GAS GUY 2020 - (One Year at a Time)

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

  1. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    It is always a good day when I see a Gas Guy post. It is always jam packed with carefully selected pictures and well crafted words.
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  2. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Oh; we appreciate the pics and content Jeff. Don't matter how up to date the report is. Just keep on keepin' on. Look forward to any and all updates.....Dave
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  3. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Your posts and pics are always worth the wait!
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  4. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Harmony of Colors - (Part Four) October of 2020

    A Cathedral of Pines
    Nothing quite like riding through a cathedral of pines - as they stand sentinel over the land. The blanket of soft pine needles gives the illusion of the trail disappearing into the forest floor.

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    This is STILL that same Manistee National Forest Road 8040! The terrain continuously shifts shape. So engaging.

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    After exploring more forest roads near Nordhouse Dunes, I'd take my lunch once again at the Marathon (US-31 & W. Forest Trail Road). Who'd-a-thunk, the best sub I'd ever had ... came from a gas station up in Michigan. Even shredded pickles; never heard of such a thing. They have the perfect sub bun as well. One of the ladies running the place explained to me how they tirelessly searched for the perfect bread that crisps up nicely.

    Udell Firetower - (Manistee National Forest)
    Started working my way east via sandy dirt and gravel roads, many of which were snowmobile trails in the winter. On the map, there was a pronounced high spot that looked interesting so I worked my way over there. The roads became exceptionally rough, rutted, and sometimes sandy. Then to my surprise a large 100’ tall skeletal tower came into sight.

    This oddity, or curiosity, situated in the Udell Hills, is about 15-miles due east of Manistee and just south of M-55.

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    Due to previous land utilization, fire was a constant threat and a fire control plan was created and implemented in 1936. As part of that plan the 100-foot tall Udell tower was built. This and three additional towers were built with a range of 8-mile radii coverage. There was also a series of secondary towers with a 6-mile radii coverage.

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    Because of it’s access to both the Manistee and Little Manistee Rivers - Manistee was an important logging center in Michigan. Those rivers were the main transportation routes for delivering the timber to sawmills in Manistee.

    In the 1870’s with the introduction of the Shay locomotive and railroad logging, logging operations began to clear-cut the forests in areas far removed from these waterways. This practice caused vast areas of the landscape to be denuded of trees, which resulted in heavy quantities of leftover woody debris and slash. This woody debris and slash soon became a constant fire threat.

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    The Udell Lookout Tower remained in service through the mid 1960’s. Aerial observation flights became the main method of fire detection by the Forest Service in Michigan.

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    The Udell Tower is listed on both the National Historic Lookout Register (1990) and the National Register of Historic Places (1996); and is the last standing, intact fire tower of it’s kind remaining within lower Michigan.

    Then I took off east towards Bob's place (in Lake City) on M-55. Figured I'd crash there for a day or two while exploring.

    Pine River Corridor

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    Stopped at a roadside park on the Pine River for my afternoon coffee break. Turned on OsmAnd+ and looked at my cache of adventure tracks that are stored there. It just so happens that an interesting route runs right along the Pine River via forest roads before looping back up to M-55. Perfect!

    Low Bridge Road crossing the Pine River as viewed from a forest road - high up on a bluff - that parallels the river.

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    Rough, sandy trails (forest roads) hugging the north (high) side of the Pine River.

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    Heading away from the Pine River Corridor and back to M-55. Here I'm just south of M-55 and just west of M-37. After hitting pavement on M-55, I'd hightail it through Cadillac and up to Bob's place in Lake City.

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    Had dinner at Marty's Restaurant, with Bob, in Lake City - before grabbing a Bell's Two-Hearted Ale and a Kit Kat from the store across the street. Then a good nights sleep in a proper bed after an action-packed day. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

  5. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Harmony of Colors - (Part Five) October of 2020

    Negotiated my way up through Kalkaska, Mancelona, Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Harbor Springs before hooking up with M-119.

    A massive bald eagle was coasting directly above me as I was traveling on M-66 between Lake City and Kalkaska. There was a lot of color through there. The day was turning out to be partly cloudy, so the sun would intermittently pop out and light up sections of the forest.

    Charlevoix was a madhouse ... as usual. Plus I got caught at the small drawbridge as a boat came through the harbor.

    Lake Michigan Shores Roadside Park

    Between Charlevoix and Petoskey, a familiar, but long forgotten, roadside park presented itself, so I briefly stopped in to marvel at the rough water and radical cloud formations as the strong winds were blowing across the lake from the west.

    This special place is about 4-miles northeast of Charlevoix along US-31. This park is between Big Rock Point and the Little Traverse Bay.

