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Old 08-15-2011, 12:36 PM   #31
MeanStreaker OP
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Meet Sam.

I took off my helmet and declared, “Thank goodness you’re out here. I don’t think I could’ve made it another mile without a cold drink. You saved us!”

She smiled.

I told DryFire my wallet was in the tank bag. He bought that... then bought me an iced tea.

This industrious young lady was selling her wares to raise money for a slide at her church. We were very happy to help her along.

Her grandparents were curious about our trip. We were curious (and more than a little jealous) about them living in the middle of nowhere. We shared our plans and started asking about road conditions and such. They told us how a mine was being developed a few miles up the road. At least four times a day, someone drives along and waters it so the heavy equipment wouldn’t kick up a huge amount of dust all the time.

Ah, that makes sense. Probably a good neighborly PR move for the mining folks.

They said we’ll continue on a bit, then there’s a turn off for the mine and the road gets worse after that, since they don’t water it that way.

“What do you think of the mine going in?”


“Well, a lot of folks are upset and trying to shut it down. They’re concerned about the environmental factors, with run-off and such. Of course, almost all the people protesting don’t live anywhere near here...

It’s bringing much needed jobs to the area. A lot of folks have been out of work a long time...

They built a huge state-of-the-art filter to catch run-off when every truck and machine is washed before leaving the area... We care about the environment, but with as much heat that’s on that mine, they’ve got to be on the up and up.”


”I imagine they probably know what they’re doing by now, huh?”


“Yeah, we try not to get too political about it. I’ll tell you this though. This is the best condition the road has been in in years!!!... Besides, how else will Sam get money for her slide?”

As we were talking, some heavy rigs came through and stopped. They were obviously regulars.





“How’s it going, Bill?”

“Doin’ alright. This round's on me boys. Tell Sammi what you want.”

“See you tomorrow?”

“Nah, I’m off til next week. We’ll catch you then.”



After chatting it up for awhile, DryFire looks down the driveway and says, “Looks like you have quite a garden down there.”

“Sure do. Been here awhile and got it about where we want it. But we’re thinking of selling to buy an RV and do some traveling while we still can.”

“Well Mike and his wife have been looking for a piece of land. Just not up this far north.”

Grandma mentions she has a nice map back at the house of the local roads she wants to give us.

“You boys want a tour of the place?”

“Of COURSE we do!”
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:48 PM   #32
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Especially with the little one on the way, Mrs. MeanStreaker and I are looking in the next year to get a little piece of property outside town. We’d love a little stream for the boy to splash around in, or a pond stocked with fish, enough room for a bigger garden than we currently have, 10-20 acres of hardwood for plenty of campfires and partial (or emergency) heating. Plus hopefully a little single track suitable for a small dirtbike, a small shooting range, and a few other necessities. We've been planning for awhile and it's almost ours.


Walking back to Sammi’s Grandpa’s house.... I was blown away.


“How long ya been here?”

“Oh, about 25 years. Been retired almost that from GM.”



“How many acres do you have?”

“Over 30 including the house. There’s a few hundred acres that way (he points right) belonging to folks that have a small camp they’re at sometimes. There’s about a thousand acres that way (he points behind us) before you hit the next property line. And you gotta go a long way that way (he points left) before you hit anything...

Come on up the deck and check out the view. It’s real pretty in autumn.”








“Not too long ago we had a small bear walking just below the deck. I watched him for awhile and then made a noise when he was coming near the stairs. He got scared and skidded most of the way down to the river where we heard him splashing away for awhile...

Another time we had a big ol’ bear come up into the back yard. He got interested in the BBQ grill. He came right up to it, sniffed around, then stood up tall on his hind legs and whacked it over. He got some charcoal and carefully licked it... Didn’t like it I guess...

Come on inside and I’ll show you some bear.”


“No Sir, we’re pretty dirty and don’t want to get dust in your house.”


“Oh, ya won’t hurt nothing.”



Their two-story log house (not counting full basement) was beautiful and immaculate. He said he built most of it himself with help but had to pay someone to do the roofing. I was trying to be somewhat discreet with the camera, so some pics are blurry:








”That’s a beautiful wood stove. So what are winters like for you?”

