Silver lining, fixings and laughing a lot

August 11, 2010

Leaving Michigan..

Ludington. Early morning. I wake up. Get going. La dee da… Wi-fi does not work in the room. Of course. It’s been noticeable that cheap motels have better wi-fi than big chains… go figure. I am in a Ramada so it does not work.

I pack… go for breakfast. Suddenly I remember that because I could not get on line last night, I was supposed to check for the ferry schedule first thing in the morning. Now I’m not at the first thing anymore, it’s like 5th or 6th thing. Damn!

Try my laptop : no wi-fi. Ask front desk and they offered me the hotel computer. OK. I try. Check for ferry. I juuuuuust missed it, next departure : 8:30 PM…. Damn x 2.

OK… I heard there was another ferry terminal : Muskagon. One hour or so down the road. I check the schedule : Next departure 4:30 PM. Deal.

I head out.

Again I ride 5 on 5, meaning : 5000 RPMs in 5th gear. That’s how I keep track of my speed. 4 on 4 is 40 something miles per hour, 5 on 5 is 68-70 something miles per hour, 65 if the needle is just before the 5… 4 on 3 is 30-35 something… I checked with the GPS…

I get into Muskagon and head straight to Starbucks. Their wi-fi always works… It’s not the coffee… it’s the wi-fi…

The bike is barely shifting. Crap. It actually feels like it’s not really getting out of gear with the clutch full on. Damn x3

I head for the ferry terminal. Park it. I almost get a heart attack when they tell me the price : $144 after taxes… Yikes! But that ferry ride saves a good 8 hours of riding through Chicago traffic which I hear is the nightmare of traffic nightmares. And that would ultimately add another night in a hotel… so I cough it up.. or should I say Visa did. And with the bike the way it is I don’t want to be in bumper to bumper traffic.

This is stressing me out. But I have faith that something will happen and handle this problem.

3:15 I line up for the ferry.

waiting for the Ferry to Milwaukee, see the Milwaukee boots

3:30 I go through security. The lady tells me she wants to get her bike license. I say go for it!

3:40 I am first in line in the motorcycle lane. We have to wait until 4 PM. So I go in to get some water. There was a Rolls Royce in the line up. I hear some guy saying :

“is this a Rolls?”

“Naaahh, it looks too nice”

“yeah it figures, probably a kit…”

a real 1949 Rolls Royce

I get my water, sit for a few minutes, see some more motorcycles lining up so I figure that will be more fun than critical old dudes. I go back out.
A young couple on a Harley. They are from Italy. They are going to Sturgis. At home he has a Ducati Supersport but for her he got a Harley for this trip. How nice! They are Julia and Lorenzo.

Julia and Lorenzo

A man arrives on a Triumph. A 2005 but it has the classic lines of the old bikes. Real nice guy his name is Steven. Going home too after visiting family.

Another guy on a Harley. He’s going home in Milwaukee.

bike people hanging out

I see the Rolls Royce guy. It’s the real deal, a 1949.

As we are talking I mentioned to Steven my clutch problem. He said he thought it made sense, that it could be the clutch cable. So he walked over to my bike, pulled back the rubber sleeve covering the adjustment nut and tightened it up. The lever feels better already. We’ll have to see when it runs. I cross my fingers.

We chat, take pictures, laugh, some of the “car people” come around and take photos of us. The ferry arrives, we get on. On there we had to tie down our bikes. The ties are supplied by the ferry. With all the towing experience I have gained over the last little while I know where to put the ties and how to tighten it down nice and solid. Got to find the silver lining in everything… even getting towed can teach us something!

I go upstairs and I ended up sitting with Julia, Lorenzo and Steven. We chat, laugh have a good time. I learn Steven raced motorcycles, so he knows a thing or two about bikes… Later we went outside, on the upper deck. Holy wind!!! I was laughing like an idiot because the wind was so ridiculously strong! You felt like a leaf that could be carried in the lake…
so windy...

I stayed out for a while, there we talked with Kyle, a Milwaukian (?) who has traveled to Italy, Australia, New Zealand. Nice guy.

