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Old 06-23-2014, 09:36 AM   #1
FirstPath OP
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Two Scotts Circle Superior

I think it was late last year when my brother-in-law Scott (S10S) threw out the idea of riding around Lake Superior. Neither one of us had done it before and it seemed like a great way to enjoy some riding time in an area new to both of us. We decided to make the circle from the Twin Cities clockwise through Duluth and to points northward. The dates were set. June 19th through the 22nd so we could both be back to work on Monday. We knew we'd have to come back to reality at some point.

While I was home packing up my '12 DR650, S10S was loading up his '12 Vstrom.


The plan was to meet up just north of St. Paul in Forest Lake. As the day started we knew it would be interesting as rain was the big factor of the day.
Our first stop was going to be Duluth. As we rolled into town we were already pretty wet and the temps dropped from 68 degrees to 48 in what seemed to be just a matter of feet. We both picked up some new wool socks and Balaclava which made the rest of the days riding much more bearable.

We grabbed 61 north out of town and decided to make our first meal stop at Blackwoods in Two Harbors. Excellent burgers and the weather was improving!

With the weather being a bit chilly and damp the traffic was nice and light on what can normally be terribly busy with tourists and such. Nice smooth riding all the way to Grand Marais.


We enjoyed the ride up the North Shore toward Grand Portage and the sun decided to finally arrive as we neared the Canadian border.

Next stop would be Thunder Bay for the night. When we arrived we took a loop through town before looking for a place to park the bikes. Met some friendly folks including a fellow biker who pointed us in the direction of a hotel or two. We ended up finding a real retro motor lodge in Kakabeka Falls just west of Thunder Bay. After a bar meal of Italian sausage, a few beers and chatting with some locals, we called it a night ending day 1.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:48 AM   #2
Bultaco206
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In.

I did the Circle last July. One of the best trips I've ever been on.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #3
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DAY 2.

When we woke up Friday morning it was of course raining again. We decide to wait it out a little bit so we headed to the motel's cafe for some easy over eggs. With no real break in the weather in sight we decided to venture forth in the light rain. We definitely had to check out Kakabeka Falls before hitting the road. Absolutely beautiful!



We grabbed 11/17 East out of Thunder Bay and made our way towards Nipigon, ONT. But first we needed to head down into the peninsula featuring Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Weather was misty, cool and damp but still a very enjoyable trek through the woods and old small towns. We stopped at the southern most point for a few pics.




After a change of gloves we retraced our steps back to 11/17 and we were once again off on the Superior loop. Next stop was Nipigon to warm up on the outside and the inside!

I wonder how S10S felt about being low man on the totem pole.



We hit the road eastward along the Trans Canada highway and the sun was peaking through. The views from the road were incredible. Many of you may have done this route before but this was a first for both of us. Every scenic overlook made it tempting to pull off but we knew we wanted to make to Wawa before dark. We did make time to get some photos and rest our rears. Both bikes were running well with the Vstrom having an intermittent starting issue beginning to surface. More on that a bit later. Again, the views of the lake were wonderful and the iPhone pics just don't do it justice.






We had nice weather riding for the rest of the day into Wawa, ONT. Found a nice place to stay for the night and enjoyed a nice evening of rest after a long day of riding. Grabbed some food and did a bit of chain maintenance. The next day would have us continuing the circle and rolling back into the U.S.

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Old 06-23-2014, 10:58 AM   #4
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DAY 3

Yeah!! We woke up Saturday morning and it wasn't raining!! We loaded up the cycles and hit the road after a bit cereal and coffee. The morning sun was popping through the overcast clouds and playing off the trees, rocks and lakes like we hadn't seen yet on this trip. We topped a hill and it revealed Old Woman Bay. I just had to pull off for a pic. Didn't stay long however as the mosquitoes were also up and looking for breakfast!!



We continued southward on 17 toward Sault St. Marie. Winding through the cliffs was incredible! Again, another wayside rest just invited you to take a few photos.



When we saddled up the Vstrom again would not fire. A few moments of rocking and such S10S would get it to fire. We would soon realize what was causing the issue. More on that drama later.

As I drummed along on the DR650 the thumper's vibration would often induce the call of nature. What better place to stop than a kitschy tourist trap in Pancake Bay, ONT. We chatted with folks wondering which way we were headed and how wet had we been. I think that's a part I really enjoy about riding motorcycles. You meet some of the nicest and oddest people wherever you go.



S10S makes a new friend. I wonder how my sister feels about this!



We pulled back onto our circle of Superior and began closing in on Sault St. Marie. On the way into town we came upon a nasty crash. A boat on a trailer decided to overturn on the shoulder. Somebody's vacation was ruined.

With passports in hand, it was time to had back into the states via Michigan.




Since it was too early for lunch we were back on the loop and now starting the westward jaunt along the south side of Superior. We took 28 west and then shot up north to W. Lakeshore Dr. Wonderful winding roads through canopy trees with very little traffic. The sun was bright and the rain gear was stowed away. We took a break at the Point Iroquois Light House. Enjoyed the nice view and a couple guys playing some sea chanties to the rockin' crowd.




We stopped in Paradise, MI for gas and lunch. S10S enjoyed a fantastic piece of blueberry pie. It is MI's blueberry capital after all. He ate it too fast to get a photo! LOL! We rode the M123 out of Paradise through then Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Wonderful winding roads filled with the scents of cedar and pine. We ended up back on 28 west for an incredibly straight stretch westward. It was time to let Suzukis sing for a bit and thank goodness for the state police being on break or something. This route took us back up toward the lake into the town of Munising. The lake shore was much more sandy and resorts seems to have popped up about every 300 feet or so. A definite vacation hot spot. At this time the clouds were thickening and the air was getting quite cool. Our day of rain free riding was about to come to an end.




We headed up through Marquette and began our route to Houghton, MI were we would stay for the night. Fog and mist were now taking over so we did a quick stop to get the rain gear on.


I would have shared more photos … but they sucked… so there you go.

We finished the days ride when we pulled into downtown Houghton. After unloading the bikes it was time for a beer and some serious eats. A few other bikers were at the motor lodge including a WI rider also touring on his DR.



A calamari appetizer followed by some excellent surf and turf!



Here ends day 3 of riding. Tomorrow would bring lot's of sight seeing, nearly 500 miles and pulling into our driveways back home. We would also figure out why the Vstrom was being temperamental with starting. Stay tuned.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:24 AM   #5
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DAY 4 - Our Final Day!
When we woke up Sunday the air was humid and warm. Foggy treetops and overcast suggested that we should dawn the rain gear. We loaded up, crossed the lift bridge and made our way to Copper Harbor.


The ride up was very pretty with twists and turns that made it challenging to look out over the lake. The site of a deer would quickly have our attention back on the road. Stopped and a wonderful wayside rest before hitting Copper Harbor for another round of easy over eggs and toast.








When we came out of the restaurant the sun was bright so off went the rain gear. We enjoyed an incredible ride back down the peninsula and connected with 26 West as we ventured to Ontonagon, MI. While the ride inland made us wish we had removed our sweatshirts, we were clearly happy we hadn't once we neared Ontonagon. The cool air had returned and the vented gloves gave way to warmer ones. We made a brief pit stop and had aconversation with an older couple manning the tourist center. I think we may have been their first visitors in a week. They said they had been doing A LOT of reading!



We headed west through Silver City and into the Porcupine Mountain State Park. Great ride through twist and turning roads lined with wild flowers. A definite route not to pass up. We stopped in gas in Wakefield discovered why the Vstrom would not start. The side stand was not tripping the safety switch allowing it to start. S10S also realized his skid plate was missing a few bolts. We stopped in Ashland, WI so he could make repairs.



We began our trek toward the Twin Cities but not without first stopping for lunch at the Delta Diner.


After an excellent sandwich we headed south to Hayward. As we rode we had the chance to pic up a WI rustic road neither one of us had ridden before. Nice little gravel route through the woods.




After that we were ready to get home. We finished the circle by riding back into Forest Lake, MN where we had met up 4 days prior in the rain. It was an excellent ride despite the weather. Incredible views, lots of wildlife including 2 moose along the Canadian Highway and a bunch of memories to last a lifetime. If you haven't done this ride you should. Until the next adventure, S10S….!!



Safe riding all!!
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FirstPath screwed with this post 06-23-2014 at 11:35 AM
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:30 PM   #6
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Enjoyed the RR - thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:04 PM   #7
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Very cool. Sounds like it was a great ride despite the rain. One of the first mod's to the KLR was to bypass that pesky switch!
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:59 PM   #8
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miles?

I'm thinking about a similar trip and trying to wrap my head around the logistics. How many miles did you travel each day? What was the total miles travelled?

Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:28 PM   #9
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We basically rode from 8am to 8pm with stops for gas, food and pics. I think our total miles was a just over 1800 miles in 4 days.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:34 PM   #10
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Firstpath, you make an excellent traveling companion! This trip was another scratch off the bucket list and the memories will last a lifetime. Thanks for wriring up the report, I will attempt to add some photos that you are in.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:35 PM   #11
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Going around the north shore of Superior I managed to run out of gas twice.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regg View Post
I'm thinking about a similar trip and trying to wrap my head around the logistics. How many miles did you travel each day? What was the total miles travelled?

Thanks!
From NW burbs of MSP it was 1777 miles (a lucky number?). We did two days of ~400 and two days of ~500 miles. Distance per day was more a function of where lodging was available than anything else.
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Old 06-23-2014, 07:47 PM   #13
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Thank you for posting

I made this trip last year with my brother it is a great ride, Thank you and take care.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:54 AM   #14
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Nice write up Scott. We are headed to Sault Ste. Marie MI tomorrow morning. We are going straight east from Minneapolis and taking my SUV. My left thumb, which was surgically redone in January, is still healing and use of left hand is limited .
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