Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sister Bay and Back

I am considering this a conditioning ride getting ready for our ride around Lake Erie and Ontario in a month.  I thought I would be going alone on this trip but at 8:30 pm the night before a good friend was able to join me.  Two Irish men making their way to Door County, WI.

Mac arrived promptly at 8:00 am on his vintage Goldwing. Mac is a fairly new rider and still learning like the rest of us.  The purpose of the ride was to get our butts and arms in shape for longer distance riding.  We didn't plan on stopping much or site seeing. We didn't have a set destination besides Door County.

We headed out on Hwy 55 to County S to get us over to the Interstate.  This first part of the ride was going to be super slab riding in order to get us up to the Door.  We rode north on 41 into Green Bay but by-passed the city and a lot of rode construction by heading east on 172 until we reached hey 43 and continued  north to 57.  At one time 57 was the start of the quaintness of Door County. It was a small two lane highway that wove through a number of little towns and burgs. As the Door grew in popularity so did the traffic.  As more people visited more accidents happened and before you knew it a four lane super slab replaced the the beauty of the of 57.  Now we sped along at 70 mph waiting for the four lanes to return to two.

Just south of Sturgeon Bay hwy 42 piggy backs 57 until just north of town.  We stay to the right on 57 and head towards Jackson Port.  It was already getting warm with predicted temps in the low 90's and high humidity.  I chose this ride in hopes the water would keep things a little cooler.  As we drove northeast I spotted a sign "Motorcycle Memorial Park" well with a sign like that I had to detour.  A quick left on Mathey  Rd. and a mile and a half ride brought us to the park.  It is a small but very nice park honoring all those that ride.  It has a pretty garden walk with memorial pavers and garden flowers.  Park benches and picnic tables that allow you to eat without feeling like you got off you bike.
If you are riding in the area it is a nice stop and a great place to re-hydrate or have lunch.

Back in the saddle we jog back to 57 and cruise into  Jackson Port.  This small town on the Lake Michigan side of the Door started out as a fishing and lumber town.  Today it mostly a tourist town but on a much calmer level then the towns on the bay side of the Door.  It is in Jackson Port that we feel the comforting coolness of Lake Michigan. This makes the wonderful scenery that much better.  We had decided back at the park that we would go as far as Sister Bay and then head back.  So north on 57 we go until just north of Baily's Harbor we turn right on county Q.  This road winds a bit more and is closer to the water then 57 yet ends up in our destination of Sister Bay.  The rode is in great condition and winds though a great stand of trees.  Those trees are thick enough that you never get to see the lake but it is still worth the time.

In Sister Bay the tourist traffic comes into full force.  All the towns along the Green Bay side are much more popular.  It has a lot to do with the geography. It is very beautiful along the bay.  We ride through town looking for a place to grab lunch even though it is barely 11:00 am.  At the other side of town I stop to regroup since I didn't see an place for lunch.  I don't know if was the traffic or the attractive women that distracted me but Mac said their was a place right as we turned into town.  Back we went and sure enough Husby's Food and Spirits was there.  We dismounted only to find it was not yet open.  Fortunately one of the employees outside told us to go in under his orders.  We let us in and even though it was ten minutes before opening time they were happy to serve us. We both had extremely good burgers and great service.

We got back on the bikes  to make the run back home.  This time we followed hwy 42 south back towards Sturgeon Bay.  Along the way we hit the towns of Ephraim, Fish Creek, Egg Harbor all great towns with tons of shops, hotels, water sports etc.  It is a great place to vacation if you have never been here. The bay is not cooperating in the cooling department. There is no relief from the heat and the increasing tourist traffic adds to the steamy conditions.  I luckily have a mesh textile jacket poor Mac has a solid leather jacket and is really heating up.  We pick up the pace after passing through Egg Harbor and once in Sturgeon Bay it is back on the four lane speed demon.  We make it back home by 2:00 pm.  A 214 mile conditioning ride that let both of us know we have not been riding as much as we should.  Arms and butts are a little sore but nothing that we can't get over with the help of another ride.

Following Along with Breadcrumbs
Home to Sister Bay
Sister Bay to Home

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gotta Clear the Cobwebs

It's been a long time since I have posted.  A summer of little riding but that is going to end.  We have finalized the date to leave on our ride around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  The big send off is Sept 23rd.  We hope to complete the trip in 10 days. We decided we are to cheap to ride the ferry across Lake Michigan so we will be heading north into the UP of Michigan and then down to the mainland, hopefully making Bay City the fist day.  From there it will be new riding and the real trip will begin.

Tomorrow I am going to go on a conditioning ride up to Door County, WI.  Figure the ride will be about 225 miles.  Of course it is going to be hot and humid but the Door will be the place to ride. Hopefully the lake and bay will keep it a bit cooler.  The wife is still deciding if she wants to ride along.  I will be testing out my new Swann Freestyle HD video camera.  I have it mounted to the front of my fairing.  I am hoping it stays put.  The first 50 miles will only be the water proof case. I won't add the camera until I am sure it is staying attached to the bike.

