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The 2015 NHF Rally - Michigan Coast to Coast

Started by DesignFlaw06, Aug 26, 2022, 08:38 AM

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Last weekend, we had the Michigan Coast To Coast Rally, only with no Nighthawks.  But hey, there was at least a Honda.  Participation was low, consisting of only 2 forum members traveling from out of state.  It was to be expected though.  Michigan isn't known for challenging motorcycle twisties.  But the state does offer some spectacular scenery.  And during the planning phases, I was without a job so I wanted to selfishly plan something close to home.  Job situation has been fixed and this weekend was a blast.  The count was 2 Yamaha FJR1300, a Honda ST1100, a Kawasaki Ninja 650, and a Triumph Sprint ST 1050.

We started the journey in Muskegon on Thursday night where the "planning" began.  Dan, Gary, and Nick arrived at my house around 5 PM.  The plan took the shape of a few bottles of beer and a half gallon of Captain Morgan.   Actually the only plan was to keep the water on the left.  Ride until we get tired and find a place to sleep.  Sounds easy right?

I printed off some kickstand pads for the guys as little souvenirs and a reason to play with my 3D printer.

Jim called and said he wasn't going to make it until the morning.  He showed up just a little after 8 AM and we had breakfast.  Service was surprisingly a little slow and we didn't really hit it until 9:30.  I started with a cruise around my old stomping grounds and a photo stop in front of one of World War II's most decorated submarines, the USS Silversides. 

This is where I started playing with photoshopping the pictures some.  Here is in front of Pere Marquette Beach.  This is the channel that connects Lake Michigan with Muskegon Lake. 

We cruised along scenic drive, through North Muskegon, Whitehall, Mears, Pentwater, and Ludington.   Here's a shot in Stearns Park, downtown Ludington.

We traveled up US 31 a bit until Manistee, stopping at House Of Flavors for lunch.  Sorry, no food porn pictures from me.  Always turn west at the Burger King in Manistee.  I believe it is 110, a hidden gem that will take you to M22.  As you go up M22, you will come to a scenic overlook just outside of Arcadia called Inspiration Point.  We stopped for some pictures there.

Dan, with sexy face.

Jim, who is amused by something.

Gary,  with serious face.

Nick, with a rare smile.

Group Shot.

Panoramic  view.

Stayed north on M22 and we'd be on this road for a while.  Our next stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, which I highly recommend.  But some GoPro shots on the way up there.

Like I said, not real challenging, but the weather was perfect.

This shot was spot 9 inside the park.  The image hardly does it justice and that dune is longer and steeper than you'd believe.  There is a big warning sign that says if you go down the dune, it may take upwards to 2 hours to get back up.  The general consensus was that 2 hours was the response time of the paramedics you'd need. 

One drunk idiot decided to run down the dune.  I couldn't get the camera out fast enough, but there was no stopping his momentum.  Imagine a belly flop on sand and that was the image.  Painful and he was still lying there as we left.  Thanks for the entertainment, hope to see it on YouTube someday.

Group shots.

This is where things got interesting.  We decided to stick with M22 all the way.  We made it up into Leelanau Peninsula.  Made it to Northport and saw signs for the lighthouse at the northern most point.  Headed that way, only to find it was in a state park and had no desire to pay for a day pass just to get a couple of quick pictures.  We headed back to Traverse City instead.  My original goal was to make it to Petoskey, but the late start and many stops caused it to be late enough when we arrived at TC.  I knew TC would be expensive, which is why I was trying to get further away, but such as life.  The low turnout tuned into a blessing at this point.   Cheapest option ended up being a suite at the Great Wolf Lodge where we all had a bed.  No, we didn't go down the waterslides.  Pretty much ate dinner, went to the room and crashed. 

Next morning, we tried to get an earlier start.  But getting 5 guys through the same shower (not at the same time you perverts) and breakfast didn't lend itself to being much faster than the day before.  Had breakfast at the Flap Shack, which was good.  Managed to spot a Goldwing trike that we would run into off and on for the rest of the day.  Onward to the Tunnel of Trees.

Barely a lane and a half, this is a scenic little jaunt between Harbor Springs and Cross Village.  Expensive houses on the right and the cliff overlooking the water on the left. 

There is one spot it is possible to stop, and only with motorcycles.  We managed to lineup here for a few pictures.  Jim's ST doesn't have a working centerstand, so he was having trouble with the terrain that we parked on.  He borrowed somebody's driveway while we did this. 

Decided to try some action shots at a turn down the road.  Dan's a green Ninja.

Gary, on his brand new 2014 FJR.

Yours truly.

After the tunnel, we worked our way to Mackinaw City.  It was lunch time and the obvious place to eat was staring right in the face as we headed into town.

Winerlicious – what a great name for a hot dog place.

Nobody had any desire to cross Mackinac Bridge and as windy as it was, it wouldn't have been advisable anyway.  But we did stop and take some pictures with Big Mac.

Group shot.

Quite an impressive bit of engineering

Apparently there was some world record attempt at the number of Mini Coopers to cross a bridge.  Sounds made up and it looked like the attempt had been made before we got there.  But there were plenty of Minis to be seen.  The record attempt failed however.

US 23 is nice, but not much for scenic stopping points.  By then, just looking at water seemed insignificant.  We made our next stop in Alpena.  The plan was to find a hotel further down the way, but make our reservations now.  That turned out to be impossible.  Hotels were booked for 100 miles down the coast.  We would have had to make it to Bay City and I wasn't confident we could do that before dark.  Found a Days Inn in Alpena and called it a day. 

Decision time.  Our lack of progress and incoming weather dictated our hand (no pun intended).  We decided to cut off the thumb.  Dan still had to make his way back to Boston on that tiny little 650.  I had to be home by 6 to make sure someone could watch Brady while my wife slept before work that night.  Jim could make it home to Kentucky.  Nick and Gary could make it home with time to spare.  So we hugged the coast down to Bay City and jumped on I-75 South.  Once we reached Flint, we did a Blue Angels maneuver as Dan went East, Jim and I went west, and Nick & Gary went south. 

Jim had trailered up to my house, so he had to go back with me.  Windy as could be, the freeway trip back was rough.  But the talk of impending weather kept us moving as quick as possible.  We made it back to my house around 3 PM, in plenty of time.  Weather forecast moved back some too, which was good.  My streak of rain on rides was broken (Now I'm 1 for 12 in no rain rides).  Dan made it to Niagara Falls that night and everyone else arrived home safely. 

839 miles on the weekend for me.

I'm thankful for 2 things.  One being that we decided to cut off the thumb and the other being that we made a clockwise trip instead of counter-clockwise.   We would have dealt with record breaking weather otherwise.  Sleeping Bear Dunes had 100 MPH winds and a ton of damage.  Softball size hail was reported.  It was very eerie to watch it roll in.  The storm didn't last long, but it was fierce.

This picture is taken right next to the 3rd picture in this report, near the lighthouses.
All in all, a great trip.  The roads were in good shape, the weather was perfect, and couldn't ask for better company.  Thanks to Nick, Gary, Dan, and Jim for attending.