GAS GUY 2020 - (One Year at a Time)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GAS GUY, Mar 14, 2020.

  1. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,227
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Opening Day - (8 March 2020)

    From yet another winter I emerge, albeit a bit older and always more worn. Today is spring forward one-hour. It's looking like an early spring too. Got out for my first ride of 2020. It was 60° and sunny. Even though we escaped winter relatively easy this year - it still felt really good to be mobile again! Generally I'll start and close the riding season on the Mighty ST - while the temperatures are cooler. In the heat of summer, the ST is a hot bitch. That's the time to alternate between cooler-running machines.

    Herb joined me for an afternoon jaunt around the countryside and into Ann Arbor for lunch and coffee. The authentic Mexican food hit the spot as we basked in the deceptively warm sun. But the cool breeze reminded me that it was still early in the year, while seated at an outdoor table situated along the sidewalk. Ann Arbor is like another world. An interesting place for people watching. It's a busy and artsy college town full of ethnic diversity. All walks of life passed by, stimulating my curious mind. Every kind of quaint cafe imaginable; any kind of food or drink you want; colorful murals occasionally splatter an alley wall. Parking can be challenging, but we squeezed the bikes down an alley and in-between some garbage cans before tucking them back into a cubby-hole. The scent of reefer lingered in the brisk air.

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    Lunch was followed up with a steaming, potent cup of Lobster Butter Love at Roo's Roast. You know the barista has handed you a proper coffee when it has a frothy head. Bold coffee and deep conversation is the rule of the day when Herb and I are brain-storming.

    In-between stops we'd pick off some of the better local roads. Huron River Drive wound us through a hilly nature area with deer lingering just inside the woodline.

    A huge bald eagle flew past us at Barton Pond along Huron River Drive, after walking a wooded trail that delivered us to the water's edge. The ducks scattered in a hurry when that bird of prey swooped down low over an area where the ice had receded and the water was open and flowing. That night I dreamt that the same eagle had landed in my backyard while I observed him through the window. Upon waking, I'd also remembered that during the dream, my mind recalled seeing him during that days ride.

    We'll see what the year brings. I've many ideas floating around in my head. Life is changing fast. At 50, a familiar era is coming to a close. That is always bittersweet; children coming of age; dogs passing on; new realizations that nullify old beliefs; new aches and pains. At least I'm starting to feel a peace that I've never known before; one that only age and wisdom can afford. New beginnings are always presenting themselves; not superficially - but within. That is where the richness lies.


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    #1
  2. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,227
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Heritage Tour” - (25 March 2020)

    One of my many aspirations, the "Heritage Tour" - continued to unfold, despite the Coronavirus. Due to motels and campgrounds being shut down, it would have to be a short day ride; just a couple of hundred miles. Still can't get out too far, due to the lack of support. I'd pack some snacks, water, and coffee - in order to be self-sufficient. But I needed to get a ride in, as more rain and gloom was to soon follow. Not to mention, it looks like our riding season may be at least partially compromised - as well as life as we knew it. Elements of our humanity are slowly being chipped away. It doesn’t help that we keep trading it for various promises.

    It was eerie, as I peered into cars that were rolling alongside me - while seeing the occupants of the vehicle wearing masks. They had a look of despair in their eyes. One young, beautiful girl in the backseat looked over at me. She looked so unnatural and spooked.

    The mighty ST1300 would make short work of carrying me over the Ohio border and out into the country. Through the tiny villages that had forged my formative years. Thank God for that old-world rural upbringing, that would save my soul from the unknown eventualities of the future. I'd stumble, but not fall. There'd be some demons, but for the most part, I'd remain intact. The ST ran extremely well, while looking sharp, all cleaned up with a fresh coat of Mother's carnauba wax to get the season started. Even though the ST is approaching 93,000-miles, you'd never know it. Upon close inspection, the plastics do show slight signs of wear and a few scuffs, but the patina just adds to the multitude of memories.

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    Walking the cemetery on this warm, breezy, spring day was a pleasant experience. Besides visiting my grandparents, great-grandparents, brother, and grand-aunt's grave sites, I was also trying to locate my second great-grandmother's headstone. But to no avail. Even after walking the somewhat small graveyard end-to-end. But I did walk it randomly. Next time, I'll systematically cover it plot-by-plot.

    One of my goals on this ride was to stop into our old (century) Williston, Ohio home. Not much changes in them parts. Actually nothing does. Except the old corner store has closed, which just makes the quaint town even sleepier. Fortunately, my uncle still owns the old house and it's currently uninhabited. By earthly, living and breathing souls anyway. The house originally belonged to my great-grandparents (Henry and Minnia Leisenheimer). They raised my grandmother in that house. Then my mother and her sister spent a lot of time there, as children, with their grandparents. Shortly after I was born, my mother and father and I would live there with my great-grandmother, Minnia. A lot of history there. Hardship too.

    - Minnia and Henry Leisenheimer standing in front of the old Williston house. Henry is holding my mother (Auralee Boutin) and my Aunt Annette Boutin is standing in front. Sometime during the 1950's.