(Long pause while he looks sideways at me.)

“Pretty wintery.”












He finds the map his wife generously wants to give us and we walk back outside.

Here’s the large garage and workshop with a solar setup and wind generator on the roof you can’t really see. All goes to a large battery bank.




In talking later, neither of us saw any power lines going anywhere, and this homestead is definitely far out there, so even though the solar array doesn’t look that big, we have to assume they’re completely off the grid.

With jealousy increasing, we start to head back towards Sammi’s storefront, passing the 6’ fence enclosed garden (probably a full acre?) housing veggies and fruit and nut trees.




We talk a little more about life and watch Sam play some game she invented where she hits golf bars in, around, and out Grandpa’s tractor bucket. I guess out here you have to be pretty creative in entertaining yourself.




It’s starting to get late in the afternoon and we’ve been visiting for a couple hours, so we finally ask how far to Baraga, our backup plan. They tell us even by the main road it’s quite a-ways. So considering we’re following UPAT and losing sunlight, we start thinking about other options for camp.

We’re debating on just heading out and cowboy camping wherever we end up at dusk, and Grandma talks about how nice a little campground is on a large interior lake in Big Bay. She draws it out on the map for us.




Seeing the campground is on Cannon’s mapset, it’s in the direction we need to go, and we had a late night last night trying to find somewhere to pitch... we decide that’s our plan.

We exchange contact information, thank them for the nice visit and tour, and start strapping on gear.

So if anyone is interested in a well set up, remote UP retreat, PM me and I’ll put you in touch with Sammi’s grandparents. Incredibly nice folks.




Before we left, Sammi got an Ohio ADV sticker.




I love traveling by motorcycle for the solidarity while inside my own helmet. But more than that, I love meeting and getting to know people who live differently than I do. Not sure why, but being on two wheels seems to make conversations with those folks flow a little easier.



We ride off with a honk of the horn, waving, and continue west towards Big Bay.


It feels good to be back on the bike.

I can picture my own little homestead someday.

And I hope Sammi gets that new slide.
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:52 PM   #33
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Sooweeet!
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:24 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Jettn Jim View Post
Sooweeet!

Thanks Jim. I appreciate you reading along.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:29 AM   #35
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An hour or two after leaving Sammi’s booming business, we arrive at the highly recommended Perkins Park, pay the $16 campsite fee to the nice ladies at the registration hut, and make our way to our waterfront digs.




With camp set up and a quick look around,














The decision is made to ride a few miles around the bustling metropolis of Big Bay in search of food.

That plan also didn’t go so well and the only restaurant (attached to the General Store, right across from the campground entrance) is already closed for the night. It's about 7:00PM, not sure when they close their doors. No big deal. At least we now know where we’re eating breakfast in the morning.

We could’ve fired up the camp stove and had some Mountain House or something, but I wasn’t that hungry and DryFire didn’t feel like setting up the gear either. Even though we hadn’t eaten much throughout the whole day, the BBQ feast at lunch must have done its job.

We enter the General Store, DryFire picks out a sandwich and Gatorade, and I make my selections.

After scooting back to the campsite, we enjoy dinner with good company, good conversation, and a great view.

Here's my supper:




Tim devours his sandwich and heads to the pay showerhouse.

Halfway through my “meal”, I actually start enjoying the “All Ozzie, All the Time” type radio station
blaring from the campsite on the other end of the lane.

I crack open my second PBR, set aside a quarter for my own shower a little later on, and start singing along with Axl Rose while looking out over the water.

UPAT Day 2: Un-frickin-believable.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:15 AM   #36
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So far

Mr. Streaker-

So far so good. As Jon B said our plan is to ride this same trail. Now that he has a GPS that is. I, however, still need a bike. Right now the choices are narrowed down to a Yam WR250R or some variation of a DRZ-400. I am thinking "E" for the lighter weight.

The pictures are great, keep them coming.

Edit, I would have gone the same route for supper!
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:45 AM   #37
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People in the UP

Thank you for the RR

I have found the people in the UP to be some of the best people in this great state of Michigan.

I am in for this one.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:29 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robt272 View Post
Thank you for the RR
Thank you for reading. I forgot how much work it is to rename, resize, move around, upload, etc all the pics. It's nice to know people are following along.



Quote:
I have found the people in the UP to be some of the best people in this great state of Michigan.

I am in for this one.
I can definitely see that. Everyone was interested in our Loop. Everyone also insisted on giving us directions and information, even when we told them we didn't want the fastest way to _______, we were following dirt trails laid out in the GPS.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:55 AM   #39
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Fantastic

Fun thread - looking forward to the next set of adventures!
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:10 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSG B View Post
Mr. Streaker-

So far so good. As Jon B said our plan is to ride this same trail. Now that he has a GPS that is. I, however, still need a bike. Right now the choices are narrowed down to a Yam WR250R or some variation of a DRZ-400.
Those seem to be at the top of a lot of lists, don't they? I'll admit I'm lusting after a WR250R myself to see how much more fun the technical stuff is we went through on the UPAT.

Good luck and I'm sure you guys will have a lot of fun!
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:19 AM   #41
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Day 3 - July 28, 2011 - Big Bay, MI to Copper Harbor, MI




Good morning!




After a semi-full day of riding, two PBRs (go back and count them again, wifey ), and a hot shower, I was in the sleeping bag by 9:30PM, enjoying the cool breeze off the lake, and sleeping like a baby through the whole night. Man that felt good.

Our third day's sunrise was beautiful.






Camp was broken down quickly and we hit up the small restaurant right outside the grounds soon after it opened.




Since we had just showered, I thought it safe to sit as close to the locals as possible to hear the news of the day.

Talk of logging, the new mine, this and that, kept us entertained during breakfast.

(“Hey Tim, smile like I’m taking your picture so these guys won’t try to pummel us for obviously taking theirs.”)








We were clearly outsiders and at first the waitress came off a little cold, but after sprinkling in a few “Ma’am”s and asking her some questions, she warmed right up and talked for awhile about the area and folks. We left her an Ohio ADV sticker on top of her tip. What a nice lady.

After fueling up (only stomachs - no gasoline there), we were looking forward to finally getting into the Keweenaw (again, KEE-win-ah) Peninsula today. Pretty much every person we’d encountered, after learning of the Loop asked, “Are you going all the way up to Copper Harbor? It’s beautiful!”

Are we? ARE WE?!? You BETCHA!!!


To get there? UPAT Excellence. Rinse. Repeat.
















Still some sand up this way, but not near what it was in the northeastern section of the UP. At least not yet.




It was nice being under some canopy cover because we knew the ground was almost always firmer, and sometimes still damp. That made for more relaxed riding since you didn’t have to be so diligent looking for the next deep sand bog that will swallow your front wheel.

But sometimes things got really wet.

To be safe, we stopped and investigated this guy :





Doesn’t look too bad, but neither of us wanted to drop our heavy bikes in that quagmire and wade through to get them out.

DryFire took the lead and charted evasive maneuvers. Probably the smart course.






He fought his way through in a couple minutes, successfully over some good sized rocks and other debris, and made it out the other side.

I had dismounted and watched him, and it looked like a lot of work. I’m lazy!

So I started to walk through the left side of the bog looking for terra firma. About four steps in, my boots sank pretty deep. If I had looser footwear on, I definitely would’ve lost it as it took some force to overcome the mucky suckage to walk back out.

I handed over the camera, then probed around with a big stick (that’s what she said). The middle was pretty deep and felt real squirrely, but the right side wasn’t too bad, at least in comparison.

Once again, it was time to Nut Up or Shut Up. At least this time I could involve a little more Nuttage than I used during the deep sand crossing.






Two thirds of the way through I felt the back end sliding and getting bogged down, so I ripped the throttle and made my way out kicking up mud. Maybe not much to many of you, but I chalked this up as an obstacle overcome.

As a slight tangent, I wish I had more pictures of the trip's fun challenges. In reviewing all the pics, they don’t do the UPAT justice. As we all know, it’s difficult to stop in the middle and capture the steep incline full of large jutted rocks, or the seriously deep whooped railroad bed. I repeated “Time to Nut Up or Shut Up” plenty of times in my head and wish I had more on record to match it up. Oh well.

