Hopefully you have been following the adventures of the Hell Ride so far. If you haven't, you stink. Don't be a D-bag and make me explain everything that happened up to this point. Order the last six back issues of this awe-inspiring magazine, study up on Hell, eat some Pop Rocks, and call me in the morning. Don't really call me; call my editor Toph. He's obviously lonely because he has way too much time on his hands to sit around and delete naughty words from my stories. If you have been following this torrid tale, read on, but I warn you, this is the last installment. That's right. After this, there's no more Hell, only rainbows and unicorns...I think. If you are still being a dork and need a refresher, I've been on the road all over this damn country. I started out with a crew of five on a journey from L.A. to the Sturgis biker rally. After Sturgis, I broke out on my own to head through the northern states, on to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and then to the Harley control center in Milwaukee.
The first thing you might be wondering is, "Why is this dude going to Michigan to get to someplace in Wisconsin?" Well, that's really my business isn't it? But I understand your questioning. The small village of Copper Harbor is nestled near the tip on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, about 1,000 miles north of Harley's headquarters. Let's face it: the state of Michigan is geographically stupid. First, it is shaped like a mitten. Who planned that? But then there is this strange other part of the state that doesn't belong that confuses everyone when you try to talk about it. Anyway, Copper Harbor is on the Keweenaw Peninsula. How it is not part of cheese-land makes no sense to me. But alas, the tip of Michigan and the area's lonely shoreline beckoned.
I have to admit the ride wasn't lonely at all. I had picked up my girlfriend, Dacia, at the airport in Duluth, Minnesota, so she could join me for the rest of the journey. But, if you were a faithful reader, you'd already know that. We headed north on US 41, also known as the Copper Country Trail National Byway. The trail cuts through the center of the peninsula on smooth blacktop, but at times, the asphalt was the only hint we were anywhere near civilization (if you can call Michigan's UP civilization). The road bends like a lazy river with its shores shaded by trees growing thicker than my butt hair. The sun blinked in and out of the leaves creating a sort of midday rave as we rode through endless archways on our way to what seemed like the tip of the earth rather than just the tip of Michigan. Very important note: There is only one gas station in Copper Harbor and its hours are sketchy. Do yourself a favor and fill up in the town of Calumet on your way in.
Copper Harbor (copperharbor.org) is the gateway drug to Isle Royal National Park. Those wanting a fix can take a ferry, but Isle Royal is for hoofers only. We preferred to skip the three-hour boat ride and stay with the bike. Apparently the hangover cure in Copper is not a Bloody Mary, it's a sunrise ride up Brockway Mountain Drive. You can't miss it, unless you are a total moron, as the route begins at the only stoplight in town. Be sure you are actually sober before going, of course. Brockway is peppered with potholes. Even if you avoid all of the messed up asphalt, you still have to be aware of all of the other drivers more concerned with the beautiful vista of Lake Superior and the 360-degree views of the area.
After our sunrise excursion up the mountain, we hit the Berry Patch for locally made ice cream with thimbleberry sauce. I know, it wasn't the smartest breakfast, but it was berry good. Other options are to head out, or shall I say come out, to Gay, Michigan, to get its version of surf and turf, sardines, and a Slim Jim, at the Gay Bar. "Dude, that is so gay," I told Dacia as she gave me the stink eye for calling her dude, again. But the place serves a mean veggie dog.