FL to MI on a DR200 and as much dirt as possible....

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GreenF350, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    In fact...There was one point that the creek was pretty much flowing down the road (or the road was in the creek?).

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    This was my last picture from this day. It wasn't too much longer after this I hit the pavement and made a B-line to Blue Licks Battlefield State Park where I was planning to camp that night. Only one problem...I hadn't been paying real close attention to what day it was and when I got there the campground was full. I thought about riding through and looking for another bike or single camper and see if they minded if I set up a tent in their site with them if I paid for their site for the night, but with the hotel at the State Park, I didn't need much of an excuse to get a room, crank up the heat, get a shower, etc. So I did. I FINALLY managed to get almost everything dry except my tent.
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  2. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    I didn't get a picture of the bike in the parking lot. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but now I wish I had one. It was in the 40's when I woke up so I found an excuse to procrastinate getting on the road...there is a restaurant there too! I go grab breakfast and as I'm checking out an older gentlemen asks if I'm on the bike outside. I confirm his suspicions and when I tell him what I am doing he tells me he thought he was hard core riding his BMW GS on paved road for multi day trips and staying in hotels. Ha! He said it sounds like a blast and told me to stay safe. Seemed like a cool guy. I probably shouldn't have waited so long to get on the road though as I have almost 400mi to cover today. Today I am using mostly paved roads to shoot through Indiana.

    Anyway, I finally get on the road and get some pictures of northern Kentucky.

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    I get up by the Ohio River and conveniently make a wrong turn and end up down this road.

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    It's a cool road and I hadn't realized my mistake yet.

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    Finally I notice I'm "off my line" on the GPS track so I pull over to figure out what the heck is going on.

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    I figured it out...I was supposed to get on the interstate to get across the big river. Ok....Back to it. I wanted to get a picture of the bridge/river, but at 65mph or a hair more on the downhill the little 200 was wrung out and traffic was trying to run me over so I decided to concentrate on riding. I only went to the first exit on the other side and then got back on the surface streets. Whew! What a rush!

    Indiana is about what I expected. Mostly flat and farms. I start taking pictures of the road going through corn fields. Why, you might ask? Well, my wife really loves the fall fests, hay rides, corn mazes and the like. I decide I am going to send her a million pictures of the corn fields and tell her I am lost in a corn maze. :lol3 I don't know why she tolerates me. I'll save you all those pictures, but I'll post a couple.

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    I used "Walking" on Google Maps to make the track for this day and thought I was pretty smart because it included a good bit of dirt roads. It WAS a pretty good idea, but the one thing I didn't account for was walking/biking trails that it wanted me to follow when I got around bigger cities and the like. I guess that method could use some refinement. Here's a shot of one of those dirt roads.

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    I passed another crop I wasn't familiar with. My dad mentioned he thought it was a feed crop. A QUICK search made me think it might be Sorghum, but more research is needed to confirm or deny that theory unless one of ya'll can save me the hassle. It's not really important, but I'm curious.

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    I even ended up in an Amish area. I didn't want to take pictures of the buggies on the road or the people so I figured the tracks in the road would suffice.

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  3. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    I think this was an apple orchard. Interesting set up with the wires holding the trees/bushes.

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    I almost missed it, but this sign made me chuckle.

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    So, I mentioned a few other excitement inducing moments on this trip earlier. One of them happened at dusk on this day. I was cruising along a wide graded dirt road at about 40 mph. I came through a grove of trees where it was a bit darker and saw a deer on the side of the road. I eased off the throttle and started to slow down as the deer started to run quartering away from me. For no apparent reason she suddenly makes a sharp turn straight across the road and I quickly realize we are are a collision course with each other. I get both brakes at max effort on the gravel, but it's too late. My front tire makes contact right by her front legs! I'm going slow enough there is no impact, but still fast enough I'd rather not fall down. When I hit her, she gets turned and is running the same direction as I'm moving, but she wants to keep trying to cross the road so we ride probably 10-15' (although it felt like much farther) with her pushing me left and me leaning right into her to stay on the road with her back quarter up against my leg. Eventually she turned back to the right side of the road and runs off. I was so in shock I didn't even stop. I rode slow debating what I should do, but I realize there isn't anything to do. No damage to the bike or me, no crash and I think the deer is fine other than being as shocked as I am. Wow! That's a heck of an experience and just glad it wasn't trip ending or worse.

    It starts to get cold as soon as the sun goes down and the low tonight is supposed to be 40F even. Brrr! Anyway, I get into camp and set up in the dark (again!). Tomorrow should be a day full of single track and ORV trails.
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  4. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    I've definitely developed a pattern of sleeping in when it's cold outside. I hang out in my sleeping bag as long as I can trying to let the sun add some heat to the day. Other than being cold, when I finally crawl out of my tent it is a beautiful day.

