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Old 05-29-2009, 04:57 PM   #1
VetMXR OP
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Virgin Solo Ride: 5 Days and 1100 miles on the Michigan MCCCT / GLDS LP Expedition Ro

Virgin Solo Ride: 5 Days and 1100 miles on the Michigan MCCCT / GLDS LP Expedition Route

As the title states, this run was my first extended solo ride in the dirt. I wanted to use the opportunity to test out my bike and gear selection for the upcoming CannonTrek V run that is scheduled for next month. All went well with the ride with only a couple of minor issues.

I packed all of the normal stuff; spare tubes, front brake and clutch lever, spare shifter, tools, spare master links, tent, air mat, sleeping bag, tire repair kit, tire irons, spare bolts and nuts, etc., etc. I brought along a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, couple pair of undershorts and three pairs of socks, and two 30 oz. MSR fuel bottles topped off with Premium (just in case). I also brought along about a dozen Power Bars (which ended up being 9 too many). I carried a Camelback with 100ml of water as well. Oh yeah, and a new clutch cable, just in case.

My riding gear consisted of my Rocky Mountain A.R.C. foul weather jacket and pants, Pearl Izumi Thermal-fleece long pants, one short sleeve quick-dry t-shirt and one long sleeve compression shirt for those cool days, KBC helmet, Scott goggles, Oxtar TCX Pro mx boots, motocross gloves and a pair of waterproof riding gloves.

The outer gear was sprayed down good with Permanone spray for ticks/bugs, and then thoroughly soaked down with water repellant a few days before the ride.

Okay, the rules of the ride this go around was to do it on the cheap. The "boss" indicated that I could ride all that I wanted just as long as I didn't spend any money. This would be challenge number 1. The gameplan was to munch on powerbars as much as possible and see how far could get. Also, no hotels, I would be tenting it the whole way.

Day 1 consisted of the ride from home to White Cloud, MI for the start of the MCCCT. My plan was to blend both the MCCCT and the GLDS Lower Peninsula Expedition routes so that I could ride more of the MCCCT and at the same time reduce some of the mileage associated with the GLDS LP Expedition route.

Packed and ready to go.



I created a route on MapSource that would take me to White Cloud using as many dirt roads as possible. The route worked out great, it was a fun ride. My first gas stop was in Fowlerville, then St. Johns, Stanton and finally White Cloud. I grabbed a campsite at the campground located in White Cloud.


Okay, made it to the campsite on day 1 okay. One powerbar was consumed at one of the gas stops today, and I get to eat one more here at the campsite for dinner. Yum, yum.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #2
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Day 2 would start at the MCCCT starting area on M-20 just east of White Cloud. I ran the MCCT up to 13 mile / Cleveland road, and then detoured over to Bitely for fuel. I then headed north out of Bitely on the GLDS EXMLP1 track and reconnected with the MCCCT over to the Big-O trail system. I ran the MCCCT up to M-10, and then made a run over to Walhalla for fuel stop #2.











I jumped on the GLDS EXMLP route again leaving out of Walhalla all the way to Garletts Corner for fuel stop #3. I cheated here a bit, they were cooking shrimp and crab balls here at this gas stop. After the breakfast power bar back in Bitely, the smell of the fried shrimp was too good to pass up. Too bad that they didn't taste as good as they smelled.




You have to pay attention in areas and not daydream too much. I ran up on this corner which had an unexpected drop down to the water of about 30 feet. There would be no getting your bike back out of there if you went off the edge.





There were a few water holes in this section; the first one was passable…



but the next one required a re-route.


Another gas stop.


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VetMXR screwed with this post 06-20-2009 at 06:43 PM
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:27 PM   #3
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The run from GC to Mesick was entertaining to say the least. Not that the trail wasn’t fun, I just could not enjoy it. Just after entering the trail, I started running into these green and black worms hanging from the trees by silk threads. Not knowing exactly what they were, I would pull over and brush them off after a few had piled on. But after a while, they grew exponentially in numbers to where there were literally millions of them hanging from the trees. In sections they would group up to form huge webs containing what looked like hundreds of worms. You would bust through the web, dumping all those worms down on top of you. It was not a fun experience. And you could not avoid them, even once you exited onto a road section, as they were everywhere. I was stopping every mile or so to try to get them off me, as they beginning to get into helmet, down on my neck, everywhere. But I kept going, plowing through until I was encased in a cocoon of silk as I rolled into the gas stop in Mesick. I’ve never experience anything quite like this before.





