Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GAS GUY, May 12, 2019.
Back in Montpelier, Ohio !
Congratulations. Safe ride to home.
Just made it home. Thanks for the support. What a ride.
congrats! get some rest!
That was a tough ride, but very interesting. I never really got bored at any time; the diversity of the roads, terrain, temperatures, and pace kept things interesting from start to finish. Plus, there were a lot of mandatory receipt stops to get you off the bike. There were some moments of frustration, especially with Cincinnati and Dayton. Every time I pass through Cincinnati - it's chaotic.
We had a quirky start and a few surprises along the way. Once again, eventually I'll get a full report together. Took tons of pictures from the point-and-shoot. Used up the whole battery over the 20-hour period. Probably took a few hundred pictures with it. Haven't checked them out yet, but usually 10 or 20 are worth keeping. Took a few with the phone too. The ride took about 20-hours with a few sit-down stops. McDonald's in Dayton was a disaster. Amazing the state of dysfunction some people are in; I feel sorry for them; nobody of sound mind would choose to be so dysfunctional.
As many of you know, Ohio is dear to me, and I've had my eye on this ride for years. Knowing Spotwalla was mandatory, and not using it until recently, had me on the fence about an in-state Ohio 1000. I didn't want to just run back and forth across interstates on a boring route, as I've seen others do in the past. The "Ride Around Ohio" is a satisfying route. I'm glad I did it, and found some new cool places that I want to return to .... in touring mode. And Spotwalla combined with Bubbler GPS is a breeze. Should have been using it for years; actually one of our Canadian inmates suggested that I should incorporate it into my ride thread years ago. He was right.
So many people pass judgement on traveling Ohio based off their limited experience of passing through the state on Interstate 75 between Detroit and Cincinnati - to or from other destinations. They are so wrong. Kind of like how we pass judgement on another person, based on one or two aspects, before exploring all of their potential. Ohio has so much to explore. I've been criss-crossing that state and wandering the interior while sorting through the details in certain regions for so many years and miles - and I still keep finding new and interesting aspects. Ohio has it's own vibe. When you start spending time there a pattern emerges with it's quaintness, preservation of years gone-by, and roadside oddities - to name but a few. The roads are fantastic, not just the engagement factor, but the condition. As soon as I return to Michigan, that fact slaps me in the face. I've seen them re-paving roads in Ohio and thought to myself, "I'd be happy with the old road that they are paving over."
I've worked in the City of Dayton for about the last 25 years. That McDonald's has always been the worst I've ever been to. I've not been there as a customer in about 10 years. I'm not sure I'll ever go there again. Sorry for your bad experience.
I was out and about in southeastern Ohio yesterday. I thought about trying to find you guys and ride for a bit but figured you all didn't need a distraction.
Congrats on the ride!
Thanks Rich ! Hey - You probably already know about it, but man, Ohio State Route 125 is amazing. Rode it in it's entirety yesterday and will be going back; still need to do some in-depth exploring of Shawnee State Forest anyway.
Lots of great roads down that way. There is a pretty cool observation/fire tower in Shawnee State Park. I try to ride down that way a couple times a month. Shawnee State Park:
Nice Wee-Strom; always liked that bike. You still have the ST too ?
Yep, rode it yesterday. The wee-strom / ST1300 combo is a nice coverall duo. Not much I can't do between those two bikes. (I'm not a serious off-road type). Plus owning those two bikes is relatively cheap.
Plus the wee-strom is my hot weather bike. The ST is a scorcher on those hot/humid days!
Haters gonna hate, right, I love Oh-H- 10, even tho I've received numerous speeding violations in my youth riding up there from Kentucky.
Another state with a bad rap is Nebraska, get out of the Platte Valley (I-80) and enjoy.
I am always finding new and interesting roads and scenes in Ohio. I am a non-native Ohioan, but I have grown to absolutely love exploring this state. Your Ohio 1000 route is an inspiration. I am only a handful of miles away from Rt. 11 and am starting to wonder if it is something I could tackle someday. Great photos too. Nice work.
