Shore to Shore on a Klr250
Ever since I've read ride reports over in thumpers under the Minimalist Touring Thread I've wanted to take my only bike on a fairly long day trip somewhere. The bike is my 1994 klr250 with just over 19,000+ miles that I've had for almost two years. The plan for the trip would be to make it back in one day starting out in Gibraltar, Michigan and ride to the shore of Lake Michigan. Gibraltar, Michigan is where I grew up and sits right on the shore of Lake Eire. The route I planned called for roads with a top speed of 55 mph which is just about perfect for the klr250. I wanted to stay off the major interstate to hopefully be able to see more and the fact the klr isn't comfortable above 60mph for long distances. So the day came and I got up bright and early and left the house at 7am. Here's a picture of the shore of Lake Eire where it meets the mouth of the detroit river.
I set off from there towards US 12 (Michigan Ave) to pick it up in Saline, Mi and run it to the shore of Lake Michgan where I planned to see the sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park. My first stop on US 12 was to stop and see the Irish Hills Towers which sit next to US 12. I visited these towers which used to be observation decks about 12 years ago when they where still open. Now they are closed and in disrepair. Just about a mile before the towers I spotted this place called stage coach USA. Its like and old western style town. I wanted to look around it for a bit but the closed signs and no trespassing signs along with the Jeep parked in front kept me at bay.
Also the angry looking lumber jack looked like he was about to axe my klr.
A shot of the Irish Hills Towers, just about a mile or so down the road from the old stage coach place.
At this point I had gone about 60 miles or so and it was already going on about 8:20 so I wanted to get back on the road, but I had one more stop to make about 10 miles down the road. I've never been to a race at Michigan International Speedway but I enjoy watching racing a bit so I stop off to snap a few pictures of the speedway. The sun was still low on the horizon so I was making decent time considering I had all day.
The plan now was to only stop if I see something interesting to take some more pictures. I was doing well until I came along this bridge in Mottville. I stopped to find out a little more about it. Turns out its the longest Michigan example of a concrete camelback bridge. I just thought it was a cool looking bridge.
Whats left of the original stone foundation upstream in the river is visible.
It was now getting close to 10:15 and I still had about 60 miles to go until I made Lake Michigan. I hadn't fueled up yet so far since I left with a full tank, but with about 142 miles I knew I had to of been getting close to hitting reserve. Sure enough about 4 miles after the bridge in Mottville, the klr stumbled and I reached down and flipped on reserve and now I knew I had about 30 miles or so until I would run out of gas. Luckly I found a gas station about 2 miles down the road in Union. There I filled up with 2.325 gallons. Not too bad considering the stock tank holds 2.9. I had covered 148 miles and it was now 10:30. Not too bad 3.5 hours and 150 miles. I was trying to make as few of stops as possible but I had to take a rest stop about every hour or so to give the legs and seat a break. With a full tank of gas I knew I could make it to the Lake and a fair way back before needing gas again. I took off across US 12 hoping not to stop until I see the lake and the dunes. I some how ended up missing the bypass around Niles, Mi and ended up going through the downtown business area which slowed me down a bit, but I was still on US 12 and back up to a blistering 55 mph. I finally passed under I-94 and I new I was only a few miles from the shore. I went south first to New Buffalo but there was too many tourists down by the beach and the sand dunes there where fairly small. So I looped back up now on Red Arrow Hwy north about 10 miles to Warren Dunes State Park. I had read that the main bridge into the park was washed out but the beach would be accessable from the picnic area. Little did I know that it was a 3/4 mile walk through some huge sand dunes in 80 degree weather. Oh well I rode 215 miles I'm going to go see Lake, Michigan. Here's the first view of the water over the dunes. My pictures don't do the sand dunes justice. These dunes are easily 150+ feet high.
The shore line of Lake Michigan, I made it. Sorry no pictures of the klr on the beach because of the washed out bridge that was still under construction. I wanted a picture of it next to the water but oh well.