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    Big Rock Point was named after a large boulder that the Native Americans used as a landmark.

    Mid-nineteenth century, or earlier, Odawa (Ottawa) Indians used Big Rock as a gathering place every spring.

    The Odawa summered at the area between Harbor Springs and Cross Village, but dispersed into smaller groups and traveled in the winter.

    In the spring they would return to Big Rock with their canoes loaded with sugar, furs, deer skins, prepared venison, bear’s oil, and bear meat prepared in oil, deer tallow, and sometimes a lot of honey.

    From Big Rock, they would return to their summer area by crossing the bay in birch bark canoes.

    In 1999, elders and youth from the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians recreated the crossing.

    Probably a decade ago (around 2010 or 2011) we'd stopped in here with my girls (when they were little) while on a camping trip. The water level was much lower then, and there was a peninsula jutting out where those trees are sticking up out of the water. It specifically sticks in my mind because the girls walked out there exploring and throwing stones.

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    The Spectators

    Near Harbor Springs, at the southern terminus of M-119, there was a scenic pull-off. The trees blocked most of the view across Little Traverse Bay. There was a group of young (eastern) Indians (two of which were stunners!) shooting pictures near an old VW hippie bus.

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    The Spectacle

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    Passing Through Harbor Springs

    When you reach that church with the pointy steeple up ahead, you turn right, then left and continue to follow M-119 as the road climbs and runs along the edge of a bluff overlooking the Little Traverse Bay.

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    Looking Back

    The church steeple of Harbor Springs can be seen jutting up above the fall foliage from this high point along M-119.

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    Five Mile Creek Schoolhouse

    This small iconic building operated as a one-room school from 1915 to 1952 - near Harbor Springs.

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    The Tunnel of Trees

    A Lake Michigan vista presented itself along this grassy shoulder on a bluff along M-119. In between Harbor Springs and Cross Village.

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  6. luftkoph

    luftkoph Long timer Super Supporter

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    I don’t know how you all rasal them big heavy bikes in the sand, the old klr whips my ass in it sometimes
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  7. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    If memory serves me ... my KLR's weren't much better.

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  8. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Harmony of Colors - (Part Six) October of 2020

    M-119 ("The Tunnel of Trees")
    One of the few grassy shoulders situated along a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. This road runs for 27-miles in Emmet County between Harbor Springs and Cross Village.

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    The colors (along this epic road) were lackluster on this visit. But the vistas over Lake Michigan, to your immediate left (while traveling north), are sensational.

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    A dirt seasonal road caught my eye, so I bailed to explore it. While it became a dead-end eventually, causing me to backtrack, it was well worth the detour, with a slight, sandy hill climb through pristine forest.

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    No lunch! The Leg's Inn was overrun with tourists. They were lined out the door! The Old World Cafe across the street was exceptionally busy as well. The leaf-peepers were out in force. I just kept rolling.

    FLASHBACK: The Leg's Inn is a special kind of place, and since I didn't stop and photograph it on this outing, I'll share some pictures from a previous visit which allowed me to dine on some stellar polish food out back in the garden overlooking Lake Michigan.

    That ride took place about a decade ago and was taken on my 2007 GSA.

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    Back to the current report.

    Arbutus Road - (Emmet County)
    I'd bail off the paved M-119 just north of Cross Village and start riding the Indian Gardens OHV - ORV - ATV Route in Emmet County, Michigan. Time to get dirty ... or sandy, rather. Into the colorful forest we go.

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    The end of Arbutus Road - at the T-junction with Abram Road. Some nice red to orange to yellow fades through here.

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    Just south of Melody Lane
    This was a rough and challenging section of trail (without a name on the map) between Teal Road and North Larks Lake Road. Just down, around a bend and up a bit, is where I turned around due to an uphill, rutted, extremely soft, sandy section that I didn't feel like attempting since the bike was currently configured with hard panniers and street tire pressures. Plus the fact that I was riding solo meant that it would probably be an exhausting ordeal to extricate the bike should it become mired or capsized on the hill - or worse yet, in a rut on the hill.

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    The beginning of Palmer Road
    This ideal hard-packed gravel two-track quickly turned into a sandy, gradually uphill, traction-robbing struggle.

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    This two-track started off perfect, and quickly turned into soft sand; the kind that shifts drastically under your tires; and the road was heading up a slight incline which made finding traction an even greater chore. Didn't take long. Rider down.

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    Lunch Break on Palmer Road
    Deeper into Palmer Road, after struggling up the sandy incline, these two golden maples made themselves available for a field expedient lunch break. A can of cold Chunky soup would have to do after a failed plan to eat back in Cross Village. Leg's Inn was overrun with leaf peepers.

