RLT: MI & Back – Leg 3

RLT: MI & Back – Leg 3

Friday 3 Aug 2018

We got up really late then had coffee with the host.  Turns out we grew up in the same part of the country, talked about kids, work, good conversation about this that and the other.    Left really really late!  Like 10:15.  Good thing we racked up some miles yesterday ;-).

Starting perception for the day is that we will be doing a ride through ‘corn country’ that is to say it will be straight and boring.  As we break out of the Appalachian mountains it was certainly true that the roads tend to straighten out and the landscape opened up to farm country.  What was fun to discover was that while roads were not full of curves it wasn’t as nearly as monotonous as expected.

Speaking of farming… The place right at the end of the AirB&B driveway had a type of silo that I don’t think I’ve seen before, or if so I don’t remember it.

Attached Silo

The way of filling I am familiar with is to use a blower which sends the fodder up a pipe and drops it in the top.  The arrangement shown here seems to hint that there was a time in days gone by that filling was done with a rope and pulley like the old loose hay in the haymow?  Anyone out there have experience or stories that speak to this arrangement?

Just down the road we came to this big rig who missed the off ramp.  Wow, that must have been quite a ride.  Then a little later a train wreck!  A not so subtle reminder to double down on attentiveness for sure…

Big rig wreck
Train wreck

Tummies started rumbling at about Bucyrus.  While Brenda was searching for eats I messed around with the camera and selfie stick – it’s really hard with no display to imagine the results!  It was kinda fun trying to come up with shots that might work and even funnier to see the goofy results.  After a bit it occurred to me that they could be upside down right?  Just flip them when editing.  Ah ha!  At the end of a couple of minutes there were a few stills worth keeping. How does the saying go: even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while?

Well, unfortunately we were just a little too early for the Bratwurst Festival :-/, so we went for brunch at the Amish Vault. Oh the best part, did some people watching :-).  One of the gals behind the counter was sooo overbearing; drove the other three a little bonkers.  They would try to do something and she would cut in and ‘do it right’.  Predictably after a while they just stopped trying.  Then there was the gal who came in with her girl friends for coffee.  She had an ‘own the place’ aura; got up and greeted nearly everyone that came in, real social butterfly… obviously ‘the mayor’ ;-).  On the way out as I was  putting my helmet on there was this movement in the store window…. hey, a person in there?  A little too much reflection to be a great shot, but still kinda fun and I think you’ll get the idea.

Camera fun
Playing with the selfie stick
Bagle brunch
Amish Vault – have to wonder about the name?
Wait, are those legs?

Next stop Michigan! Slight digression here… one of the goals for the trip was no (or as few) freeway miles as possible.  The first night we put on a few freeway miles.  We were late, darkness descended, and the rain began so the reason for keeping on the back-roads was gone.  We jumped on I-66/81 for the last little bit of the ride.  As we approached Toledo we had the feeling again, best to get around the city as quickly as possible so I-75/475 it was.  The a little more ‘big’ US Highway to Blissfield MI for lunch.  Hey, can you think of a better place to stop?

So… really good vegi chili, ok stir fry veggies, terrible rhubarb/apple pie (so disappointing, but I ate it anyway so as not be rude! ;-).  We parked and walked past such a mysterious stairwell – what do you suppose is up there?  Then a quick look back down the block as we stepped inside, the town has managed to keep the old look; wonderful really.

Scary stairs
Oh the stories these walls could tell…
Classic small town
Classic Mid-Western Small Town Look

Next stop: Owosso for gas.  Filling up and the guy next to me looks over at the license plate and says “so are you really from Maryland?”.  The body language and tones all said you rode that thing here? Are you nuts?  Answer: Yes…  “I have a Harley, but I would never do something like that.”  How funny, right?  But I do get it, it’s one thing to run out for an hour to tool around a bit – quite another to ride across 5 states.  We chatted a bit, and he said too bad you don’t need a place to stay in the UP, have a (brother?) who owns a place an hour north of St Ignace, you could have stayed there.  Not sure what that really meant was he really serious, but hey – pretty cool right.

As we drove through town I noticed a sign pointing to ‘Curwood Castle’.  Hummm. Drove by.  Thought about it. Curiosity building; what kind of castle exactly?  Is it for real?  U-Turn.  Great choice!  No kidding fairy tale castle, check it out…

Curwood Castle
I can see the princess looking out a tower window…

So it turns out this was the writing studio of James Curwood.  Outside is this statue of him, thought it interesting to see a boy on the banks of river not 20 yards away fishing :-).

James Curwood
Let's go fishing?

As we were walking around the grounds a guy an arm in a sling says “great day to ride…”  Not sure exactly how to respond so I said yes, hey, you’ll need to get that arm healed so you can go too. “Yeah, maybe in August (hint of sadness).”  I backed away from the conversation…  How come?  Hummmm, Didn’t I just read a sign about this yesterday (L2-14: River View (click purple camera)) and rather than lean in I pulled away.  Do I need to adjust?

Shortly after the castle we had our last bout of Interstate riding to get through Saginaw.  We have driven I-75 many times and oh had I forgotten just how ‘fast’ it is.  So the rainy mountains in Virginia reminded us of the Taunus Mountains of Germany (hey, Rob Jackson are you out there?  You were right, we like West Virginia) and now I-75 sort of reminds us of the Autobahn.  All the lanes 85-90 mph and jammed; white knuckle driving at it’s finest.  While ‘like’ Germany, it’s all American in the vehicle mix.  F-350 Super Duties pulling Campers, pontoon boats and SUVs all flying north.  Menagerie?

Bike did really well BTW, appears it can hum along in tipple digits all day long just as smooth as silk.  Well, I presume it could… All told we did about 40 miles in Virginia, 60 miles moving across the border from Ohio to MI then another 40 or so to get past Saginaw.  These three bits remind me why we very deliberately chose not to ride this way…

Couldn’t help but notice our shadow as the sun dropped down towards the western horizon.  Running on ahead, almost a race…

Shadow riders

… and in fact, it beat us to the Rooster Inn. Day three mostly done, machine and travelers at rest.  Come sit and share a story?

Pulling into the Rooster Inn
Rooster Inn
End of a long day
As the sun slips away

Additional pictures, stories, and details available on this interactive map… Enjoy!