Posts Tagged ‘upper peninsula

13
Feb
19

Back in Time 2018

Well, 2018 was a bit of a rough year. A year of loved ones lost, both two-legged and four-legged. But also a year of new adventures and new experiences. I didn’t keep up with documenting these adventures so I’ll be stepping back in time, via this blog, to recap the excitement (and the pain) of this past year.

25
Aug
12

By the Shores of Gitchee Gumee

Gitchee Gumee as Longfellow referred to it, Gichigami or “Big Water” to the Ojibwe natives, Lake Superior was my destination for the day. Lake Superior State Forest campground on the dirt portion of H-58 east of Grand Marais was where I hoped to find a campsite to spend a night on the big lake.

As I was loading up for the day, a fellow hotel guest asked me a few questions about the V-Strom. He is a long haul trucker but has a Gold Wing at home he gets to ride on occasion. Without fail, the question, “Do you feel safe as a woman traveling alone?” came up. I’m very used to this question and explained that in general I feel very safe and that common sense is the best tool to protecting yourself while touring. Checked out and loaded up, I was on the road around 8:00am, heading north again! As always, being in the Upper Peninsula felt great, it was nice to be away from the city for a bit.

Heading through Newberry, I noticed signs in store windows thanking firefighters for their help, evidence of this spring’s Duck Lake forest fires. I made the turnoff to Muskallonge Lake and H-58, 23 miles until the pavement ends and the V-Strom fun begins! The Wee handled the dirt road quite well despite its fairly worn street tires, I stood on the pegs and enjoyed the fresh air. Thankfully, when I finally made it to my destination campground there were several campsites available. I decided on site #4, a fairly secluded site with a path down to Lake Superior. I quickly unloaded my drybag full of camping gear, set up my little tent and hung my new ENO Singlenest Hammock (review to soon follow).

Lake Superior State Forest Campground – Site #4

Dragging myself out of the hammock was a chore but I had to head into Grand Marais to grab a bite to eat. Riding the Wee into town was a ball, I was singing at the top of my lungs as I pulled into town, The Sportsman’s Restaurant was my stop. I was hoping breakfast was served all day, I love their french toast, but they stopped breakfast at 11:00 I was there at 11:05, bummer. After inhaling (my normal mode of eating) my burger, I buzzed across the street to the small town grocery store to pickup pop, adult beverages and some grub for the evening.

Hmm…no cooler for the beer or the pop, time for some moto-camper improvisation. Since the V-Strom didn’t have Givi bag hangers, I was using some older soft saddlebags for this trip. I lined one side with a grocery bag and filled it with ice – instant cooler!

My moto-camper cooler – still had ice left the next morning

I had one more stop to make before heading to my home for the night, on our recent car camping trip we found a great source of firewood just east of town. This guy had a firewood buffet, you could choose from several different hardwoods, softwoods and small pieces of split cedar for kindling. I grabbed a bundle of birch and a bundle of cedar kindling and strapped them to the bike – have I mentioned Rok Straps are one of the best moto inventions ever?

The Wee makes a great firewood hauler

Singing Janis Joplin’s ‘Mercedes Benz’ at the top of my lungs, I was loving life!  That’s when it happened…I overreacted to a car coming the opposite way (narrow truck trail type road).  I pulled too far to the right and the bike’s front wheel  was sucked into about 5 inches of sand.  As the bike swerved slightly, I did something very stupid…chopped the throttle instead of accelerating, my back wheel hopped over the sandy embankment on the side of the road.  Looking back, adding to the V-Strom’s top heavy nature by loading firewood up top probably wasn’t the best idea 🙂

With adrenaline (and embarrassment) surging, I did the first thing I could think of…I grabbed the Wee by the bars and yanked all 500 lbs of it in a rage.  I never said I was bright!  As I righted the bike, it started slipping in the sand and I had to quickly set it back down.  Despite the diminutive assigned to it, the Wee is anything but little and light!  It was then I started to realize I was a bit bruised and shredded, the bike was damaged very little thanks to the frame sliders and other safety doodads.  While standing on the side of the road trying to figure out how I was going to get myself out of this mess, a couple in a truck showed up, followed by a trio of dual-sport riders – a sight for sore eyes!

After a bit of effort, we got the bike up but still had to contend with the rear wheel being stuck in a sandy embankment.  The guy from the truck and one of the dual-sporters pushed while I hit the throttle and I was finally out of the mess.  Thank goodness for kind strangers.  I’ve never backpacked but have heard of “trail magic” in the form of people unexpectedly helping or the like.  For as much as people worry about me traveling alone, I’ve experienced the motorcycle touring equivalent of “trail magic” more than once.  For anyone feeling down on mankind, take a road trip, meet some great people, it’ll restore your faith in the good of people!