    Not a fan of hot chunky soup, let alone cold. But by this time I was so hungry that I snatched a beat-up can from the pannier and scarfed it down cold, right out of the can. The vittles were subpar, but my environment was magical. I was situated between two large maple trees - all glowing in gold. All I'd eaten all day was a few handfuls of cashews and turkey jerky, so I needed some nourishment; especially after doing battle with the sand.

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    Shortly after my lunch, if you want to call it that, I was rewarded with another sandy section of trail. And I'm still traversing the Indian Gardens ATV Route of Emmet County, Michigan; I'd never heard of it before and just came across it by happenstance when I bailed from the pavement back near Cross Village.

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    Forest Solitude
    Just man ... machine ... and nature.

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    The Road With No Name
    During another stint of arbitrarily choosing roads, I looked to my right and another challenging seasonal cross-road beckoned for my attention. It was steep and uniquely configured; not typical at all. My eye is always scanning for aberrational trails and roads; any departure from the normal is extra appealing; new experiences are the life-blood of adventure. It dove down and leveled for just a few feet before shooting right back up another steep hill on the far side.

    This challenging trail takes off to the north (from Serva Road) and hooks into Welsheimer Road to the west. This trail runs a short distance. It terminates at Serva Road to the south (which is where the pictures were taken). South Lark's Lake Road is just to the east. After checking many map sources, I've concluded that this trail simply has no name.

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    Down ... then, right back up!
    This was a challenging piece of trail. For the most part, it was solid dirt with some exposed rocks, leaves and slight grooves from tires and water erosion, but towards the bottom of each slope ... it turned to sand. Then, in the dip at the very bottom, it became a dark, moist, churned-up, loamy soil. All of this did it's damndest to ensure that you couldn't maintain momentum and simultaneously upset your trajectory before having to climb the opposite side. I rode it down and up to the other side; it was hairy but I made it. Then I turned around and rode it back to my starting point near Serva Road, because that is the direction I was going to resume heading; I only wanted to play (or train) with this unique situation. On the way back up the other side, my back tire broke loose and then regained traction, started hopping a bit, and set the back-end of the bike thrashing from side-to-side as I stayed on the pegs (and the gas) while the paralever suspension managed to stay composed enough for us to claw our way up to the top.

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    Round Lake of Emmet County
    Just east of Petoskey. It was necessary to distinguish this lake as "of Emmet County" because there are another 50 or so "Round Lakes" scattered about the state of Michigan.

    Trying to bypass Petoskey and the traffic jam of leaf-peepers had me skirting around and searching out the few roads that could lead me away from the congestion while working my way back south. This brought me to a small inland lake called "Round Lake" which is home to a nesting pair of Common Loons (which are becoming rare); they've taken up residency in a marshy cove on the far side of the lake. It's also home to the Hiawatha Pageant.

    Hiawatha Pageant

    The pageant that began here in 1905 was based on an Anishnaabek story, though Hiawatha is an Iroquois name.

    It brought a grandstand, a hotel, an Indian-themed workshop and tea room, and the name Wa-ya-ga-mug to Round Lake.

    Water separated the audience from the stage; the backdrop was the woods, with tepees more appropriate to the American West than the Great Lakes.

    At evening pageants, "all the lovely colors from the bonfires, stage settings and costumes were reflected in the water."

    The play ended with Hiawatha standing in a canoe drifting across the water to the words:

    Thus departed Hiawatha,
    Hiawatha the Beloved.
    In the glory of the sunset,
    In the purple mists of the evening.
    To the regions of the home-wind,
    Of the Northwest Wind, Keewaydin,
    ... To the land of the Hereafter.


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  9. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Harmony of Colors - (Part Seven) October of 2020

    The Epic Shot of the Ride
    Taken near the town of Epsilon (8-miles east of Petoskey) on Roy Road while looking south. Only fate and the touristy traffic congestion in Petoskey, that I was doing everything in my power to circumvent, had routed me to this spot; it was pure happenstance.

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    After snapping off a series of photographs, I rode south on Roy Road. Not more than a mile down the road - it abruptly ended at a dirt turn-around; but a narrow, remote, sandy, seasonal road continued straight ahead through the forest. It was past coffee time so I plowed into the sandy trail far enough to find complete isolation before shutting down the boxer engine. It was getting deep into this short October day, so in lieu of digging out my coffee kit, I'd instead fish out a couple cans of Double Shot Espresso from the cavernous aluminum top-loading panniers; they were so tasty that I couldn't help myself from chugging them in a few gulps each. Now for the ride back down past the 45th parallel to Lake City and Bob's little sanctuary on Missaukee Lake.

