Around Lake Superior 2013
This is my first ride report, but second in our series of circumnavigating a Great Lake. Last year Tom and I rode around Lake Huron, this time around is Lake Superior.
We are planning to leave July 4th depending on the weather. Last year we left in a large rain storm and vowed to wait it out if our time was as imperfect this year. Five day out and the weather is looking promising for our 1st day.
Here is our planned route. Ignore the letter bubbles, they are only so I could tell Google Maps where to draw the route. We are planning to take our time, 7-8 days, not scheduling more than 250 miles in a day. We will be camping the entire trip unless we hit a major storm and elect to seek the warmth of a motel for the night. We are going to try to update the ride report every day so you can follow along on our adventure.
I live in London, Ontario and Tom lives in a suburb north of Detroit. We will meet in Imlay City, a small town about halfway between the US/Canada border and the City of Flint. We don't ride typical advriderís bikes (at least not yet!). I ride a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic and Tom a HD Heritage Softail Classic. We enjoy our cruisers and think they are perfect for these types of trips.
I picked up my Vulcan over the winter and have been getting it ready all spring for this trip. I installed a set of hard saddle bags, backrest, luggage rack, a new seat, and recently completed a change out of both my front and rear pulleys. Anyone who has owned a Vulcan 900 knows that its only major flaw is a uncomfortable vibration at highway cruising speeds. The bike really needed to be engineered with a 6th gear. The solution is to change the gear ratios by replacing the pulleys.
Old Front Pulley
New Front Pulley
Old Rear Pulley
New Rear Pulley
Now with the pulleys all set, my bike is ready for the trip.
Tom has been working away at modifying a handlebar camera mount that he bought this winter. It allows him to attach a regular digital camera so we can take pictures while in motion.
Next step in preparation is to collect all of the gear and see what we have room for. I am a Scout leader and thus get to see lots of different tents and camping supplies. I bought some new gear this winter that is more suited to carrying on the bike. Including a new backpacking tent and this funky chair (an Alite Monarch Butterfly, yes it only has two legs. I will post of pic of it in action while we are riding along)
Here is all my gear ready to go.
I decided it would be prudent to try fitting everything on the Vulcan and going for a quick test spin and see how the load feels
Now we just wait for Thursday!!
Looking forward to the RR
I attempted a circumnavigation of Lake Huron a couple of years ago. Got as far as Killarney Prov. Park and had to turn around due to a hurricane bearing down on Virginia, my home. Hope to get back up there next summer after I retire and complete the loop. Adding Lake Superior would be a plus. Have fun and post up.
Good luck on you're trip. We went around Lake Superior in 2011 and had a great time. It sure has some beautiful spots and it was fun stopping off at the various viewpoints. I'll be following along for sure. Thanks for doing this RR.
Gary "Oldone" :gerg
Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
Test Ride- June 30, 2013
Now with all the gear packed up on the bike it was time to take it out for a short ride to see how the load feels and to decide if I wanted to adjust my rear shock again before the ride around the Lake.
I got up early this morning and was on the road by 6:30am. It was a crisp 14 degrees celsius (58 fahrenheit) which made for excellent riding. It is Canada Day weekend here and so the roads were even quieter than usual on a Sunday morning.
I decided to get in the spirit of the circle tour of Lake Superior that I would head to one of the other Great Lakes this morning. Living in London we are equidistant to both Lake Huron and Lake Erie. So I headed to Lake Huron, destination- the beach town of Grand Bend.
My first stop on every ride (okay, really it is every day!), is my favoriate coffee shop, Tim Hortons. I wanted to get on the road so I elected to stop at the one in Parkhill. Even at 7am the parking lot was full and there was ~20 cars lined up in the drive thru.
Grand Bend is southern Ontario's beach town. Ontarian's from all over flock here starting Victoria Day weekend (Memorial Day in US) for camping and beach fun. I have not been here in probably 15 years but little has changed other than some obvious work to beautify the beach
Surf Shops in Grand Bend
The go-to-place to camp is Pinery Provincial Park. It is not uncommon to find the entire park booked solid on any nice weekend in the summer
The entire region caters to the camping crowd
I passed by this neat looking antique flea market as they were just getting setup for the day. Wish I had more time to stick around for the opening and look around. I really like scavenging through places like this like one of those American Pickers guys.
As I mentioned in my first post, I am a Scout Leader. Adjacent to the provincial park is Attawandaron Scout Reserve. I was looking forward to looking around the camp but was surprised to find the camp full of Girl Guides on a holiday weekend. I passed by as I didn't want to interfere with their activities and being on a bike without my uniform would immediately cause the leaders to be suspicious.
While driving around the sand dunes in Port Franks I had my first encounter with wildlife on this trip. I came across a turtle in the road right in front of the turtle crossing sign. But he was so quick that he was gone before I could get my camera out of my pocket :wink:
On my way home I drove by the former Camp Ipperwash site. This is a strange place. It was once an army cadet camp and training centre for the regular forces and reserves.
Camp Ipperwash 1958
It is now part of the Kettle and Stoney Point Native Reserve. It was the site of the Ipperwash Crisis in 1995 where the native band and the provincial police clashed for several days, ending in the controversial death of Dudley George.
The former Camp Ipperwash site is now known as the "Home Free Zone", an area where native suspects can escape justice by living in the camp. Provincial police do not cross the barrier in the camp, and nor did I! It was heavily guarded when I approached and so the only pictures I took were around the corner where the guards could not see me. (here is a story about the property courtesy of the Voice of Canada)
I then headed for home. The gear is packed nicely and the bike rides well loaded down, perhaps even better than when empty!
Just 4 more 'sleeps' till our ride begins!
Where the mount attaches to the handle bar is great. It is nice and solid. But the platform where the camera itself mounted was flimsy plastic. The camera vibrated so bad I thought it was going to vibrate right off (ok, it is mounted on a Harley so go ahead and make a Harley joke).
My friend Joe, who is an excellent machinist, made me a new platform for the camera out of aluminum. Using the aluminum piece in place of the plastic one and putting on a zip tie for extra support has gotten the vibration way down. I have only tried it on short test ride. So I am anxious to see how it works on this trip.
I am holding the plastic piece which really ruined a good mounting system and you can see the aluminum piece Joe made me as a replacement (Thanks Joe :D)
I did almost the same route in 2011. I would highly recommend the road between Munising and Grand Marais, some call it the dragons tail of the north, it won't disappoint ! It will take you through the picture rocks lakeshore national park.
Enjoy your trip !!:clap
Tom- perhaps we should hit Adams Trail instead? Or after the Sault on the way home?
We appreciate all the suggestions guys!
only gets better the further north you go!!!:evil
Oh wow, what a great trip, and so close to departure time..
You can't not go out the Keewenaw Penninsula!
Go to the Gay Bar, at least for a picture or two....
Love that loop around the lake and am looking forward to your report on your experiences. Lots of great stuff to experience. Hope you have a great trip!
Hope you have a great trip! Will be following your circle route with interest - it's on my list for this year. I just rode #2 & 28 from Duluth to the Sault last week - some nice lake views but there are more if you stay closer to the big lake. +1 on Pictured Rocks. On the North Shore, Neys and Pukaskwa Parks are good spots.
7 - 8 days sounds like lots of time for looking around on the trip.
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