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    Well, tomorrow morning is forecasted to be colder so I better get moving. Man...I can say a lot of bad things about my old home state, but Michigan forests are absolutely gorgeous. Just the simple fact that I can walk through them without a machete to try and get through the underbrush makes them leaps and bounds better than Florida in my book.

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    It doesn't take too long and I hit the first ORV trail of the trip. I should add that I stopped the day prior and paid the fee for the ORV sticker required in MI, although I figure if caught the DNR still might yell at me since I didn't stick it on the bike due to excess mud and the fear it wouldn't stay for even the first mile.

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    Initially I am having a blast being back on the single track trails I rode so much in my teenage years. I find a bench next to a creek. Not a bad stop to take a break and get a drink of water (Not from the creek).

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    I ride on. Shortly after this photo I come around a corner and didn't think about my mirrors sticking out past my handlebars and smacked it on a tree. It didn't crack the glass, but it did crack the plastic base. At least it is still there. In some places there is plenty of room around the trail. In others my handlebars barely fit between the trees.

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    There have been a few times on this trip that the bike seemed tired, like it really wanted to take a nap, but so far I have been able to coax it into staying awake and taking me wherever I asked it to, but today I finally lost the battle and the 200 demanded a nap in the middle of a sandy, downhill section. It was a pretty slow speed layover, but it's my first time down on this trip. I figured it was worthy of a picture. Fortunately neither my leg, , my bike or my luggage was pierced by the roots sticking out of the bank.

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    There was one casualty though. The cracked mirror that was barely hanging on finally gave in and vacated its post.

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    Well, guess it will be time for some Doubletake mirrors. Even if they don't stay on the little DR and I move them to a different bike I figure they will be a good investment.

    Back on the trails. This is a good example of the areas that come close to the bars.

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    Even had some good berms in some places.

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  5. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    I am fairly sure I am now heading onto the "Michigan Cross Country Cycle Tour". I think it's pretty cool that they have some trails that are only open to bikes, but interestingly enough, it says "Street Legal Only".

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    The crappy part about a lot of the MCCCT (at least on this trip) is that it's very "whooped out" and the little DR just doesn't handle the whoops like I remember my old KDX did in my younger days. Maybe it's just because I was younger? This part wasn't too bad though.

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    Cool little bridge. It's hard to see in my picture, but I thought it was funny that the sign on the right says it is open to Jeeps. There is no way a Jeep was going across this. A lot of the newer side by sides I see around aren't going to fit, let alone a eep.

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    The view looking downstream from the bridge.

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    It definitely makes me wish I'd have brought my fishing pole. I don't remember when trout season is, but if it was open I'd like to have put a line in.

    A little farther up and the bank rise up quite a bit from the river. It's hard to see, but the river is down there through the trees.

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    Back to the trails/roads. This looked like it might get a little wet if it rains enough, but no issues for me at the moment.

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    This section ran in a little valley. It's strange to me that it seems like someone took the time and effort to cut through the hill and "flatten" the road bed.

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    Somewhere around this area I found a section of my GPS track that led to an OLD road/trail that hadn't been used in awhile. I plodded along hoping that it would open back up and I could continue on, but it kept getting worse until I realized I was pretty much just riding through the woods, although you could tell years ago there was a road there. I know the DNR don't mess around in MI if you aren't on a legal road so I decide to cut my losses and find a detour around and pick up my track in a bit. (Don't ask how I know...I just do).

    I pick up a "two-track" and it doesn't take long until I'm back on my track. (I got most of the Michigan portion from the Great Lakes Dual Sport Expedition that I think Cannonshot linked to at one point.

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    I was trucking along pretty good at one point and came to a "dead end". Someone decided the numbered road AND that showed as a road on my GPS, was their private property. Having lived in Michigan for as long as I did I know that it's not unusual for people to try and block off minor roads like this the "split" their property in the hopes it will keep people from driving through or even hunting in an area they consider "theirs". I suspect this is the case, buuuut, I decide now isn't the time to make the argument and I didn't have the resources to find out right now anyway. Drats! Another reroute.

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    Just another random shot of the road/scenery.

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  6. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    I forgot to mention (although I don't know how I could forget), back on the single track all the squirrels I came across seemed to like to run down the trail in front of me until I finally caught up to them at which time they would jump off into the woods, presumably to do squirrel things. I don't know. Anyway, I had one guy that I caught up to, that must've decided my leg looked like a tree because when I finally caught up to him he jumped on my right leg and scampered up my pant leg, onto my jacket and just when I was getting worried he was going to end up in my helmet with me he launches off to the side of the trail. Whew! That'll get your attention. I really wish I'd have had the Go-pro going for this or the deer incident, but of course it wasn't. Probably better it wasn't for this one since I'm pretty sure I let out a "not so manly" yelp of surprise.