  10. Buckeye Rich

    Buckeye Rich Been here awhile

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    Very nice!!!

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  11. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    Love the Pic of Legs Inn ~! Been there, drank beer on that lawn marveling at the epic lake view. My bro sent me pics last fall from the tahquamenon river valley,,, quite the year for colors!
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  12. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    That last colors pic is definitely "the money" shot Jeff..Beautiful.
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  13. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Harmony of Colors - (Part Eight) October of 2020

    There was a lot of deep color throughout the lush forest, farmland, and vineyards in this area just east of Petoskey.

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    Jordan River Valley
    At this point, with dusk approaching, I was just cruising south on US-131 while heading back to Bob's for supper. It was a fantastic day of riding within a diverse assortment of terrain and I felt confident that I'd captured some kick-ass pictures. Plus that epic shot. I was content and satisfied to grab dinner, a buzz, and bed. But then up ahead was a sign pointing down a small, gravel road with the words, "Dead Man's Hill." Now what in the hell was a tired, content explorer to do? You know I couldn't pass up that mysterious bonus location - without running it down and having a look-see. There was still a modicum of daylight remaining.

    So, from US-131, Dead Man's Hill Road was followed west for a few miles before reaching the parking lot to Dead Man's Hill Scenic Overlook. It's only a short hike to the vantage point overlooking the colorful valley within Mackinac State Forest.

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    The period of early logging in the hills of the Jordan River Valley was marred by several fatal accidents. The last known and best recalled tragedy took the life of the 21-year-old Stanley (Big Sam) Graczyk, a fun loving lumberjack, soon to be married. He became legend on May 20, 1910 when he was killed while driving a team and big wheels loaded with logs down a steep slope near here. Anthony (Tony) Wojciechowski who was with Big Sam when he died is responsible for the accurate recounting of this legend. This high point, with its commanding view of the valley, has ever since been known as "Dead Man's Hill."

    Looking at a detailed map, there appears to be many adventurous-looking roads in that river valley of Mackinac State Forest beckoning my return.

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    While passing through Kalkaska that morning on the way north I'd spotted this old hotel and made a mental note to stop and photograph it next time through. The old western or frontier town facade of the building demanded my attention.

    Kalkaska, Michigan
    The Kalkaska Hotel Sieting was erected in 1912, replacing the Manning House Hotel, which had served the community since the 1870s prior to its destruction by fire in 1910. The Kalkaska hotel was constructed for John Sieting, sheriff of Kalkaska County at the time. It was one of the major brick buildings erected in the city in an attempt to avoid the disastrous fires of 1908 and 1910 that destroyed most of the Kalkaska’s Motel and Hotel district. In 1914 the hotel passed to Charles Swaverly and was renamed Hotel Kalkaska. In 1936 the Kalkaska hotel was remodeled and reopened after new owners linked its reopening to a successful campaign to legalize liquor by the drink in Kalkaska.

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    Missaukee Lake
    Bob Steckroth's place in Lake City. A radical October sunset. We were getting in his car to run into town for dinner at Marty's - when I glanced over my shoulder and noticed the dramatic lakescape. So I had him wait a minute while I ran over and laid down on the dock, dangling my arms and camera (phone) just off the waters surface - to get an up close and personal representation of the waters rippling surface.

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  14. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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  15. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Harmony of Colors - (Part Nine) October of 2020

    Lazy Sunday: Slept in 'till 7:30. Made Bob and I some fried egg sandwiches to compliment our coffee. Bob's wife didn't make it up - so I cleaned up the dishes and packed the bike. Snagged a few shots across Lake Missaukee as the sun beamed through the clouds and illuminated the colorful trees on the west-end of the lake. This is just out in front of Bob's door-wall.

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    Bob took off to church while I hit the road around 10:00 a.m. for a late start. But it was a lazy Sunday and I was planning on wandering random back roads for a spell before slabbing the final stretch home. During this process I'd gather a few worthy pictures to share that capture the essence of our fall season in Michigan and to close out this ride report.

    Along one particular stretch of road I saw the thin, squiggly lines impressed into the dirt - that are the tell-tale sign of Amish activity. A few miles later after rounding a bend, there was an Amish man walking along by himself. His attire looked to be that of a pastor. Not a mile up the dusty road there was a large farmhouse with a multitude of black buggies parked out front in a line. The horses were all unhitched and grazing in the pasture. I’d surmise that the preacher was heading towards his congregation at that farm house. The scene was right out of the 1800's.

