2013 Night Shift Recon

This was both the best idea I've had in awhile and the worst. Best for the fact that indeed a few suspected trouble areas of the route, were indeed trouble. Worst, because it was 4 hours of driving, about 2.5 of it very tense at times. We were tired after this and we hadn't even pedaled 1 mile.

We did get lost, but rather quickly found our way. Kinda scary, traveling on dirt roads and "seasonal roads" where we've never been before, then also knowing that at any time we could get lost or stuck in the middle of nowhere. Had we "winged it" and done this by bike in the dark....trouble!

So here are a few highlights with pictures. We learned alot about the route. Mainly, how Google satellite images don't show depth very well...I'm eliminating 4 miles of dirt road (the term "road" used VERY lightly) entirely because it was up and down, up and down, up and down in what looked like would be PURE sand by the time a dry June would arrive - and with less than 15 miles left to the finish, we were envisioning hours of hike-a-bike.

Armed with energy drinks, snack foods (beef jerky and Combos) and two redundant GPS devices and an old-fashioned paper map, we began our trek from outside Rockford. Nothing notable to report from the start all the way to Newaygo. There will be a few chances to stop at gas stations for supplies (Howard City, then Newaygo).

Aside from the one dog that thought for a second that he wanted to commit suicide by jutting out towards my front wheels, we only saw turkeys all day. Oh yeah, and a few turkey vultures perched up in trees. A good sign in my mind. HA

Enjoy the pictures below...

 Much of what we drove from the start to Howard City looked like this. Nice!

I've never been to the Hardy Dam in Newaygo before. It was quite impressive. I wonder how it will look around midnight?

Much of the trek up north revealed snow and ice still on the gravel roads.

Our first approach on a "seasonal road" (roads that don't get any county attention during the winter months).

We travelled probably nearly a half mile before reaching a point to this garbage. This was not driveable. What/whoever had driven through here prior to us, had to have had a jacked up hill-billy wagon. The ruts were half as deep as the tires on my "little" SUV. We backed down, turned around and found a way around this. This should be ridable by bike, just not today...in a civilian vehicle.

View of the truck from where we stopped to look at yet another bad spot in the road. (next pic)

We did make it through this. Most of the mud was still frozen - only the top inch or so had thawed out.

More snow the further we got on some of the seasonal roads. This section near Hungerford Lake trail.

We took the occasional break to do fun stuff like this.

Part of the section I'm removing from the first draft of the route. It was up and down like this for 4+ miles. Nearly all sand. Hardly an excuse for a "road" - more like service drive for the powerline.

Final destination: Silver Creek Campground. Notice the broken muffler. Oops.

Mud truck. My wife was happy when we got home. "Why didn't you wash my truck?" My response: "Not my truck. Not my problem." HA HA...I got a dirty look (no pun intended) for that one.

Darryl-rigged muffler hoist.

Good ol' Loggers Landing was our reward (lunch) for our trek. Delicious burgers and Philly Cheese Steak.

1 comment:

  1. Looks fantastic Tony. Thanks for doing all the work. It worth!