Grilled Meat–Part Two


Having reached the northern part of Lower Michigan, surviving the Might Mac Bridge and a flat tire, I headed for one of those little secrets the Midwest keeps from the rest of the country. Nice riding roads and beautiful scenery, tucked in out of the way places. I am talking (this time) about the Tunnel of Trees.

M-119 runs alone Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, starting just about where the eastern shore starts.

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The road doesn’t get any wider, but Curiosity is small so oncoming cars were a non-issue. Some of the approaching motorcycles were actually closer to the center line, but avoiding them wasn’t hard either.

Once I was through I had to choose between heading due south or turning a bit west and going to Traverse City. It’s a tourist town, but they have camping inside the city and I wanted something decent for dinner. Since the due south route would soon become a four lane, limited access highway, it wasn’t that hard of a choice.

Once I got to Traverse City I learned the camping was full (it was Friday, I guess), and I had to take a hotel room. It wasn’t a bad thing, since I also needed a shower and it let me hang up anything that hadn’t dried once I got over the bridge. Then, after asking at the front desk, I went and got Mexican for dinner.

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It was very good, and my server admitted to wanting to travel to Alaska. We traded travel tips, and I tried to encourage her to start actively planning instead of just “Somedaying” it. I hope she goes, actually.

In the morning it wasn’t raining, which was nice, and I packed up and headed south to Clays. The road was nice, some twists and light on traffic. It got hotter as I rode south, and the sun finally made an appearance.

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It really was sunny for this pic, I just took a bad picture.

I reached Clay’s a little after one, having gotten a bit turned around in Grand Rapids (who needs a GPS? Well, I do sometimes). There were already some bikes there.

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And Curiosity wasn’t the smallest bike present –

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This was actually ridden by someone’s son. Not far, to be perfectly fair, but it was ridden there and that’s what counts.

Of course, it wasn’t just the bikes I’d come there for.

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No, not just the bikes.

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There were also hushpuppies with pulled pork inside, but they were gone before I could get a picture.

Along with eating, there was a pool and various projects to admire inside Clay’s garage.

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By late afternoon the locals were leaving, as well as some Chicago riders who were planning to be home that night. Those of us who were staying had pizza and wings while we established a camp in the back yard.

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After the tents were up we settled around the fire for smores, stories, and I think there was some alcohol there too.

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In the morning I packed up and checked the weather, Milwaukee was supposed to start getting rain around 2pm, so that set when I had to leave. There was a coffee shop nearby and Clay led us over to it. He also might have popped a large wheelie, but since I didn’t have my camera going no one will ever know.

Coffee was mostly us thanking him for the fun day, food, and trying to get him to host another one right away. Too soon it was time for those of us on the other side of the lake to get moving.

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The big, fast bikes took off while I gave them a head start (okay, I never caught up), and then I started to ride home. It was uneventful, just looping through Chicago. One of the four brackets on my windshield came loose and fell off, which was a surprise to me.

Milwaukee was hot, with heat indexes in the 90s, just fantastically humid. I fired up the air-conditioning, but there was no way I was going to cook anything, so it was back on the bike (after removing the windshield until I could replace or repair the bracket) and off to a favorite food stop.

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It was a fun long weekend, and I put about 900 miles on the odometer. And it was nice to feel as though summer has arrived, even if it was hot out. Better then snow in June, that’s for sure.

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