Where Is Maggie Mae?

Blasting Away....

Departing mileage:  9988   
Final reading:  14,859

Total miles for trip: 4,871

Lake City, Floirda
Manchester, TN
Dayton, Ohio
Charlotte, MI (4days)
Mackinaw City, MI, Mackinac Island (2 days)
Marquette, MI
Copper Harbor, MI
Ashland, WI
Grand Marais, MN
Baxter, MN (2 days)
Ames, Iowa
Chillicothe, MO
Conway, AR
Birmingham, AL
Perry, Florida

Home long enough to dump stuff off bikes, get some food in the house and the 2 granddaughters are here for extended visit, so I have been way too occupied to write.  But it was a great trip and now all I can do is start the plans for the next one.

Close Calls

Made it to Copper Harbor a couple days ago and found a small mom & pop motel right on Lake Superior to stay the night. We had two adirondack chairs on a lawn of soft green grass facing the harbor, the sun was out and a nice breeze was blowing.  We spent the afternoon sitting back with a cold brew and enjoying great company.  As I watched the waves blowing into small white caps I started to contemplate the idea of jumping in. Thumper of course thought I was crazy and maybe I am.  He mentioned the fast current and I had the answer to that.  First, I knew I needed a beachy area with sand to land because the rocks were too slippery.  I found just the spot.  Then figured if I went two docks down and jumped in the current would push me right towards my landing spot.  Great plan.  After pondering the idea for hours Thumper said if you are gonna do it, just do it.  So I went in, put on my suit, walked two docks down and jumped in!   WHEEEWWWW - took my breath right away.  By time I got my wits about myself I had to really work to get towards my landing zone.  Smartest thing I have ever done?  Maybe not.  I learned this morning the water temps at that point of Lake Superior are high 40's low 50's, but it was just something I needed to do. Heck I saw kids swimming in parts of it all day. So everything is relative.  Copper Harbor was smaller than I had expected but a cute little village.  Next stop was Marquette, Michigan where I picked up a part for the bike (replacement carb boot) and then on westward. 

From there we headed back off the peninsula and over towards Wisconsin looking for deep fried cheese curds.  Something my Uncle Dan had told me we had to have while traveling this part of the US.  Kind of like having lobster in Maine.  Every place we stopped at only had regular mozzarella cheese sticks - we can get those anywhere.  Just before crossing over into Minnesota we found a spot - Gronks Tavern.  Sure enough the bartender said he had deep fried cheese curds.  Turns out they were not really cheese curds but just mozzarella bits and they came with crabs. Literally.  You  know, the little crawling kind.  I look down to see the little bug on my sleeve.  Then another and then looked down on the floor and they were making a path right towards me.  I was outta there so fast I didn't even grab my helmet, Thumper threw a twenty on the bar, grabbed my lid and off we rode.  So much for Wisconsin cheese curds.

Next destination was Grand Marais, MN along the western shore of Lake Superior.  That ride north along highway 61 is impressive. It was a bit cold the farther north we got and we did battle some wind.  However, in Grand Marais at Harbor Lights we finally found real cheese curds, the yellow cheddar kind.  After a soak in the hot tub, a walk by the bay and a good nights sleep we were ready for the retreat.  Basically we had to ride back south down 61 (no complaints, it's a great road) and down through Duluth and head towards the Mississippi River. 

But we were only 40 miles from the Canadian border and it seemed a shame that we could not at least go up and take a picture.  So north we rode. I warned Thumper to be looking for the turn-around point.  We saw the Ontario sign, stopped to snap a picture and when I turned to look towards the camera it was then I realized the huge jam we had just got ourselves into.  I was looking right at the US Border gates. 

We had somehow ridden over the bridge and into Canada without realizing it.  Now we had to cross back into the US and we did not have passports.   After attempting to explain ourselves to the border cop he confiscated our drivers licenses and told us to park the bikes. Next problem, we never travel without firearms.  We both carry a concealed weapons permit and think it is safer to be prepared for any incident that may arise, be it an animal or human threat. Leaving everything with the bikes we went into the customs office and were told to have a seat. Thinking that we had just locked ourselves into a several hour delay we were finally called to the counter and grilled by a man asking us questions that he obviously already knew the answers to.  After a stern lecture about border crossings we were on our way- whew!  They never even looked in our bags. 