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    It blew my mind to learn that the original kitchen cabinets were still intact. So much of my family, including myself, has been in and out of those exact built-in cabinets over the last century. The slot for the pull-out bread board was still there, but the board itself has been put away somewhere, because it kept falling out over the years. I need to find that grooved up board! Way back in the day, my great-grandfather Henry Leisenheimer would slide it out and sit at that breadboard while eating his sandwich and listening to the ball game on a little transistor radio that was always perched up on the counter next to the wall. Probably the Cleveland Indians, as they were the local ball club and one of his brothers was a bone-setter for them. Imagine that. My great-grandmother, Minnia, used to make sandwiches on that board for Henry before he ran off in the morning to his carpenter job. She'd also make a sandwich for a random hobo, on that cutting board - if one was sitting on the front steps; the train ran right by town, so occasionally a hobo would hop off of the train upon sight of the small village. She was always kind enough to let them hang-out on her front steps in those instances. She would also make them a second sandwich to go! It was a different world back then.

    To my surprise, the house also retained many of the original doorknobs on the interior doors. Even the original black grated heat vents were still in place just as I remembered, where the floor and wall meet, with the little damper lever and flapper still working perfectly. As I walked into my old bedroom, I couldn't help but remember the serious ass-whipping I'd taken in there. Waiting in there for hours, as my mother commanded, until my father arrived home from work was almost as painful as the thrashing. I'd forgotten why it had transpired, and it was so violent that I hadn't even wanted to ask my dad about it, even to this day. My uncle piped up, "You climbed up on the hood of his brand new black 1972 'Heavy Chevy' and scratched it all up with a rock, trying to inscribe your name into the paint or something!" Guess I’ve always been creative.

    While snooping around down in the basement, I'd come upon the old concrete cistern room. After opening the small wooden trap door to peer inside, the sunlight pouring in from the grated vent on the far side of the room illuminated the maze of spiderwebs. The wet and musty air triggered my sinuses. Years ago, this cistern room held fresh rainwater for doing laundry and household chores. The gutters and downspouts were plumbed in such a way as to feed and fill the cistern.

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    Now there is a modern furnace installed, but even into the 1950's, the heat was supplied by a huge coal furnace which also resided down in the basement next to the cistern. A supply truck would slide a chute through a basement window and dump a pile of coal onto the basement floor. My aunt remembers going down there with Minnia in the chilly morning, after Henry departed for work, and watching her grandmother shovel coal into the stove. She said, "The octopus-like ventricles of the overhead duct-work shooting off in all directions always intimidated me as a little girl."

    The door leading up to the attic was in my old room. It still has the same glossy, black, round doorknob that is loose and rattly as you grasp it. The attic and the fact that the door was in my room always spooked me as a child. While standing in my old bedroom, I scanned the walls. There used to be a lamp protruding from the wall above my bed. The sloppy and obvious patch job with spackling gave away the exact location. I’ll never forget that lamp: One evening while laying in bed battling the flu and a fever in a traumatic state of mind, I’d looked up at that light and it turned on by itself. I clearly saw the pull-chain move and even heard the click! It absolutely put me in a state of terror - as I screamed for my mother. She came running in and sure enough that light had been turned on. How it happened I don’t know. But it remains in my memory as clear as day.

    Up the stairs I went - to see if any old remnants of the past remained. Since it's been mostly cleaned out over the years, I wasn't hopeful, but maybe that old breadboard had been tossed up there. We couldn't find the grooved up breadboard. My uncle will have to find out where his daughter placed it. But back towards the eaves, partially covered by the insulation, a glint from a small trinket caught my eye, as the flashlight from my smartphone penetrated the darkness.

    It was a small, white, decorative, ceramic vase with a delicate hooped handle on each side; it had gold accents and an embossed scene consisting of a bunch of grapes, vine, and leaves. Small enough to fit in your palm. You could see remnants of soil inside. It must have held a small succulent and sat on a dresser at one time. To my amazement, on the bottom, a penciled inscription, written in cursive - was still visible. It said: Minnia. From Laura and Alfred Lowe. Wow! Minnia was my great-grandmother, as I'd mentioned, and Alfred was her brother. Laura was Alfred's wife. Lowe was Minnia's maiden name. So, I'd take home a trophy after all! Minnia lived with us for most of my young childhood. That little vase probably sat on her dresser while I lived there, but I don't recall. Her brother Alfred died in 1976, so that vase could have been given to her anywhere in the 1950's, 60's, or 70's. Perhaps even earlier. It also said Made in Germany on the bottom. There was no Chinese garbage in that era.

    Before leaving, my uncle and I were standing out in front of the house. Then the church bells, from just a block away, started their cadence. This catapulted me right back into the early 1970's when I was a young boy living there. The same exact sound - all of these years later! It's etched into my soul. For some reason, them church bells are, and have always been, to me, an incredibly lonely sound. A melancholic sound.

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    I'd enjoy some remote country roads in-between stops at the cemetery and the old Williston home. You can't go wrong following the creeks and rivers as they meander along, breaking up the traditional grid-system that is so prevalent in these northern reaches. This (above) is a stretch of County Road 93 that I'd lived on for a spell with my mother. My letters from Korea were sent there to her. Her last residence is on this road as well as her ashes. That being the case, I often ride through and pay homage. This quaint road runs along Sugar Creek. My mother and I used to go on adventurous horseback rides through that creek.

    On the way out there on this spring day, I'd noticed that the hawks were out in force, flying low over the fields on the hunt or perched up on telephone poles. There was also a huge herd of incredibly large deer just outside of the wood line, feeding on the brilliant green winter wheat; they were so big that they looked like horses off in the distance against the glare of the setting sun. The crepuscular critters were out early, as it was still an hour or so before twilight.

