If you ever get the chance to ride Michigan's Upper Peninsula, don't hesitate for a second. My ride across the UP on Tuesday (August 21) and down into the northern part of lower Michigan was pretty awesome. One of my goals on this ride is to see all five great lakes and I was able to actually able to take a pebble from the shores of three of the great lakes, Michigan, Superior and Huron on Tuesday. I know, I know... Superior is on the northern side of the UP. I couldn't resist. I rode the lower part of the UP for half the way and then wandered north to ride the second half. What can I say? I wanted to know what that part looked like too. Besides, I wanted to see the Soo locks that go between Superior and the North Channel. It was a bonus that a ship was passing through when I got there. Pretty cool stuff.
It is also pretty cool to be able to say that I have now been across the Mackinac bridge connecting the UP and lower Michigan. Pretty amazing... check it out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackinac_Bridge. I did strap the helmet cam on for the ride across. When I get a better connection, I will upload it so you can take the ride across with me. It was pretty windy and when I switched lanes to pass the truck in front of me, it felt a little bizarre riding on the metal grate part on a motorcycle. There was a freighter passing under just as I was starting to cross.
Dick and Patty Ranney (long time activist for OHV in Michigan) offered a bed and shower for me so my destination for the night was his house for Tuesday and Wednesday night. It was late when I arrived (Sorry Dick and Patty) because I had dawdled so long up north. Nonetheless, I have long wanted to meet and have a chat with Dick face to face and it was a joy to finally meet them. More on that later.
On my trip to Iron Mountain, MI on Sunday, I was fortunate to make stop to meet up with some leaders from the Wisconsin Off Highway Vehicle Association (WOHVA) in Mole Lake, WI. Lots of good input with discussion over breakfast including themes like the struggles organizations have with reaching and keeping members and volunteers, the false image of OHV created by the spin of extremist groups, how that translates to the attitudes of legislators and land managers, and the need for cross sharing of information with other groups around the country. WOHVA has done some tremendous work partnering with the Tribal leaders in the area and, as a result, have been able to develop some very sustainable trails on Tribal Land that benefit everyone. Look for some coming articles on http://www.sharetrails.org on what they have been doing.
Then today in Iron Mountain, I was able to meet with some of the folks of MI-TRALE. Again, it was really good input and discussion. I am so glad I came here. It was great to hear of some of the innovative work they are doing toward connecting trails across between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They also shared some of the frustration they have with results of the Travel Management Planning in the National Forests up here.
On Sunday this week I enjoyed a nice relaxed ride north to Iron Mountain just across the Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wonderful day and lush country. Love it. Since the ride was barely 100 miles, I took the opportunity to sidetrack and enjoy some of the countryside. The weather could not have been better.
The meetings in Antigo with enthusiasts at the TrailCon event in Antigo, WI were an incredible experience for me. Hosted by the Wisconsin ATV Association (WATVA), the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC), and the Wisconsin Horse Council, this was the first year for the TrailCon event, but I can guarantee it will not be the last. (Read about it at http://www.trailcon.us/. They also have a blog on that site.) If the intent of the event was to bring enthusiasts and enthusiast groups from both the dirt and snow side of recreation together to work toward a more effective communication and cooperation, they well succeeded. Stay tuned. I know there will be much more to come as the TrailCon event moves forward. It is also likely to set a standard for others to follow in other states. I am glad the BlueRibbon is included and part of this. I don't know if you've spent much time looking at what the organized groups are doing here in Wisconsin, but I can tell you they are on the move and innovative in their efforts. They have got it going on here.
I have just finished several incredible days and hardly know where to start sharing. How about with an apology (the one thing you aren't supposed to lead with)? But, I owe you that for having been remiss in my blogging. I am sure I will find a rhythm and get better at this.
I am proud to announce The Black Hills 4 Wheelers (http://www.bh4wheelers.com/) as our latest Platinum sponsor of the Turn the Tide Tour. At their meeting tonight, I was presented with a check by Todd Zick their president (see picture) along with well wishes for success in rallying enthusiasts around the country.
So, as I make my final prep for tomorrow’s departure on the “Tide Tour,” I ask you to give me something to cogitate on while I’m riding that will make a better future for all of us in outdoor recreation – especially for you and BRC.
The countdown-o-meter has ticked off to 2 days and I'm getting antsy to
start the tour.
In the meantime, I had mentioned the Sturgis Rally was going on in an
earlier post and decided I should share a short blurb with you on a ride up
main street at the rally so you could get an idea of what it is all about.