Wednesday 30 September 2015

Last Light of the Sun

I'm thinking about a final trip before the snows fly.  I did Georgian Bay early in the perilously short Canadian motorcycling season, but now I'm thinking about a circumnavigation of Huron to end it.  I've never been to Northern Michigan before and I'd be passing right past where Hemingway spent his summers as a child.

It's an epic sweep worthy of Hemingway!
The trip is roughly 1600kms.  If I struck north out of Elora I'd aim for the 1:30pm Chicheemaun Ferry out of Tobermory but instead of heading right around Georgian Bay I'd swing left toward Sault St. Marie.  Overnighting in the Hemingway-esque Petosky puts me about half way around.  I'd strike south through Northern Michigan the next day before coming through Sarnia and cutting back across Southern Ontario to home.

It's ~776kms to Petosky, or about eleven hours of riding.  A normal departure and then the 1:30pm ferry puts me in Manitoulin at about 3:30pm.  That would get me into Petosky well after dark, which isn't the way to do it.  There is an 8:50am ferry that puts you on Manitoulin just before 11am.  That would put me in Petosky around dinner time.  It's a nicer fit, but it would mean a 5:30am departure, which would be brisk.  On the upside, the only riding I'd be doing in the dark would be in Southern Ontario on familiar roads, and once I'm on the ferry I could catch up on the sleep I missed.

After overnighting in Hemingway's summer retreat, it's a straight shot with no ferries back to Ontario.  The ride back from Petosky could be done in six and a half hours and 673kms.  The 8 hour version with a few hours next to Huron would be the preferred route.  A nine to six day with an hour lunch would get me home well before sunset.

Doing it backwards might work better.  After spending the night in Petosky, I'd be aiming for a 3:50pm ferry to Tobermory where I'd be riding south on the Bruce Peninsula at 5:50pm.  I'd need to be on the road from Petosky by 9am to make the Ferry.  Backwards might be better...  You're looking at 7:20am sunrises to 6:20pm sunsets in mid-October around here, so the last bit home would be in dusk and dark.

The temperatures are on their way down in October.  With some luck I'll have a weekend that is precipitation free to make this run on.  Night temperatures are dropping toward freezing by the end of the month, but with some luck I'd be riding into some amazing fall colours.

I don't mind riding in cool temperatures. The Concours is built for it with a good fairing, and sitting on it is like sitting on a volcano.  With proper kit even single digit temperatures are easily dispatched.

The trick will be to get a couple of days free to go ride through Hemingway's Michigan the way he'd have done it himself nowadays, on a motorbike.  I couldn't find any motorcycle specific quotes, but I know he'd approve of the method of transport...

The write up on this trip would be damn right hilarious!

Lots of time for self improvement while riding a motorbike

... practically written for riders!

There is a physical challenge to riding that does make you stronger
I think I'll bring along some Hemingway to read during breaks in the ride...