Thursday, August 04, 2016

Sudbury Ontario to Interlochen Michigan

The VROC Great Lakes gathering in Interlochen, Michigan normally takes place about the third weekend of August. Some northern members from Michigan, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin (plus an occasional few from further afield) descend on Cycle-Moore Campground for a few days of fun and frolic. This year, the schedule was advanced by a couple of weeks so we went right from the Freedom Rally to getting ready to head across the border.

I once put a question up on Facebook asking if people get ready to do something and then spend time waiting or if they determine the last possible minute they need to be ready, calculate the time required to prepare and then kill time until they have to start. As a procrastinator (I was going to take a course to learn how to fix this but I kept putting it off), I am of the latter persuasion. I did load the bike yesterday, but I didn't pack my bags or load the camping gear until this morning. It drives Sandy nuts.

We finally got underway at 8:30 AM under sunny skies. The temperature was already 75F as we stopped at McDonald's to get breakfast to go. Sandy prefers Mickey's coffee to Timmy's, and I have to agree with her even though it might cost both of us our Canadian citizenship. While in there, the kiosk I was using locked up and the staff was very confused about who was supposed to get what. Automation has its drawbacks. We were rolling by 8:50 with the GPS projecting an ETA of 3:19. My educated guess was that we would cover the 367 miles by 5:00 PM.

The trip to the Soo was uneventful. I had been worried about the one lane bridge over the Spanish River but there were no cars lined up and we were only held up by the red light for a couple of minutes. There was another brief one lane stop just west of Blind River. Apropos of nothing, someone on XM radio was pushing a device that attaches under the steering wheel of a car and blocks cell phone calls. Did they ever give consideration to just turning the phone off?

I like the plate

We reached The Soo and followed Wellington Street to the bridge to the USA. They have done some road work near the bridge plaza. I would like to ask Soo city staff who decided to remove the traffic lights at Cathcart and Huron Streets? Now there are stop signs on Cathcart, while Huron is a through street. If you are trying to turn left on Huron to get to the bridge, a kink in the road leaves you blind from the left and traffic moves towards you fairly quickly. Anyone with the slightest bit of common sense would have seen the risk, but civil servants don't always seem to have this commodity. Please, if not a traffic light, at least a four way stop!!!

After starting onto the bridge at 1:10 PM, we reached the US Border Services booth by 1:25. Only two questions. What are you up to and what's in the trailer? Welcome to the USA.

Want to buy a steel mill?

International Bridge - not much traffic our way

We stopped for our first cheap gas at the Holiday station just across the border.

I'm not sure what is so pure about Michigan

Seen at the Holiday Gas Station

We headed south on I-75 into southwest quartering winds that made the trailer a little twitchy. An hour after we cleared US Customs, we left the Upper Peninsula and crossed the Mackinac Bridge. I had to decide whether we wanted to take US 31 to Petoskey or stay on I-75 to Gaylord. US 31 was a bit shorter but was a rough road in spots and had lots of reduced speed zones for communities. I opted for Gaylord and the super slab.

Mackinac Bridge (again)

Fine looking outfit

There was a bit of a rush hour crowd as we reached Gaylord about 3:45. We took a short hop west on Michigan 32 to Alba and US 131 and then south to Kalkaska where we turned west again on M 72. Michigan 31, 3 Mile Road, Hammond and Keystone took os to US 31 again and Interlochen. We pulled into Cycle-Moore just after 5:00 PM.

New traffic circles on M72 near Traverse City

Beautiful Traverse City waterfront

94F as we approach Interlochen

It was hot as we unloaded the bike and set up the new 9 x 20 tent, but we got it all done. By the time we finished, I was (as my friend Vinnie has said) "sweating like a pedophile in a playground". OK, the phrase is crude but it is descriptive. Flip had arrived from South Carolina and the three of us jumped in the car and went to Subway back at the crossroads for a bite to eat. Then we stopped at Tom's Grocery for ice and a few supplies. Back at the campground, the gathering was quiet as people caught up on who had been doing what.

Mellow gathering

Big Grouch plus Joe and Shirley in front of their condo

Joe and Wilson racing custom Big Wheels

We didn't stay up too late. Actually, we never stay up too late any more. Around 11:00 PM, we just slipped away.

Today's Route (391 Equinox miles):

No comments: