Prepare to Stop

14 April 2006
Escanaba, Michigan

If you see a sign in Wisconsin saying, "Prepare to Stop", believe it.

You might want to be carrying a deck of cards with you as well.  After leaving Dave's place in Bloomington we stopped just across the Wisconsin border for a little refreshment and fuel.  As we're pulling into the station I hear my cell phone ringing.  It's Dave.  I'd left my baggie of super-dark blend coffee sitting in his kitchen.  Not a good way to begin the day.  A few miles further down the road we start seeing signs foretelling of road construction and traffic delays.  We soldier on.  One signed lightly suggested finding an alternate route.  There wasn't enough time for me to work out an alternate route in the GPS before we were enveloped in traffic.  The next ten miles took us over an hour to cover.  The whole deal was they were working on the westbound lanes of I-94 for a four mile stretch.  The first six miles of backed up traffic were nothing more than two lanes trying to merge into one.  I'm not sure which faired worse in the heat, me or the bike.  I nearly passed out a couple times.  There was nowhere to pull over to find shade.  There were no exits.  There was only clear blue sky, full sun, and hot asphalt.  My only saving grace this afternoon was that morning I removed the liners from my First Gear riding gear.  The bike heated up quickly, as it always does, when we hit the stopped traffic.  The fan kicked on and I thought all would be well.  About thirty minutes into the affair it started misfiring.  Then it started backfiring and misfiring.  Then it was running on three cylinders, backfiring, and misfiring.  It wouldn't maintain idle.  It lost GOBS of power and I had a hell of a time keeping it running.  I didn't dare pull over and shut it down because I wasn't sure I'd ever get it started again.  About all I could do is keep the throttle open and spun up to 2500 RPM just to keep it running.  It's never done this before but then it's never been so hot for so long, either.  Not really sure what happened but as soon as the traffic cleared and we got back up to speed it ran just fine for the rest of the day.  We're still averaging ~40 mpg and the rear wheel is still pushing us down the road so we're gonna keep plugging along.

We were supposed to get in touch with the brother of my dive partner from Guam to arrange for lodging in Cooks, Michigan tonight but I wasn't able to reach him so we fell back and regrouped with our original plan and spent the night in Escanaba.  When we left Bloomington this morning the plan was to try out our new tent and camp along the way somewhere but after the sun went down and the breeze started blowing in off Green Bay, SOMEONE decided it might be just a little too chilly to set up camp for the night so we checked into the Super-8 and she warmed herself in their hot tub instead.  :)

-Are We There Yet?

Travel Stats:
Miles Traveled Today 387
Today's Total Average Speed 42.5 mph
Today's Total Moving Average Speed 53.6 mph
Miles Traveled Total (including "local" travel) 2171

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