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Author Topic: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report  (Read 2606 times)

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« on: August 04, 2015, 08:18:36 AM »

Last weekend, we had the Nighthawk-Forums.com 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.


Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 08:19:14 AM »
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. 




Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 08:21:07 AM »
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.
http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2015/08/mini_cooper_owners_fall_short.html#incart_related_stories

http://www.minionthemack.com

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. 

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 08:23:07 AM »
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. 



http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2015/08/glen_arbor_sleeping_bear_dunes.html#incart_river
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.

Offline Frankjr

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 11:46:49 AM »
Looks like a great trip. Thanks for the report.

Offline NH750Kitch

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 06:14:57 PM »
Great report and pics Tim!   ridn2
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Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 08:19:14 PM »
Outstanding, Tim, it's like I was there.  haphap   Seriously, great photos and report.  Many of my photos are similar so I may or may not post them.  It was an excellent ride and I liked our group a great deal.  Tim is being modest, while there are some rather ordinary roads there are also some quite extraordinary roads that are quite fun and challenging.  Maybe they don't have the elevation but there are certainly enough twists and turns.


I like the PhotoShop work, Tim.  First class images.  You've come a long, long way.

Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 09:37:09 PM »
Many of these images will be the same or very similar.  I won't go into any real details as Tim has already done that with his original report.  Just a few more photos to peruse for your enjoyment.



Ninja packed up and ready to go on it's epic, international adventure.  So clean here... that didn't last long.





The Rainbow Bridge.  This is shot from the underside in Niagara Fall, Ontario, Canada - on the other side is Niagara Falls USA.





Just some of the cheesy, touristy stuff around Niagara Falls.  This one cracked me up a bit.





This man was singing Johnny Cash tunes and he was hauntingly accurate to the late, great Mr. Cash.





One of my favorite photos.  The boat looks like a toy and believe it or not, there is not that much PhotoShopping going on in this photo, the heavy mist from the falls made it's own special effects.





My dinner that night, pork ribs, mashed, corn and cornbread, YUM, YUM!





Meeting the crew in Muskegon, the start point for the rally.  That's Jim on the ground putting on his new pair of boots and Tim taking his bike off the trailer... and Nick, being Nick.





The USS Silversides.





The USS Silversides markings.





The bikes lined up at the coast.  A common theme this weekend.





Nick's latest fashion craze, MC boots and denim shorts.  All the kids will be wearing them next year.


Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 09:42:33 PM »

The Ninja at the overlook.





The overlook.  Hot as hell and we climbed up a huge flight of steps for these shots.  Enjoy our efforts.





Bar in baggage.





The Bike Whisperer.





My little camera zoomed onto the storm clouds brewing over the Lake near Wisconsin.





To the south of us.





FJR's.





Inside of House of Flavors, our lunch stop.





My tasty taco salad.  I also had a root beer float, those are soooo goood!





Make sure you got all your fingers there, Tim.





Call me Mr. Moonie!





Jim's ready to keep rollin'.

Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 09:48:55 PM »

A little post lunch meditation.





That's a lot of sand.





I really don't like these boots.





Bad to the bone!





Bikes at the pullout of the Tunnel of Trees.





Go West!  Actually north right about here.





I'd be happy too if I had a brand new FJR.





I'd be happy if I had an older FJR... FJR's are just sweet machines.





Motorcycles?  We don't need no stinking motorcycles.





I don't think Tim has ever had his bike under 20mph.





Yep, another photo of the Ninja... what do you expect?





Tunnel O' Trees from a different perspective.





Timmay!






Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 09:58:29 PM »

Weinerlicious!





The Mighty Mac.





Big puffy clouds over the water.





One last meal before the big ride home tomorrow.  Actually it was a big ride that day as well as I went from Alpena, MI to Niagara Falls, ON.





Heading home on the border of New York and Massachusetts.





The amazing view of North Adams, MA.





Lunch with a view.  Great food and great scenery and fair prices.  A must stop for now on.





More Ninja!





In the Pioneer Valley, western Massachusetts.





That's 2354 miles for the entire trip.  The Ninja held up great... me on the other hand, I was a bit sore.  As Tim wrote, we dodged all the nasty weather.  I had some storms chasing me out of Canada but by the time I was half way to Syracuse I was in the clear.  Had great weather and excellent company.

Offline jspringator

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2015, 04:55:38 PM »
Here is the review I gave Days Inn in Alpena, and their response.

“Very accommodating to our group”

4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I was one of 5 motorcyclists traveling together for a coast to coast tour of Michigan. They divided the room charge for 3 rooms among 5 of us, and gave us a place to eat pizza together and socialize as a group. The ladies at the front desk were very entertaining, and make this a great place to stay. I enjoyed my stay here a great deal. The hotel obviously wasn't brand new, but we didn't need a brand new hotel. It fit us to a T.

