Dirtbag Problems to Deep woods of Northern Michigan

Just a start.

I’m now on eastern Time and I need to drive a bit North before to dark to find USFS dirtbag camp. Ride 2 days on the High Country pathway 70 mile trail.

Bristol is right next to Elkhart a large manufacturing center. The place I camp last night was at a horse trailer mfg plant. About 5:30A I was awakened to the sound of perhaps an unmuffled engine right outside van. The noise moved & abated. I looked out a window and saw a roadster parked and a guy getting out & walking away from m,e to a building. My sleep addled brain grasped the fact that I was parked in an employee parking lot and maybe the guy was notifying me that I needed to get up. I debated a few minutes & decided I should move. I drive a short ways still in the dark & find what appears to be a small park near another building. I went back to sleep & woke up about 7:30 and found I was in another parking lot albeit smaller & quieter, they let me sleep.

Crossed line into Michigan and worked way onto N/S rt 131 for N Michigan. Today’s ride is Yankee Springs as Fort Custer further S received 9″ rain per web site trail update. Yankee Springs was sand and further N hopefully out of hurricane dump. Lots of big lakes up here.

Found TH, paid $7.00 of $8.00 fee in paper and the other $ in change to MI DDR. The pay slot was too narrow for the change. I pulled it out, emptied the chnage & wrote an IOU on the envelop.

An older man & woman riding high end full suspensions returned from their ride and chatted me up while I was getting ready. They ride suspension for their bodies. I think it is because they have $ to buy.

Trail is marked & rides in 1 direction. Oak forest, more open as soil is sand sometimes tank slapper deep & long sections. The couple had problems with the sand as theirs were the only tracks in the sand. Us bikers don’t clean up the sand traps after we struggle out of them. Nice trail. More land so there were longer stretches before the next terrain feature. Started out as a hard sprint. Pushed too hard, ran out of gas before trail’s end. Ride was 1111′ vert in short little bursts &  12.59 long. One EDGE 305 but 2 software programs & EDGE analyze GPS data for distance & elevation gained. Motion Based said 1577′ vert.  Set 2 woods turtles off the trail. Good ride. Worked too hard to ride it a second lap & needed to manage my energy for the High Country trail.

Rangers showed up as I was leaving & I flagged them down, told them of my coin story & offered to settle up. He said he would.

Drove to main XG & used my park pass for a XG shower.

Back on rt 131 for N. Made Cadillac, grocery shopped for store made meal so I could hit USFS as stated earlier. Drove faster than I should have looking for deer. Made it to Houghton Lake community which is sprawling. Found health care facility on main drag. parked in further reaches of parking lot. Hope for a quiet night.

Left knee is hurting more. I just push too hard. Great being low elevation, being fitter, more adroit, & more aggressive riding. Riding switchbacks where I change tire edges. Taking rougher lines for challenge & also to enjoy suspension.

Going to stay up here for 2 days. High Country is a 70 mile loop with some roads lacing the circle like spokes so I believe in 2 days I can ride the entire loop.

Little more hillier. Seeing some fall colors. Could be caused by drought stress but I do not know that.

No pictures as trails are mostly the same: Deep deciduous cover, mostly oak. I could have had fun with a turtle picture.

Floods in Indiana to Winona Lake ride

Sometime during the night the truck traffic abated. Found out why after I started: Highway 2 was closed due to flooding. Learned of another route to get me to Warsaw.

Amount o standing water diminished as I went East. Drove what would have been Blue lines.

Worked around Warsaw and developed area around Winona lake to TH. Trail is on former Chicago Boys Club property. Deep deciduous forest again. Big oak cast deep shadows. Wonderful trail system. Again the locals have done a good job with what they have. Rode the loop 2x. A bit of turning and twisting. Hard tail would get the ride done. Not many places to relax. My hands sometimes lost feeling because of hard pull on the grips and pulling the brakes.

TH is asphalt under oak trees. Cars pulling in smashed acorns that sounded like driving on fresh gravel.

Met Karen @ TH and she gave me trail info. The trails will host a DINO 24 hr next weekend. We talked about trails etc. She is active in local club responsible for the trails. I asked her where I might find a shower later. She gave up the LBS: Trailhouse. She even contacted them to grease the way for me.

Spoke with Rob there about methods to mark their trails and he shared some MI rides for me on my way North.

Enjoyed shower. Did laundry, hit big grocery store, & headed North.

Land of Goshen. Wasn’t that said in 1 of the Firesign albums? Part of Rt 15 closed because of high water.

Made Bristol at dark. Found spot off main drag near a horse trailer place and railroad track. Its quiet.

Pleasant trail:

Lost caption.

trails ran on either side of clear cool running stream.

Deep shaded woods presents its own pictures:

More open section of trail
More open section of trail

Throw this one in for you who have not seen the inside of my Sprinter during living conditions. What with my clean bikes clothes drying in the rear.

front to back. Clean clothes drying
front to back. Clean clothes drying

Have several small patches of poison ivy on my legs and a hive type rash on inside of my right elbow. I’ll take poison ivy over poison oak any day.

Lots of farm land again: corn & soy beans. Wonder if crop will make a good harvest as ground is saturated for equipment & if crops will mature. Saw several irrigation pipes in fields. Farmers are probably trying to get irrigation farmers to pull water from their fields.

Lots of truck traffic since like Jamestown, ND.

Rock Cut ride & drive below Chicago

Parked under large oak trees that cast a late morning shadow so i slept late.

Weather cleared overnight.

Replaced chain & cluster as the chain stretched and I didn’t change it in time to prevent the gapping of the gears. Rode well.

rambled around on trails checking location at the trail maps posted throughout the park. Didn’t prevent me from getting lost. Fortunately I was pretty well fenced in. I used the navigation feature on the EDGE before I started. I decided my ride was long enough and tried to find XG. No sense of direction in the deep woods. Computer showed me that the way I chose was correct.

2 hour ride and 1300′ on a flat plane, lots of little ups & downs. Some roots, nary a rock. Ride it again? Drive a great distance for it? Bears are now constipated in the woods.

Took shower in XG & headed east.

Area got dumped on by hurricane. Land is so flat the water runs into your basement. Drove route 30 around Chicago. Some kind of traffic slow down took better part of an hour to get almost to Indiana state line. I bailed on a state route running S just to get out of jam. Worked. Tomorrow i will join up w/ route 30 for a ride at Warsaw.

Camped in a shopping center parking lot just off Indiana hwy # 2. I’ve had peace and quiet, trains, and now gear changing semis. My choice.