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:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Chelsea, Michigan - (27 April 2020)

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    Instead of becoming complacent (on the Waterloo gravel road ride) and heading home on my typical well-known routes, I'd decided to take off down another enticing gravel road that had caught my eye many times in the past.

    After a period of connecting up some new roads with a few distantly familiar ones, I was rewarded by being delivered into Chelsea from a new direction that placed me in a perfect position for a history lesson.

    The GSA and I came to a halt right next to the Chelsea Train Depot, along with a few other interesting points-of-interest all crammed into this same location:

    The land where Chelsea is located was settled by the Congdon brothers in the 1830's.

    They offered the Michigan Central Railroad a free site to build a station in 1848. The first and succeeding structures were freight stations.

    By 1850, eggs, wool, grain, apples, stock, and meat were being shipped.

    Michigan Central established Chelsea as a passenger service point in 1880. The depot was built with two waiting rooms - the east for women and children, the west for men.

    Chelsea was chosen by the Michigan Central Railroad, in 1880, for an experiment in upgrading the appearance of rural stations.

    The architects were commissioned from Detroit and their design was Victorian (one of my favorites) characterized by numerous gables and gingerbread embellishments.

    In 1975 the company was taken over by Amtrak.

    Amtrak discontinued service to Chelsea in 1981 and closed the station. The Amtrak still barrels through here as there is a sign warning that it passes at 80 MPH.

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    Almost directly across the tracks from the depot is a magnificent example of captivating architecture; it's called Flemish Renaissance Revival and is inspired from places in Northern Europe such as Belgium. This is probably my favorite style.

    The Welfare Building was constructed as a recreation facility for the workers of the Glazier Stove Company. It was full of amenities such as a swimming pool, billiard hall, basketball court, theater, and a reading room. An impressive list for even today I would think, but especially in 1906.

    Frank Glazier was a Chelsea native and also the Michigan State Treasurer from 1904 to 1908. He founded the stove company in 1891. Glazier Stove works shipped the "Brightest and Best" oil stoves all over the United States and South America.

    Because Chelsea was a predominantly rural community and lacked skilled labor, the majority of the company's workers commuted weekly by a special train from Detroit.

    Glazier declared bankruptcy in 1907.

    Lewis Spring & Axle Company bought the building; they manufactured the short-lived Hollier Eight automobile.

    Since 1960 the building has housed the Chelsea Standard. I would assume that is a local newspaper.

    That striking clock-tower is part of a separate building called the Chelsea Clock Tower building. That Clock Tower used to house a 30,000 gallon wooden water tank that supplied water to fire sprinklers throughout the 18-building industrial complex.

    This building also has a unique cluster of octagonal chimneys.

    This is a work of art!

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    These tracks also pass through the Jiffy Mix Company. This was the original Chelsea Milling Company that was established in 1901, as a traditional flour mill. Then they expanded into the retail prepared baking mix market in 1930.

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    #21
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  2. Samspade

    Samspade Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    149
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    My wife and I had lunch in Chelsea on our Michigan/Wisconsin Great Lakes ride last summer. Nice small town with a lot of interesting architecture.
    #22
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  3. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    I remember reading about that in your interesting ride report featuring the Harley Davidson Electra-Glide; H.D. touring bike tours always appeal to me. Where are you guys at in Tennessee? My uncle has a place in Tazewell (or New Tazewell) right on Norris Lake; well, above Norris Lake, as he sits on high ground. He took me out into the Norris Lake reservoir once years ago on his pontoon boat. Norris Lake is actually the Clinch River that was created by using a dam. I was amazed at all of the house boats situated along the waterway. Every conceivable style and color; it was bizarre, like a water world. Been a while since I've been down there, it's down a series of small (basically one-lane) roads in the middle-of-nowhere. Used to ride to Tennessee all the time, but in recent years I've been frequenting Virginia and North Carolina more often, when heading south. With so much going on these days, I'm probably going to be digging deeper into the intricacies of Michigan and Ohio for a while.