Onward and upward.








We would find the next couple days taking us over even more little bridges next to littler streams. Each and every spot was perfectly idyllic.






There were also small and shallow (I’m assuming) lakes at just about every break in the forest. DryFire and I kept hoping for a glimpse of a bear (from a distance!) or moose at one of these spots, but it wasn’t to be.

Plenty of deer everywhere though, as captured in the center of the next pic if you look closely:








We saw signs of logging throughout every part of the UP, but this is the first live activity we witnessed:






Impressive machines. We waited a short time as the operator clawed a path. When he waved us through, it was a little hairy riding over all the debris. There are some good sized chunks of wood strewn about, sometimes hidden from sawdust or branches and leaves.

Funny thing, my wife was worried about me taking this trip. I think her pregnant hormones helped in imagining all the different ways she could be stuck as a widowed single mother.

Bear maulings, Moose stompings, Cliff drive-offs....

I wonder if she ever envisioned me hitting an eight inch diameter log and careening off into a 5 foot diameter spinning death-saw!
Hey, if you gotta go, there are probably worse ways.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #42
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Cool2 sorry for the high jack

June 4th

Know kids and know wife.

Rode up to Grand Marais. 660 something miles later after finding a bridge out on 123 just south of Tahquamenon.
Next morning I depart with temps in the mid 60f and drop as I travel south. who new.

After some time I cant feel my fingers and pull over to pull out the gerbing liner.

( 30 mile from the bridge).

Stopped on the side of the road and every car that past stop to ask if i was ok. WT-hell

A very nice old lady ask if I would like coffee.

I told her know thank you and you are so very kind. But this is getting warm very fast. I then gave her a 101 on the liner after she said What is a gerbing heated liner.

I love the UP I need to go for a ride.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #43
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Another small bridge.




By chance we stopped here to de-hydrate. Without ear plugs, the sound of rushing water made us drop down below to investigate.





Walk a little ways and you won't be disappointed.















An absolutely perfect spot.












One section closer to the bridge had a good sized vein of quartz running through it.






We both collected a couple interesting looking rocks for the wives. One piece (slate?) DryFire tried to break off ended up slicing him pretty deep for his efforts.

Nothing a BandAid and some tape couldn’t fix once we were back at the bikes.




We suited up, took a last look around, and motored on.






Sometime after the waterfall, we hit a particularly rocky stretch. I’m talking bone-jarring, filling-rattling, headache-inducing rough. The rocks were big enough you couldn’t just throttle over and avoid the impact (at least not on KLR650s). This is near the end when it was calming down:




After we got finished with that rocky run, I went to grab my front brake lever and there was nothing there! One of the housing bolts was lost and the lever had rotated down below the grip. DryFire pulls up laughing and asks, “You lose anything over that stretch?”

Haha. Yes. Yes I did.



The other bolt was loose too, so we loctited it down and made a field expedient fix that worked perfectly the rest of the trip, even though we went over some sections that were maybe rougher than that! In fact, it’s still on there going strong.




After that excitement it was smooth riding into L’Anse, MI for lunch at the Hilltop Restaurant.






Pretty much every meal to this point had either been fried and/or smothered in syrup, gravy, or BBQ sauce... so we both ordered the soup and salad bar to try and balance things out a little.




They're serious about their rolls there. Look at that thing! It's about as big as my head!

However, I was told the Hilltop Restaurant is most famous for their Sweet Cinnamon Buns. Probably my biggest regret of the trip is not finding room for a few of these.

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Old 08-17-2011, 03:35 PM   #44
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Good stuff guys

Sure is funny how easy it is to take the good old yoop for granted i see it every day. Every once and a while i catch myself going a little too fast though some trails and i have to remember what my dad always said to us,"just slow down and look around".

And on another note maybe you should let some of us know how the baby is doing. I have a three month old sitting in front of me now
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:14 PM   #45
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Looks like a great trip!..are you going to buy that property...
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