    I get back onto some single track and try to duck under a branch only my Go-pro catches on it and about takes my head off. When it finally let loose I didn't get too far before I realized that it pulled the adhesive off of the helmet mount so I parked and walked back looking for it. I must have been getting tired because when I got back on my bike and backed down onto the trail and grabbed the front break to stop, the front tire just kept sliding on the leaves. Not a big deal, but as it slides back I can't keep my feet under me because of the little sapling on the right of the bike and down it goes. I hear the sapling smack my helmet as I fall backwards. Oh well....I made it this far. I'm not above sharing my stupid moments.

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    It was at this point that I realized it was getting a bit later in the day and while I did know of a few campgrounds about the right distance away I was only about an hour away from my parents house by road and I have done some riding in this general area before. I decide that with two falls today, the end of the day quickly closing in and the chance to see some family/shower/get a good meal the right move is to catch the next paved road and head in.

    The next day is maintenance day...I sprayed off the worst of the mud, changed both tires (I really thought I would get more life out of the front tire), did an oil and filter change and checked my chain and rear brakes since they were kicking back occasionally and makes some not so pleasant noises (They were fine, but the o-ring that seals the drum was non-existent so I assume pebbles and mud were the culprits). While I was changing the tire I learned I didn't have the 13mm (I think it was) wrench/socket I needed to remove the bolt that holds the brake assembly stationary. I may have been able to use pliers in a pinch, but glad I didn't have a flat rear tire in the middle of nowhere.

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    This is where the main part of this ride report ends. I'll include a few more pictures from my time in MI and my ride back, but I'm just warning everyone that the best part is over. I had planned to take my time getting up to Michigan and then hanging out with friends and family before zipping back to Florida as fast as I was comfortable going on the little DR. A few quick thoughts I had about this trip.....

    - The Dupont Chain Lube is crap for this type of riding. Sure, it doesn't make a mess, but if I rode through a mud puddle my chain would start squeaking. I was lubing my chain sometimes every 25-50 mi. I bought a small spray can of some Maxima on-off road o-ring chain lube while I was in MI and I never heard my chain squeak again on this trip.

    - I should have left twice as much time to get to MI. Sure, I made it in 9 days, but I would have much rather had some time to enjoy some scenery and not always be trying to make my self-imposed mileage to get to my planned campsite.

    Lastly...

    - I REALLY enjoyed this trip and didn't have to worry about what anybody else wanted to do/stop/eat/etc and will absolutely be doing more, but it probably would have been better with another person or two.

    OK...The rest of the photos in this post are from my time in MI.

    Found a huge acorn. I haven't seen one this big in YEARS as in Florida they are tiny.

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    These next photos are from at (or near) Geurnsey Lake. The leaves were just starting to change colors.

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    I found a large White Coral Fungus. Apparently it is edible and quite good. I almost took some to try, but chickened out and didn't want to waste it. Anyone else every try any and if so...did I miss out?

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    Another shot of the leaves changing color.

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    We were sitting at my parents house one of the days and heard a thud on the window. A bird tried to fly through it...bummer. The good news is it was still alive, but VERY stunned. I set it out on the deck rail to recover.

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    We watched him quite awhile....probably 20 minutes and he just stood there. Fortunately, eventually he turned and flew over to the bird feeder next to the tree and seemed to be fine after that. Poor little guy, bet he had a helluva headache.
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  7. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    I hit the road back in the rain again. At least this time is was just an "off and on" rain and not a steady downpour. I set up camp in middle Indiana no worse for the wear.

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    The next night was in Kentucky.

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    The next day had one highlight....I finally rode the Tail of the Dragon. It was my first time there. I took it pretty easy because I had always heard about people coming over the center line, etc. Fortunately it was during the week and traffic wasn't too bad. My unsolicited opinion? It was good riding and I had a lot of fun on it, but was kind of underwhelmed because I had ridden SO many good roads on this trip. I will probably come back up on the road bikes for a long weekend in the future though. There have got to be a TON of good roads to ride in this area.

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    My last night on the road I decided to press farther than originally planned and stay at a hotel so I could get home a bit early. The details aren't important, but my wife was going to be leaving for her own vacation shortly after I got home and I had been on the road for almost 3 weeks.