You are in a great position to start and end in Ashtabula; you may as well give it a shot.
Ironically, I was thinking about that while riding through Iowa on I-80 and touching into Nebraska during the Great Lakes Saddle Sore 3000. Even from the Interstate, Iowa was beautiful (to me) and I even wrote about some of my thoughts on that in the report. That day we must have rode over 600-miles of Iowa on the super slab. I'd imagine if you got off the beaten path and started wandering the backroads through the lush farmland that it would be on another level; a different world and serene. The views I was taking in that day reminded me of an old screensaver on one of the early versions of Windows; whomever designed that screensaver must have spent time in Iowa.
Re-visiting the MABDR - (Day 2) May 20th, 2019
I'd follow a short but sweet portion of the Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (part of section 1) from Marion to Damascus; my gateway to a meet-up with Crazy Larry (he really is crazy) at his hiker hostel.
Just south of Marion, the MABDR is an old railroad grade consisting of hard-packed gravel. It's cut into a hillside with a slight drop-off on one side and rising ground with occasional rock faces on the opposite. Small trees and lush green vegetation creep right up to the trails edge giving it a closed-in and cozy feel.
Not too far south of Marion (on the MABDR) and you come to a distinct landmark: The section of narrow trail that is carved out of a towering and rocky outcropping. I've never experienced anything quite like it.
Then just before the point where the Creeper Trail (bicycle route from Damascus) intersects the MABDR, you cross a wooden bridge over a stream. There is a small waterfall in this area. The trail follows the stream for a while, before veering off. The trail then becomes interestingly cut into a slight hill, creating bermed shoulders with partially embedded boulders, beneath a partial canopy of tall skinny trees.
Then the MABDR breaks out of the forest and into the bright open blue skies with mountains on the horizon; these quick and stimulating transitions keep projecting you into new realms. Such beautiful terrain.
Continuing on, you follow the Virginia and Tennessee state line before coming upon the waterfall start point; this is the official southern terminus of the MABDR, even though most of us consider that to be Damascus.
- Looking back north (the direction I'd just arrived from) on the MABDR from the waterfall start point.
As you proceed south from the waterfall start point, you do actually dip across the state line into Tennessee momentarily. Before you know it you are rolling into Damascus, Virginia - and then you run right into Crazy Larry's Hiker (A.T.) Hostel.
"Odie's" shuttle bus was parked out front. He is a prominent and charismatic figure in Damascus. Took a look inside.
I'd connected with Crazy Larry over the previous winter on the MABDR Facebook Group that he had created. He had just started it. There was hardly any activity on it yet, so I spent a couple of months sporadically uploading pictures and narrative from my 2018 MABDR ride, in which I rode the whole route (over 1000 miles) from the north (New York/Pennsylvania border) to Damascus. In this way I helped him get the Facebook Group rolling and also felt a connection with Larry. He is a character who isn't afraid to speak his mind and also likes to write. So, although I was (as always) pressed for time, I'd really wanted to at least stop in and converse with him for an hour or so and have a look around.
Crazy Larry has done time in prison, has been homeless and wandering the earth for periods of his life, he was raped as a child (by other children) and has been right at the edge of suicide. But there is some kind of divine spark within him that keeps moving his spirit forward. He is open about these things so I'm comfortable sharing them here. He is not afraid to speak his truth. There are universal truths, but then we all have our own subjective and circumstantial truths.
I'd finished up the section of trail early, so it wasn't much past noon when we were sitting at his kitchen table having a heartfelt conversation. He had rolled a joint and was casually toking on it as we talked. I've no issue with the sweet leaf (when used sparingly or spiritually), but was a bit concerned as he smoked the whole joint, at that early hour, as if it were a cigarette.
UPDATE: Larry has just recently announced that he has quit smoking and also posted his establishment completely drug and alcohol free. I'm proud of him, as I feel he is too obsessive and neurotic to partake sensibly.
I was already aware of his concern for humanity and the helping hand he would often extend towards those in the community or the constant influx of hikers and drifters passing through, that a trail town such as Damascus attracts (just as it did Larry) but even in the short time during my visit, glimpses were experienced by my own eyes. Larry's Hostel is a bustling hub of human interaction. Sometimes to the detriment of Larry having any privacy.
Upon my return home, I wrote and posted this little piece about him and attached it to a picture I'd taken of him in his house. Found the perfect backdrop for the picture with the intriguing mural:
Crazy Larry -
After months of occasional correspondence (and a few heart to heart conversations) online, due to the fact that Crazy Larry is the originator of the MABDR Facebook Group, I'd finally have the privilege of meeting him in person.
If you are of narrow-mind or lived a sheltered life, you might want to just keep on riding - as you might not understand him. But if you are open-minded and can think for yourself, then you might just appreciate who he is and what he does in life.
He is a thinker, a writer, and a man of convictions - who has the backbone to thoughtfully speak his mind, yet also possesses the humility and genuine honesty to consider all things and counterpoints; he has the resiliency to change his mind if (and when) he deems it appropriate. A real truth-seeker.
He also deeply cares about people, staying engaged in the community and giving back to humanity as much as he possibly can. Not an easy task in today's world.
As for me, I'd say we connected almost immediately - and I immensely like the man. Anytime I'm in the vicinity, I'll be stopping in - and if the timing is right, it'll be a layover point.
While wandering around his hostel, engaged in conversation, I'd noticed a vivid mural on a wall (I dig murals) and figured that would make a fitting backdrop to photograph the old hippie.
- Looking south towards Damascus from the waterfall start point on the Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route.
No Iron Buttin' this weekend. Out flower sniffin' instead. At Lake Michigan.
Lakeshore Drive in Douglas, Michigan on Lake Michigan. Mysterious/Velocity Red Sunglo Glide. Report coming: American Iron Adventures.
American Iron Adventures - (Part 1)
This is just a one-day ride, but I've got quite a few pictures to share, so it will take a few posts to cover it all. The morning was rainy and gloomy, so there was no hurry to get started. When the skies cleared, I rolled the big-twin out of the garage and transferred the day's gear necessities into the saddlebags. That's one challenging thing about riding multiple bikes: Juggling your gear and accessories between them on any given day, while not forgetting something of vital importance.
The Electra Glide is right at home on the Interstate, so I jumped onto I-96 and headed for the west coast of Michigan. Besides, this was now a late start.
Passing through the Capital Region of Lansing, around high-noon, on 4-lanes of fast interstate, I'd thought for a moment that I was hallucinating; standing right at the edge of the Interstate was a doe and her tiny spotted fawn. She appeared to be calm as ever; just looking straight across the speeding traffic as if waiting for a traffic light to change and a walk signal to indicate her right-of-way. The spotted fawn was right at her side, but head down and feasting on the green grass at the roadside. Disaster waiting to happen. Was she wanting to cross our busy road, or was our road crossing her forest ?
As always, the southern beltline (M6) which allows you to ride along the southern fringe of Grand Rapids (and in a more direct line), is so convenient when heading to Lake Michigan. I remember having to drive up into the heart of Grand Rapids - before M6 was built in 2001.
As a bonus, Exit 11 on M6 has a Chick-fil-A. It was around lunchtime when I walked in the restaurant. It was a madhouse ! The line curled around the store. Most of the tables were full, inside and out. The drive thru was so busy that they had a few employees out there in the driveway with electronic tablets keeping the operation flowing. In my mind there was no way I'd be able to get food (being used to Metro Detroit or my dismal experience in Dayton last week) so I went to the bathroom figuring I would just move on down the road. To my surprise, when I came out of the restroom, the flock of smiling and efficient employees had already whittled down the bulk of the customers. So I jumped in line, ordered, sat down, and in short order a friendly young man brought me my delicious Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries. Unbelievable. And nobody was even stressed; it was just a smooth and normal operation. Everybody was happy. The model of how to efficiently conduct a fast-food franchise.
