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Old 05-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #1
Friction275 OP
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3 days, 2 bikes, 1 tent in the UP. Looking for route/stop suggestions

I'm making a counter clockwise loop around Lake Michigan with my wife in June and we are making the trip in three stages. We have 7 days (Monday to Sunday) to make the loop.

Stage one is from Indy to Mackinaw; 2 legs/2 days with the second night in Mackinaw:

Stage 3 is just 1 leg on a Cannonball run home since it will be on a ton of boring roads in IL. and IN. I'm trying to keep the last days ride to =/<300miles so I want to make it to the Madison/Milwaukee WI by Saturday.

(So I'm a little bit of an underpants gnome right now without a stage 2...)

Stage 2 is where I need some suggestions. I have 3 days, 2 nights to get from Mackinaw to somewhere in the neighborhood of Green Bay so I can spend my last day of fun riding through the door and winding up somewhere about even with Madison/Milwaukee Wi. so I am within a days ride to home.

The only thing I have in mind right now is a stop or drive through the pictured rocks area. I'm riding a 1200GS and she has a WeeStrom that she is comfortable on so I'd like to find some decent fire trails along the way. She is not ready for any serious sand, deep gravel or tight single track trails but a decent ride trough the woods, light gravel or shallow stream crossings are no worries.

I've seen some of of Cannons trails but its hard to sort through them to determine just a few parts to jump on in route when I'm not even sure about what is worth heading for up there. Any nice roads, trails or camping suggestions in the UP would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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Good luck finding any decent riding in the UP. I think the ferry from Milwaukee is still having its free bikes promo in mid June. They supply straps.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:27 PM   #3
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You may draw some ideas/info from these reports.

Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail
Has some info on the eastern UP that may be relevant.

A CannonRide Through the Door
Has some info on the Wisconsin portion of the Lake Michigan run.

A Cannon(ada)Ride Around Lake Superior
Has some info on the eastern UP that may be relevant.

CannonTour Around Lake Michigan
Circle tour of Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin-Michigan Adventure Trail
Has some info on WI and MI that may be relevant.

Hope this proves helpful.

By the way, I often help out people with custom routes in the area that are tailored to their bikes and riding preferences. I have done more than a few in the UP for people - no charge.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exoff-roadgoat View Post
Good luck finding any decent riding in the UP. I think the ferry from Milwaukee is still having its free bikes promo in mid June. They supply straps.



Lots of options. The road from Houghton out the Keweenaw is really nice, as are lots of roads up there. Some paved, some not.

There are lots of rails to trails that would be fine on a big bike if you are comfortable on gravel. But there is also a lot of sand secondary roads as well. I rode most of the Upper Peninsula Dual Sport Safari on my 950ADV, but I wouldn't want to do it again. LOTS of sand.

If you are going to ride trails, make sure you have an offroad permit. They are not that expensive and you can get them at lots of places (look at the State's website).
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:49 PM   #5
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Pictured Rocks is nice. Twelve Mile Beach has a great campground. If you really want to view the rocks though, you have to take the boat ride, which may not fit into your schedule. If you do go on the boat, the best ride is the last one of the day- they go further down the coast (usually to Spray Falls IIRC), and the light in late afternoon really makes the colors on the rocks "pop".

The area from Big Bay (NW of Marquette) down to L'Anse is great. One nice route would be to pick up the Northwestern Road south of Big Bay, (avoid the Triple A road, it's all sand) and ride it west to Big Erick's bridge where there is a nice campground. The Northwestern is rough and rocky in places, but not much sand. From Erick's, head south & west towards L'Anse- you could check out Mount Arvon (highest point in Michigan- big whoop) or pick up the Peshekee grade and wind up in Champion, near the 95/41 junction. Almost all of what I just described is dirt/gravel forest roads, which should be doable on your bikes. Could be some mud though, especially in June, and especially after the spring we're having. Some of it is pretty remote, so keep that in mind too.

By all means look at Cannonshot's tracks. He has some nice ones.

Tons of nice roads up here. Narrow your area down a bit and I'm sure folks will be able to give you more specific road recommendations.

Cheers,
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:22 PM   #6
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Cannon,

I've looked at most of your routes and plan to uses them as much as possible. Your route for the trip through the Door on the West side is spot on for what I need and seems like it will work perfectly, thanks.