    The ride home was easy on the mostly barren expressway, except for the treacherous road surface conditions due to an occasional crater in the middle of the road, or deep, wide grooves between lanes that could hang up a tire - or the back-jarring level changes that catch you unsuspectingly. All of this on the Michigan side of the state line, of course. I'd make a mental note to not run this northbound section at night with limited visibility, until some repairs are made. Especially on a short-travel suspended Harley Davidson.

    As darkness was fast approaching, stretches of the freeway were completely devoid of vehicles. This allowed me to occasionally open up the powerful V4 engine in short bursts, exceeding the ton, every time, in a split-second.

    This time of year, even short rides fatigue me. I think it's a combination of being off the bike for so long, ample amounts of fresh spring air, and surging emotions.

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    #2
  3. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,316
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Amen to the I75 stretch just north of the Ohio/Michigan border. Came through that stretch just over a week ago on my way home from Fla. I had to stop and make sure my bike was still upright in the trailer. Worst stretch of road on the whole trip.
    #3
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  4. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,227
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    GS Adventure Lockdown Ride - (2 April 2020)

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the time off of work and am finally starting to get caught up on categorizing some old photograph archives and some reading, but it's been two-weeks now. I'm used to getting up early and having to stay moving all day long. Can't remember the last time I've been away from work for two weeks - and it's looking like another month before we'll be returning!

    I've got to get out for some short day rides at least. The weather looks promising for a few days. Travel is trickier than ever though: you can't camp or get a motel, food is harder to procure, and good luck finding a bathroom. That limits your possibilities. Running back roads in more remote areas and within a forest will help immensely in the bathroom break department. Ample amounts of food and water will have to be packed in order to cover the issue of sustenance. Plus, you know I need to be self-sustained - so as not to end up with a coffee conundrum in the afternoon. My destination will have to be within a reasonable distance, as to get back home sometime shortly after nightfall. And I'll make sure to not come into direct contact with people. That should be the easy part.

    Before departure, the GSA received it's typical spring maintenance, along with some extra attention - in the way of a new final drive oil seal. Some of you may remember that on my way home from Waylin' Wayne Weekend last September, the dreaded final drive oil leak syndrome struck! This made for a stressful ride home; fortunately, by the time the gear lube was starting to slowly seep down the housing and spot my wheel, I only had about 130-miles left to cover. As you may know, the final drive only holds about 6 ounces of gear lube, so you cannot afford to lose very much of the precious fluid. But, everything turned out fine - and without incurring any damage. It was actually a simple job and now the final drive has been restored from its state of potential demise. Then some fresh Redline Heavy Shock gear oil (the Pepto-Bismol looking stuff) was surgically injected into the cavity with a syringe.

    Performing the repair simply entailed popping off the outer hard plastic dust cover, removing a snap-ring, carefully (so as not to penetrate too deeply and hit the bearing) drilling two small holes (opposite each other) into the face of the old oil seal, installing two screws into the drilled holes, pulling the seal out by utilizing the two protruding screws (I used a slide-hammer), and installing the new seal by using the old seal to press in the new one. Something extra that I always do when installing any kind of oil seal, that utilizes a circular spring to maintain pressure on the lip seal, is to pack it with grease before installing. The grease insures that the spring doesn’t pop out of place when tapping in the seal. It’s rare that the spring would do that, but it happened to me once when rebuilding a transmission, upon installing the front pump seal. Ever since then, I pack them with grease.

    So I'd head out across Michigan seeking remote gravel, dirt, and asphalt roads. When I do this, the plan is to generally just head west while staying in-between I-96 and I-94. Then I usually pass through Yankee Springs Recreation Area (and Barry State Game Area), as there is an abundance of interesting off-road possibilities there, if you want to challenge yourself for a while, on a big bike.

    The GSA is currently in a trim not so conducive to aggressive riding, considering the heavy aluminum panniers are hanging on the bike, along with 70/30 road biased TKC70 tires - so I would have to be cautious in my travels.

    It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon and the road surface conditions are so much nicer once out in the countryside. With the current situation, this year may call for more Michigan exploring than usual, as I feel our riding season will be compromised to perhaps a greater extent than we realize.

    As you enter mid-state the terrain starts to become rolling (intermittently); just subtly, but enough to be interesting. Even many of the agricultural fields become hilly. Occasionally a sign would present itself indicating the potential presence of a horse and buggy. The Amish! If any group of people in America know how to find rich, remote farmland - it's the Amish.

    Nothing was green yet, at this early stage of spring, but the terrain was nice. One positive aspect of the barren trees is that you are able to see through them and view the topography of the land more clearly when you enter a hilly and heavily forested area. Don't get me wrong, I'd prefer the foliage. The sky was blue and peaceful, devoid of air traffic and contrails.

    One stretch of a rural gravel road just had a fresh heaping dumped and graded. You had to be cautious here due to some areas being deeper and softer than what you might expect.

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    While running on a somewhat elevated dirt road that passed through a lightly forested area I came across this picturesque pond.

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    It's always exciting to randomly come across a registered historic site. Exactly where it’s located I’m not sure, as I’d just happened upon it while randomly wandering.

    This is a Hope Township District School that was in service from 1872 to 1963. This was known as the Hinds School because of its location at the crossroads community of Hinds Corners. After standing vacant for almost twenty years, it was purchased in 1981 by Robert Casey. He was a student there during the 1930’s. Later he was a teacher there as well as in Hastings. After purchasing this old schoolhouse, Robert restored the building as a place for children to visit.

