Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mackinaw City, MI to Mantiowoc, WI and Road America

6/1-6/2/2012  This post is a twofer.  It covers our trip from Mackinaw City to Mantiowoc Wisconsin as well as the first day of racing at the track.

For the most part, the ride was fairly non-eventful.  First, we rode across the big bridge (very low traffic, so it was not at all stressful) and paid our $4 toll at the north end of the bridge.  It was almost too easy, compared to many of the big bridge rides I've done.  Good views from the top, looking at Lake Michigan on our left and Lake Huron on our right.  So much water!  It really looks the same as looking out at the ocean.

The weather was okay, but fairly cool.  Mid 50s in the beginning, and low 60s at the end of the day.  It was cloudy and a little breezy, with rain behind us, but moving in the same direction we were traveling.  It caught up with us a couple of times along the way, but never enough to worry about getting wet.  We really lucked out--we had considered a ride to the south to ride on a fabulous road about 25 miles to the southwest, but with rain moving in our direction, it looked like that ride would have put us in the rain all day.  A good decision, even though it was a shame to miss such a good road.

In the upper peninsula of Michigan, we basically rode north and then west, up to Paradise, MI, on the south side of Lake Superior.  I had been there once before, two years earlier, so I knew a little about the area.  We stopped to get gas and something to warm us.  Met some riders from Jacksonville, FL there and talked with them a little.  They were doing a two week ride and were about half-way through it.

From Paradise, we headed south and west around the top of Lake Michigan, and then south on the west shore of Lake Michigan.  That ride was fairly boring.  While we could see the lake, it wasn't as exciting after seeing lakes for several days.

Around 5pm, we pulled into Mantiowoc, our base for two nights.  We'll be staying here until we leave for home.  The motel is fine; we're here only in the morning and later evening.

One observation--the roads in Michigan and Wisconsin have great, smooth surfaces.  While NC has so many bumps and ridges and uneven surfaces, the roads up here are so much better than our roads.  The suspension on the bike hardly has to work at all, and it has to be so much easier on tires.  It's been nice to ride on good surfaces.

And I probably need to explain the fixation that I seem to have on weather conditions.  When on a bike, you're in the weather, whatever it is.  If hot, you're hot.  If rain, you're in the rain with no windshield wipers.  If cold, you're trying to keep hands and feet warm enough to work when you need them to work.  So, I write about the weather because on a bike, you experience it up close and personal.

We found a place to eat, had dinner, and called it a night.

Today, we went to Road America near Elkhart Lake, WI.  It is a good track, with lots of elevation changes and long straightaways.  One really unique thing about the track is the presence of lots of bleachers for the public. Most motorcycle tracks have a couple of grandstands, but most spectators stand along a fence or sit on the grass on a hillside.  So, having bleachers is nice.  I brought my Kermit chair, but I will not need it.  No problem; actually it's great that a chair is not needed!

The races today were good.  The superbike race was not at all close, so I was a bit disappointed at the lack of competition for the lead.  But otherwise the races were good.

After the race, we rode back home on beautiful roads through the countryside of Wisconsin.  The country is full of dairy farms, with grain silos and barns for milking.  It seemed that everywhere you look is a dairy farm.  (Gotta find some cheese to bring home!).  And the pastures were brilliant green, so it is a picturesque ride.  Just beautiful!

When we got back to the room, we had a beer and went to dinner at Legend Larry's, a local chicken wing place.  The wings were great!

Then back to the room for the night and to finish this entry.

Tomorrow--racing again and then starting home.

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