Photos from Michigan posted…

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Update from Rhinelander, WI

Woke up to the sun shining into my tent and my shoulders freezing as I tried crawling out of my sleeping bag. Brrr… it was a cold morning. My first reaction was to crawl back in and sleep for two more hours, especially as I’d had trouble falling asleep the previous night, but I forced myself to get up so I could get an early start.

I ate a banana and some strawberries as I broke down camp. There was no dew on the tent this time, but the ground tarp was coated in mud. *sigh*

I was out of there and on the road at 8:30AM. I’ve been feeling a lot better over the past couple of days, except that I still feel sick when I wake up and stay that way until lunchtime. :|

Anyway, the plan for today was to just keep going for as long as I could. I knew I couldn’t realistically make Minneapolis tonight as it was almost 400+ miles away. I would mostly be on Hwy 2 and Hwy 8 today. Hwy 2 going west had quite a bit of construction going on with more than two miles of grooved pavement (no “motorcycles use extreme caution” warning) and a detour for a few miles.

I made it to Manistique by 10:00AM. It turned out to be a no-name town with nothing much to see. I had breakfast at a Burger King with a couple of Harley riders from Chicago who were doing the loop around Lake Michigan.

90 more miles and I was in Norway, MI where I stopped for lunch. There was a slight misunderstanding with the server and I ended up getting a plateful of deep fried fish. Yuk.

When I walked out of the deli, I saw two bikes parked next to mine and the riders standing next to them. I was amazed to see that one of the bikes was an exact replica of mine except much newer. In the past 3 years of owning my bike I have never seen another curvy red naked SV, so I was pretty delighted to see another one. Co-incidentally, the other bike was a V-star 250 – my first bike was a Virago 250 which was an earlier version of this bike. We chatted for a little while before exchanging contact info and then I was on my way again.

The ride along Hwy 8 was long and monotonous. I made it as far as Rhinelander, a town I decided to stop at purely because I liked the name. :P I searched for a coffee shop and found a really nice one. Yay! I thought I’d stop and get a coffee and rest before I rode another 50-60 miles. But when I got online, I saw that they predicted thunderstorms all along that way. I had no desire to get caught out in one just to make time, so I decided to get a motel for the night and ride the 200 something miles to Minneapolis the next day.

I got a room at the Best Western, relieved to be able to shower after two days of camping. Later in the evening, I walked out to explore the downtown which took almost five minutes. Apparently folks here retire early.

I probably should do that too. I am in a different time zone now, so even though it says 10:30PM, my body thinks it is 11:30. *yawn*

Update from Lake Michigan …

Woke up early this morning, almost at 7 AM in spite of falling asleep very late. Felt well and truly sick but forced myself to pack up and load the bike. Fortunately Katherine’s boyfriend was up too and he drove us to a diner to get breakfast. I got pancakes as I have been doing for most every breakfast (I am out of control!) with eggs and sausages. No coffee as I never drink coffee before a ride. Coffee is usually my reward at th end of a long ride instead.

Was ready to hit the road about 8:30ish. Said bye to Katherine, who seemed to have fallen sick too. :( I had a horrified vision of me riding across America spreading my germ to al who crossed my path.

Got out onto 23N and 96W. I really didn’t care to ride slab yet again, but apparently there weren’t very many cool backroads on this route anyway.

As with yesterday, the sick feeling started to fade away after the first 20 miles or so. It was quite cool out – a welcome relief from the incessant heat of the previous day. The ride was boring but quick. I tried to stop every 50 miles this time to guard against fatigue.

I was headed to Fruitport, close to Grand Rapids, to meet Andy, Sterling’s cousin who was back home. I made it there by noon, got off the bike and gave him a big hug. I was so delighted to see him again. :)

He took me out to lunch and then drove me around the town and then over to Grand Haven and pointed out all the places they used to hang out at when they were younger. I couldn’t stp grinning the entire time and took lots of photos to bring home to Seattle. The entire situation semed so surreal – here I was in Michigan hanging out with Andy getting a glimpse of their lives from days past. This wasn’t something I had planned for this ride but I feel happy and privileged to have experienced it.

Andy also had a lot of input on my ride to te Upper Peninsula, possibly one of his favorite places in the world. I had already decided that I wasn’t taking the $140 ferry to Milwaukee from Muscagon but was heading north and over instead. I was craving the water and greenery after all the freeway slabbing of the past few days.

I left Fruitport at around 3PM, sad to say goodbye so soon. Part of me wanted to just stay there sprawled on their lawn by the lake, but I wanted to cover some more ground, so I declined their offer to stay the night and left