It's been difficult to determine the suitability of the UP routes based on the pictures. There will be 3-4 pictures in a row of perfect terrain and then one picture of terrain that I know would not be suitable for the trip I'll be on and it's hard to locate exactly which part of the route that is.

I plan to try and use the Eastern portion of your UP Adventure route taking it counterclockwise from St Ignace probable to Marquette before heading South to the door area.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=636810

Questions:
What's the difference between the "big bike" and the "4WD" trails you have listed?

Is the big bike route just based on eliminating narrow sections of the route or does it circumvent sand, rocks, etc.?

Thanks in advance for the help. I'm not traveling until the end of June so I've got time to figure this out.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:25 PM   #7
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KingBee,

Can you post some details on the boat trip options or a link to the company that hosts them for the pictured rocks area? That sounds like something worth planning around. Thanks.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:35 PM   #8
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Cannon,

The wife and her bike would love these:
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...8_PHgeq-XL.jpg

http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...1_wkrzN-XL.jpg

http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...2_t8WzD-XL.jpg

Not so much these due to her skill set and my GS
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...3_MxU3u-XL.jpg

and I'd like to be able to make real time calls on areas like this based on surface conditions due to rainfall if they seem to bogged down. I figure thats an easy call since if it starts getting shady I can just backtrack to a hardball if it gets to soupy:
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...5_bY3o3-XL.jpg
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...2_faBAu-XL.jpg
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friction275 View Post
Cannon,

I've looked at most of your routes and plan to uses them as much as possible. Your route for the trip through the Door on the West side is spot on for what I need and seems like it will work perfectly, thanks.

It's been difficult to determine the suitability of the UP routes based on the pictures. There will be 3-4 pictures in a row of perfect terrain and then one picture of terrain that I know would not be suitable for the trip I'll be on and it's hard to locate exactly which part of the route that is.

I plan to try and use the Eastern portion of your UP Adventure route taking it counterclockwise from St Ignace probable to Marquette before heading South to the door area.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=636810

Questions:
What's the difference between the "big bike" and the "4WD" trails you have listed?

Is the big bike route just based on eliminating narrow sections of the route or does it circumvent sand, rocks, etc.?

Thanks in advance for the help. I'm not traveling until the end of June so I've got time to figure this out.
The UPAT has a big bike and a small/medium dual sport track. The big bike track by-passes some things like soft sand that would not play well on a bigger bike. The big bike loops still take in some rugged paths, but they are generally solid and can be ridden on a loaded adventure bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friction275 View Post
KingBee,

Can you post some details on the boat trip options or a link to the company that hosts them for the pictured rocks area? That sounds like something worth planning around. Thanks.
http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/boat-tour.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friction275 View Post
Cannon,

The wife and her bike would love these:
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...8_PHgeq-XL.jpg

http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...1_wkrzN-XL.jpg

http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...2_t8WzD-XL.jpg

Not so much these due to her skill set and my GS
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...3_MxU3u-XL.jpg

and I'd like to be able to make real time calls on areas like this based on surface conditions due to rainfall if they seem to bogged down. I figure thats an easy call since if it starts getting shady I can just backtrack to a hardball if it gets to soupy:
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...5_bY3o3-XL.jpg
http://cannonshot.smugmug.com/Motorc...2_faBAu-XL.jpg
I can build you a GPX track that will remove some of the doubt you may have about some sections and that will take in the nice roads you quoted and points of interest that will likely appeal to you. Since I have thousands of miles of track already done for the region, it is pretty easy for me to do a custom job without starting from scratch. Let me know when you get a clearer picture of what you might like and I will knock something out for you.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friction275 View Post
KingBee,

Can you post some details on the boat trip options or a link to the company that hosts them for the pictured rocks area? That sounds like something worth planning around. Thanks.
Sure thing, here it is:
http://www.picturedrocks.com/
The afternoon or sunset cruises are the best if they fit your day's schedule. Better light, and a longer ride. Spray Falls is spectacular from the water, and in June it should still be flowing well.

I should mention that June is usually pretty buggy up here. You'll be scraping corpses off your shields at every fuel stop, and if you camp be prepared- permethrin on your clothes, DEET for yourself, and consider buying a couple of headnets. They look dorky but can save your sanity.
Also, weather: June can be sweltering, or cold enough to snow. Sometimes in the same day. Again, be prepared.
Sounds like a great trip.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:48 PM   #11
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Cannon,

Thanks for the help. I came up with a few questions based on the existing routes.