The odd part of all this is that they were only thick like this through the section from GC to Mesick. Once I refueled in Mesick and headed back north, there were none. I guess I’ll have to look up just exactly what they were; I assume that I was interrupting some strange mating ritual for the worms.

Anyway, headed out of Mesick and settled into a campsite in Fife Lake for the night. Dinner? You guessed it, another power bar and water.


I guess I should mention my experience at Spring Lake Campground. I pulled in to the campground and it appeared to be empty. It has a self-check in section which instructed me to pick a site, fill out the envelope, insert my $15 and deposit it in the lockbox. I drove up through the campground to discover only one young couple camping down by the lake. I thought for a moment about grabbing a site next to them, but decided to leave them to their privacy and grabbed a spot about 50 yards up the hill from them by the bathrooms.

At about 11:00 pm that night, I heard a caravan of vehicles roll into the campground. The vehicles drove past me, and down to the site where the young couple were staying. About 5 minutes later, the boom box started cranking. Party time at Spring Lake. Great.

At 4:33 am, the music finally stopped.

On the morning of day 3 I notice that I had lost one of the rear rack / seat bolts. I eventually figured out that the weight of the pack on the rack was causing the bolts to loosen up fairly severely between each gas stop. I found a hardware store in Fife Lake where I found a replacement and then a few spares. After loosing a few more bolts, I figured out that I needed to put some tape over the wholes in order to keep the bolts from falling out. This is something I need to fix before the CT-V run.






I caught the MCCCT again just west of Fife Lake and followed it up through the Kalkaska and the Leetsville trail. Somewhere along the Leetville trail I ran through a tight section of trail that consisted of some huge sandy whoops. When I got to the end of the section I looked back and noticed my rear license plate and mount was gone. I tried retracing the route, but could not find the plate. Bummer.

I continued on and followed the MCCT up to Starvation Lake for my first gas stop of the day.



Oops, almost missed this sign. You can see my tire tracks where I turned around. I eventually found the right trail just to the other side of the tree line.




When I hit M-131 I jumped off the MCCCT and took the GLDS route up through Jordon River. I rode past this fish hatchery.



The trail re-joined with the MCCCT for a while and ran me through the Chandler Hill area. I found this section to be extremely fun, running up and down some fairly nice size hills and in some good dirt for a change. I branched off and ran a few trails in the area just playing for a bit, then split off again and headed up to Clarion which is just north of Boyne Falls. Clarion was my next gas stop.




Out of Clarion you start to run into the Tomahawk trail system. This was another extremely fun area to ride, as it has some really good technical sections in it. I played a bit in here as well, jumping off and riding a few sections before heading on up into Indian River.
I grabbed a campsite at Burt Lake State Park for the night, which had showers available. I took a nice hot shower and put some clean clothes on for the evening. Pulled out my power bar dinner, looked at it, then said to myself, "F... this. I ordered a BBQ chicken pizza from BC’s along with a 2 liter bottle of pop. Good stuff.




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VetMXR screwed with this post 06-20-2009 at 06:53 PM
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:54 PM   #4
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Before I left the campsite on Day 4, I needed to try to repack my stuff in order to get some of the weight off the rear rack. I reorganized my Sealline bag to tighten up the package, and carried my back pack instead of strapping it to the rack. It meant more weight up on my shoulders, but hopefully it would alleviate some of the stress on the rack.

Breakfast of Champions: Assorted nuts and a discounted Power Bar.




Day 4 was my best day. I knew I was a bit behind schedule, so I decided to pick up the pace and start to run her hard for a change. I thought about cutting some of the mileage down by running the MCCCT out of Indian River, but decided to follow the entire GLDS route today up around Black Lake and down through Atlanta and Mio. Rose City was the goal, wasn’t sure I could make it but was going to give it a shot.

I’m extremely glad I didn’t skip this route, as it was a blast to ride.






I saw a bunch of turkeys up in this area. At one point I ran up on a large group of them, and they took off running in the same direction I was traveling. I was moving alone at a good clip, and a few of them took flight right in front of me. Two were right off on my left side, flying just over my handlebar height right in front of me. I picked up the pace slightly to pull up closer to them, thinking that I could almost touch the closest one. Then the bastard crapped all over me. No joke.





Now this section looked familiar. I had seen this one in CannonTrek’s ride report. I also remember that Marcus had decided to take a swim in the right path, and the Jeramy of VVMapping had recommended the left side. Guess what? He was correct!







I ran across this graveyard out in the middle of nowhere. Dave Green and is wife Ida.








Then came the sand freeways. If anyone wants to learn how to ride sand, head up to this section. The key to riding sand? Ride fast. I made great time through here; top speed of the day was recorded on these roads, 76.3 mph. Just watch out for the deer. And the damn turkeys.