    Fall View from Vandermullen Road

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    Taken from West Brinks Road

    Between Lake City and Claire, Michigan.

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    Kirby Avenue
    Also between Lake City and Claire, Michigan.

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    Looking Across the Field from Kirby Avenue

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    Forest Road

    Just past this road I'd come into a series of roads that were more like ATV trails than anything else. After arriving in Clare, I'd pick up the super-slab and knock down the remaining miles to home, essentially calling it another year in the books. One full of made memories and memorable locations.

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    The End. I've another Ohio summer road ride that I'll try to get posted.
  16. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks Jeff. Always enjoy your posts.
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  17. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Experienced an ego-death and clawed my back. Was lost for a spell. But as always, it returns, and it's glaringly clear what I am at heart ... an explorer and a worker. That is why I ride the way I do. That is why I take a thousand pictures and write about my exploits during the journey ... even when I don't want to ... because I have to be working at something. I can't fucking help it. Life is about meaning. And my spirit feels it all so strongly that I just have to tell someone about it. There is no damn way I can keep all of that bottled up inside. That's all.

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  18. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    We have to keep the spirit of humanity alive through our pictures and words, so that when this synthetic age finally passes ... people remember how to live ... and know that we did.

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  19. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Twin-Cam Chronicles: (17-18 July 2020) Ohio

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    Part One

    Originally, the plan was to make use of this three-day weekend to ride some more of the Trans-Ohio Trail on the GSA, while finding somewhere to camp along the route. My friend and co-worker, Jamie, was also taking Friday off work to ride down (on his Ducati Monster 800) to Reynoldsburg (suburb of Columbus, Ohio), which is where he grew up, to feast on his favorite pizza from Massey’s. So, I’d agreed to ride down and join him for lunch and an afternoon of twisty pavement before he turned around to head home, while I would go on to position myself in Marietta for the next day of solo trail-riding.

    As our plans developed and Jamie expressed so much excitement in the ride, I told him that I’d just ride the Electra Glide down and take him on a two-day tour of paved roads with an overnight in Marietta - to which he was especially receptive.

    I walked up to Jamie (at work Thursday) to verify our meeting time and location (that was his choosing) on South Huron Road at exit 11 along I-275. He reassured me that he would be there. "You are just coming off of probation for a no-show/no-call the last time (after being tardy multiple times) and I’d iced you for a few years because of your inconsistencies." I reminded him. While I normally would have started earlier, I’d honored his desire for a later start time.

    I'm not generally such a ride-nazi, but it's always something with Jamie! And I've not so much patience for repetitive inefficiencies - in a man's word. But I really like Jamie, and wanted to give it another shot.

    Jamie is quite the character. Fifty-seven-years-old and still making the same mistakes as when he was nineteen. I swear he is a masochist. By-the-way, anything I say about Jamie, I also say to his face. He pisses me off sometimes. He pulls some of the same shit that my dad used to - and my tolerance for such has been used up. We will see how things play out.

    The run-down on our rocky start:

    You have got to be kidding me! After killing an hour at the house (and eating a light breakfast) to accommodate his desire for a late start time, I rode up to the gas station early (imagine that!), filled up, and was ready to roll at 10-minutes until 8:00 in-the-morning.

    So … 8:00 a.m. comes and goes. Still only one bike sitting in the lot … mine. Ten-minutes later and I get a text message, “On my way.”

    That means he is still at his house … on the other side of Ann Arbor!

    That was it! I didn’t even respond, and instead - just left.

    On the way down to Columbus, on US-23, the sky and cloud formations were surreal; like glaciers floating past in a translucent body of water. Big, low, fluffy clouds were suspended and slowly floating past me on both sides. Above and beyond those clouds, there was a radical secondary pattern of wispy clouds and they were fixed stationary. This created an amplified three-dimensional effect.

    By this time, I was starting to cool down. Perhaps the clouds had a calming effect on me. Or the cadence of the big twin soothed my soul. While stopped at a roadside rest area, I replied to Jamie’s text that I was en route to Massey’s Pizza as planned.

    Somehow, miraculously ... Jamie walked into Massey's Pizza moments after I’d ordered and sat down. He was frazzled. "I can't believe I'm not in jail," he stammered, "I was running over 100-mph most of the way here. You won't believe what happened! As I was running 100 or 110-mph, a car was approaching fast from behind. It was a State Highway Patrol. He passed me! We looked at each other as he passed, and I slowed down as he went after another vehicle that he'd already targeted."

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  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Good stuff with great pics! Please keep it coming!!
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