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Old 05-28-2007, 07:59 PM   #1
Guano Loco
SloNEZ's Avatar
Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Memorial Ride. Careful, you might get misty!

I finished up moving the last rocks over at my dad's this morning about 8:30 and didn't have anything else to do. That's a problem - and I'm a problem solver! I decided to head north for a dual-sport ride. The theme was supposed to be about stopping at places I always fly right by. After awhile, though, I kinda got lost in memories. Fitting for Memorial Day, I guess!

I knew it would be a long day in the saddle, and that KLX 400 seat is brutal. It's like riding the wooden pony in some BDSM dungeon or something. Not that I would know . I decided I better strap something to the seat to save my seat! So I took the cats' favorite garage pillow, knocked most of the hair off and strapped it on with a bungy.
Wrinkled Star, meet Patrick Star:

With Patrick to keep me at least a little comfortable, I was all packed up and on the road by 9:30 AM. I slabbed it up to the X-Way exit for Howard City, where my grandparents used to live:

I swung by the house they lived in. My dad (and his five brothers and sisters) all grew up there. This is what $1000.00 would get you back in the thirties:

My grandpa was a tinkerer. He was always working on cars, boat motors, you name it. When he died, I wanted to take a Dilly trailer hubcap that was hanging on the wall, but I didn't. I still wish I had. He was a Dilly, that's for sure!
I spent many hours with him in this garage when I was little:

Every time we'd leave after a visit, my grandma would always stand on this front porch and say "come again." I wish I could, grandma, I wish I could.

I never went to this elementary school, but I did get fluoride treatments there! Mmmm - it tasted like Juicy Fruit. Note the fall-out shelter sign!

Oddly enough, there was an older couple there at the same time taking pictures of the same building. I guess I wasn't the only one in a reminiscent mood.

I've always thought this stone house was pretty cool. Back in the early seventies, an old guy used to fix TVs out of it. Now it's some type of antique shop/scooter dealer:

Couldn't leave without riding by Tamarack Creek. I'm told (I don't remember, of course) that, next to the Titabawassee River, this was my favorite body of water to pee in when I was about three! Must've been before they added the modern steel guardrail.

On the way up, I made a point of stopping at every trail head I came across. This one had some pretty cool single track. I rode about three miles out and then came back. The guys with the brand new KTMs in the background were off-loaded and ready to go when I got there, and still in the lot when I got back.

These are always fun roads to blaze down. I rode miles of them today!

Here's the road itself, as seen from the main drag. Doesn't that look inviting? I couldn't say no!

This was also typical Michigan single track. Lots of sand and pine trees that you can just get through. Often with a berm situated right between them. I rode a few miles of this and then headed back. As I was leaving, guess who pulled in with their bikes back on the trailer? The guys with the KTMs. I guess they were finishing their ride at the other trail head when I saw them - that explains it!
I was making better time between the trails without having to trailer my bike .

Time for lunch. I stopped in a little town called Manton and ate here:

I tried to eat all this. I got the chili and the cheesesticks down, but could only manage one chicken plank.

The flags at half-mast right across the street from where I had lunch. Sure have been seeing that a lot lately

This poor little town has had the worst of it lately. First, they put an X-Way right around the town, so all the traffic that used to have to go through has just forgotten Manton is even there. Now, Avon is pulling out (off to Mexico for production). This is gonna' put about 800 people out of work. The area's largest employer by far. That's gotta' be tough. No new story in Michigan recently, I'm afraid.
I guess I felt sorry for Manton or something, but I decided to poke around a little. The Manton Area Museum was closed, so I checked out the Vetern's Park. I need one of these:

Scope out that luxurious interior:

I've seen this sign a thousand times, but never stopped to read it. It was worth stopping for. Is it just me, or is this fooging hilarious?
A supply of whiskey? A brass band? Hard feelings?

Just outside of town, another of those cool roads presented itself. It also had a hand-lettered sign promising a barn sale one mile down on the right. Well, sign me up! I didn't find the barn sale, but I did come across this little cemetary that was hidden back up in there pretty well:

When I pulled in, there was an elderly couple (ancient, really), tending a grave. I poked around for a while and then went over to the grave they were at after they were gone. I don't know if you can see it that well or not, but there are some baby shoes between the name and date, and little Dorothy was only 13 days old. I hate that. Children don't belong in cemetaries unless it's to visit grandpa or something. She'd have been 61 this July. They planted some sad-looking violets, but the ground was dry. I had an Evian in my pack and I watered them in after I took this picture ... from the French Alps to you, Sweetheart.

This kind of surprised me: I went over to this new-looking and well-tended grave expecting it to be recent.
I wonder if anyone will still give a flying rat's ass about me 124 years after I'm gone.

Dang. Airborne Recon. Must've been a stud. For all the good it did him.
About the time I was looking at this one, I noticed a water source and more of those same, sad violets by Edward's grave. The man deserves decent flowers, I decided, so I went ahead and watered his flowers, too.
And then I went back and watered Elizabeth's.
Then I got out of there before I decided to water everybody's flowers!

I rode around the Spring Lake campground a little bit. Empty, save for one tent. I lubed my chain, and while I waited a bit to minimize sling, I popped in here:

We'll see about that!
A nice little ride, actually. Although I did turn back at the raised railroad bed.


Heading back through Cadillac, I put my visor up to let in some air. A hornet took that opportunity to enter my helmet. I whipped off into the next parking lot to take care of that problem.
No time for pix, unfortunately .
I decided to get off for a bit, since I was there, and my ass was hurting. Patrick really wasn't doing the job. Well, I was in a Dunhams parking lot!
I decided to go in and see what they had in the way of butt pads.
I found this poor-man's Airhawk for twelve bucks.
It hooks onto my body with a belt, so it can't blow off.
Comfy little sunnovagun! It's back to the garage and kitty-pillow duty for you, Patrick!
I guess I owe that hornet one.

Stopped off at a scenic turnout and petted a pony. Schweeeet.
It's hard to see in the pic, but I'm wearing my new ass-pad.
I may never take it off again!

Time for din-din.
In keeping with things from the past, I stopped at Rosie's diner:

It's the actual one from the old Bounty (The Quicker-Picker-Upper) commercials. Transported all the way from New Jersey (I think).

Rosie wasn't working, but I had dinner anyway:

All in all, an awesome day.
Maybe a little misty - I'm not normally like that. Honest!
Ten hours, mostly riding, about 60 miles of dirt/two-track/trail and 300 miles total.


SloNEZ screwed with this post 05-28-2007 at 08:08 PM
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:17 PM   #2
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Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Safe haven from Zombies aka Flagstaff AZ
Oddometer: 845
Looks like you need a Concours for that on road stuff....I know where there is one located.
These are not the droids you are looking for.....
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:50 PM   #3
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Joined: Nov 2003
Location: New Philadelphia, Ohio
Oddometer: 10,958
Nice, Craig, nice! I laughed. I cried. I.... hey, did you just make a reference to your "wrinkled star"?

"A man turns his back on the comforts of home, and when the dust all settles and the story is told, history is made by the side of the road..." - DBT

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Old 05-28-2007, 08:55 PM   #4
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Escondido, Ca
Oddometer: 27
Why don't you have some pepper??

Looks like alot of fun. I need to do a solo ride like this one.
08 KTM 530 EXC R
10 BMW F800GS
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:59 PM   #5
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Westside WA
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Very nice write up! Thanks for posting it.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:32 AM   #6
Mod Squad
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Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 56,717
Another very nicely done Memorial day report
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