    #23
  4. Samspade

    Samspade Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Oddometer:
    149
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Thanks for remembering the ride report. We're in the Chattanooga area. Norris Lake is a unique place as the boat houses there have been outlawed and removed from all the other reservoirs in this area. I understand the reasoning but I liked seeing the houses in the marinas around here when we were boating. A lot of people lived on them full time and it made the marinas like going to a neighborhood.
    #24
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  5. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Shoei Neotec 2 -

    After a very long run, I've finally retired the road weary Shoei Qwest in favor of my first modular helmet - the Neotec Two.

    I'm digging the quickly deployable sun-shield. While I will still occasionally wear sunglasses, it's nice to not have to and not worry about getting caught in those sun-blinding transitional moments.

    Since the whole front of the modular helmet flips up and out of the way, I'm finding that I don't feel the urge to remove my helmet as often during brief stops.

    Comes in really handy for eating and drinking.

    I've never had a white helmet before. The combination of Scott's white Multitec visually growing on me over the years, acknowledging the conspicuity benefits, and plain old wanting something different - had me springing for a white lid. Oh, and it may be a few degrees cooler too; with the recent run of increasingly hot summers, the white should prove to be more comfortable.

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    #25
  6. luftkoph

    luftkoph Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    920
    Location:
    U.P. mich
    I’ve been wearing a modular for about ten years now,I have an HJC head apparently,so that’s what I use,they sure can be handy.
    #26
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  7. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Been out exploring the Huron National Forest the last couple of days with Turbo Jim. Turbo Jim put a Shinko 705 front tire on his little adventure bike (NT700V) in search of some extra traction. What could go wrong?

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    #27
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  8. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Found a woodline and some shade just up the trail from here. It's 80° and humid. Sipping some black cold-brew. The wind is rustling the tree-tops overhead and the song-birds are performing a symphony.

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    #28
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  9. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    I'm back home from this last Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan ride (primarily focusing on Huron National Forest). Between this ride, a prior ride to this area on the ST, and a Trans-Ohio Trail (TOT) excursion, I've a huge pile of pictures to post-up and am way behind again ... as usual. I'm trying to get everything sorted with pertinent information and locations attached to each picture before I start sharing them. At some point you have to draw the line and say "good enough" and just move on. Time ... time ... time. I'm also trying to keep things sequential this year as far as the date of the ride. In the past, when I got behind, I'd start skipping around, back and forth, and sometimes wouldn't finish a sequence of pictures or the coinciding report ... being overwhelmed. A couple of helpful improvements that I've made this year have been: keeping my pictures sorted in a SmugMug account and remembering to keep my location turned on in the camera settings.

    - A big bike + half worn out TKC 70's + Michigan sand - don't play so well together. But we make do where we have to.

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    #29
  10. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Huron National Forest - (1 May 2020)

    May would prove to be a fine month for exploration; this would be the start of the first of three multiple-day rides in May. All three would be focusing on remote locations and as much social distancing as possible. While I attempt to be no more cavalier than necessary - I'm not going to stop living either.

    Since Turbo Jim has been spending much of his road-time based out of his sisters recently acquired cabin just north of Hubbard Lake, he invited me to make a run up there with him. Jim and I connect on many levels and have ridden together quite a bit in the past. Plus, I've been wanting to slow down and explore more of the details of many areas within Michigan and Ohio for some time now ... Huron National Forest being one of the main ones. Jim's offer and the reality of our current restrictions made for a persuasive argument.

    - On this ride, I'd be wielding the mighty ST1300, and Jim his mini-ST, the NT700V.

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    When I informed Jim that it was coffee time, he led me down a remote road leading to this gorgeous lake within the boundaries of Huron National Forest.

    Sprinkler Lake is special in regard to the Common Loon, as it's one of the few lakes in Michigan that they are known to nest. Loons are a threatened species with fewer than 300 nesting pairs within the state. Loons usually raise only one chick per year and any disturbance can cause these birds to desert their nest which would result in a loss of young.

    We pulled into a little gravel parking area (more of an extended shoulder) with a trail leading down to the water. As soon as we dismounted I fired up the Jetboil to cook up my coffee fix while popping a couple of aspirin to tame the pressure in my head. Then down to the shore to use nature's facilities. It was still early in the year and while the local flora was starting to come alive, it wasn't yet at full spectrum or vibrancy.