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    Now I was getting into some more heavily forested terrain with winding dirt roads and inland lakes dotting the landscape. The secondary roads have been in pretty good shape and this time of year the sand is still somewhat packed. By mid-summer everything is drier and will have been churned up by more traffic, creating looser sand. Make no mistake though, there is still sand. Always is in Michigan.

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    Then the road turned to this!

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    I'd started out trying to stay up on a high track, but slid down into a rut. So, had to ride the rut the rest of the way out. This section was rougher and the ruts were deeper than the picture depicts, which is always the case. The same goes for elevations in pictures; it is always steeper in actuality. Or is it the other way around? Perhaps our neurotic minds exaggerate our circumstances. At least the soil was tacky and loamy, which made for good traction. While the full depth of the treads on my mild tires did cake up with dirt, they still propelled our mass through the squishy terrain and to the other side.

    Then the road slightly rose and fell through the forest on wide dirt and sandy trails. Some areas were muddy, some hard dirt, some sandy, and a slightly rocky area for a short distance at the far end of one of the trails. Some of the trails were two-tracks that were not so eroded or worn and some consisted of truck-width trail carved through the earth. The hilly sections were the most eroded as can be expected.

    Some of the more level and remote sections of trail remained pristine. You could definitely tell the sections that were less traveled.

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    This was a really sweet trail that grabbed my undivided attention. It was so enticing; the surface condition was ideal and it showed off a curvy climb to a slight summit, with who knows what on the other side. It added to the element of mystery and wonder.

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    After cresting the top of the rise and starting my descent it quickly became apparent that the road ahead was potentially treacherous. Heaven to hell in a few moments. The truck that was bottomed out and quagmired in the sandy ruts halfway up the hill undoubtedly confirmed the risky conditions.

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    After parking my bike off to the side, in what appeared to be a promising primitive campsite (mental note taken), I walked down to take inventory of the situation as the truck's owner was digging out the earth that was packed up under his rear bumper. I found a couple of small logs to jam under each rear tire to not only afford him some extra traction, but to also lift the back of his bumper up as he backed out of his precarious situation. Then I informed him to abandon the climb, put it in reverse, and back down and out of the trail until he could turn around and go back in the opposite direction. I'm pretty sure he was already figuring on that same exact plan.

    With that out of the way and the truck gone, now I had to decide how I was going to make it down this section in one-piece and upright. At least it was down hill. So I spent a few minutes weighing my options and choosing a line. It was coffee time too, so I needed to get through this and get to my projected lunch spot up the trail a piece. I'd considered having coffee right there, in that primitive campsite, but I was too amped up and wanted to get down that damned sand trap. It was too darn early in the year for this shit. I hadn't even gotten my groove on yet.

    I really wanted to drop down into one of the deep ruts so as to be able to easily use my feet to stabilize myself on the way down, but with the engine cylinders and heads protruding straight out on the oil-cooled boxer, it was certain that I'd just get hung up as the cylinders plowed into the dirt and sand. This left me no option but to fully commit - while up on the pegs - and ride the high center ribbon down about three-quarters of the way, before moving over to the left of the trail and then on out. Full committal was necessary as there was a deep rut on each side and absolutely no way to dab without crashing. Breathe. Calm. You have to always be conscious of your breathing while staying relaxed and maintaining your composure. It was a dicey ride but I made it down as planned.

    The trail was getting more and more sandy, so I tightened up the steering stabilizer by a few more clicks. Every little thing helps.

    There was another adventure rider taking a break along the side of the trail while standing next to his Honda CRF250L. So, I pulled in the clutch, briefly stopping alongside of him, to share a friendly greeting and see how he was doing.

    He took one look at the loaded monstrosity that was my GSA and asked, "How the hell do you manage to ride that big bike through here?"

    "At times, it's a lot of work." I quickly replied, "Especially without knobbies!"

    To my bewilderment, I'd ridden right by the connecting side trail leading off to my favorite remote coffee spot. So I had to turn around and backtrack to find it. Those bastards! No wonder I rode right past it. The connective trail has become indiscernible as the DNR has bulldozed massive tree roots and piles of dirt into the trail - rendering it impassable. Another freedom gone. It's getting harder and harder to connect with nature in this post-modern age. Oh well, guess I just have to break out the coffee and lunch right there on the side of trail.

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    While sipping my freshly pressed Starbucks French Roast and eating my peanut butter and butter sandwich, another rider passed by, fully donned in an Aerostitch Roadcrafter and riding another Honda CRF250L (this time a Rally version). That 250 really made sense after what I'd just passed through; I just don't want to cover vast distances on one. I just don't have the time. Nice bikes though. The WR250R also. Maybe someday. In the mean time, It would behoove me to maintain a better state of physical fitness, which is naturally becoming increasingly harder.

    After my little trail-side picnic, I'd exit that section of trail and run some twisty asphalt past Gun Lake. The strong smell of pine trees carried by the brisk air from the lake was a welcome sensation and took me back to the days of wandering Northern Michigan. Need to get back up north soon.

    After whipping into the entrance of the Deep Lake Rustic Campground to have a look around, I'd have to thread my way through a plethora of mountain bike riders enjoying the trails - while trying to keep their own sanity in these pandemic times. Once again, it was discouraging to see that the handful of best campsites there had been gated and included a sign stating that that section was reserved for some group or another. One chilly Easter many moons ago, I'd stayed at one of those campsites, elevated above the lake. The next morning, just before twilight, some sandhill cranes were eerily calling out. The fog-filled recessed lake echoed their calls in such a surreal way that it gave me the chills as I lay there in my tent.