I stopped to snap of shot of the truck route…




…and was almost eaten alive by these vicious guard dogs.



More pics from the route.






I believe this was down around the north side of Atlanta. There were a number of these logging operations in place through this area.




A few more pics…





Not sure what these are for, but it appears to have some sort of solar panel attached to it.





Sign posts. Just past this point there was a guy that had a bunch of Pontiac Fiero’s in his yard. I’ll know where to get parts now if I ever need parts for one.



Odd trees through this section. They appear to be dead except for the tops. It was a nice ride through this section.





Another gas stop.




More sand freeways…




This bridge was out and required a re-route.





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Old 05-29-2009, 06:07 PM   #5
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This was a fun trail.




Nice signage out on the trail.





I was making great time. Not only did I make it to Rose City, I had plenty of daylight left so I kept heading south. I was getting tired though, so when I hit the Saint Helen Trail, I jumped off the GLDS route and headed on into town for fuel. I was tempted to stay at the campground there in St. Helen, but they didn’t have a shower available. The clerk at the gas station directed me over to Artesia Beach, so I jumped back on the bike and headed that direction.

When I arrived at Artesia Beach Campground, they were full and had no room for my little tent (believe it or not). The lady there told me to go to Houghton Lake. It was getting late, so I jump on M-55 and rode over to old 27 to the campground. Grabbed a spot for the night, took a nice hot shower then strolled across the street for a nice sit down dinner.

Mileage for the day…





Day 5 was going to be another long one. I really needed to get back to White Cloud, but didn’t think I would make it that far. I would just have to do the best I could to get as far as possible.

During my pre-ride inspection, I found the bolts to the rack loose again. In my over-zealous attempt at ensuring that they would last a bit longer this time before needed to be re-tightened, I snapped one of them off. Crap.

I was tired, sore, and now pissed at myself. Instead of heading north out of the campground and connecting with the GLDS route and MCCCT Cross-state connector, I turn south and headed for home. I headed down Old 27, connected with the GLDS route over to M-18, then headed south until I caught my original route from home to White Cloud just east of St. Johns.



It was a great trip though, and I enjoyed it tremendously. I learned a few things about my setup that I can now correct before the CT-V run. I must commend the guys that put the GLDS route together on a job well done, as it just amazes me how they even found some of the trails that they directed you down.

Michigan is a beautiful state in the spring time. I discovered areas that I never would have found if I hadn’t taken this ride. I also ride a road bike, and may make a few runs with it up to a few of these areas someday.





VetMXR
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VetMXR screwed with this post 06-20-2009 at 06:55 PM
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:25 PM   #6
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Nice report Dan I may get a layoff this summer your report will help me to plan my LP exp MI
thanks for the report

Jim
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
I saw a bunch of turkeys up in this area. At one point I ran up on a large group of them, and they took off running in the same direction I was traveling. I was moving alone at a good clip, and a few of them took flight right in front of me. Two were right off on my left side, flying just over my handlebar height right in front of me. I picked up the pace slightly to pull up closer to them, thinking that I could almost touch the closest one. Then the bastard crapped all over me. No joke.
Now that's funny.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:58 PM   #8
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excellent report. clarion is 8 miles from my house.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:00 PM   #9
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[quote=VetMXR]
Breakfast of Champions: Assorted nuts and a discounted Power Bar.


[/quote=VetMXR]

They always discount them after 14 years. It's a grandfather clause. Or sumpin.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetMXR
I saw a bunch of turkeys up in this area. At one point I ran up on a large group of them, and they took off running in the same direction I was traveling. I was moving alone at a good clip, and a few of them took flight right in front of me. Two were right off on my left side, flying just over my handlebar height right in front of me. I picked up the pace slightly to pull up closer to them, thinking that I could almost touch the closest one. Then the bastard crapped all over me. No joke.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetMXR





I always wanted to live on an island. I think I could afford this one.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by VetMXR
I was tired, sore, and now pissed at myself. VetMXR
We all say that coming. Nice trip!
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:19 PM   #13
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looks like a truely challenging route.. and you appear to have had some nice weather..

What was your fuel range with the CRF?


Did you use stock gearing?


How much did all your supplies/luggage weigh that was strapped to the rear rack?


Is premium fuel required for your CRF?
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:00 AM   #14
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Tent worms!

When the sun is setting you can just barely see the suckers as you're flying down the trail. Makes a fun slalom.

Great report, I should head down there and do that.
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:57 AM   #15
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Great fun

It's a great travel, nice pics.
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