Update from St. Ignace

Had a late start this morning. I expected that I’d get up at 7ish as usual, but woke up at 8:30AM. Took me a while to break down camp. My tent was soaking wet with dew. I didn’t have the time to let it dry so I just packed it up the way it was.

I took some time to sort out and set aside a bunch of things that I wanted to ship back home as I wasn’t using them at all.

Someone had vandalized the bathrooms in the night (WTF?) so I couldn’t brush my teeth or anything. Ugh…

I set off for the closest town Arcadia to find a gas station to freshen up and a post office to mail my packages back to Seattle. That done, I hit route M22 that Andy had recommended so highly.

It did no fail to deliver and I had a blast. After almost week of nothing but interstates, this gorgeous twisty route that wound by the waters of Lake Michigan through scores of little towns was a brilliant motorcycling road.

I wanted to ride up to where M22N ended and stop for lunch before heading back south. About 10 miles before though, after I had passed yet another aggravating slow car, I came over the crest of a hill to see a police car parked to the left. I tried to slow down but it was too late. He did a u turn behind me with his lights blazing. My heart sank as I pulled over, remembering my last encounter with the police in Alaska. I took my helmet off and got off the bike and waited for him to come over.

Surprisingly enough he didn’t do the Smug Policeman Walk. Indeed he was grinning pleasantly and even wished me a good morning. And as far as sheriffs go, he was quite easy on the eyes. :P I felt a faint gleam  of hope. He asked me for my license and registration, the first of which I produced before looking in dismay at my rear seat and realizing that I would have to unload everything to get at the registration. I was relieved when he said not to bother and just took the license and went back to his car.

He came back a few minutes later and asked me if I knew why I had been stopped.

“I was doing 66, wasn’t I?”

“I clocked you at 69 in a 55, but I’m going to let you off with a warning. Sorry it’s probably not fun on a motorcycle but try to keep the speed down.”

YES! :P I had seen it coming but was relieved to have it confrmed. It didn’t hurt that he was super nice about it too. :)

I *was* careful after this and kept it legal for the next 100 miles or so. (Not 3 miles after this incident, I totally blew a turn and went into the oncoming lane, something I have never done even when I was a rookie and that I used to sneer at when I heard of n00bs doing it. I must have been distracted. Or possibly very hungry and tired.)

At Northport, I pulled up at the beach, got a gyro and went to a park to lay down and eat and look at the water.

After lunch, I refueled and headed south on M22 and then north on 31. The traffic was hell after Traverse City and at Petroskey.

At least 2 people had told me to do 119 so I turned onto it reluctantly. I really just wanted to keep going and make time because it was almost 5:30PM by now. After about 5 miles of riding in very bad traffic, I decided to turn around and get back on 31. I stoppedat a picturesque looking town for a capucchino with chocolate chips kid sized ice cream first though. :)

I thought I’d retrace my route back to 31 but my GPS routed me to some brilliant roads to the bridge – one of them was Pleasantview Rd. Which was a motorcycling dream come true. It was long and narrow and completely remote with occasional farms and barns on the way. Next to the roads in Vermont, this was my favorite little backroad on this entire ride and I found it quite by accident!

Pretty soon I was at the 5 mile long suspension bridge that separates Michigan from the Upper Peninsula. It was a little bit windy and traffic was slow, but a pretty easy crossing. There was a $3 toll at the end of it.

By this time I had a really bad headache and I was really tired and hungry, so I decided to call it a day and find a campground. I had been dreaming all day of finding a beautiful campsite on the lake like the one on Lake Champlain in New York and I pulled in at the Straits SP with high expectations.

They only had 3 spots left which were $26! I had no energy left by now so I took one. After he had charged my card he said that I needeed an $8 permit to go into the park in addition to the campsite fee. $34 for a shitty little spot in a crowded state park! It was too late to change my mind but I was really pissed off by now. For a little more money I could have found a cheap motel room and not have to deal with setting up and breaking down camp. To make things worse, there was no beach, just a little path swarming with insects that led to the lake with a view of the bridge.

I guess not everything works out just as one imagines. I had built this up too much in my head.

I set up camp, rode to McDonalds (yuk!), got some food, ate and turned in early. I hope to wake up early and get the hell out of here.

I want to make it to Minneapolis tomorrow but it is a long way off. I only got in 200 or so miles today, so I’m guessing I’ll be stopping somewhere in Wisconsin tomorrow night.

I also realize that I have ridden a litte over 2000 miles so far. Whee!