    FLASHBACK: Here is an archived picture from that ride in 2011. That was on my old gray and gold 2007 GSA. The week before, we had returned from riding the original Tennessee TAT. That year we enjoyed an incredibly mild winter, similar to this one that just passed.

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    After looking at the map, it appears that there may be some other appealing sites near the lake on the other side of the campground that I'll have to check out the next time I'm in the vicinity. The outhouses were all locked down and out-of-order due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Diving back into the forest and onto another quaint trail system had me negotiating a slightly sandy two-track towards the north end of this recreation area. By this time nature was calling. Had to park the bike and grab a small roll of that insanely precious white stuff and a trowel while heading deeper into the woods to do things the old fashioned way. You better be prepared in these bizarre times.

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    The sun was quickly descending, so I started working a mix of asphalt and dirt back roads towards home. With such a lack of seat time lately, my tail-bone was getting sore. This happens from time-to-time for me, especially after inactivity. I just shut it out and move around while implementing some standing time to promote blood flow. During the process of randomly choosing roads in a generally south and east direction, I'd inadvertently happened across the Gilmore Car Museum out in Hickory Corners, Michigan. So that's where that popular museum resides! Basically out in the middle of nowhere. Nice countryside and the museum barns and grounds look to be absolutely pristine. Been meaning to get out there someday, especially when they have their vintage motorcycle weekend. It's on June 14th this year. Hopefully things are back to some semblance of normal by then. I'd like to ride the Road King out there and check out the old bikes.


    Eventually, I'd end up on I-94 somewhere between Battle Creek and Jackson. The rest area just west of Jackson happened to be open. But the rest area near Chelsea was closed. I'm wondering how many rest areas are open during this crisis. You'd think most of them would be since the truckers still have to travel over-the-road to transport goods. Finished up hammering on home sometime after dark and felt satisfied with my ability to get out and steal at least a small adventure through all of this. What the future will bring, only time will tell. But like Terence McKenna said long ago, "Nature Loves Courage!"

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    #4
  5. luftkoph

    luftkoph Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,029
    Location:
    U.P. mich
    I was wondering how you all are doing down that way. Still to nasty out here to ride, well for me it is.
    You are correct in that it is getting tougher for otr truckers right now,there’s not much available and what is ,is crowded.
    Good to see you on here and all you guys down there stay healthy
    #5
  6. turbojim

    turbojim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    622
    Location:
    Great Lakes State
    Jeff, just what I needed to read to get myself going on the bikes. Another fun ride report. That back story on your childhood home is interesting too! Life sure is an amazing journey isn't it! And when your ready to explore up north, let me know. I have my sisters cabin to hub out of, south west of Alpena. Bear country. lol
    #6
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  7. drbuzzard

    drbuzzard Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,498
    Location:
    42.4n lon 83.02w 625ft
    hello luftkoph and turbojim
    #7
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  8. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,227
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    That sounds great, Jim. We are going to do that for sure. Hopefully you have a fire-pit up at the cabin. It's time to start doing more riding in Michigan over the next few years. Today I managed to get out for about a 9-hour ride while wandering many remote roads between Detroit and Hillsdale. Will get some pictures from today up soon. In the meantime, I'll leave you with one from this late-afternoon, when I rode back in time while passing through Onsted:

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    #8
  9. TownPump

    TownPump Long timer

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,018
    Location:
    Huntsburg, OH

    Fantastic writing. Very evocative.
    #9
    2wingdoc05 and GAS GUY like this.
  10. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,227
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    "Travel at Your Own Risk" - (20 April 2020) Highlights

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    This is the first time I've ever experienced seeing a road sign that read, "TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK." It does make for a fitting theme name for our ride, considering our current state of affairs. Double meanings are always catchy.

    It's official! That is the name of our ride. We are out traversing rough dirt roads, hoping we don't get arrested for civil disobedience, we have to keep our distance and hope we don't become infected, we have to make certain not to cross state lines (which we end up in very close proximity to), must carry toilet paper and guard it against the hoarders, and we must shit discreetly in the woods. At least we don't have to jeopardize ourselves by stopping for fuel, as our bikes are like supertankers; even Scott's Husky with his aftermarket tank and plethora of petcocks.

    More on that road later.

    Another pleasant surprise. I'm a sucker for these old-fashioned buildings; especially of stone. Glimpses, of past ways of life, for my imagination to ponder. We happened upon this old stone school on the corner of Stephenson Road and North Hawkins Highway in Cambridge Township - which is in Onsted, Michigan. It cracks me up ... how so many of these small, remote roads are called highways! They are the furthest thing in my mind from a highway.

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    In 1850, the Reverend Robert Wooden built this school, located in Cambridge School District No. 6. It is an example of early fieldstone construction, commonly found in the southern part of the Lower peninsula. The school closed in 1955, and in 1979 was condemned by Cambridge Township. A group of citizens convinced the township to postpone demolition; in 1983 the site was deeded to the Wooden Old Stone School Association. The group restored the schoolhouse in 1989.

    A detail shot of the entrance door. The patina and deep recession of the door into the thick stone wall are distinguishing features which I thought were appealing.

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    Taking the back way into Onsted state game area via a natural beauty road. The typical and most accessible route in would be by way of U.S. Route 12 (Michigan Avenue) from the north, near Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The still barren trees allow for a glimpse of one of the many small lakes dotting the landscape in this region.

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    A gnarly dirt road delivered us to a dead-end with a small circular turn-around. Ken and Scott looked at me oddly as we dismounted the bikes and I slowly lowered my GSA to the ground - instead of deploying the kickstand. "Hey, I've been practicing this in my garage lately as part of my adventure rider workout." Except I made it more challenging, by lifting it without the panniers and a full tank of gasoline. It's a piece of cake with the panniers mounted in place, as the bike doesn't lay over as far. Without the panniers, I lock the front brake lever with a large rubber gear tie. With the panniers, it's not even necessary.

    There were some hiking trails and a long wooden boardwalk leading out to this small, marshy inland lake. This was a perfect opportunity to stretch my legs and eat an apple that I'd stashed in my pannier. This was around noon and as we departed you could feel a noticeable increase in the ambient temperature, after a cool morning.

    Your aspiring (and hopefully inspiring) author, GAS GUY.

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    Another sampling of an appealing Michigan dirt road shooting across rich farmland. Imagine how this road will turn into a green tunnel when that stand of trees are full of dense foliage.

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    Adventure rubber for comparison: Ken's GSA, on the left, is sporting fresh Continental TKC 80 tires. My GSA, on the right, is feeling compromised with the milder (but longer lasting) Continental TKC 70 tires. And Scott's Husqvarna TE 610 has a fresh Motoz Tractionator Adventure on the rear; he is happy with it so far and mentioned that while it is a bit on the hard side, the tread softened up some after breaking in.

    Ken is really liking the TKC 80's (even on road) after removing a set (prematurely) of the Mitas E07's (original version) because he could not stand the noise emitted by the front tire. I told him, "Ken, just replace the front tire with a TKC 80 and finish off the (nearly new) rear EO7, as it is a good tire." Nothing doing, stubborn Kenny replaced them both. At least he gave me the rear tire before shucking the front tire in the garbage. I'll run that rear eventually; will probably mate it with a TKC 80 or a Shinko 804 front.

    The TKC 80 may be the best all-around tire for these GSA's - if only the rear didn't melt so quickly. That is the tire that these bikes originally came equipped with starting in 2002 (first adventure model) with the 1150 GSA. I found an amazing deal a few months ago (on TKC 80's), so Kenny and I both bought a set. Mine will go on next - after I finish off these 70's.

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    One of the many long stretches of dirt road that we traversed through rural Michigan on this day-ride.

    We had a strong wind blowing out of the south all day. It was chilly but refreshing and when we were running at speed across dusty gravel roads, the wind would quickly push the dust plume north of the road while we were traveling in a western direction. This allowed us to run in a tighter formation than would be otherwise possible.

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    A series of rugged roads led us to this seasonal two-track in Hillsdale County. It delivered us to a dead-end and trail-head for the North Country Trail up on some high ground; seems like I'm always coming across that NCT and the blue blaze that signifies it, in my travels. Considering that the NCT is the longest in the National Trails System and stretches 4,600 miles across eight states from North Dakota to Vermont, I suppose that is not so unlikely.

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    We stopped for a break up at the NCT trail-head. It was getting to be that time of day for me. Nature was calling. So, I retrieved my roll of toilet paper and trowel from my pannier and started paralleling the NCT and another railroad grade trail deeper into the woods to find a private spot.

    Are you kidding me? Couldn't believe my eyes when I stumbled upon a commode sitting in the middle of the forest!

    I won't lie, the thought of using it crossed my mind. Then I noticed the burrow holes under it and all of the leaves and debris inside of the box and quickly changed my neurotic mind. Something biting me in the ass replaced my visions of grandeur. Sure would have liked to get a picture of myself sitting on that commode in the middle of the woods with my pants down while nonchalantly reading on my phone. Wouldn't be good having to go to the hospital during the lock-down and explaining my predicament - had (by a long shot) something ornery been living in that box and been opposed to my intrusion.

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    So having to forgo the throne in the woods, I'd go with my old standby and the "Kimchee Squat."

    When I made my way back to the bikes, I held out and offered the paper and trowel to Kenny and emphatically stated, "Go on, get you one in. There's nothing like shitting in the wild." He politely declined.

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    This particular section of road was perfect. Can't say the same for the beginning of it when we first turned onto it a short ways back. Thick, rutted, sugar sand in the approach! As we were reigning in our big GSA's from the abrupt transition - I heard Kenny yell, "Damn, the bike just shot off to the left." But he saved it. Sand will make your bike behave in ways that you never knew possible. We would stop for a break up near that wood line up ahead and to the right; a remote and natural setting.

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    These remote adventure rides lend themselves well to a national lock-down where everything is closed, as you can stop and relieve yourself just about anytime or anywhere.

    The sand was getting thicker again up here, but included a consistent aggregate mix for the remainder of this secondary road. I'm not sure what this mix is called on these rural roads. I come across this mix often in rural Michigan (especially Western Michigan) and in varying states of depth or looseness. It's actually my favorite surface condition when it's just right; in those perfect conditions you can rail triple digits with the bike just subtly shaking it's head and a plush feel under the tires.

    While I don't know the exact consistency or ratio, it reminds me of the 60/40 sand & gravel mix that we used to use (along with cement powder and water) for mixing our own cement when the companies would go on strike in the early 1990's. Insane labor we used to perform.

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    During our break, we moved over to the other side of the road to admire the rock garden wall running the length of the field.

    Scott and I have been working and riding together for almost two-decades; how many people can say that?

    For some reason, Scott is wearing his KLIM snowmobile suit, instead of his two-piece Aerostitch Roadcrafter.

    During our discussion, I'd mentioned an article that I read about the origins of so many of these rock collections, which are often mysterious or even used to construct labor intensive and elaborate walls. A simple explanation: they were cleared from the adjoining fields way back at farmlands inception, and tossed along the perimeter.

    Scott Auer -

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    Ken Koren and I have been working and traveling together for a good 15-years. We've rode together as far as Maine, Key West, and the Northwestern United States. We've circumnavigated the Great Lakes and finished a laundry list of Iron Butt rides ... all in stride. Not to mention countless miles in-between.

    He was supposed to get his wrists cut during Easter - due his nagging carpal tunnel issues, but this coronavirus pandemic has everything that isn't absolutely necessary on hold. So, he will just have to keep shaking his hands out when they go numb and motor on!

    Kenny -

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    Of course, for some reason, they both think I'm crazy .... and are not afraid to express it.

    Here we go; this is where we found that sign - on Bleach Road.

    This was on the corner of Bleach and Addison in Moscow Township. We had just turned off of Addison and were about to head north on this dirt road, which turned out to be rough and rutted. There was a farm on the corner and this short road appeared to go through a large family farm complete with a small cemetery. Perhaps the sign was to protect the farm from liability on the unmaintained road.

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    This is a section of the road that the sign was warning us about; it's definitely a rugged road - considering it's open to the public. I'd imagine that it could be a handful when raining.

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    Perhaps the most appealing random barn setting that I've stumbled upon (in recent memory anyway). This was also located along the rugged Bleach Road. The shape, symmetry, and weathered wood of this barn, against the rural setting, is especially pleasing to my eye; along with the way that the woodline is encroaching - while attempting to reclaim it.

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    Not too far after the barn, also on this "travel at your own risk" road, was this cozy family cemetery on a piece of high ground. These places grab me. Rarely do I pass one (resembling this) without stopping at least momentarily. Anything on a small scale is more appealing to my mind; I find far more meaning in those places; more individuality and character. Many people only associate cemeteries with death - but they also tell a story of life.

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    #10
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  11. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Buzzed my hair off and practiced some yoga on two-wheels this afternoon. Discipline.

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    #11
  12. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    I'm not real big on videos (especially long ones) but since I've had some extra time to play around with my blasted old GoPro (that has been sitting around since 2015) during this quarantine, figured I'd try my hand at posting a few (short) videos occasionally to compliment the stills and narrative. Still pictures are the best to my mind.

    My old GoPro is a Hero 4 Silver. If it ends up sticking, maybe in the future my daughter can trim and edit some more creative flicks if I manage to bring home some favorable footage. Finally subscribing to a SmugMug account is what actually made the short videos start appealing to me, as I uploaded a few clips from my phone. Then a couple of old short videos from the GoPro in 2015. Couldn't figure out how to take a video from SmugMug and get it on ADVRIDER. I know people used to, but perhaps it has changed, or I'm just not computer savvy enough to figure it out. So, it appears YouTube is the standard for accomplishing said feat, so I'll load them via YouTube.

    Anyway, this video is from today. Haven't ridden my trials bike in a few years, so I built an obstacle and repaired the fuel line on the old GAS GAS. It's going to take a little while to get my throttle control back on point. Not having any Turbo Blue and having to run straight pump gas (which I'm not accustomed to) changes the engine characteristics slightly also. Going to have to dial in to the more volatile 94 octane versus the more mellow Turbo Blue 110 and 94 cut. Mixed 80:1 with Klotz. Nothing smells better! And that musical sound of the 321 two-stroke with a heavy flywheel.

    Actually, I just realized this particular video was from my phone. Was testing the phone and the GoPro. The others will be from the GoPro. Don't know why, but this video was crystal clear on my phone. But after sending it to YouTube, it seems degraded.

    Doing my best on the quality (resolution) of video. There will be a learning curve.


    #12
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  13. drbuzzard

    drbuzzard Long timer Supporter

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    nice clip cuz, I've been thinking about getting a go-pro also, mainly because some people on FB want to se a vid taken on the road. I spent about an hour on the GSA standing and turning
    #13
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  14. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    That's good, got to keep moving forward. It looks like the GoPro's have come down in price. Saw a brand new GoPro 8 bundle advertised the other day, and it seemed much cheaper than back when I bought this 4 Silver.
    #14
  15. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Here is a hilarious example of my early struggles with this video business: Wanting to do a ride around the neighborhood in order to verify the aim of the camera after mounting it on my helmet, and adjust as necessary, I hit the record button on departure. Somehow, I must have inadvertently hit another (wrong) button, because upon my arrival back to the garage, my video was only 7-seconds long. Incredibly, the whole ride was reconstructed within that 7-seconds, but I swear I wasn't riding that fast. I've somehow, since, resolved the issue on the setting, but I'm not sure what I'd originally done in order to capture that super compressed version. Don't want too either. Don't like it.

    #15
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  16. drbuzzard

    drbuzzard Long timer Supporter

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    I've ridden with you a few times, seven seconds to go around the hood sounds about right :)
    #16
  17. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    You a funny man, Dr. Buzzard.
    #17
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  18. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Crossing the state line really can be dangerous during these chaotic times!