The couple in the truck were heading my way, so they loaded up my firewood and followed me to the campground.  After thanking them profusely, and offering them a cold one (the beer survived the crash thankfully), they were off, on their way to their campground.  Still shaking from the crash, I cracked open a beer and attempted to calm myself down.  Prior to crashing, my intent was to head over to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and hike the Chapel Loop, one of my favorite hikes in the area.  After the crash, I decided I should just stay put, enjoy a beer or two and relax.

Sweating from the effort of wrestling the motorcycle, I took a quick dip in Lake Superior followed by a nap in the hammock.  I swear ENO has perfected time travel, whenever I get in that hammock it’s all of a sudden 2 hours later 🙂  It will definitely be a constant in my motorcycle camping kit from now on.

A quick rest in my ENO Hammock – doubles as clothesline!

After I managed to get a decent campfire going without lighting my hair on fire (which I’ve done the last couple times I’ve camped) I headed down to the beach for the sunset.  Despite the black flies trying to make me a meal, the sunset was beautiful – it was going to be a great night!

Trying out the Crazy Creek Hexlite chair (another soon to review) while enjoying the campfire

Sunset on Lake Superior

There was no rain in the nighttime forecast so instead of sleeping in my stuffy tent, I dragged my sleeping bag to the hammock and crawled in.  I quickly slipped into sleep under the stars next to the dying embers of the campfire.

24
Aug
12

Northward Bound

This summer’s motorcycle adventures have been sparse (ok, non-existent) so when given the opportunity to test ride a used 2006 V-Strom 650 for the weekend I jumped on it.  Where to go for a short camping weekend…the Upper Peninsula of course!  On a recent car camping trip, Andy and I had noticed a small campground on H-58 east of Grand Marais, Michigan called Lake Superior campground, that would be my destination for Saturday night.  Since I’m diligently saving vacation for my fall India trip, I planned on leaving after work and staying somewhere in St. Ignace for the night – riding at night isn’t my favorite (especially in rural areas).

After what seemed like a never ending day at work, I got home and loaded up the Strom.  On schedule for a change, I hugged the dogs good-bye and pointed the Wee north.  The ride up was pretty uneventful albeit a bit shaky at first.  It took a few miles to get used to the new machine, but once I was comfortable all was well.  After a few hours on the road, I saw the white towers of the Mackinac Bridge looming in the distance – the gateway to my weekend getaway!

My plan was to camp at either Carp River State Forest Campground or Foley Lake Campground, but while crossing the bridge, the clouds started to open up…motel it would be!  After a few calls to find a place with vacancy that was sufficiently cheap, I landed at The Pines Motel, a little mom and pop on the north end of St. Ignace.  Thankfully there was a convenience store next door with homemade pizza and baked goods.  It was nice being able to take a short walk in order to grab a bite to eat!  After scarfing down a couple of pieces of pizza, it was down to the lake to watch the sunset.  On my walk back, I was joined by a party of bats swooping around me grabbing their evening meal.  Off to bed, it’d be an early morning ride to the big lake and my campsite for the day.

All packed up, the V-Strom ready to ride




Archives

Instagram Feed

Started puppy class last week with these two hooligans. While we both know how to train, working on things in the presence of 7 hyper puppies is great for the pups. These two are pretty solid on “leave it” as we use it for keeping them from tormenting the cat and curbing Mesa’s herding tendencies. • • #aussielovers #aussiepuppy #aussie #dogs #dogstagram #australianshepherdworld #australianshepherdsofinstagram #dogsofinsta #instadog #dog #aussies #puppylove #australianshepherd #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #aussiesofinstagram #aussielove #cute #doglover #reddog #redmerle #redmerleaussie #adventuredog #adventurepuppy #dogtraining #gsp #germanshorthairedpointer #germanshorthair #gsppuppy
Probably an unpopular view seeing as fall just started, but I can’t wait to get out ice fishing with my dad! #icefishing #fishing #michigan #walleye #saginawbay #lakehuron
Two nutty Aussies keeping busy in their own weird way. Seven month old Mesa herding his @jollypets Jolly Ball Push-n-Play around the yard and 14 year old Mira running her daily laps around the house. Such fun dogs! . #aussielovers #aussiepuppy #aussie #dogs #dogstagram #australianshepherdworld #australianshepherdsofinstagram #dogsofinsta #instadog #dog #aussies #puppylove #australianshepherd #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #aussiesofinstagram #aussielove #cute #doglover #reddog #redmerle #redmerleaussie #adventuredog #adventurepuppy #bluemerle #olddogsrule #seniordog #herdingdog
Missing the hell out of this little dog lately! This was from our second to last hike together 😢 . #aussielovers #aussiepuppy #aussie #dogs #dogstagram #australianshepherdworld #australianshepherdsofinstagram #dogsofinsta #instadog #dog #aussies #puppylove #australianshepherd #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #aussiesofinstagram #aussielove #cute #doglover #blacktri #blacktriaussie #adventuredog #adventurepuppy #cyanobacterium #hikingwithdogs #rip #northcountrytrail #fifelakeloop
Follow heronwheels on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 258 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 14,936 hits