Monday, August 3, 2015

7 Days of Riding Around the Great Lakes on Dual Sport Motorcycles

On the little Dual Sport Yamaha TW200s no less:



About six weeks ago I got a burr under my saddle and contacted my old acquaintance Nick, who would be retiring on July 20th after 38 years at Crown Industries, that we should take our TWs around the Great Lakes...a trip that we could stretch into 8 to 12 days and 1600-2000 miles...depending on how we felt and what the weather and severe cases of "Monkey Butt" would do to us.  We finally agreed to leave on July 28th, or maybe the 27th, and we would avoid Chicagoland and head out through central Indiana, work our way slowly northwest through Illinois and end up somewhere near the Iowa border as we hit the Wisconsin State Line with the Land of Lincoln

....that was the plan, until wife Patricia and I were finishing up our stay in Brown County, Indiana, on a Cabin Mini Vacation.  Another TW Rider, Kurt from the Auburn, Indiana, area{who we had traveled with to Moab, Utah, in March, along with his nephew Spencer, aka "Weasel"} called me on the cell phone while I was getting ready to hit the sack and declared he had the week off and wanted to ride with us...although our 8 to 12 days and miles might be reduced to 7 days and 1500 miles..."Great with me" I declared...Kurt is much better at maintaining the bikes, and as an experienced mountain climber, knows how to travel and survive...so we kicked up our leave Celina day to the Sunday before, July 26th, we would head to Kurt's Ranch and stay there and we 3 would head out on the 27th...but instead of going across Indiana and Illinois, we would ride north deep along the central and west side of Michigan, and arrive at Ludington, where we would put the bikes on the Great Lakes Ferry, the SS Badger, and ride the waves for 4 hours on Tuesday before debarking at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, south of Green Bay.

Nick and I changed the oil in our rides, putting in synthetic blends and tightening up the stock chains{something we would do multiple times during the next 8 days}...Sunday the 27th arrived, and Nick and I headed out from Celina towards Auburn at 2pm.  Winding our way around the west side of Ohio and the State Line Road with Indiana, we finally arrived at Kurt's at 5pm or so...this is where the real adventure would begin:




Wrecking Kurt's TW, the first disaster....

Shortly after arriving, we viewed Kurt's 2011 with admiration....he had it equipped with soft bags and balanced and ready to go....while things looked up for the trip, the bike would be dealt a setback...{I won't go into full detail here} the Kurt Machine would slide on some gravel{and no Kurt, nor Nick, or I were riding, Weasel either!} the bags would be destroyed, the handlebars ruined and other cosmetic damage would be received as well....It looked for awhile as though Kurt would be forced to ride his Triumph Scrambler, a fine ride, but which would pretty much derail the planning of the trip....but....

"Weasel" and Renaldo to the rescue.....


Enter nephew Spencer and his buddy Renaldo, who had been partying on Lake James on Sunday....they arrived like knights in shining armor, and within the hour had changed the bike from "wrecked" back into rideable .  The trashed bags were replaced with Kurt's metal ones and despite a bit of a lean, the handlebar switchout was complete as well....being a clueless one at most things mechanical, I was amazed at the quick work and well done as well, which would enable Kurt to ride his TW, so all three of us would be riding the virtual same ride{the TWs never change, style wise in nearly 30 years, just the paint scheme yearly for the most part}.



A few more beers, and a night's sleep and we would head out fairly early Monday morning and the real adventure would begin....

Next Up:  Riding to Ludington


No comments: