This episode could just as easily be called the ‘Long Way Back’. We left Houghton this morning with plans to ride down to Escanaba and skirt the shoreline of Lake Michigan on our way into Wisconsin. But at our first break we realized that the rear tire on my riding buddy’s GS was starting to come apart. One of the tread blocks was bulged out noticeably and there were bubbles in the tread all the way around on the left side. He sent a picture of the deranged part of the tire to another friend who confirmed it looked like the tread was starting to separate from the carcass. The day before, Uly had run across a section of road where there was a gap between concrete sections of about 18-24 inches. We suspect his rear wheel dropped into the gap as he crossed it, and probably sustained at least part of the damage when it hit the edge of the slab. He had alerted me in time to slow down enough that I didn’t hit it with any energy. Luckily he was checking the tire pretty frequently thereafter and found the issue.
Compromised rear tire on Uly’s R1200GS Adventure.
Unfortunately this meant that he would need a new tire, and soon. The nearest cycle shop was a powersports store that deals mostly in ATVs and personal water craft. The nearest BWM dealer was in Green Bay, over 200 miles away. At least it was on our way to Manitowoc, where we were planning to meet the ferry anyways. But would it be Ok to ride it all the way there in the 85F temperatures? The alternative was to summon BMWs roadside assistance and have it towed-carried to Green Bay, or rent a U-Haul in a nearby town and take it by truck ourselves. After much consideration and debate we reasoned it could go another 200 miles or so to the dealer. Although we skipped the shoreline part of the ride, northern Michigan rewarded us with grand vistas of lush green forests and rolling hills to keep us focused on the ride. And once in Wisconsin we stopped for ice cream at nice shop along a rural road. When we walked up to the window, we were greeted by this sign.
Apparently this ice cream shop has seen quite enough sweaty currency.
Given the continuous anticipation of potential issues with the wonky tire, it was the longest 200 miles of any ride I’ve ever been on. Uly babied the bike and we stopped a couple of times to make sure things weren’t getting (much) worse. The good news is that the tire held, and the great folks at BMW Motorcycles of Green Bay got his bike on a hoist and a new tire installed in reasonably short order.
Uly’s R1200GS Adventure at BMW Motorcycles of Green Bay, waiting for it’s new tire.
The rest of the ride to Manitowoc was uneventful and light-hearted. The hotel is Ok and dinner was very pleasant. So we covered 250 miles today and we’ll be on the ferry back across the lake tomorrow afternoon. Tonight we’re getting some much needed rest and we’ll have a casual start to the day tomorrow!
Catch some of Uly’s videos on his Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVEXFYWFdUVOAkE0fAgEswA