20 April 2002

tour de thumb

Although our early summer had definitely left Michigan by Sunday I decided to take a trip on my motorcycle. I toured the thumb of Michigan, first heading north towards Bay City and taken Highway 25 all the way around to Port Huron leading to the freeways 94 to 696 to 275 to 14 to 23 to home.

The day started out beautifully, I believe it was in the mid fifties after I finished brunch with Gretchen and headed out. I expected it to get colder as I rode and wisely brought my warm winter gear. I had no idea.

The ride on I-75 to Bay City was straight forward though I had to restrain myself to avoid maintaining speeds of 100+ as I cleared annoying cell-using-coffee-drinking SUV drivers. The sun was out and the temperatures remained warm. Driving through Bay City was nice; it's a pretty city and the traffic was fairly light. Five miles out from Bay City on Highway 25 and I was in the middle of nowhere.

The further I rode the colder the air became. By the time I reached Port Austin near the tip of the thumb I stopped for gas, zipped in my jacket liner, and traded up for my thinsulate deerskin gloves. The next 100 miles to Port Huron were torture. I stopped once on the way down and once again in Port Huron to regain my composure. Cold on a motorcycle is cold that sucks the heat out of your body. The constant stream of air cannot be stopped. While the sun shone Lake Huron sucked the warmth out of the air. A bank thermometer in Port Huron registered 36 F in the city, I'm certain it was even colder before reaching town. I enjoy being cold, but this type of cold is insane.

Just before the town of Port Hope I spotted a patrol car as I crested a hill. He spotted me too. I had slowed coming over the hill and around the previous curve but there was no doubt I was still speeding. I figured myself at around 70 mph (marked at 55) and gently decelerating as I approached. The county sheriff officer was oncoming and had pulled hard to his right in preparation for a U-turn before I had even passed him. He had not completed his U-turn and I was already on the shoulder slowing to a halt. Before he made it out to me I already had my helmet off and had my license and papers out for inspection. After we agreed that I had been going much too fast he went back and spent and eternity doing whatever it is police do while holding a person on the side of the road. Thankfully he gave me a verbal warning (I'm certain this was a product of my polite, knowledgable, and straight-forward nature; of course I was speeding, saying I wasn't sure would only let him know that I was reckless and didn't care, not true!) and then we spent another couple minutes admiring my bike and trying to figure out why I was so far from Ann Arbor without friends or a destination. I guess he didn't really understand the concept "road trip." I put this together later, but the guy looked a lot like the actor Barry Pepper

After huddling around a gas station cappuccino in Port Huron I mounted my steed and headed south-west on 94. While I had picked up the pace from 65 to 90, the air actually warmed I as retreated from the Lake and my ride became more about enjoyment and less about survival. The ride home took me through heavy Saturday afternoon traffic and I was passed by several crazed squids who thought weaving through 5 lanes of traffic @ 100+ was fun. To each his own; please don't get killed.

I returned to Ann Arbor just as the sunset, 375 miles later.

fish sandwich festival?
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Barry Pepper leaving after giving me a warning.