When I have enough of getting my ears blasted by the fog horn (the whole town was covered in fog, I had not seen fog in a long time) I went back inside went to the bathroom, caught my reflection in the mirror and I started to laugh again like an idiot as I truly looked like a scarecrow with straw hair. The wind had turned me into a wild beast!

The boat slows down. Time to untie the bikes. We all go down to do that.

waiting to get out and try that clutch

Get on. We wait. Our turn to get out. Start the bike, first gear, second.. And the clutch…

Smooth as a baby’s butt. I mean, it’s perfect. Bouncy, responsive, no lagging… My bike’s back…. It was a ridiculous small adjustment of the clutch cable. The whole clutch mechanism works perfectly. I started to laugh out loud (lots of laughs today) as you come out of the ferry terminal, the highway takes you up higher than the city streets. So you see the highway overpasses floating in the fog between the city and the sun with its rays is peeking through. It looks like the sky is smiling. The city is cushioned in white stuff, it’s beautiful, I pick up speed, as we approach a maze of massive overpasses criss-crossing the sky. It’s so… American. In the best sense of it. Strong, powerful, proud, miracle of engineering that we all take for granted. This is a moment to remember always. I wish I could take photos from up here…

I took an exit a little ways out of downtown to get gas. I pulled into the BP… didn’t want to do it because of the Gulf disaster but it’s the first time… forgive me…

I pull in there, fill up, walk in, go to the washroom, come out… Where are my keys?… in the washroom, go back in, get the keys, get iced tea, go outside and as I open the door this guy comes next to me and says something… I look up… I did not quite get what he said.. something about the bike…

OMG!!! I screamed and hooped! This man’s truck was pulling a trailer and in the trailer was… A 1983 GS 750 ES Just like mine!!! I was laughing so hard. I’ve met people who either own one but they are not riding them or people who have owned one but this was just too cool.

Pete with his Suzuki GS 750 ES

We chatted for a while. His name was Pete and he flips bikes. Buys old ones, fixes them up and resells them. He said I drove by the other way, saw my ride and had to turn around and come see it close. I thought that if I had not left my keys in the bathroom I would have never seen him!

Pete knows a lot about bikes, I told him about my clutch stuff and he explained what to do if the clutch ever starts to slip. He explained a few more things then proceed to put a little silver lining around my windshield! Wow!

The bike is starting to wear the trip : the New York Inspection sticker, the Brantford Ontarion House 173 sticker, the black veil from the biker girl and now a silver lining on the new windshield.

Pete went his way and I went mine. With the clutch working it’s like my bike is back. I got on the freeway racing a truck with two young guys in it. The sun is coming down. I got another light show. I realize that going West I’m going to have light shows every night instead of the dark bluish gray sky finish you get in the East. It’s beautiful. I am so happy. Wisconsin feels awesome. I love the vibe already.

I speedily get to Madison. When I get in a new city it’s always like tossing the dice. I take an exit and hope it’s cool. This time I hit the jack pot. I am on the main drag. It’s full of beautiful shops and restaurants. I stopped at this place that had so many lightbulbs I had to stop. Ella’s deli. There is a carousel out front! Inside it’s a psychedelic dream in action. I had to walk around and take pictures…


<img src="http://daniellehebert.files.

one of the horses on the carousel″ alt=”” title=”w17″ width=”225″ height=”300″ class=”size-medium wp-image-557″ />[/caption]

My waiter was Gregory. His voice was incredibly hoarse “because he went to see Joan Jett a few days ago and sang and screamed himself hoarse. An awesome show he said.

Gregory was the best waiter I’ve had on this whole trip. The food was so good. I ate too much but who cares! The experience was also one to remember always.

Gregory and me

It’s past 9 PM. I looked for acommodations on my GPS. There is a hostel in town. Yay! I rode there, and on the way there, way downtown I saw the Capitol, blue, illuminated in the night. Breath taking.

I get to the hostel… closed. I check the GPS went to another hotel in the area : booked up. I check a third place on the GPS head down and about 3 corners down I realize I don’t have my bag with my wallet, money, camera, passport, Nexus card, passwords…



I turn around. I don’t think I’ve ever done such a good U-turn. Zero hesitation. GO!!!

