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Old 06-16-2008, 08:51 PM   #1
Guano Loco
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 601
Gettin' High in Michigan


So I was waiting in line to use the copy machine at work about two weeks ago, and there was a big atlas of the United States there ... open to Michigan.
To kill time, I started looking at it.
Yada, yada, yada ... highest point in Michigan: Mt. Arvon up in the Huron Mountains in the UP. Usta' be taller than the Rockies.
Well, I suppose we all get old.
If we're lucky.

Here's the RR ... it was supposed to be longer.
But it's late, and I'm tired.
Reader's Digest Version (probably still too long):

I decided to go visit the old high point of the Great State of Michigan.

The approximate route:

I know you can't see it, but at some point I noticed that this map listed Mt. Curwood as Michigan's highest point ... WTF?
Then I noticed that picture of William Milliken on the left there.
Somehow, I had grabbed a map from 1979!
I was on tour with a 30-year old map :)
Wow, I'm either a great navigator, or the UP is the Land that Time Forgot!

Took off right after work and made my first stop in Kalkaska.
Here's the famous trout:

Family lore has it that one of my uncles ran into this with his car circa 1970. I believe it. Knowing those guys.

This is my grandma's place on Walnut.

She wasn't home. She's 83 and spends most week-days with my aunt Joyce (her daughter) helping out with pet grooming. Doris' job is to cuddle and comfort the animals.
Those are some well-pampered pets, tell you what.

Looking down from grandma's toward the funeral home.
I'm sure I'll be attending a service here far too soon.
When I was in kindergarten, the girl from this family was soooo cute!

Typical view from I-75 on the way U.P.:

Don't think less of me.

Side trip:

Talked to some nice folks in the viewing area.
They wanted to know if my CyclePort mesh gear was in case I fell from the overlook and if the area was safe!
I assured them it was.
Reminds me of the time that a guy asked me if I was going scuba diving.
That's right, he thought I was geared up for scuba diving.
I was in a parking lot at the time.
The questions I get.

That first view of Big Mac is always such a rush.

Off of 134 pulling into my buddy's place:

The driveway:

My boy Todd working on his fifth Manhattan when I got there.

Some random shots of the place and the goings on:

That's Macinac Island there off the left.

Looking west toward the Straits.

Looking east toward Les Chenaux.

Steve and Todd on the rock. I don't know what Al is doing ...

Hangin' out at the cabin. We had three pickers there that night.

Next morning - the first good day of weather up there in a while.

Loaded up and ready for the assault on Mt. Arvon.

Had a pastie (PASS-tee) with gravy some slaw, and a Vernor's.
That's a UP lunch, alright.
Sorry - no pix of the meal!
Good pasties at this place - lots of rutabega.

A shot from Munising.

SloNEZ screwed with this post 06-18-2008 at 02:41 PM
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:16 PM   #2
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 601

This shot was taken from the high school parking lot in Munising!
I think I should send them a resume :)

"Scenic Views"

Came across this place on 28.
Pretty cool.
The guy makes these sculptures and has a whole park set up.
I only took pix of a few, but he has dozens there!

This might be my new avatar:


I'm a sucker for historical markers.

Two fresh fish shops in Marquette.

Well, since I missed my turn, here are some more shots of Marquette.
Top of the hill:

Finally got to L'anse (Lahnce).

Found a local who pointed me in the right direction.
He said I'd eventually see some blue signs and come to a tavern where they would be able to tell me the rest of the way.
Here's the first sign I saw along Skanee.

Gotta' be getting close!

Here's the bar he told me about.

Ran into the usual smarta$$es inside. You know, "it's closed down," and "the road washed out."
Typical bar losers.
The cute bartender gave me the real skinny, though.

Looking back down on my way up.

Oooooh - could that be it?

A fellow traveler on his way to the top?
I was pretty sure I'd beat him there.

Going up.

And up.

And up.

And up.

Hmmm. I wanted to take the 'Strom this last little way.
The mosquitos were SO bad, though!
I just couldn't come to terms with the thought of wrestling that pig back out of the mud in the moist heat while being attacked by THRONGS of the little bloodsuckers. That mud was very slippery, and I was sure I'd drop the bike at least once.
I'll probably always regret not getting the bike that last 150 feet to the top.
Sweat dries and bites heal.
Oh well.

At the top.
For a while there, I was above everyone else in the state!
I felt like the king of the world - if the king is sweating buckets in full gear to ward off swarms of mosquitos.

Some "views" from the top.

You know, if I hadn't been so miserable at the time, I probably wouldn't have made this wisecrack in the BSA logbook!

