Saturday, September 02, 2017

Sudbury Ontario to Grayling Michigan

It was a busy week after we got back from the south on Sunday. We sold a house (Sandy's Mom's), got new tires on the car, hung out with Kim, Mike, Jolene and Robyn, had lunch with all of the above plus Great Grandma Jan, saw my brother Dave when he came to town, shut off the lawn sprinkler system, tested our remote DVR control and did the month end chores. Did I mention I bought tires? More on that later.

It was in the low 40's F this morning, but the sky was clear and sunny. We weren't in a rush because we were only going to Grayling, about 350 miles, and I wanted to say Hi to the Freedom Riders who were riding out this morning to visit the Screaming Heads in Burk's Falls.

Beginning of trip photo

Warmly dressed Freedom Riders heading for the Screaming Heads

Time to ride
Fog over Nairn centre

The Tim's at McKerrow, forty miles into the journey, was slammed. Big lineups for food. The men's room had three urinals, two sinks and one sad little low speed hand dryer. Somebody wasn't thinking.

Food lines at Tim's in McKerrow

There were some construction zones down the line but nobody was doing anything. Everyone probably went home for the long weekend. I was passing a truck in one passing lane when I looked in my mirrors and saw a rusty old Chev pickup truck from the 1950's. I got past and pulled right. The rust bucket passed me with a throaty roar that told me it was in much better shape under the skin. Must be related to "Dirty Girl" from last weekend.

Don't judge a book by its cover

The odd tree was starting to change

After stopping at the Husky in the Soo (easier to get in and out than other options) for a bathroom break and to refill my coffee, we headed for the International Bridge but found some streets on the way closed due to construction. It was a convoluted route but we eventually got onto the bridge where we found still more construction.

International Bridge still one lane

The flags mark the border

But these are the guardians

There were only a few cars in line. When it was our turn, the agent asked where we lived and what was up today? We said Sudbury and we were going to Missouri and Arkansas. He asked the purpose of the visit? I told him there was a motorcycle in the trailer and we were going to ride some back roads with some friends. He gave us back our NEXUS cards and told us to have a nice day. We were on US soil at about 1:15 and headed south after a quick fuel stop. I don't plan to let the tank get too low just in case.

Michigan trees are changing too

After doing some research, we decided to have lunch at the Truck Stop Restaurant at the Highway 2 exit. I ordered a mushroom/Swiss burger with no bun and asked her to hold the included fries but bring me the coleslaw. It was excellent. Sandy had a grilled chicken salad that looked great. We'll stop here again. BTW, the men's room had one urinal, one sink, two paper towel dispensers and two high speed hand dryers. I should send a picture to the Tim's in McKerrow.

This may be us in a couple of years

Mushroom/Swiss & coleslaw for the carb averse

Sandy's grilled chicken salad

She ate the whole thing

Our server doctored my bill and saved me $4.00

Big Boy was next door

Did I forget the moose or did I never know?

LabOr Day will be hectic here

Over the Straits one more time

We stopped at the WalMart in Gaylord for water and snacks plus a few supplies. Then we went on to the Ramada in Grayling since our usual Days Inn was booked when I checked on Thursday. The Ramada is next door and, although showing its age, has a lot of amenities like a bar, grill, pool and hot tub. The kid on the desk liked Zebra pens, proving him to be a discerning soul. On the way in, we fueled and got some food at Subway to take to the room (I had a chopped oven roasted chicken salad while Sandy got a 6" ham and Provolone sandwich (no Swiss at Subway south of the border). The glucose readings have been much better for the last week. Mornings 9.0 vs 15.0 and four hours after meals mid 7's versus 12's. (Americans, multiply by 18.)

I worked on the bills and the blog for a while.

Now I'll tell you about the tires. They were installed on Wednesday by a supposedly reputable dealer. New Sumitomo Encounter HT 225/65R17 tires that had good reviews on the Internet. Thursday, instead of having the wheels retorqued, I had them rebalanced because I didn't like the vibration. Then I had the wheels retorqued yesterday but there was not much more time since we were leaving this morning.

All day, I kept feeling vibrations come and go. Sometimes in the steering wheel, sometimes in my butt. Occasionally both. I tried different speeds. On the steel grate of the Mackinac Bridge, they gave me a serious fright as they jumped left and right unlike anything I ever experienced before on this span. In Gaylord, I Googled the specs and found each tire could carry 1,894 pounds at 51 PSI. That was 7,600 pounds and the Equinox was only 4,000. Maybe 35 PSI was too much, so I lowered the pressure to 30 PSI all around. The ride was less harsh but the shake was still there.

As I was fueling in Grayling, I took a closer look and saw that the dot on three of the tires was directly across from the valve stem instead of next to it as it should have been. I couldn't tell on the fourth tire because the dot and the raised lettering were on the back side of the tire. I can only believe that someone so inept and untrained as to screw this up would probably not be able to balance a tire worth a damn either.

Note the dot OPPOSITE the valve stem

 Note no dot or raised lettering

So it is Saturday night of Labour Day Weekend in the wilds of Northern Michigan. We are heading to Zeke's near Springfield, Illinois tomorrow. He tells me here is a shop close to him that opens at 7:00 AM on holiday Monday. I will be there with bells on. Then, on Tuesday, I will be talking to the Sudbury tire dealership asking how this could have happened and telling them I expect them to reimburse me for the cost of the reinstall and rebalance. Tomorrow, we will pump the tires back up to 35 PSI (it was raining tonight when I went out to do it) and drive the next 500 miles very carefully.

Today's Route (346 Equinox miles):

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