The Road to Devereaux (well, not quite)

Photos from the trip, courtesy of Deerslayer, can be seen at

See (and comment on) this post at my LiveJournal

I wound up staying over at my mom's last night and didn't get home 'til around noon, so I got a late start on the riding today. Beautiful day, though, and damned if I wasn't going to get out there!

So called up (Deer) 'Slayer* and asked him what he was up to, half-expecting that he'd already be out there catching the breeze, but sure 'nuff, he wasn't up to anything, and was up for a ride. I wanted to get my new speedo (no jokes, fellas - this is my new Topeak Panoram cycle computer**) set up so I'd have a clue as to how fast I was going when the nice officer asks, so I told him I'd head over to Corsa and give a holler when I take off.

Last week at Tio's I asked Katherine where would be some good day-trip destinations/rides, and she suggested a tiny little place called Devereaux. Plot a path to Devereaux, and you'll find lots of nice little twisty (and mostly paved) roads, she said, so that's what I suggested today.

Gave a call to Matt (another Michigan rider, in East Lansing) since Devereaux was about midway between Coldwater ('Slayer), Ann Arbor (moi), and East Lansing (Matt), and amazingly, he too was unoccupied (except for having to spend some time with the woman first, which worked out well, since I needed to spend some time with the speedo). So I headed over to Corsa...

... and about an hour or so later, finally got the speedo mounted up and working. Annoyingly, the little zip-ties for mounting the sensor didn't quite make it around my fork tubes, so I had to improvise with some wire and electrical tape, but I managed to do a decent job. But when I started rolling, it didn't report any change in speed. Bummer. Great, the magnet (from which the sensor detects motion) fell off. Grr. Well, I managed to hunt up another, slightly larger magnet (Erik, Dave, let me know if I should swing you some $$ for the 2 magnets), and instead duct-taped it into one of the little holes in my brake disc. Let's see the damn little thing break out of *there*. It didn't, thankfully. Then I realized I'd forgotten my wallet, which woulda reall sucked when I ran out of gas. Ran home, then realized I needed to eat so I wouldn't pass out. Oh shit, it's already 3:15pm, and Matt was going to head out around 3:30pm to meet us in Devereaux. Gobbled down a few pieces of break and washed it down with OJ, then called 'Slayer - we decide to meet half-way in Jackson and then call Matt to let him know we were heading north. Um, I *did* tell him to wait until I called him, right?

Uh, wrong. When Steve & I met up in Jackson (and I ran into the Ground Round or whatever it was called) for a quick bite, I checked my cell and Matt had left a message around 3:30 that he was headed to Devereaux. Steve checked his watch, uh-oh, 4:30. I called him, luckily he hadn't been there too long (or was too polite to say so), and agreed to meet us in Jackson, since he wasn't far. Never did actually find Devereaux, though he found Devereaux Road - figure he musta blinked as he drove past.

It wasn't too hard to spot the biker scum, I guess, since he headed right over, and we scratched our heads over the maps before I suggested that Steve just lead, since he was more familar with the area. Apparently there was some big race (Pepsi something?) at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Jackson, so we decided to head the opposite way. So Steve headed out, and we followed, like trusting little ducklings.

I occasionally stopped him - "You know where you're going, right?" - "Oh yeah, sure..." - and then we hit a dead-end turnaround. So we got to practice our MSF tight turns around the circle, and headed out another direction. Found some not-quite-gravel, and then hit some nice roads leading Out of There.

Mmm, nice. Lotsa pleasant country roads, farms, cornfields, cows, tree-lined streets with so much shade that I started to shiver a little bit - it was a damn nice day for riding. Coulda been a little more twisty, but there were some nice curves, enough to remind me that yes, I do remember how to do this, and I was happy to find that I actually was doing better than I had last year. Even on the tighter curves, not even close to hitting the yellow, and much more confident. Yay! Plus, the ride to Jackson (on I-94, since we were running so short on time) had been largely uneventful - I'm getting comfy on the expressway, and having the speedo was really nice. Not only showed me my current speed, but the cumulative trip distance, rolling (in-motion) time, and clock. I was happy to find out that 'Angel didn't seem to mind going up to 80 or so, though I kept it to 77 or so most of the way. Plus, the 18-wheelers didn't even scare me (much) as before. I'm actually getting the hang of this!

She still is doing that occasional slight hesitation & surging (almost like I'm rolling off the throttle and then back on) thing that might just be the various forms of gunk (silicone lube, universal lube, WD-40, carb cleaner and the like) working their way through the system. I'd dumped some more Techron in the tank earlier, and then filled it up again, so I'd hope that by now it would've worked its way through. Seems a little better, but not 100%. When Steve, Matt, and I stopped for gas before getting too far I put in the 'Silver' (mid-grade) gas, since it had this marketingspeak poster saying "Hesit... Hesita... Hesitation?" and well, I guess I'm easy. ;) Seemed appropriate enough.

But back to the ride. As I was saying, some really nice roads. Got more twisty as we progressed. Didn't know where we were headed, didn't care... just beautiful. As we suddenly happened upon Civilization (boo!), I moved up to harrass, er, ask Steve where we were and where to from there, and he pointed to Matt, who'd pulled into a restaurant parking lot on the other side of the road. He was quickly ridding himself of riding gear. Hmm, did we just bore him to tears, or was the heat getting to him? We doubled back and found him cursing and fussing with his shirt - apparently he got a bee inside his jacket and managed to get stung several times. Yowch. Steve donated some ice from his iced tea, we examined the bee (which was very dead at this point) to see if it still had a stinger and whatnot, then got back on the road. Matt made sure to zip his jacket all the way up, as did I.

Turns out we'd managed to wind up back in Jackson again, but Steve mentioned that we'd passed Rive's Junction Rd. a while back, where his grandmammy used to live, and that was reason enough to go check it out. Rive's Junction really was that, just an intersection (near as I could tell, anyway) - not even a stoplight (that I recall). Some real nice roads, though. :)

It led us to Bunkerhill Road, where we stopped in a bank parking lot to take a swig of 'Slayer's tea and regroup. I noticed that we'd done a short stint on Hankerd Road, which was near the Scene of the Crash last summer. Hmm, maybe a side trip to go get a piece of the tree/s that bit me? Not today, anyway. 'Slayer snapped a few pix of our motley crew and our bikes - Darkangel looking all pretty with her new all-black look, and Matt's pristine, beautful, all chromey-and-shiny '88 VT800C. {envyenvyenvy, sorry 'Angel}. I did some posing, hoping that these ones would come out better than the usual pix, since I usually hate the way I look in photos. Well, we'll see soon. ;)

We decided to take Bunkerhill north, and I smelled water - Pleasant Lake, aptly named. We detoured around the lake, and I thrilled to the shimmery water and the wonderful smell of the wetlands and the water. I need to get Up North, I reminded myself... it reminded me a bit of my favorite areas up near Traverse Bay and Glen Arbor, on the coast of Lake Michigan. Ahh... maybe soon.

Bumbling around the back roads was sheer heaven. Except for when 'Slayer managed to find a long (well, it felt that way!) and winding gravel road. I quickly learned that it was much better to be in a higher gear (much smoother), and didn't even die. Yay for me!

We hit 127 between Ann Arbor and Jackson and the boys announced that they were Hungry. We threw out various suggestions - Jackson, Chelsea (west of Ann Arbor), Okemos (near Lansing), and settled on Chelsea. Headed out on I-94 east, and quickly hit a standstill, traffic creeping along. Yech. It was sort of amusing, though, in a way - I rode alongside Steve and we traded comments, made faces & waved at dogs in the cars, and contemplated hitting the shoulder. Luckily there was an exit up ahead (Kalmbach) and we took that and meandered our way into Chelsea.

Found the same pub that 'Slayer & I had eated at a few (?) months back on our last ride together, and got a pizza ("Should we get a medium or large?" we asked the waitress. "How hungry are ya?" Steve & Matt replied "Very," and she sized us up for about a half-second and answered - "Large."). I grilled Matt about the D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degree he was working on up at MSU, since I'd always been interested in medicine, but didn't quite jive on the western medical establishment's view of patients and health. Hmm, mighty interesting.. I might have to check it out. Of course, I'd need to take some classes, since I hadn't quite done the pre-med in undergraduate, and oh yeah, I just committed to buying this house - yeesh - but who knows, I'll take a look.

We saw some Harley riders (who barely made eye contact) pass through out what was either a back exit or a backroom (the contents of which was the subject of a brief debate), and wound up closing the place around 9:30. These little towns roll up their shutters early on Sundays. We parted ways, Matt heading north on M-52 and 'Slayer and I heading south to I-94 - unfortunately, I-94W was blocked by police cars - musta been an accident, perhaps following the MIS race. Bummer, that. I waved goodbye and hit

I-94E, debating whether or not to hit the girl bar over by the airport, and thought better of it. Best not to push it too much, and ride too tired. Next weekend, maybe.

I rolled into Ann Arbor not long after - another largely uneventful ride on the expressway (yay!), and even managed not to get caught at the left-turn light which almost never gets activated by bikes. Ahh, nice day, shame it hadn't been a little longer. About 150 miles in all.

Mm. I'll sleep well tonight.

a very happy Hope

** Here's an excerpt from Steve's member profile at the ShadowRiders page, with a bit about his nickname....

NickName: deerslayer
Motorcycle: 1998 ACE Tourer blk/blk (El Gato Negro)
Comments: Hold Mich. Record for the most deer hit with motorcycle I think, (3) and still alive, or was at least the last time I checked. Enjoy riding evidently. Rode 175cc Honda from Calif. to Mich. In "67" and still riding. Have owned several bikes over the years, all of them Honda's.

**You can read more about the speedo, a Topeak Panoram, at

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Published by Hope,
and Flaming Paisley Productions, inc.