Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 1 – From Wheeling to Little Bay de Noc

Route: From Wheeling (IL) to Little Bay de Noc (Hiawatha National Forest, MI), 330 miles

They say that it is good luck to have rain when you are leaving on a long trip. This is probably true. The trip was great. But when I woke up on Saturday morning, my heart dropped. It was raining cats and dogs. The weather didn’t improve much in the couple of hours that it took me to get ready, and it didn’t look like it would improve any time soon. So I decided to leave.

It’s not that I wasn’t prepared. I did have a Tourmaster Defender rain suite that, by the way, I used three timed during the trip, and was very impressed by its quality. I put it on and started the bike. What happened next was absolutely unexpected. My helmet visor fogged and stayed fogged. I’ve ridden in the rain many times and it has never been a problem. The visor usually fogs when I stop, but immediately unfogs as soon as I start moving again. Not this time. It was so bad, that I decided I needed a radical solution to this problem and turned back.

The solution was Cat Crap. This is not what your think. It’s an anti-fog lens cleaner manufactured by E.K. Ekcessories, Inc. I bought it at REI last summer, but never used. It took me a couple of minutes to apply Cat Crap and get ready again. Well, it didn’t help. Somehow it made it even worth. I guess the name of the product adequately describes its usefulness after all.

I stopped at the first gas station and reviewed my options. I’ve already used all the high-tech solutions such as a special motorcycle windshield & visor cleaned All Kleer and Cat Crap. It was time to try something low-tech. Soap. I used it when I was a kid to prevent fogging of my swim mask. I didn’t have soap with me, but I had body wash. What the heck, I applied it to the visor and IT WORKED. It was of course pure coincidence that by the time I finished messing with the body wash the rain almost stopped.

I was so happy with my finally found comfort that I rode in the rain gear for the next 150 miles. Rain, lots of road construction on 83, and three detours, slowed me down somewhat. I think I reached the campground well after 7 pm.

Little Bay de Noc was the first campground I stayed at. I mean THE FIRST. I’ve never camped before. As an introduction to the joys of camping, I couldn’t find a better place. Little Bay was a large camp with a relatively small number of sites (38). My site had a shape of an oval, 40 x 20 yards. The forest was so dense, I could barely see my neighbors.

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