I get to the last hotel I was in, run in, still have my helmet on

(muffled) Did you find a bag here!


(muffled louder) Did you find a bag here!

(muffled) A black bag!

No… didn’t see it…

(muffled) My whole F*&ing life is in there…

You did not have it on you when you walked in…

My heart is pounding, I’m actually really scared. This is a disaster… (I thought) The Hostel… I ran out, jumped on the bike, Vrooom! I peel out. At least with a bike you can move fast.

One corner, two corners, a stop, left turn, park in the no parking, jump off, run in…. I look by the phone I had used to call the hostel person next to the door. No bag. I walk in where I had pulled out my phone out on the first attempt to call the hostel person. My bag… There it is. Wide open, where I left it… OMG! I look in : wallet, money, camera, Leo. Everything is there.

I get back out and I hug two girls who were standing out there smoking cigarettes. Holy Sh#t!


and I laughed out loud.

I GPSed 3 more hotels without success. Finally I landed in a Motel 8 by the highway.

What a cool day.

The missed ferry in Ludington led me to Muskagon where Steven was and Steven fixed my clutch problem that was gnawing at me. Then my meanderings took me to this gas station where leaving my keys in the bathroom led me to meet Pete who had a bike like mine, put a silver lining on my windshield and taught me a few more things about that clutch. Then I landed in Madison which totally rocks!

Leaving the bag behind… well I don’t know, it might have served some other purpose or will serve something that is coming up… or maybe it’s a good kick in the A#* to be more careful. My angels have spoken…

Oh and I wanted to add. Gotta ask Jim… I am noticing that the bike is running cooler than it used to. He made a *potion* for the engine, 10-40 engine oil plus a half a quart of synthetic 20-50 and some “additives” he said, to help the engine. This is working. Today I was going 70 -80 +MPH and it never went higher than a bit over a quarter of the dial. usually that would have been close to the half. I’ve been keeping a eye on the gauge since I left Rochester… It definitely runs cooler.

The master rules.

And now I have a real silver lining.

How cool is that?

note the silver lining on the windshield and the little brother on the trailer


4 Responses to “Silver lining, fixings and laughing a lot”

  1. francoise Moulin Says:

    Je te suis dans ton voyage, ou mieux….Je te lis. Continue! Quelles belles aventures avec tout ce monde autour de toi et ta compagne. Moi, j’ai installe mon lit dehors ou je m’endors en regardant les etoiles et l’infini. Qd il rafraichit, j’ai le lit ds le salon ou je lis “Infinite Possibilities en pensant a ma belle Danielle. Tendresse tout a long de ta journee. Francoise

  2. Erika Says:

    Im 4 on 3 in steamfitting and enjoying a little calculus but was left in the dust yesterday since I’ve already decided I want to be a welder I don’t need calculus on the jobsite, most math anyways is done for you, you just read the blueprints and interpret the information and do what needs to be done.

    Im 5 on 5 with welding getting ever closer to making a largish decision to attaining Level C in 7 sweaty months and then putting in hours for the balance of 2011 to get through the first level which is the hardest…..sounds somewhat like life in general eh

    Im 5 on 5 with lovin’ the people in my life, a special man, beautiful children, friends who care and are there and a sister who is with me in surround sound

    Im 5 on 5 confident that you living your life gives me courage to live mine


  3. Erika Says:

    ps please correct my typos if you don’t I will 🙂

  4. Steve Tayler Says:

    Hey Danielle what a great blog! It was fun sharing the ferry trip with you. Was that really just yesterday? Now I feel bad I didn’t give you the number of my friend Eric who lives in Madison. But then again he lives in his new m/c shop right now = no shower, no A/C…but plenty of sleeping bag space! Another ex-racer friend lives in Bend OR, if you find yourself in that area…..she’s a lot like you…very creative and just a teeny bit crazy…in a good way!
    While you are in S Dakota try and visit “The Needles” in the black hills area. It’s about 20miles SW of Rapid City. It’s a maze of beautiful pegmatite spires unique to N. America and a magnet for hikers and climbers. Try the campground at Sylvan Lake and touch the rock for me:) Safe travels! Steve

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