Stay tuned for a ride update sometime on Sunday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What a Day

Waiting for Help
What a ride today! Finally had a nice day on the weekend expected temperature in the 70's and sunny. Tonight storms are suppose to move in and last few the next few days. I had to get a ride in today. I already had a great excuse the lake that my in-laws summer home was on had a number of break-ins in the past month. I decided, with my wife's encouragement, to ride up to the house and do a security check. This would be my first non-commuting ride of the year. I expected to put on 150-200 miles depending on the weather and how I felt.

I got the bike out and gave it a quick once over, checking the tire pressure and putting the camera and Smoke Chasing flag in the top trunk. Out I went everything was feeling great. The temperature was already in the mid 60's by 11:00 am. I was about 25 miles into the ride headed north on State 55 when I heard a POP and felt something hit my leg. My mind quickly started trying to process what was going on. Blown tire? Nope I still had full control. Hmmm, the exhaust sounds different, blown exhaust pipe? I pulled over as fast as I could and as I slowed I got whiff of fuel. Crap, I blew the fuel pump or fuel line! As soon as I was on the gravel and stopped I shut off the bike and quickly dismounted. If it was fuel I didn't want to be sitting on top of a possible bonfire.

Notice Shinny Oil
As soon as I stepped away and looked at the bike I could see the oil filler cap was missing. That explains what hit my leg and why the exhaust sounded different. It was vaporized oil I smelled and not fuel. That was a relief. As I inspected the bike the left side of the lower fairing was dripping oil, looking further back my side cases where also dripping oil. The passenger seat and back rest had a shinny wet sheen to them. I continued to look around and soon realized the entire bike has a light mist of oil from the windshield to the butt end of the bike.

I called my brother to see if you could help out. Luckily he was home and was willing to give me a hand. I told him to call Nick's BMW to see if they had a oil filer cap in stock. He called and they did have the cap. My brother would drive the 30 miles to pick up the part and then another 25 miles to get it to me. I found a place to sit along side the road and wait. It didn't take long to get bored so I decided I might as well look for the oil cap I had plenty of time. I walked the road back toward the direction I had just come. The first pass did not turn up anything on the road. I thought about it for a minute and figure if the cap hit my left leg the cap should be on the opposite side of the road. I walked that side along the gravel and after not finding anything moved further into the ditch. About 200 yard from where I stopped on the opposite side of the road I found the cap. I looked at the cap and something did not look right. When I got back to the bike and looked at the cylinder head and then the cap I realized not only the cap blew out but the plastic threads that are suppose to be in the cylinder head. I quickly called my brother with the updated information so he could consult with the BMW mechanic on what to do.

Once again I was waiting along side the road. I did happen to stop in front of a farm I was familiar with. We take this route to the lake all the time. And this one farm sticks out because they have Oreo cows. Well that is what we called them since our boy's were little. Actually they are Dutch Belted cows. The front third is black the back third is black and in the middle they are white they look like Oreo cookies. The farmer noticed me out front and came to see what was up. I explained the situation and asked if I could move my bike a little way down one of his drive ways so I was further from traffic. He had no problem with that and even said I could waste time by looking over the 27 restored old tractors he has in one of the sheds. I took him up on that and strolled towards the shed. This was one meticulous farm. Everything was neat and clean and in good repair. Inside the shed were a fine collection of bright orange Allis-Chalmers tractors. They were all in fantastic shape. I went back to the road side to wait some more. It did not take to long and my rescuer's were here. My brother and his son climbed out of their car with a quart of oil, new oil cap and an insert to replace the threads that blew out. We had everything in place within 10 minutes. Added some oil and went to fire it up to make sure things stayed in place. Pushed the starter button and got a one or two turn overs and then click click click. What the hell now the battery is dead. If you know the R1150RT you know there is no easy way to jump start the battery.

Push start...that is what we need to do. The fist try on the driveway was a faiure. The gravel driveway did not have enough traction to spin the wheel. Up to the highway we went, waited for a break in traffic and pushed, or at least my brother and nephew did. Popped the clutch and and almost started. Another push and she sprang to life. I drove down the road a few hundred yards and turned around. I didn't have my jacket or helmet on so back to the driveway I went. I put the bike on it's side stand and let it run as put on the jacket and helmet. As I did this a sudden silence became obvious. The bike died as it was idling. I hit the starter hoping it had enough but no it did not. Back to push starting, this time I was fully suited and told the two pusher that if it started I was gone. As they started pushing I looked up and in front of me in the opposite lane a giant pink pig came my way and I mean giant. It had to be 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. No not real but on the back of some truck. It just couldn't get much stranger today. This might have made sense if had happened yesterday on Friday the 13th but not today. I popped the clutch again and it sputtered, a little more pushing and another pop of the clutch and it roared back to life. I looked in the rear view mirror and wave to the two rescue angels and headed toward the lake. The bike ran fine and when I got to the lake I put it on a battery charger just in case.

