It was a warm, clear and beautiful morning as the sun started to crest the horizon. We were up before dawn and on our way to The Lake Express dock on Milwaukee's south side. Just a trio of BBC guys whom like traveling together to see the world from the saddle of a British motorcycle.
I was traveling extra light for this trip and stuffed everything I thought I needed in the travel-sized saddlebags on my Triumph Bonneville T-100. I also had a tail bag that I strapped to the rear part on my saddle. I didn't want to scratch my Union Jack gas tank so I didn't bring a tank bag.
Tom Rasman and Dan Kasper had their rides loaded with all sorts of bags. Tom's Triumph, a three cylinder, Thunderbird, was sounding pretty sweet that morning as we drove onto the boat's parking deck. His bike echoed loudly as he pulled into a spot reserved for motorcycles.
Dan parked his Triumph Bonneville America, on the opposite side of the boat from our tie down area. He strapped in next to a nice BMW and a few Harleys. The straps supplied were somewhat of challenge to use because they were damaged by previous users. We finally got the bikes secured and preceded up to the passenger deck for fresh coffee and doughnuts.
The Lake Express is a sleek twin-hull car and bike ferry that cruises between Milwaukee and Muskegon, MI, twice a day during the season. We were taking advantage of a special deal that gave a free trip to our motorcycles with the purchase of a round-trip passenger ticket. It's a really nice boat with deck chairs and a food bar, bathrooms etc.
The trip went fast, just about three hours and we were pulling up to the dock in Michigan. If we had gone through Chicago on the freeway, it would of taken all day.We off-loaded from the boat and headed out for brunch. After chow at Big Boy, we checked the GPS and headed toward our first destination. We planned to make it to or near Dearborn and the HENRY FORD MUSEUM.
Traffic was not bad and the roads in western Michigan are quite nice. We cruised and stopped for gas throughout the day until we got tired and hungry. The hotel was a deal at $20 per guy and it had three beds in the room so I didn't have to sleep in a chair.
The next day we fueled up, ate a good breakfast, and headed out to the museum. By 9 AM it was getting pretty hot, like 85-90F. We cruised the streets of Dearborn, through miles of Ford and GM auto plants with ton of cars and trucks parked in neat rows. The museum is in a big complex and made of red brick with fancy trim. We headed inside and started a three-hour tour.
I had my favorite bike travel camera (Panasonic TZ5) with me and proceeded to document my favorite exhibits. It is a fabulous place to spend the day if you have the energy. As you will see at the slide show link, I took a lot of shots at the museum, a few along the way from there and some at our hotel stops. The balance of my photos, document the trip back home and some pretty scenery.
All in all the riding in Michigan is great. The paved roads are straight lines on the map in eastern Michigan and twister as you head west. I was surprised at the number of gravel roads we came across. They would pop up around a corner without warning. The worst traffic we encountered was at rush hour in Detroit on Friday afternoon. It was hot and slow going. Thank God for those cold beers, Italian food and a cute waitress that helped to wash away the bad memory of miles and miles of long red lights every two blocks.
Enough said. Click on the photo above to see the photo gallery.