From Grand Rapids I'd exit the fast-moving I-96 and enjoy some slower scenic back roads; I'd wander for a while and find a new back way into Saugatuck and Douglas; my primary destinations of the day. The roads out in those areas are in great condition.
Passed through Vriesland and stopped for gas. Across the street was an old church that was calling for me to investigate. Wandering around and discovering old clues to our heritage is hard to beat. The explorer runs deep in my bones; as far back as I can remember that is all I ever wanted to do. The stained glass, weathered patina, and registered historic sign out front kept my mind (and imagination) switched-on for some time.
The congregation of this 1869 Vriesland Reformed Church was originally organized in 1846 in the Netherlands.
Forty- nine adults, accompanied by their children - emigrated to the United States in 1847.
These farmers, attracted by the clay soil, settled this area and named it Vriesland after their native province of Friesland in the Netherlands.
To this day, many descendants of the community's original families still reside in this area - and Frisian names are still prevalent.
The farmland and terrain in that area is beautiful with slightly rolling hills. Passed some perennial fields and farms, which was a different experience; can't recall ever seeing perennial fields on a ride. Also plenty of vineyards, corn fields, and soybean fields.
My final approach to the coast was by way of Old Allegan Road. This road dates back to the origins of Allegan County in 1835, as it was the only road from the interior to Lake Michigan and it followed an old Indian trail along the Kalamazoo River. A few years later, just 3-men, widened the road for 8-miles, from Richmond toward Allegan. Beginning in the 1840's stagecoaches traveled the road, used by settlers, trappers, and traders. On this day, only 170 years later, it would serve me and the big Electra Glide well.
Took my customary ride along Lakeshore Drive in Douglas.
Also stopped into the little public beach that is situated along Lakeshore Drive. Surprisingly, there were available parking spots. The water is incredibly high this year; not much beach left for sunbathing.
The same wooden steps have been delivering me up and down, through the woods, to this beach for over four decades.
A couple of weeks ago I walked for quite a distance along this coastline. Since it is all private beach, except for the little postage-stamp sized public portion that the rest of the population has to squeeze into, you have to (by law) keep your feet in the water as you explore the shore.
American Iron Adventures - (Part 2)
Rode over to the Village of Saugatuck. My kind of place. I'll take a village over a city any day. No street performers out on this day; couple of weeks ago there was a cute little girl playing her violin. Judging from the insignia hanging from her instrument case she is Canadian.
Fired off a few shots of the Sand Bar to my dad in Virginia. He has a lot of history with the place.
- It too much resembles the dives back in Detroit or Toledo. No wonder he likes it.
Stopped into Uncommon Coffee Roasters for an afternoon cup.
Coffee was 3 bucks. Hand kid a 10. No change. When I asked for change, he asked what I gave him. Told him 10. He gave me back a 10. We looked at each other. Gave him back the 10. He gave me 8 bucks back. WTF.
Saugatuck was still busy, but the season is winding down. Soon, the crowds will dissipate. Will try to make a couple of fall visits.
Popped into Historic Douglas to take a closer look at some of the history of a couple of significant buildings there.
In 1861, William Dutcher platted the town of Douglas. He named it for his hometown on the Isle Of Man in the Irish Sea.
Dutcher Lodge is a rare example of a Masonic Lodge still in use over a century after it's construction.
Opened in 1866, the Douglas Union School is one of Michigans oldest surviving multi-classroom school buildings. With it's bracketed eaves and belfry, the school reflects Italian Villa architecture. The first year it opened, one male and one female teacher taught 129 pupils.