I wanted to be back on the road by 1pm so I couldn't stay and see much since I had wasted a bit of time walking through the dunes trying to make it to the beach. I made it back to the bike and left for my next destination at about 1:10. I hadn't ate any lunch yet but I wasn't really hungry so I drank about 2/3 of my 1.5 liter water bottle after trudging through the sand. Back heading on US 12 East this time I wanted to find the where the border of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana meet. I know it doesn't sound very interesting but had found out before I left that it was marked and I had a map and I wrote down the general area that it was at. I was doing well not making any stops and just cruising along when after passing back through Mottville just a few miles from that bridge I pulled off to find this couple broke down. His yellow honda had just quit on him. He said it had plenty of fuel but the carbs might have plugged up. I offered him some tools but he said they where going to have to ride back on his wifes bike to get the trailer as he had killed his battery trying to start it just after I had arrived. I almost forgot to take a picture but I asked him if it was alright if I snapped a picture of their bikes and he said sure. He thanked me for stopping and said they didn't live far from there as I told him I still had at least 150 miles left until home so they said they would be ok. It looks like at in this picture my trip odo is at 285 and I last got gas at 148 so I knew I had to be getting close to reserve again.
So I hopped back on the bike and headed east once again. I saw a few signs showing Sturgis 11 miles and Coldwater 34 miles ahead. I didn't want to risk it on fuel so I stopped in Sturgis at 297 miles and put in 2.265 gals. That should make it the rest of the way home on fuel. I didn't want to try pushing it to Coldwater and running out. It was now about 3:30 pm and I rode into Coldwater and stopped to grab a hamburger and pop at a Wendys. Back on the road 15 minutes later I figured the best way south to the border would be M49 just outside of Allen. I ran that south for awhile before making the last few turns onto a dirt road. I stop to find this is the border of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Its mostly out in the middle of no where. It looks like part of the top has been broken off at one point and time.
The Ohio side of the border.
The part of Michigan, you can make out the chig.
In the middle of the road is this Letter M. Im guessing it shows one of the corners of Michigan.
This is just up the road the really only obvious sign of the borders where they meet.
After saying goodbye to Indiana its now about 5 pm and Im still about 100 miles from home. Time to get moving
I rode for the next two hours only to make one stop in Adrian to check my map. In all I got home at about 7:20 that night and had a total of 465 miles for one day on the klr250. Thats the most I've ever done on a bike in one day. In all the weather was nice and sunny with blue skies all day so it was a great ride. This is my first ride report by the way hope you enjoyed it. Sorry I didn't take more pictures, I was trying to cover as much ground as possible to make it home by the end of the day, Fred
That's a huge ride for a 250, well done. Thanks for the report, I never realized that there were sand dunes around the Great Lakes.
Cool report.... thanks for sharing
thanks. reports like yours lets me see parts of this great country that probably won't get a chance to see.
Thanks, I'm glad you walked through the dunes to get to the lake...that was worth it.
Nice ride!! Love that ol' KLR.. it just never quits putting smiles to every mile! :thumb
Good onya man - I see the ol milk create makes a perfect luggage rack in the good ol US of A too. Common here in OZ as well.
It was a very big ride for the klr250, but I felt it actually did quite well. If I could get the time off from work I would definitely try a ride to Alaska. I routinely put the milk crate on my bike for extra luggage. It was perfect for carrying some spare tubes, tools, oil and a water bottle in. I'm glad everyone liked my first ride report. I'm trying to plan my next big ride for this summer maybe a ride along the shore of Lake Huron up to the Mackinac Bridge?
Wow, great report, good job!
Thanks for the report and photos....noticed the milk crate. Useful things they are, my garage is full of them. Still have to try it on a bike thought for running errands.
that is awesome!
i've had a few 400+ miles days, but i generally don't consider knocking one off on my 200.
there are beautiful dunes up around traverse city as well (sleeping bear dunes) if you get the chance to get up that way.
Nice RR -- so, wanna hook up and hit the Mighty Mac? I'm over by Grand Rapids, and we could plot a nice trip! (That is, if my 125 can keep up with your 250!) :eek1
Thanks for the report. Two questions . What was the purpose of the Irish Hills towers?
And did you get your milkcrate from Touratec?:hide
I'm a sucker for a small cc ride report!
Thanks for all of the replies. I've actually been thinking about doing a trip up the the Mackinac Bridge. If I get the chance I'll definitely let you know X-RoadRider. What kind of 125 do you have? As far as keeping up 55 to 60 mph is my best cruising speed.
As far as the purpose of the Irish Hills Towers was to provide an observation deck for the surrounding lakes and hills and to help promote tourism back in the 1920's. Originally there was only one tower but the land owner next to it built another tower just next to it and made it taller. Then they kept making the towers taller and taller until they both reached an agreement to stop the feud about who had the taller tower. A little more on the towers here:
I did get to go up in the towers one time with my family before they closed to the public back on 2000. That's the reason I wanted to go back there and take some pictures.
The milk crate is indeed a Touratech product, what you didn't see it in the new 2009 catalog? :evil Its the best luggage you can find the the klr250.
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