Saturday, August 1, 2009
Day 50: Sat, Aug 1: Grayling to Manistique, MI
OK, here's a Mr. Moose for you, Anneke! He looks a whole lot friendlier than some of the ones on the various warning signs (or real ones(!)), encountered so far along the way. And, at least this one is dressed appropriately LOL
'RANT' WARNING: I wish to express my fervent, wholehearted dislike of aircooled motorcycle engines -- I am extremely pi$$ed off with Delilah today. Why? Because I have a honkin' big blister about the size of a quarter and about 1/2 inch thick on a very delicate spot (ahem - I don't think any further description is required!) And this is not even from riding in stop 'n go traffic, but from highway driving ARGHHHHH. (OK - RANT over ... for now!)
I got started reasonably early this morning -- and a good thing it was too, because some pretty persistent rain started when I was riding to Charlevoix, where my great-grand parents farmed. The ride there was a gas, great motorcycling roads, well paved and wonderful big sweeping curves, up hill and down dale. Very scenic too, with lots of little farms along the way -- not sure what the crops were, but it almost looked like oats -- something with a chaff on it, anyway.
I got to Charlevoix to discover it has developed into quite a lakeside resort area -- the town centre and older neighbourhoods are still quite quaint in an 1890's fashion - very pretty really, but terrifically crowded today, it being Saturday. Charlevoix When it started raining, I beat a hasty retreat and headed north up Hwy. 31 to the Mackinac Bridge (once the longest suspension bridge in North America, I believe) Mackinac Bridge.
In spite of the rain, it was still a great ride up that highway and the bridge was absolutely breathtaking. The two inner lanes are metal grating (gives the bridge more stability, apparently) while the outer two are paved ... and you know that I chose the paved option, riiggghhht??? LOL
After paying the bridge toll ($3.00) on the other side, I popped off into the (handy) tourist Welcome Centre to check my map. Didn't really need to as the signage is terrific -- the turn-off for Hwy 2 (the selfsame Hwy 2 I was on in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York) was easy to find and I was on my way west again.
For awhile after joining Hwy 2, the rain eased and the (very welcome) sun made an appearance, but sadly, that turned out to be a brief interlude. The rain came down in torrents and the wind picked up unbelievably! There were times I thought I might not be able to hold 'er on the road, what with the gusts coming from almost every direction. Of course, it was to be expected that there would be a lot of wind right by the shore of Lake Michigan, but it was still quite extreme when traffic was diverted onto a long, windy detour off Hwy 2 near Cut River, which went about 15 km, curving seemingly every which way, until it rejoined the Hwy again.
At some point, I pulled off to gas up and encountered a bunch of riders taking refuge from the storm -- they were pretty impressed to see me jump off, gas up, do a few quick leg stretches and tear off back on the road again, I think. Buncha wimps -- guess they thought they might shrink LOL
But, lucky girl that I am, very shortly after, the sun came back out and this time for good, right up until I made it here to Manistique. I checked in to my motel, had a great meal at the restaurant next door and took a brief stroll and a few pics. As you can see, Lake Michigan is pretty darned impressive. We Westerners just don't have any idea of the scope of these Great Lakes until we've actually been in their presence -- pretty frickin' impressive, I'd say -- you'd think you were looking out across an ocean, not a lake!
Sooo, I put in a fairly long day's ride, so I don't think I'll be burnin' any midnight oil tonight LOL Hopefully will make it a good way through Wisconsin tomorrow.
Hasta la vista, Gang!
Day 50 Grayling to Manistique