You want my advice?
Don't sit on that bench if it's windy.

The USGS benchmark.

* NOTE: the next two pix got out of order somehow. If you're following along chronologically! *

I high-tailed it out of there - the biters were unbearable!
Stopped in this open gravel pit on the way down to get everything situated since I left in such a hurry.

On the way back down, I ran into my buddy again.
I don't know how he beat me back down from the top!
He must know a shortcut.
I wonder if mosquitos bother turtles?

Shots from the gravel pit.
Lots of slate.

Sections of the logging road are made from this slate.
It's sharp.
I was worried about getting a flat. That would not have been very nice in the heat, humidity, and bugs.
The Tourances shrugged off all those sharp edges, though.

Well, look who came by!
Nice folks.
They have 160 acres and a log cabin right up the side road from the gravel pit. I rode up to check it out.
If you like mosquitos.

I saw a HUGE deer on the path to their cabin ... I HATE deer!
It made me happy to think how much they must suffer from the skeeters.

The nice locals took a picture of some fat guy standing behind my bike.

Saw another couple of deer when I got back onto Skanee.
This one just ambled off the road and stood there looking at me.
It was all I could do to not shoot it.
You know, for the general good.
I hate deer.
I'm glad I ate part of one Friday night.

Some pix of the L'anse area.

Here's a profile of Mt. Arvon taken from Baraga (BEAR-uh-guh).

And another.

You know, that sheepskin helps a lot, but sometimes you just need some powder. I loaded up good for the ride back to Hessel.

Another profile.

I love historical markers!

Here's Bishop Baraga.
There is a shrine to him between L'anse and Baraga.
"The Snowshoe Priest."

Back atcha'!

Starting to get cold along Superior.

Then it got foggy.
Real foggy.
30 mph and hoping-for-the-best foggy.
Completely soaked and wet foggy.

SloNEZ screwed with this post 06-17-2008 at 05:00 PM
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
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Show me a picture of one......drove thru your area ten years ago and saw them advertised everywhere but never saw one....... i'm sure my doctor wouldn't let me eat one but I'd at least like to see one so I know what I'm missing.....Bruce
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:36 AM   #4
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Location: Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
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All you ADVrider's keep passin' thru Marquette, but nobody ever stops to say "hello"!
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:55 AM   #5
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Michigan's U.P. is one of the most under rated places to ride!! Thanks for the report and great pics
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:08 AM   #6
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Location: Deutschland
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Nice pics and report! I once lived in Escanaba and graduated in Manistique. Both cities are off US-2. Man if you ride through either place PLEASE take some pix! I havent seen that place in 15 years! I often miss the rural environment up there. Lake Michigan is beautiful!
Side note... I dated a girl from L'ance while I was in high school. She had the biggest fun bags I ever had! I'll never forget them! It was the first thing I thought of when I saw those pics of L'ance. Thanks much!
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:47 AM   #7
Joined: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by Roboter
Side note... I dated a girl from L'ance while I was in high school. She had the biggest fun bags I ever had! I'll never forget them! It was the first thing I thought of when I saw those pics of L'ance. Thanks much!
Hahaha... I'm 30 miles or so north of L'anse in Houghton, it's always easy to pick out the girls from down there
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Old 06-17-2008, 11:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by yooper_drz
All you ADVrider's keep passin' thru Marquette, but nobody ever stops to say "hello"!
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Old 06-17-2008, 04:27 PM   #9
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 601
Gettin' High in Michigan continued.


Like I mentioned, it was cold and foggy as I was riding back.
I toughed it out until I got back to Marquette, but I had to do something if I was gonna' make it the rest of the way.
I've never been so happy to see one of these:

I take back everything I've ever said about Walmart.

I met a guy named Trent in the parking lot.
He has a bike. He likes to ride, too.
He took a 100 mile round-trip tour to Houghton once.
Nice kid - I don't think he was all there, though.
Naturally, even in my cold, wet, tired, sore, and late condition, I let him talk about bikes with me for about fifteen minutes.
Nice kid.

Some flannel sleeping pants and a rainjacket.

And they had a McDonald's!
Fillet O' Fish combo, please

Thusly fortified against the cold and fog, I pressed on and finally straggled in to the cabin at 3:38 in the morning!
With all the deer, I just didn't dare ride very fast in the fog.
At least I made it.

I only had one REAL close call ... between Munising and Christmas.
Yes, Virginia, there really is a Christmas, Michigan.
A big doe and a yearling ran RIGHT out in front of me.
This, folks, is why we practice our panic stops.
I could've petted the yearling, I think - it was that close.