-The specific sections of the trail that head from St Ignace to Raco Field spell out the hazards well so I can pick my way through that area once I know if the big bike routes automatically use all of the bypasses.

-Is the default bypass for Paradise to the point just to use the same hardball there and back?

-The route West along lake superior seems like there are some unavoidable shady spots. Is that correct? Are there any options for negotiating that area that parallel the route with a more stable road? Is the trail on Deer park road or is it just close to that? I can't tell from comparing the imagery.

-Is the route for Whitefish Point to Grand Marais - Part II following Sucker RV RD?

-Grand Marais to Munising - Part I-III: Seems pretty legit without any issues as long as we use the big bike go-around on H-58. Is that correct?

-Munising to KI Sawyer -
Based on the potential for standing water in this area is just taking 28/41 to Marquet a good way to avoid any issues? Her bike is lowered a bit so anything more than 6"-8" of water may be problematic.


Thats as much as I've gotten through tonight.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:02 PM   #12
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KingBee,

Thanks for the link.

I'm tracking on the bug issues and the weather swings. I've already got a bunch of Perm soaking kits that I can dip our camp clothes in before the ride and for some reason I've been issued an absurd number of mosquito nets the last 19 years so we should be OK. It's also why I chose the tent option over our normal hammocks this time.

I'm counting on the cold nights to chill my flask off at the end of the day. That being said, I'm secretly hoping after a day or 2 she decides we should stay in a B+B since, after all, I'm a gentleman and prefer an ice cube in my Macallan 18.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friction275 View Post
Cannon,

Thanks for the help. I came up with a few questions based on the existing routes.

-The specific sections of the trail that head from St Ignace to Raco Field spell out the hazards well so I can pick my way through that area once I know if the big bike routes automatically use all of the bypasses.

Yep

-Is the default bypass for Paradise to the point just to use the same hardball there and back?

Yep, it is sand city in that area if you don't run the pavement.

-The route West along lake superior seems like there are some unavoidable shady spots. Is that correct? Are there any options for negotiating that area that parallel the route with a more stable road? Is the trail on Deer park road or is it just close to that? I can't tell from comparing the imagery.

A good portion of Deer Park is soft. Might not be good for you guys. Instead, go to Newberry, then west to Seney, then north on 77 to Grand Marais.


Here is the deal. There are two ways to get to Grand Marais. One is to go through Newberry and take pavement all the way. The other is to head north and travel along the lakeshore for a while. I take the lakeshore. Much of it is unpaved.


They recently made some improvements to this road. The surface is sandy and soft (not enough gravel). Some people will not enjoy wrestling a bike along this soft stretch.


As you get closer to Grand Marais, the pavement kicks in again.




-Is the route for Whitefish Point to Grand Marais - Part II following Sucker RV RD?

As mentioned above, take 123 to Newberry and follow pavement to Grand Marais.

-Grand Marais to Munising - Part I-III: Seems pretty legit without any issues as long as we use the big bike go-around on H-58. Is that correct?

Newly rebuilt H-58 is wonderful. Stay on the big bike route or you will die in the soft sand on the Kingston Plain.

-Munising to KI Sawyer -
Based on the potential for standing water in this area is just taking 28/41 to Marquet a good way to avoid any issues? Her bike is lowered a bit so anything more than 6"-8" of water may be problematic.

Take the big bike route if it hasn't been raining. Take it slow in the dimmer sections as there is a sneaky washed out culvert that likes to surprise people. Small and easy to manage if you are not surprised by it. Don't skip this section though as it is a very nice ride.


Thats as much as I've gotten through tonight.
.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:35 PM   #14
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Added some pix of Deer Park soft stuff to previous post.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:45 PM   #15
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Any recommendations for someone on a big bike who likes riding on sand? Planning on being up there about two weeks from now. I already have something resembling a plan, but wouldn't mind some tips or suggestions of good food, routes, whatever. I should note I have been to the UP twice but didn't have the time to do much exploring or see as much as I'd like so I told myself I'd come back and do that. Well this is the trip to go back and explore.
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