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    That's it ya'll. I made it home without any other major events, unless you count seeing 68mph on the GPS on flat ground at one point. The DR200 turned out to be a worthy companion, even if it was lacking a bit of the "zip" I was used to. Can't wait for the next one!
    #47
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  8. BigStu

    BigStu Adventurer

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    Thanks for taking us along
    #48
  9. Sidney

    Sidney Been here awhile

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    That's seed corn. What you're looking at are 4 rows of female plants. The gaps between are where the male rows were but are cut down after pollinating the females. The male rows are not "Detassled" and allowed to pollinate the female "silks". The female rows are detassled in the summer either buy a bunch of teenagers or machines that cut the tassles off.

    Around 1/3 a bushel of seed corn will grow 300 bushel/acre of field corn in our good black Midwest farm ground.

    Enjoyed your report...glad you're back safe in Florida.

    Sidney
    #49
  10. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    What he said....I was one of the teenagers many moons ago (grew up in the middle of ILL). The "panels" would typically go 6 female, 2 male, some were 4/1. Most fields were "rolled" (meaning they used a machine to get some/most of the tassels, and then we would come in and finish the rest. Some fields were not, those were rough since it meant 100% of the stalks had tassels....you moved very slow on those days.

    Sorry to hijack the thread.

    Awesome report.
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  11. sledrydr

    sledrydr Been here awhile

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    Sweet small bike ride report! With my Sherpa and TW I have also travelled many miles that are normally reported on by riders on much larger machines. Something about the little bikes appeals to me. Great fun! Minimal gear. Very trail friendly. Hard to beat.

    Ditto on the seed corn pic. Many memories of the toil in the soil hot muggy days pulling tassels. Bought my first bike with that income.

    Thanks for the report. Very well done! Much respect here from a guy who has endured the small bike/zero power xcountry trips. I understand:rofl
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  12. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

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    I gotta say before reading your post, if someone asked me if there were “male” and/or “female” corn plants, my obvious answer would have been.....Come on man who ya kidding.
    Now I know...Thanks for the lesson.

    That probably explains why I’ve noticed those fields just a swaying sometimes when riding by. And no wind. :imaposer
    #52
  13. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    Also, mad props for doing this trip on the stock seat!!!

    I have a CRF250L with a stock seat, it's rough. I've messed around with a cheap pad that is a big help (see pic), but I don't think its enough for longer rides. Sometimes its just variety...use the stock seat for the first day, then use the pad the next, etc. I keep delaying, but most likely I will have to make a swap. My fear is that even after the swap the issue might still be there.


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  14. lilgman

    lilgman Adventurer

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    I've really enjoyed this thread! Great trip on a small bike! Another thing I noticed is how pictures of road conditions seldom do the situation justice. I looked at the picture of where you ran out of power on McCoy hill and thought, "That's nothing." Then a couple pictures later you showed the hill from a distance and I realized how steep it was for a little loaded bike. Thanks for taking time to take pictures, share them, and write about this trip.
    #54
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  15. GasMich

    GasMich Been here awhile Supporter

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    Glad to see you and the little DR made it back. Thanks for the trip.
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  16. Sidney

    Sidney Been here awhile

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    It's actually a little more complicated. Corn is self pollinating as the plant has both male (Tassle) and female (silks) parts. With seed corn it's "Cross-Pollinated". That's why we say "Male" rows...they keep the tassle, and "female" rows...they keep the silks.

    Sidney
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  17. HH

    HH Dahlonega GA Supporter

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    A very fine ride report. Kudos to the mighty DR 200 for getting you there and back. :pope
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  18. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

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    That’s very long peddle on a dr200 with a 2 by 4 and a bit of vinyl for a seat. Those MI trails would be fun. Used to roll big trucks tween Manitoba and southern Ontario across the UP. Did you grow up near Christmas ( FOGGYS bar). Not kidding riders there is a Christmas MI. Much enjoyed your RR. Also riding a dr200 that far is a big deal. Petepilot
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  19. jakengle

    jakengle Adventurer

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    Great ride report! I just finished a 1000 mile trip on my WR250R and so I admire your journey and it has me thinking about doing a similar one. I started reading because I live in FL (Jacksonville area) and grew up in the northern lower peninsula of MI (Leelanau County) and that sounded like a pretty interesting adventure. Then I see the part about the diner with your name---my last name is Engle. I have quite a bit of family in MI on the Engle side so if you are interested in seeing if we are related then PM me!
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  20. GreenF350

    GreenF350 Adventurer

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    That seat was one of my bigger problems on this trip. I definitively need to invest in something better if I do any more long trips on it. I’m familiar with Christmas And spent a bit of time in the U.P., but I’m from the lower peninsula.
    #60