Everything was in order at the lake. No break in or vandalism so I poured an ice cold coke and sat on the beach and enjoyed the sun and warmth for awhile. The return trip was uneventful but the road dust was quickly adhering to the fine coating of oil on the bike. On top of that there was some bug of the week that painted my bike in a million yellow sticky blotches. When I arrived home I pulled out the Dawn detergent and proceeded to give the bike a thorough cleaning. What a day and what a way to start the riding season.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Wednesday Ride

This summer's hopes of a lot of riding miles has been hampered by a rolled ankle early on and then a stretch of uncomfortable heat. Well I finally got out for a fun ride after work. The temps were still in the mid 80's with acceptable humidity. I didn't have a destination in mind but headed east with the idea of crossing the Fox River at Wrightstown. I turned south on Cty ZZ and started south. T could tell I hadn't ridden a lot because I was not relaxed and enjoying myself. I had to shake the rust off and get back into riding. It was a great evening for a ride with sun and low winds. The farmers were hard at working fulfilling the adage of "make hay while the sun shines" the combines were chugging through every other field I past. I kept going south until Lake Winnebago and then road around some of the nice neighborhoods along the lake. I left the lake and went east on Harrison Rd. again watching the fury in the fields as tractors cut and delivered hay from the filed to the waiting trucks. I noticed an old school house up the road and could see part of the roof was missing. I road slow past the relic and as I passed I looked through the broken out window of the bell tower and sitting there inside silhouetted by the sky were two huge vultures. It would have been a great photo if only I had brought the camera. I soon turned north and found myself back on some of the roads I came in on and was quickly back in Wrightstown where I crossed the river and pointed the bike towards home. It ended up to be 66 miles and was just what the doctor ordered.

View Wednesday Drive by mmcdermot on Breadcrumbs

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Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th Ride

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July then a motorcycle ride. Jennifer and I set out for Lake Michigan and a quick ride up to Algoma, WI. The weather was perfect low 80's and no humidity. I don't have time to write now but look at the BreadCrumb track below.

View July 4th Ride by mmcdermot on Breadcrumbs

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Week of Riding Finally

Well mother nature has finally cooperated and I have been out on the bike. I was able to ride to work three out of the five work days this week. Morning temps were in the low 30's but by the time I was riding home the temps were pushing the 50 degree make!

Today a welcome warm front pushed in and gave us temps in the low 70's. After lunch with my parents I headed out for a ride before the predicted severe weather made its way into the area. I was able to get in 70 miles of great warm riding. As I pulled into the garage the wife was yelling at me to take her for a ride. Didn't have to twist the are all that much. I changed jackets to my mesh and Jennifer put on her new helmet. That is the reason she wanted to go so bad had to try out the new helmet. We only got in a bout 10 miles before the thunderstorms darkened the western sky. We got in the garage as lightening bolts lit up the skyline. The helmet test came back with negative review. It is going back. The ride on the other had was great.

I am trying out some new technology here. I pulled the GPS tracks off my Garmin and uploaded them to Breadcrumbs. Now you can take an satellite ride along. The trip is in two tracks because I had to change batteries half way through the ride. Hope this works. If you click on the View above the map it will take you to a web page where you can playback the trip.

View First Leg April 10th Ride by mmcdermot on Breadcrumbs

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View Second Leg April 10th Ride by mmcdermot on Breadcrumbs

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Mother Nature Not Playing Nice

Last weekend the boys were home from college, the weather was warming and the snow was finally gone. The bikes were uncovered and checked over from the long winter nap. All three bikes fired up just the K75S gave me some trouble. First time that bike didn't start on the first try. It did finally get its throat cleared and on a quick warm up ride ran like a champ. Some rain and to many things to do kept us from a pro-longed ride.

Sunday came and the boys went back to their respective schools and the bikes waited in the garage for another ride. Wait they must the weather forecasters predicted a weather event for Tuesday into Wednesday. Mostly rain they said with some snow forming over night 2-4 inches max. Well Tuesday came and it wasn't rain but snow. That snow continued over night and through the next day. It wasn't the 2-4 inches predicted but a whopping 12 inches of very wet and heavy snow. Plowing the driveway with the ATV was like plowing concrete before it was completely setup. Usually these spring snow storms melt within a day or two. Not this one they say it won't get above freezing for a week.

The bikes are back on their battery tenders and snug under their covers waiting for the real spring weather to arrive. Mother Nature just does not play nice.