    Scott and Ken rode down to Championship Powersports in Wauseon, Ohio last week.

    Ken sat on the KTM 690 Enduro and said, "This feels pretty good."

    Then he sat on a Husqvarna 701 Enduro and said, "This definitely feels better."

    He then made the mistake of sitting on the KTM 790 Adventure R and while smiling exclaimed, "Now this feels just right!"

    I've a feeling we will have a new and exciting bike to cover in some future reports. This picture mysteriously arrived via text.

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    #18
  19. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Dirt, Gravel, and Headstones - (27 April 2020)

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    Was out for another mixed surface ride. Always searching out gravel and dirt, of course. While the local flora is just beginning to bud and blossom, the woods are still thin and transparent, allowing my eyes to penetrate deeper within.

    As I was rounding this sweeping corner on Loveland Road, something odd caught my attention about 20-feet inside the woodline. Being the consummate explorer, I had to wheel around, park the bike on the shoulder, and go investigate.

    Lo and behold, my eyes hadn't failed me. There were a couple of ancient limestone grave markers. Battered, broken, and weathered to the point of any inscriptions being almost indiscernible. Some of the wire fence that had surrounded the tiny cemetery was still intact.

    Over the years, I've probably blasted by this abandoned and neglected cemetery dozens of times and never knew it was there, nestled in the woods within the Waterloo Recreation Area of Washtenaw County.

    After returning home, that old cemetery kept popping back into my mind. I've never stumbled upon such a find. So, I started searching for some information, figuring it was a long-shot. But sure enough, with our immense and far-reaching world wide web, a few matches surfaced; this helped me piece together the puzzle and verified a few of the headstone pieces in which partial inscriptions remained.

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    Later, I'd learn that this abandoned cemetery contains nine graves from three families: Glover; Hatt; and Smith.

    For some reason, reference is also made to the surnames of Richards and Harvey, but those name are not listed on any of the grave records that I can find. Perhaps they were the maiden names of some of the women.


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    The broken stone of William Glover (above).

    He died on 9 October 1855 at the age of 66. That would put his birth date at 1789!

    William was born on the year that our first president, George Washington, would take office.

    The Sauk Tribe of Native Americans were the first known inhabitants of this area known as Waterloo Recreation Area. But the first settler arrived in 1834. So, that would definitely confirm those buried in this old cemetery as early pioneers of the area.

    There are three more Glovers buried here:

    Delpha: who was the wife of William. She died on 23 June 1860 or 1866 at 68-years-old.

    Marthy: who was the daughter of William R. & M.A. and she died on 24 September 1854 at the age of 1.5-years-old.

    Delia Ann: who was the wife of William R. and she died on 2 February 1847 at 21-years-old and 4-months.

    Perhaps William R. was the son of William & Delpha Glover.


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    Grave and headstone of Polly Hatt (above).

    The headstone has separated from it's base, toppled over, and is now embedded in the earth.

    Polly died on 18 December 1904 at 92-years-old and 5-months.

    She was the wife of James Hatt.

    James Hatt is also buried here, although I can't identify his gravesite, as they are all so weathered and broken. Most likely, it's the similar stone right next to Polly's.

    James died on 17 December 1879 at 69-years-old and 6-months.

    Eli O. Hatt is also buried here and he died on 5 March 1864 at 47-years-old.

    I'd figured Eli was the brother of James. Sure enough, I managed to verify that, as James was one of ten siblings.

    Having spent countless hours researching all the lines of my own ancestry, I've become very efficient at tracing down lineage from old archived census reports and various records. It absolutely fascinates me .... the information that is available.

    All of these people originally came from New York.

    Polly's maiden name was Palen. She had seven brothers and sisters. Polly and James had a whopping fourteen children!

    One of the observations that has become crystal-clear (over-the-years) while researching ancestry is the overwhelming difference in how many children that families had years ago versus now. White people, especially, quit having kids. We can't complain about immigration or the decline of our race if we don't even reproduce enough to sustain our numbers .... let alone growth. One of my grandfathers was the last of his line (no sons). I'm the last of my line (no sons). And on and on.

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    In addition to the Glover and Hatt families, there are also two Smiths listed:

    Elizabeth Smith: who died 25 February 1848 at 22-years-old and 10-months.

    James Smith: who died 16 May 1850 at the age of 21-years-old and 2-months; believe it or not, I even found the old record of his death in a ledger; a photograph of the actual ledger in cursive writing. It was hard to make out the writing, but the cause looked to be inflammation.

    The remainder of the graves (other than William Glover and Polly Hatt) are not readable or identifiable (although I would assume that the standing stone next to Polly's broken stone is her husband James), so I'm not sure which ones belong to the young Smith family.

    I'd also read in a document outlining the history and key points of this area, that four original trees remained within this cemetery. Will have to look for those next time I pass through.

    With my work being done for the day, I spread my jacket out on a pile of leaves; the remains from last fall. It was time to kick back for a spell and enjoy the natural world, before picking my way back to the city. Eventually I'm going to have to return to my real job and resume the shop life.


    The ancient calls - from sandhill cranes - echoing across the water filled my soul with wonder.

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    #19
  20. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    SPLASH! - The GoPro is good for something. Like freezing this exciting moment, while traversing a water-crossing along the Trans-Ohio Trail.

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    #20