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Old 06-01-2011, 09:24 PM   #1
EastOfGratiot OP
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Cut off MI thumb – subtle surprises abound

I took a relaxed Memorial holiday weekend ride around the “thumb” portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This was my first distance ride on my recently purchased 2009 DR650. My plan was to ride mostly 2-lane paved roads taking plenty of time to stop and check out places along the Lake Huron shoreline. I figured I’d look for a few dirt trails along the way to try out my off-road skills for the first time since this is the first dirt-capable bike I’ve ridden since trying out my friends’ Kawasaki KD? 100 when I was about 11 years old.
I’ve lived in Michigan for over 25 years but have for the most part ignored this part of the state. I figured this would be an easy weekend ride and would give me the chance to check out some of the scenery and to snap some nice photos at a casual pace.
Some discoveries:
- Seats that feel fine for 30 minutes can make you squirm after an hour
- Old-tech engines CAN deliver good MPG
- Moody skies make can be great photo opportunities
- A TON of people fish in Michigan
- Pack not, want not – 3-days without a computer!
- Mud is difficult
- Sand Road was well named
TRAVELLING LIGHT:
A Kreiga backpack and saddle pack was enough for my clothing and camera gear which included Nikon film and digital bodies and three manual focus prime lenses. I also took a compact tripod which I didn’t really need. I stayed in hotels in Port Austin and Bay City.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:28 PM   #2
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:30 PM   #3
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Day One:
Port Huron:
I left home in light rain conditions but things dried out by the time I was to Port Huron. My cheapo rain gear worked perfectly. I stopped in Saint Clair, Marysville then Port Huron to take some photos before stopping for lunch.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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Spartandude screwed with this post 06-02-2011 at 07:33 AM
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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That's a great ride, did the you pee last summer myself, etc., and came down state a bit too. Love Michigan.

What device or software is tracking you on this ride?

go Nikon!
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:12 AM   #6
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I have a Garmin 60csx with CityNavNT installed. My route-making skills need improvement. The 60csx was bothersome when I detoured from my planned route.
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:53 PM   #7
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Under the Blue Water Bridge...

A tree on the beach - Port huron, MI

I stopped for gas and calculated my mileage - 62 MPG. I had lunch at a very nice place - Bistro 1885?? It was near the base of the bridge and was an old building sitting on a lonely street with no other buildings nearby. The northern part of Port Huron was pretty vacant. The Feast of Sait Clair was happening in another park and seemed to be drawing the whole city there instead. I'd fallen behind schedule by 1 1/2 hours so I started North again after taking this shot.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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The lighthouse at Harbor Beach, MI, This port was kind of quiet but had hoards of seaguls.



One of the few remaining grindstones left abandoned on the beach in Grindstone City, MI.

The city was home to the nation's highest quality natural grindstones from about 1830-1930 then someone discovered a man-made compound that was less expensive. The Grindstone City company went out of business and left their huge inventory along the shoreline creating a fantastic sight in the 1940's and 1950's. Since then almost all the stoned have been taken, usually ending up at the corners of everyone's driveways as decorations. They weigh 2000-8000 pounds each!

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Old 06-05-2011, 09:18 PM   #9
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a place for the night - day one... actually I stayed at a motel next door in Port Austin, MI. This town is well situated for sunsets and sunrises in the Summer months.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:20 PM   #10
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Somewhere before I arrived in Port Austin I found this dirt road that led to the lake.

Finally a bit of sunshine before the day ended.


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Old 06-06-2011, 09:36 AM   #11
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Nice report. I did the same ride two years ago. I remember staying at hte Beachcomber as a kid in the 60s. I am going to take my DR650 to East Tawas this year and ride some in the Nat Forest.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:40 PM   #12
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My wife and I were up in Caseville this weekend. I love the ride along M-25. And yes, Sand Rd is named appropriately. I see in your route you missed the wind farm in Ubly. If you get a chance, head up there and have a look. Those things are quite a feat of engineering, regardless how you feel about the viability of wind power, you can' help but be amazed at those turbines. Some are only 500 ft from the road along Atwater Road.

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Old 06-06-2011, 06:50 PM   #13
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Thanks Mike and Jmanz. I wasn't too familiar with the area and I didn't even know about the wind turbines. I'll have to go back sometime to check them out.

When I planned my trip I thought about going up to East Tawas and trying out some trails. I'm not ready to tackle any single-tracks but I saw that there were some decent wider trails around there too.

The next morning - DAY 2 sunrise shots in Port Austin:






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Old 06-07-2011, 08:57 PM   #14
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Sand Rd. Well what do you know? Sand road was properly named. It was just sandy enough to be squirrely (sp?) I was hesitant to get out of first gear during my shot trek up Sand Road. I stopped to take a few photos and turned around.





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Old 06-07-2011, 09:02 PM   #15
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Great pictures! Thanks for sharing your ride.
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