Pictured Rocks, Dirt Roads, and Paved Memories

Friday, June 2, 2006

The morning started out with my eye on the prize. The bridge. I have heard about the horrors of crossing this menace that joins lower and upper Michigan. After fueling up, I hopped upon my steed, and grabbed my joust to slay this dragon. I remembered the advice I had been given, stay right, off of the grating, and you will be fine. I was able to do that until those familiar orange signs popped up once again on my trail. Right where the concrete ended, I had to merge left, on to the grating, and cross the bridge on the surface I was warned about. I lowered my lance, and my speed, and crossed without a problem.

The drive north and west through the U.P. was a casual and enjoyable drive. As I expected, I drove little, stopped and took pictures, then drove a little more. I was only two turns from Grand Marias, a fuel stop, and the last town before Pictured Rocks National Park. On the second turn, I was approaching another world. The road disappeared into a gray thick blanket. The air grew colder. I had yet another demon to slay today. A familiar one, the temperature.

In my limited travels, I think I have seen about everything, but I had never seen a gas station that was so antiquated, that the price would not go above 1.99? This station had the pumps set up for half price, then doubled that to charge you the correct amount. I don't think the pumps that were around when I started to drive were this old?

Visiting the National Park would prove to be a challenge also. Apparently, the road through the park was not only not paved the entire way, but was also so under construction, that is was not open all the way through. I could have detoured on "Truck Trails", but the National Park Ranger doesn't take her vehicle on those roads! She did however, provide me with a great route, and the right places to see. Like Miner's Castle below:

As I was riding along Lake Superior, I realized that I have ridden along the watery borders of the United States. Here is my review:
By far, the West Coast, riding along the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to Monterey is the most beautiful, and enjoyable coastal ride. Twisty pavement, mountain views, and the ocean. Not to mention Big Sur, and other legendary sights like Malibu, Santa Barbara and Cannery Row!
Second would have to be the Rio Grande, a pretty good curvey road and mountain views. The desolation can send chills down you spine, especially if you are light on the gas tank!
Third would have to be Pictured Rocks, and the U.P. I couldn't ride along too much of it, it will be better when is is paved.
Last is the East Coast, way too much development, and the people with money have been able to buy up the beach and put big houses that block the view. To much terrible traffic, also.

After making my way through what I could of Pictured Rocks, I ended up in Munising, and it was time for fuel and lunch. I ate a Patsie, a kind of beef and potato, upside down pot pie at a place called the Navigator. Heck, I could see the Great Lake from my table, I needed to eat a place like that! After lunch, I headed back on the road. I had about 230 miles to make it to day's last stop. Along the way, I passed the point that is halfway to the north pole, had to take a picture:

The rest of the trip would be in and out of rain. I was more out than in, and it I was able to dry out quickly after being drenched. Another bridge lay in my way to get past Green Bay, but it was apiece of cake also. I ended the day at Comfort Inn in Sturgeon Bay, and dinner at a restaurant near by. It was one of those neighborhood places, and I had a nice conversation with local sitting next to me, and with the owner.

Tomorrow, Door County, and Soup!!

So despite the challenges, I saw some Pictured Rocks, some Dirt Roads, and gained some memories that will forever be paved in my mind.


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