Sunday, July 28, 2013

Road Trip

I woke up at the usual time on an overcast Saturday morning. It had rained overnight, but I didn’t have time to check the rain gauge. I shaved, showered and got dressed. Then I hooked up the trailer and, after testing the lights one last time, headed out. I left just before 8:00 AM, pointing the car towards Coldwater, Michigan and my friend Leon’s ranch.

Heading Out

I was on I-94 heading west. At 8:35 AM, I ran into sprinkles, but no real rain. At 9:30 there was more sprinkles.

It felt like a long trip (especially with an empty trailer bouncing in back of me). I made it seem longer still by taking the M60 cut-off from I-94 to I-69. That’s about a 30 mile ride on a two-lane road that winds through several small towns and a lot of farms. It was worth it, though, to see little “honor” vegetable stands on the side of the road, signs for “Barn Sale” and one stoplight little towns. Took me back to the “Good Old Days!”  I finally arrived at 10:45 AM.

Both Leon and his wife Cathy were outside and greeted me. It’s been a long damn time (10-15 years or more) since I’d been there, but it still looked the same. Nice that some things don’t change!

We sat down in the house for a cup of fresh coffee and caught ourselves up on what’s been happening. Disclaimer: I have not been down in 10-15 years as I said, but I saw them a couple years ago at a wedding, and I call Leon on his birthday, so it’s not like I haven’t talked to them in that amount of time.

Then we went out and began to address the reason for my visit. Several years ago, Jake had asked me whatever happened to Leon’s motorcycle. While he was in college up in the UP, Leon bought a 1968 Triumph from a friend who bought it new but never really road it. It became his daily driver. Even after he and Cathy were married and moved down to Richmond, he drove it to work in Roseville (about a 20 mile trip), even in the winter!

When they moved to the ranch, he had inherited his Father’s BMW road bike and the Triumph got parked in the barn. At one point, he decided to fix it up, so he dissembled some of it and took the cylinders into the bike shop where he worked part time. They tried to hone them, but found a flaw. They told him he would have to have it bored out, sleeves put in and over-sized pistons installed. So, the project stalled.

Years past, and Jake asked about it. So, I asked Leon. Leon said he’d probably never get around to doing anything with it and if Jake wanted it, he could have it. But, things happened and time passed. Jake moved, I had to have a spinal fusion, and so on. But, I’m better now, Jake’s still interested, so I arranged to pick it up. Our plan is I do the grunt work, Jake funds it and in the end, we’ll have a beautiful antique Triumph!

So, we loaded it up. I backed the trailer against a slight rise so we could roll the bike onto it without going up a steep ramp.  There was a slight glitch to the “free” bike, though. Cathy said I had to take (back) a Honda mini-trail 70 that I gave him years ago to fix or keep. I honestly don’t remember all the details (was it Jake’s? Where did I get it?) All I remember was that the cylinder was bad. It apparently still was, as it was still off and everything was rusted. So, we loaded that up, too.
Loading Up

Screwed 2x4 next to the rear tire to keep it from shifting
All Set!
Then I offered to buy them lunch. So, we left in Cathy’s car for the Red Arrow Restaurant. I asked what was good and they said everything, but the Rueben’s were the best. So, it was Rueben’s, chips and a pickle all around. They were really good, BTW!

Back at the ranch (lol), we said our goodbyes and I left around 1:30 PM. I stopped about a mile up the road and put on the bungee cord netting I had bought, just in case a bad bounce sent something in an open box flying.

I was finally back on I-94 when at 3:15 PM, there was a “slow to stop” traffic jam. I-94 was completely closed for about a 20 mile stretch from M14 to Ecorse road, BTW. But, I have gotten off at M14 before (although I can’t remember why) and knew it would take me back home.

At 3:35, it was stop and go again. Next I was driving on wet pavement for a while and then finally I drove into the rain. Oh well, I thought, maybe it would wash some of the dust off the bikes!

There was a HUGE traffic jam on M14, but I expected that. Then M14 was slow all the way to I-96 (I should have expected that, too, but didn’t). I finally got home at 4:25 PM.
Sidebar: Ever since I bought that trailer, I have had trouble backing it up. Knowing that, my plan was to get it into the driveway and then push it by hand into the garage. But, what never dawned on me is that my problems were a result of not being able to “see” the low trailer and adjust my wheels when things started going bad. So, with the bike visible in my mirror, I surprised myself (really) and backed the trailer right into the garage!!!
Home Again!
Bungee Cord Net (made for pickups)

Gas tank and another box in the trunk

I unhooked the trailer and took the duct tape off the safety chain hooks (I put it on to keep them from bouncing off as most trailer safety chain do, from time to time, and it worked!) Then I pulled the car into the garage and shut to door. I was tired and decided that was enough for the day.

B___ called and I filled him in on my trip.  Then I walked out back and checked the rain gauge: There was one inch so far. But it was getting dark, so I knew another storm was coming.

Sure enough, at 6:10 PM, it started raining hard. At 6:33, the NOAA weather radio went off with severe thunderstorm warning.

When I got hungry, I made two more tuna fish sandwiches for my supper. I watched an old John Wayne Western, “She wore a yellow ribbon,” and then went to bed when it was over. I was bushed!!


  1. The trail bike was given to Wolfgang by John and Sue, if I recall correctly. Doesn't look as bad as I had thought for all those years in storage. Even still has the tank badges! Nice job on the haul.

  2. So, I should just haul it up to Port Huron and give it back to him, right???


  3. So, how far was this trip in miles?

  4. @ Tirami Sue: LOL, How did you know I would check? it was exactly 259 miles round trip.

  5. Soooo
    This explains why you were in such a hurry to fix the electrical on the trailer.

  6. @GPF: Yes, but my security conscious sons would not permit me to say in the Blog that I was going on a trip "before" I went. That would just be an invite for bad people to break into the house.

  7. Unfortunately, now that you mentioned your trip, you now have to be concerned about being burglarized by time travelers.

  8. See, that's why I leave security up to you guys! i would have never even thought of that! (now I'm worried...)