We made it through Duluth got on 210 south and then the deer sightings began.  I also saw two donkeys out wandering along a side road. Although it was hot and sunny out, we were on high alert for anything that may cross our paths.  Cars were fast approaching us from behind and along with looking for deer, watching for potholes and speeding bullets behind us . I never saw the deer until I realized it was dodging around Thumper and all I could do was just hit the brakes and duck.  It leaped right over me. It happened so fast.  I thought I heard a thunk sound and immediately pulled off the road to check my helmet.  I was pretty shook up but OK.  I knew my microphone to the communicator was knocked out of wack but it was not until we checked into the hotel that I realized it nearly knocked the whole thing off my helmet.  Way too close for me. 

I really have to hand to you riders who ride in these conditions all the time - it takes a lot out of you. We earned that hotel with the water park inside it, the adult only hot tub, the slide down the water slide and easy float down the lazy river.  Thumper and I had a blast playing before we finally died that night.

Today is Tuesday July 14 and we are in Baxter, MN just north of Minneapolis, MN and locked in by the threat of tornado, hail and strong wind activity.   After our close calls yesterday we decided to take a breather, wait out the weather and just chill.  We have ridden over 2,600 miles and still have quite a jog before we get home. 

My thanks today is to the Higher Power Above who has kept me safe through some pretty tough riding incidents over the past 10 years.  I do have an Angel on my shoulder and I am grateful for the luck on my side.

Till next post, Happy Trails to all...

Superior Riding

We are on the road again.  As we have come to expect, it was a very wet start leaving Florida, but that's what rain gear is for.

The plan was to head into Michigan via Indiana on I65 and I69.  We are not much into riding the super slab, but when you need to make the miles quickly, that's the only way.  Atlanta was a joyous ride as usual and we made it to Manchester, TN by night two. Thumper's cousin Johnny called and so we diverted back towards I75 and into Dayton, Ohio to see the Vanover family. 

We headed west on 35 out of Dayton and picked up US 127 north into Michigan.  That was a spectacular ride - two lanes, small towns and lots of open space with plenty of ride time between the towns. I would highly recommend this route for anyone traveling north/south in this part of the country.

Potterville Joe's Gizzard City Inn was the meeting place for Saturday night - Swampy from badweb met us there - it was great to meet him and the Little Kid.  Thanks guys for making it out.   I also got to hook up with friends from school - Lisa and Kathy - I wish there had been more time. Mark - call us when you are in Tampa, we'll buy you lunch.

My family reunion in Michigan was great.  All 5 of the Ireland kids were present and accounted for: Mike, Tonia, Margaret (that would be me), Bruce & Sherrie.  Plus all our kids with the exception of Bonnie & Clyde who refused to get on the bikes with us - something about getting helmet fur.  Amy, Jameson and Joni are keeping them company back in Florida and taking good care of them.

Mom, Dad, Donna were proud to have us all together.  Aunt Sharon & Dan along with Angela and the twins, Melanie and her fiance, Uncle Dale and Pat and all the various boyfriends and girlfriends.  Matt & Jess worked their butts off to get their house ready and took great care of the 32+ in attendance.

Thumper and I made a trip to the Gilmore Museum to see the classic cars, no Tucker though, it was out on tour.  We then headed north. Mackinaw City, Mackinaw Island where we rode a bicycle built for 2 the entire 8 miles around the island. Bikes and horses are the only way to get around. There are a lot of horses!  Even with my loss of smell I could tell the island has a very unique odor that Thumper will not soon forget.  We have made it to Marquette Michigan and riden over 1,600 miles so far.  Tomorrow we head towards Copper Harbor in the Keewanaw Penninsula. 

Riding Lakeshore Boulevard along Lake Superior today was breathtaking. 

I must always sat thanks to Thumper for keeping me and the bike in great shape!