One Friday, I had decided that I would go on a trip to Duluth, since it’s a place I wanted to go and I had the itch to ride.
The Google map will give you a certain number of hours that I took for this trip, but in reality, with all of the stops I did, and the lack of sleep I gave myself (energy drinks can really do a number on you), the timing was quite a bit different. My plan for my next trip is to try and minimize the stops. I’m hoping to complete an Iron Butt ride in the coming weeks, just to get it under my belt.
I left Elburn at approximately 7:30 pm on Friday, after work, and after packing up everything I needed. I headed to REI from there since I needed a tent, and I was was there till about 10pm, because of the issue I had with the shock bolt (and because I’m a very talkative person.
Originally I had planned on meeting a friend in Milwaukee, but with the time I took at REI and the insane traffic blockage on I-94, I didn’t get to near her area till about midnight, and that was too late for her. It wasn’t a problem, I just had to keep going.
I kept riding, stopping for either gas, or food, or to look at a map until I wound up at Wal Mart (about at Eau Claire, WI), where I saw the sun come up. I left Wal Mart (with new, warm layers) and kept heading north.
I finally ended up in Duluth (not stopping for sleep) at about noon on Saturday. I wandered around the Aerostich RiderWearhouse, looking at bags, and other waterproof gear. I knew it would be a huge improvement over what I had been using previously.
After they closed (2pm on Saturdays) I packed things into my new bags and headed out. I knew I had to go east, so when I saw a sign saying east, I took it. I’m not sure whether it was because I hadn’t looked at a map or the sleep deprivation, but I was going east in Minnesota – which meant heading toward Canada! Whoops, wrong side of Lake Superior! It’s okay, it was beautiful.
It was getting to where I was sure sleep was a good idea, so I decided to find myself a campground. I stayed at Birch Grove Campground, which was really nice, but also a great part about it was that there was a kitchen (and a bar!). It was only about an hour away from Superior, WI, so I headed there after getting some more gas.
I stayed on US-2 till I got to Michigan, though halfway through it, in Hiawatha National Forest, I saw a sign for a campground, and started looking for it. I got about a half hour into the dirt road before I decided to turn around and hope for a gas station with some coffee or energy drinks. It felt like I was using too much time just to look for a place to set up for a nap.
Pushing on, I had a friendly chat with a couple on a restored older Goldwing when I got gas in Escanaba. They helped me get a feel for what the weather would be like, and a timeline for getting to the Mackinac Bridge.
The bridge made me so nervous, but with what I had dealt with in Duluth, it wound up being a lot easier of a ride. I was quite relieved after I made it, and stopped to get gas and let myself calm down a bit.
I continued down to Flint, and stayed there for the night. I had planned on leaving Flint early in the morning, but I didn’t end up taking off till mid-afternoon. I still made it in good time back to Elburn.