Stayed August 2015, traveled with friends
5 of 5 stars Location
5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
5 of 5 stars Service
 
Alpena Days I, Social Media Coordinator at Days Inn Alpena, responded to this review, 2 days ago

We are very glad you enjoyed your stay and thank you for taking the time to give us such a nice review. We hope the rest of your trip went well. Hopefully we will see you all again.


Sincerely,
Nanette
Social Media Coordinator

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g29551-d89925-r295377661-Days_Inn_Alpena-Alpena_Michigan.html#

Offline Burgi

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2015, 06:00:13 PM »
Was really sorry I missed this. Reading about the getting 5 guys through the shower managed to take away some of the sting though.  haphap
'09 BMW R1200RT, '09  Bonneville, '08 SYM HD200

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2015, 08:48:51 PM »
Good call Jim.  So many people read reviews, but not near as many take time contribute.  I've been trying to get better, and not just posting bad reviews.  Taking the time explain your review and why you rated the way you did is very helpful.  Nice work.

Burgi, wish you could have made it.   Though the shower situation would be even more awkward. bugeye1

Offline Hog Dog

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2015, 08:27:44 AM »
Looks like a great ride.  Outstanding scenery, good weather, motorcycling with friends=great experience.   
Lucky Lindy's evil twin

Offline umpire

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2015, 10:46:53 AM »
Awesome ride report.
   I was up in that part of the state all week. Actually stayed in Onekama. Yes you guys called that one right , Cuz sunday night a large storm brewed up over the big lake and hammered us .  They lost power for about 4 days up in the Glen Haven / Glen Arbor area. They even had parts of the Sleeping Bear dunes closed off , Because of the massive amount of trees that got uprooted. Awesome view from the overlook north of Arcadia.Them stairs are a doosey.  If you look close you can see the light house a mile to the south.
Awesome ride report guys.
Umpire

Offline jspringator

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2015, 11:30:37 AM »
I really enjoyed this area.  Next time, maybe take the ferry Milwaukee up to Door County and tour around the UP.  I liked not being attached to one spot and having DF's house as the beginning and ending point.  I thought the ride had more than enough curves for a big bike like my ST.

BTW, I got a notice from TripAdvisor a few days ago that my review had been seen 122 times.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2015, 12:53:56 PM »
This trip really couldn't be done with a central location.  It was a selfish location on my part, but with decent reason.  A smaller group was also needed for this to really work.  With a larger group, we would have started making accommodations ahead of time.

Each year, we learn a little more about planning these things.  I like the central hub design better, from a logistics standpoint.  But that isn't to say we won't do another trip similar to this one where we bounce around an area.

Offline Frankjr

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2015, 04:13:51 AM »
Awsome pics guys. Sounds like you all had a great time. I have one question. Would a night hawk been able to keep up with all those newer bikes??

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2015, 09:43:02 AM »
Would a night hawk been able to keep up with all those newer bikes??

It wouldn't have been the smallest bike.  nice1

Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2015, 08:13:43 AM »
Would a night hawk been able to keep up with all those newer bikes??

It wouldn't have been the smallest bike.  nice1


Ah, but the kids love it!


Speaking of the smallest bike.  The Michigan trip trashed my sprockets and chain.  Too many miles and not enough maintenance.  They were getting towards the end of their expectancy but that trip did them in.  The bike is hard down until next week Wednesday.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2015, 09:37:00 AM »
Awsome pics guys. Sounds like you all had a great time. I have one question. Would a night hawk been able to keep up with all those newer bikes??

Frank, I should have mentioned this earlier.  My groups are about that, the group.  Nobody gets left behind and we got as fast as the slowest rider is willing to go.  Nick and I are good at keeping groups together, big and small.


Quote

Speaking of the smallest bike.  The Michigan trip trashed my sprockets and chain.  Too many miles and not enough maintenance.  They were getting towards the end of their expectancy but that trip did them in.  The bike is hard down until next week Wednesday.


Lesson learned I hope.

Offline Burgi

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2015, 06:28:19 PM »

Speaking of the smallest bike.  The Michigan trip trashed my sprockets and chain.  Too many miles and not enough maintenance.  They were getting towards the end of their expectancy but that trip did them in.  The bike is hard down until next week Wednesday.
How many miles do you have the Ninja?
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Offline Dan

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Re: Michigan Coast To Coast - 2015 Nighthawk-Forums Rally Report
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2015, 06:40:26 PM »

Speaking of the smallest bike.  The Michigan trip trashed my sprockets and chain.  Too many miles and not enough maintenance.  They were getting towards the end of their expectancy but that trip did them in.  The bike is hard down until next week Wednesday.
How many miles do you have the Ninja?

Right around 19,250 ish.

 

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