Thursday, August 16, 2012

West Coast Adventure - Day 2

Hellooooooo wind!

Whew, feels good to be off the road. Mackinaw City to Hurley, Wisconsin, ended up being about 341 miles after throwing in a couple short side excursions. That is just about what I expect my average day to be like, riding between 300 and 350 miles and, hopefully, arriving at my destination by about 4:30. This should allow me time to clean up, find a decent place to eat, and spend the evening relaxing.

A few notes from the ride:
  1. US-2 is a great piece of road. It's well maintained, scenic, and has plenty of places to stop for food, gas, etc. If you wanted to stop at all the touristy places, you could probably take about 4 days to make the drive from the east end to the west end of the Michigan portion of the highway.
  2. It looks like the fall colors are going to be coming soon. As I started west on US-2, I'd see a tree beginning to turn red or orange every couple of miles. After Escanaba, there were more and more trees that look like they're going to turn soon, with some that were already unfurling brilliant red, orange, and yellow leaves. Admittedly, it's probably less than 1% of the trees, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the western half of the U.P. in peak color about 4 to 5 weeks from now. Then again, what do I know...
  3. The ride from Mackinaw City to Norway was pretty dreary. Mostly cloudy with patches of what could barely be called rain. There were parts of the highway where I could tell it had rained quite a bit prior to my riding through, but thankfully I managed to get there too late for it get me soaking wet...right up until I was about 3 miles east of Norway. It rained enough for about 2 minutes to get my pants and coat pretty wet; then it eased up and I was left with partly cloudy skies for most of the rest of my journey to Ironwood. The nice thing about that is, you tend to dry out pretty quick once the rain is done.
  4. After I left Norway, the wind picked up, and I mean it really picked up. It blew out of the northwest at a pretty steady 15 to 20 miles per hour with gusts topping 30 or so. I'm not a small guy, and the VTX is a big bike, but there were a few times when I felt like a kite on a string. I think I've only ridden in wind like that on three other occasions. I'm wondering how the wind on the northern plains will compare?
  5. It fun to ride through towns like Norway and Vulcan...simply because of the names of the towns. "So, where are you from?" "Vulcan." " long and prosper, dude."
  6. Even though I've been on the road for two days now, it doesn't feel like the trip has really begun yet. I think it's because I've ridden all these roads before, so I haven't seen anything "new" yet. That will all change tomorrow. When I leave here in the morning, it's all new...all the way to the west coast.
As I make my way west, I find comfort in some of my now standard traveling companions. I find that most gas stations are now carrying SoBe's lifewater (0 calories). I figure it tastes better than water and is probably better for me than pop. It says it's all natural, no artificial sweeteners, and each bottle has a different mix of vitamins and minerals in it. I often find myself downing 2 bottles at each gas stop, just to stay hydrated. So far, that plan seems to be working for me. This isn't the first trip I've done it on and haven't found any real negatives yet.

I also learned, on my first long trip ever, bring some ibuprofen and non-aspirin pain reliever. I don't normally partake in this type of voodoo, but learned that it can make the difference been a great day of riding and a not so great day of riding. I think it helps me sleep a little better at night, too, when my arms, back, and shoulders aren't yelling at me and asking why I'm doing this to them. :)

A few random pictures from today.

Stopped at a scenic turnout to get a shot of Black Max with Lake Michigan and some "scenery" in the back ground. This is Max's first time across the bridge.

I paused for a few quick pictures at the Cut River Bridge. As my friend Joel likes to describe it, "it's a $10,000,000 bridge over a 10 cent creek." I took a couple of Photosynth panoramas, too. You'll probably have to have Microsoft's Silverlight installed to view them.

US-2 takes you right by Watersmeet. If I have to explain the Nimrod's to you, you either don't watch ESPN or you don't know Kevin Oxley. :)

Here's what today's route looks like on the map.

And the overall route, so far.

Tomorrow is another day and another road. :)


  1. Great pics and great route! You riding with no are the man!! LOL! Ride safe!!!

  2. Sounds like you're having a good time so far! Looking forward to following this epic journey with you, and looking at the pics/videos. Those panoramic pics are great! How the heck did you do that? (Special camera, or the "Photsynth" program? Not that technically savvy here!)

    It's been quite a few years since I drove (the car, not on a bike) out thru the mid-west, and actually hit Sturgis during bike week! (Almost impossible to find a hotel in the area though!) Looking forward to reminising.

    Don't forget to do "Wall Drug", and count all the signs you'll see leading to the place!

    Have a great trip!

    1. David, it's an app called Photosynth by Microsoft. It's free and pretty easy to use.

  3. The last time I was in the UP they were rebuilding the Cut River Bridge and I had to take a detour. Nice to see the finished product. The panaramic views are great; I could see the 10 cent creek.

  4. Awesome Blog Chad, the UP is on my bucket list to ride.


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Chad Cole