Day Nine - September 11, 1997
Jerks Be Here
Mackinaw City, Michigan - Glenn, Michigan
(I apologize for this report being delayed - I was surprised to learn that the cabin's phone line won't support data. We should be caught up after this and the next message.)
We awake to impending rain and we know that it's going to be a tough ride today. Before heading out, we collect our free continental breakfast at the Hampton Inn. I put an english muffin in the toaster and sit down with my coffee waiting for it to toast. The attendant-troll (I figured out where 'troll' came from, people who live under -- south of -- the Mackinac Bridge) comes over and resets the dial that I had set to high, as in dark, as in crunchy. I learned from my mother years ago that the proper way to eat an english muffin is dark and crunchy, and this troll woman overrides my toaster settings! "Too dark, it'll burn" she announces to whomever in the room might have been so dense as to have set the dials themselves. Harrumph. I go over and dial it right back to '10', announcing "That's the way I like it." (uh-huh uh-huh). Sheesh.
Rain rain rain. I am not in a good mood. The comm system that was working yesterday and providing so much fun is just not working today. Slowly, my "WATERPROOF" gloves are giving up to the rain, and my hands are starting to hate me, instead of loving me as the label promised. Grrr. I am not happy. I figured that one good thing about having this insane glove inventory is that I can just change them every two hours. Which I do.
We pass a John Deere store and I signal for Mark to stop. His bike doesn't have a throttle lock (which does in fact come standard on my 1997 Harley-Davidson Road King with Fuel Injection). I read somewhere on the Internet (so it must be true) that John Deere sells an O-ring that can be used as a throttle lock on bikes so unequipped. We drop in, and sure enough, a 1 1/8" O-ring does the trick. That makes both of us happy for the cost of .75. Not a bad deal.
Shortly thereafter the rain slows down a bit and Mark makes a half-hearted shot of a water tower which is right next to a monument celebrating the world's largest cherry pie. A minor uplift to the day. Ingredients included if you want to duplicate the feat at home:
Finally, the rain breaks in Honor, Michigan. We give each other the thumbs up and roar on for Glenn and the Jerk rendezvous.
As we ride down the west coast of Michigan, I am reminded of working as a roadie for Ethos in the mid-seventies. We were contracted to play a festival in this area of Michigan. The organizer had paid close attention to the shortcomings of other festivals, specifically the lack of restroom facilities and fresh water. So he had invested heavily in porta-potties and water tanker trucks. In fact, he had done such a complete job of preparing for this concert that he ran out of funds to actually promote the concert with advertising. So when we arrived in the equipment truck, we found a nicely equipped stage, with plenty of porta-potties, lots of fresh water, and an audience consisting solely of the road crews from all of the other bands contracted to perform. As I recall, we opted not to do the gig without being paid first, which didn't happen.
We are riding into the wind. I have learned the sounds and vibrations of the bike so well that I can tell what gear I'm in. But into the wind, you can lose a lot of mph, and all day I'm thinking that somehow, somewhere, there's a gear missing. The gusts of wind off Lake Michigan are strong and sudden.
Twenty-five miles from Glenn, we are on highway 31 approaching the last leg of the trip through Holland MI. 31 has unbelievable traffic backup; after all of the travel we've done cross country, this is easily the worst. We inch along for a couple of miles approaching I-196, and this is what it looks like:
We are so anxious to get to the site and off the road that we take the I-196 business loop through Holland, and miss one critical turn, and find ourselves passing seemingly every school in town just at the moment that they are all letting out. I can see on the GPS where we should be, so we do a series of jogs to finally get back on track on the south end of Holland. Once we are on the real I-196, the speed limit is 70 and we are there quickly.
We arrive at the site at about 3:30; Carl is already here with everything set up and waiting. We get unloaded, take the best beds, and settle in for the arrival of the rest of the jerks (except Bob).
I try the phone line here at the cabin and it won't do data. That means that these report won't go out until early next week. Bummer.
At 5:30 Tom, Lyle, and Jim have arrived so I have to go make martinis.
Time to switch to Jerk mode.