The only pic I took after the Wal*Mart stop was this one once I was back at the cabin:

Time for bed.

I had left one of my sidearms (.45 Glock) and about 100 rounds with Todd in case he wanted to do some shooting.
Evidently, this tree offended him somehow.

Here's the top:

Note to self: don't leave Todd alone with weapons anymore.

Loaded up Sunday for the ride home.

Met my buddy at the Driftwood in St. Ignace for lunch and a few games of pool. I had the fish tacos. Yummmmm.

Ran into these folks from my hometown of Traverse City!
Nice couple.
Yes, those are novelty helmets.
Worn under protest.
Yes, those pipes are loud.
He showed them off to me on the way out.

A close-up of the back of their bike.
I HAVE to get one of these bags

A shot of Big Mac from the viewing area in St. Ignace.


While taking some shots from here, my family called!
They left for Missouri on Jun 1.
I miss them all terribly, as you can imagine.
I'm so lonely!
It was nice to at least talk to my son and daughter on Father's Day.
Which reminded me: it was Father's Day!
Hmmmm ... wonder if there's any chance I could get over to my dad's in time for it to count as an official Father's Day visit.
I'd have to head straight home for that to happen, so back on the road!

Hmmmm ... I do have a step-dad that's closer. AND I would get to ride this awesome Antrim County road if I stopped by.
Bring it!

It's not all that long, just a few miles, but that is a fun road, y'all.

My mom and step-dad (Sandra and John).

My mom's self-proclaimed "best side!"

She was working on widening the beds around her plantings because they had started hiring the handicapped for yard work ... I guess they aren't very good with a mower and have been hitting some plants!

Some pix of their little house on a hill in Alden, Michigan.

My uncle Greg made this from stuff found in the yard.
He's no Tom, but it's pretty cool!

One of the freshly-widened beds:

Charming old house, I think.
Circa 1850 if the old railroad abstract is to be believed.
There is a picture in the Alden museum dated 1869 that shows the house and these two little twigs out front.
I assume that those twigs are now these:

I found some pennies from the '40s with my metal detector in this area, so I'm guessing these steps are about 60 years old.

You can just see the steps in between the trees there ... no longer usuable, of course.

Uh oh.
It's starting to rain. Lightning and thunder can be seen and heard in the distance. Guess I might as well stay for dinner.
The two able-bodies waited under the big maple while the handicapper got sent to the store.
Better hurry, John - it's raining!

Mom and I stayed dry under here.

It's actually quite dry and cozy under that huge and spreading maple.

Mom relaxing. Safe from the rain.

I shoulda' got a shot of that tree.
It's awesome.

The Wal*Mart rain jacket made a perfect tarp.
The hood covered the tank bag, and the rest covered my sheepskin and duffel bag!

I doesn't look like it, but it's raining really hard now.
Lots of lightning and thunder.
We moved from the tree to the porch.

Check out John's new Adventure Walker Chair - complete with under seat storage compartment.
Sixty-five bucks at Sam's Club.
Hmmm ... seems like a theme is developing.

Dinner's ready!
Pork chops baked with mushroom soup and a delicious salad with olive oil.
You want to know the secret to a good salad?

For desert: A slab of home-made coconut cream pie!

A parting pic of my mom and her sorry excuse of a son.
She did the best she could with me.

Rain's done.
Back on the road.
A shot from Rapid City.

A view of the sun setting over Lake Skegamog:

What a beautiful area.
Why did I ever leave again?

One last stop to make.

Miracle of miracles, he was still up watching the Lakers game.
Turns out they had bought some nice T-bones hoping I'd show up for Father's Day. Hope springs eternal, even for parents with a dead-beat kid like me.
It was toooo late for steaks, so they made me a hot fudge sundae.
Why does everyone always feed me?
I'm trying to lose weight, dammit!

You wanna' know the secret to a good hot fudge sundae?

Finally home.
Got back to three days of newspapers, two days of mail, and a consternated kitty!

It took about thirty minutes of scritching, petting, snuggling, purring, kneading, and drooling before he would leave me alone.

Good thing I don't have to get up until 5:45 AM!

1169.8 miles since Friday afternoon, visited some friends and family, and made it home by midnight.
Can't beat that.

For the record, I went over Monday for a belated Father's Day visit and had a couple beers with the old man.
Oh, yeah ... and the T-bones.

Who says you can't have it all?



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Old 06-18-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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Location: New Philadelphia, Ohio
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Nice, Craig. We just did a 1000 mile run through da UP this past week, hit some of the same spots!
"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 06-18-2008, 04:22 PM   #11
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Great ride!! Thanks for the detailed report and pics.
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