be the case when we crossed the border.

We were out of the hotel at about 9:00 AM to clear skies. He had our sights on camping in the Hiawatha National Forest for the next two nights. We had an easy 250 miles to do today, so there was no big rush to leave Appleton.

Mike and I in front of the hotel.





It’s a short trip to Green Bay from Appleton. I needed to fill my tank for the first time. Mike has a lot smaller tank on the VTX, so he could always top off his tank. I thought while we were in Green Bay, we could run by Lambeau Field.

Me in front of Lambeau.


The Green Bay Packers are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in the National Football League. The success they have had in the last decade or so with Brett Favre and now with Aaron Rogers is phenomenal.

But, I’m a Chicago Bears fan, so here is a ADV Rider salute to the Packers!

We continued north from Green Bay one two lanners, which was a nice change from the interstates. Rt 41 brought us to the Michigan border. In Menominee, we grab Rt. 35 and hug the western side of Green Bay. The bay is visible only once in a while, but I know it’s over there. Rt. 35 takes us into Escanaba, MI. It’s getting into the afternoon so we stop for a late lunch at Hudson’s where Mike found Elvis!

We ordered up a beer and a burger. When the food came, I took one look and thought, jeez, could this meal be more “plain jane” than this?

I tell you what though, looks aren’t everything. That burger was delicious!
A little north of Escanaba, we take Rt. 2 east. We are on the north shore of Lake Michigan when it begins to cloud up. It doesn’t look bad, but we are going to be outdoors for the next five days. We decided to stop at the first camping spot in the national forest. Flowing Well was the name of it and there was not a soul in the place! We set up our tents and headed back to a little convenient store for snacks and beer. Since we had a late lunch, I wasn’t going to be cooking anything.

We had just returned when the rain started coming down. Again, nothing serious, but just enough to be a nuisance. I brought along a tarp just in case. This would prove to be our shelter as we enjoyed our first night camping while liberating several beers.

Who amongst us doesn’t like fire? Mike and I are no different. When the rain would let up a bit we would gather anything we thought would burn. Mike took charge of the fire, but it seemed every time we had something going a little bit, the rain would come down harder and douse what little flame we had.


After a few hours of this, we decided to call it a night. I slept well listening to the rain tapping on the top of my tent. Good second day. Tomorrow we would take a day ride and return to the same site.
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #12
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We were up a little late this morning to grey skies, but at least no rain. We got on the road at about 10:00 AM, which was a bit later than I would have liked. Today’s destination was Whitefish Point in the UP. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is there and I wanted to have a look-see. On to Rt. 2 east thru Manistique to Rt. 117 north. Rt. 28 east would take us through another portion of the Hiawatha National Forest to Rt. 123 north to Whitefish Point. The plan was to visit the museum, and then head back west to check out the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Iron ore freighters were the topic of the day and more specifically, ones that sank. These were huge ships and brave men that worked aboard them for their living.











There was old school diving equipment….




And more modern stuff as well.





Here is the rudder of an old ship. Mike is 6’ 1’’



We spent half of the day there before hitting Rt. 28 back west. As we pulled into Munising to look for some information on the Pictured Rocks, we realized it was getting a little late. With the stores closing early in little towns, we decided that a trip to the food store would be in order. Pictured Rocks would be on the agenda on our way out tomorrow. Not wanting the firewood shortage we had he night before, firewood was also on our radar. We had that covered in short order!



Time to think about some dinner. Mike didn’t seem to be in the cooking mood as he got a couple pieces of fried chicken at the deli of the local food store. I got some sausage and spaghetti with fresh parmesan cheese. I think that half the fun of camping is the cooking.



That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Several beers were had with a terrific fire this night. Not too bad, I thought for our third night out.



Tomorrow would be our longest day in the saddle. We will cross into Canada thru Sault St. Marie, just as we did in 1982. I wanted to leave the campsite by 8:00 AM at the latest. Mike wanted to leave at 10:00 AM. We compromised at 9:00 AM. This would prove to be a mistake…………
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:06 PM   #13
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In 1982, we woke and climbed out of our tents. All eyes were on Stan’s rear tire. It was full of air! Ok let’s do some miles! We were getting close to crossing the border into Canada. Here, we stop to take some pictures of the Soo locks just before the International Bridge.



We rode over the bridge and got in line for one of the border patrol booths. The Canadian officer asked several questions. He told us we could go ahead and enter Canada, but we might have a tuff time going back into the US. He thought they may give us a hard time with our “electronics” and may even have us pay tax on the items. I’m guessing because, at the time, the exchange rate was at about 53% in favor of the US dollar. I suppose people would enter Canada, buy stuff at the favorable rate, and return to the US. We had small items like a sony walkman, Cannon AE-1 cameras and I think that was about it. He told us we would probably be better off going back to the US office and registering these items with the border patrol so that when we re-entered, they would be on file. Being young and our first time into Canada, we followed the officer’s suggestion.
So we do just that. Ride back to the US side, park, fill out some paperwork and head back to the Canadian side. This time, they pull Mike over for a full search. Dam-it. We were free to enter but now are delayed while they check Mike’s bags. I think it cost us about an hour. No big deal. Into Canada we go.

Smooth ridin’ ahead!




Camping in Canada in 1982 on motorcycles was not easy. I’m sure an inmate from up north could elaborate, but we just were not welcome at private campgrounds. We stopped at one place and started to register with the lady in the office. We are making small, friendly type talk when the subject of us being on motorcycles comes up. She says she didn’t hear us pull up and she was sorry, but we couldn’t stay there. Is it the old “Harley outlaw” type thing or what?

Another time, a woman in a camp office told us we could stay but we had to park our bikes in the barn and carry our gear to our camp site. And there would be an additional $10.00 per bike as a fee. As young as we were, we knew to tell this woman to go to hell, but in a nice “thanks, but no thanks” type of way. Why throw gas on the fire?
We would camp anywhere someone let us set up our tents. Frequently, in their backyards.




We headed east on TC 17. The plan was to head for Toronto. Looking at a map, we saw a dotted line between South Baymouth and Tobermory separating the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. A ferry ride sounds like an interesting endeavor, so we make plans to head to South Baymouth.

We were on the road for several hours when Stan fell behind. Mike and I stopped and went back to assess Stan’s dilemma. Son-of-bitch! Rear tire flat. You gotta be kiddin’ me!
At this point, we all knew our positions. Tools in hand, we took our positions and took the tire off on the side of the road, now in record time.




There was a small river next to the shoulder of the road we were on. We popped the tire off the bike, took the inner-tube out, filled it with air, and took it down to the river to submerge it to look for the bubbles. Nothing! WTF Are you kidding me? We stuck the tube back into the tire and continued on. It never went flat again. For years afterword, there was speculation on what made the tire go flat seeing as we couldn’t find a hole. I think it was a faulty air valve that released the air but seated itself when put air back into the tube. That’s my guess.

Onward we go!
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:21 AM   #14
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Oh wise and noble Tim!

Great pictures and story!! OMG!
The bikes and equipment we have now compared to what you had back then!!
WOW!
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