    It was my lucky day. As I gazed out across the lake, there was a loon off in the distance splashing around. There were also heavy signs of beaver activity along the shore where I hiked; downed tree after downed tree with the tell-tale hourglass shape where the beaver persistently gnawed through with his teeth in order to fell the tree. Now that I had myself back in order, we made our way up to the cabin to plan our next day of exploration.

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    #30
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  11. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Abandoned House - (2 May 2020)

    The two-story gable end, still towering behind a stand of scraggly trees, pulled me in to investigate. It was an imposing scene, amplified by the gloomy skies and falling rain. There was a small crumbling building and a few fruit trees out back. This shell-of-a-house sat isolated and surrounded by fields. There was a simple grassy lane leading to and from the road.

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    #31
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  12. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Au Sable Dunes - (2 May 2020)

    Perched on a sand dune 120-feet above the Au Sable River, my gaze reaches far beyond and into the Jackpines Delta!

    The scene is much drabber than it would be typically, due to the rainy morning we had experienced. Shortly after this picture was taken, the sky cleared and the sun came out. This location is reached after a short hike from the Lumberman's Monument, which is on River Road and within the Huron National Forest.

    I'd be submerged in a glacial lake if it were 15,000 years earlier. The glacial lake receded, the remaining river cut through the soft banks of the exposed delta, then the wind would sweep the soil from the unstable river banks and deposit it higher up - creating "perched" dunes. The shape tells us that the winds came out of the west/northwest. These dunes are somewhat unusual because they are on the interior of the state - versus the coast - such as the perched dunes of Lake Michigan.

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    #32
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  13. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    Shop-Time with the GSA: (29 May 2020)

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    Good news! Received a call Tuesday from my boss - with a return-to-work order. I go back to the shop June 1st. The 19th of March was the last day that I worked before this Corona Virus debacle. Ten-weeks off of work! We (hourly mechanics) were on pace to have a record-breaking year, but now with our missed time, overtime gone, and profit-sharing gone, we will probably have our worst year in a decade. Just when things were starting to roll. Oh well … it’s only money. Hopefully we can just keep our operation alive and I can keep reporting to work there for another 15-years. Many poor souls lost their job or business. I'm still grateful.

    Shop conditions will be less comfortable now though. Just in time for the heat of summer, we have to wear masks, glasses with side-shields, gloves, and can not have any fans blowing in the shop. All I can do is embrace it; look at it as character-building and hope that someday we can return-to-normal. On another positive note, I’ve still got all of my vacation time, and will enjoy bugging out on some adventures from the ridiculousness of our new way of life. Getting back into shop-mode, I put on my work shirt and went out to the garage to do some wrenching on the GSA. Have to keep the GSA ready for some future adventures.

    Adventurous Tires: (Rear)

    A picture (below) for comparison and reference:

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    The Continental TKC70 is used; it has 5,707 miles on it and still has 6/32nd's of tread depth remaining.

    In my opinion the TKC70 (rear) tire is a very good all-around tire with a street bias (70/30).

    The flagship of the original adventure tires is in the middle: the Continental TKC80 (new). I've yet to run a set of these on a big GSA, but loved them on a KLR that I rode years ago. These used to come stock on the GSA's in their early years. Their downfall is that they don't last too long and are expensive. I have a set on the shelf that will be tested in the future; found a deal for half price so I had to snatch them up.

    On the right is the Mitas E07. This tire is slightly used (almost new) and given to me by Kenny, who removed them in favor of a set of TKC80's. I removed the TKC70 and installed this Mitas E07 today as I need more aggressive tires. This tire currently has 12/32nd's tread depth remaining.

    This is a popular tire and I have high hopes for it, although I would never run the matching front E07; the front tire is loud and not aggressive enough in my opinion.

    Also, this is the original version of the E07. Some time after it's inception, they discontinued it and released an E07+ which ended up returning less mileage. People weren't happy since the original tire was known to regularly return 10,000 miles. So, the company has now brought back the original version as well as the + version.

    Brett Tkacs, who's opinion I mostly agree with on matters of adventure motorcycling, says these tires (original Mitas E07) are the best 50/50 adventure tires he has ever tested. All things considered. I'm sure the longevity helps win that title. We will see.

    Every time I work on the GSA, I'm reminded of how pleasurable the experience is, especially removing the wheel assemblies and changing tires. It literally takes about 5-minutes and both front and rear wheel is removed. And no inner-tubes to deal with. And the tires dismount and mount so smoothly on the GSA.

    Kenny and I have a quality (professional) soap that we use for tire changes along with his machine. But this time we tried using (Scott recommended) Armor-All as a lubricant. It worked like a charm and is not as messy as the soap.

    Adventurous Tires: (Front)

    A picture (below) for comparison and reference:

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    The TKC70 is on the left; it has 5,707-miles on it and is down to 2-3/32nd's tread depth and is also cupped very badly. I like the rear TKC70 but would not run this front tire again. I've removed it in place of the Shinko 804 on the far right.

    For comparison, the flagship TKC80 in the middle. A set of TKC80's will be tested in the future.

    For the money, perhaps my favorites are the Shinko 804 and 805. The 804 front shown here went on my bike today; it will compliment the Mitas E07 on the rear. The as new tread depth on the 804 is 10/32nd's. For comparison: The TKC80 new tread depth sits at 11/32nd's.

    The last Shinko 804 front tire that I ran was pulled at 5,000-miles and it still had 8/32nd's left and was not cupping; but the edges of the knobs were rounded, so lot's of traction was lost. Great tire in my opinion.

    I've purchased a Tread Doctor knobbie knife since then, so perhaps the next time around I could clean up those worn edges and restore some of the sharpness. The knife also came with the Sniper Kit for grooving; the next time I run a Shinko 805 rear, I will use this feature to extend some of the shallower existing grooves to full depth in order to increase performance and maybe extend the life as well.

    - Shinko 804 installed on the imposing GSA:

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    Pannier Rack Toolbox:

    The installed 2 Wheels Welding toolbox, custom built by a man in South Carolina.

    Mounted on a flat plate of aluminum for extra strength; this will fill the open pannier loop and provide support for the times when my soft panniers are installed.

    The quality, ease of transaction, and price - are all unrivaled from the alternatives that I've observed on the market.

    The reasons for this addition are threefold: storage and consolidation of tools; redistribute that weight inward (towards the center) of bike; and to create support for those times that I decide to leave the hard panniers at home and run the soft bags (so they don't push or bulge through the hoops).

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    Exhaust-Side Shield and Soft Bag Support:

    With the toolbox installed on the right-side, it was time to move over to the left-side and create an exhaust heat shield and support for those times when switching over to soft panniers.

    I simply bent and formed a couple pieces of 1/8" aluminum bar stock, which I bolted with small #8 stainless fasteners to holes that I drilled in the flats on the pannier hoops. Then I cut a piece of ultra-thin 1/32" flat aluminum plate to overlay the vertical supports; this plate was sandwiched and fastened with the same hardware. Cheap, simple, and light. Then I covered the scratched up aluminum with some traveler art!

    This set-up brings much versatility. None of this interferes with the factory hard panniers; they still slip right on and lock down. And my Wolfman Expedition Dry soft bags are a "throw over" style, meaning that the weight of the bags and contents are supported by straps that connect side-to-side by routing over the tail-section of the bike. This being the case, the bags only need to be secured to the side-racks in order to mitigate movement. That eliminates the need for any cumbersome (and heavy) or time-consuming bag specific mounting hardware like so many of the high-dollar (and impressive - to be fair) systems utilize.

    So, I can quickly secure my bags to the racks with the included straps or even just zip-tie them if I want. Plus my Expedition Dry bags stay in closer to the bike and sit a little lower than many bags. They are rated at 19-liters, but I'd say they are closer to 25 if stuffed.

    One of the disadvantages of hard panniers isn't just the weight, but the fact that the weight is further out, away from the center line of the machine. The further out that any weight hangs, the more negative an effect it has when the terrain becomes challenging.

    But I love my hard panniers for the convenience and packing ability and how easy it is to pick up the bike when it gets dropped. It's like cheating.

    The reality of the pro's and con's of both systems is what prompted me to work on refining the interchangeability of both systems. I like options.


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    #33
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  14. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,162
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Nice practical mods. Should be an improvement worth the effort.
    #34
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