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Old 08-27-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
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Around Lake Huron 2012

This is my first ride report so we will see how it turns out. This is about a recent 8 day ride I did around Lake Huron. The ride starts off at the southern end of Lake Huron. It goes up around Georgian Bay, then to Manitoulin Island from the northern side and then back north and over to the Michigan upper peninsula and down through the Michigan lower penisula.

My son-in-law Don just got a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 a few weeks ago after over 10 years of not having a motorcycle. He could get a few days off but not a whole week. When we figured a route that would let him do just the first half of the ride, he was all for it.

Day 1 Saturday, August 8, 2012
I was locked in on my vacation dates, so I had to go on the trip this week. The weather forecast Saturday was for rain and it looked like rain, but was supposed to be nicer weather after that. I proposed starting on Sunday. But Don was like a kid before Christmas and wanted to get out on the road on his new motorcycle. He guaranteed me it wouldn't rain on me. So I told him I would pack up the bike and if it wasn't raining by the time I was ready to leave I would leave.

Well, it wasn't raining by the time I was ready so I left for my daughter and Don's house. I live a little north of Detroit and Don lives in London, Ontario. It is about 90 miles to Don's house. First up to Port Huron, Michigan and then over the Blue Water Bridge to Sarnia, Ontario. Sorry I didn't take any pictures of this as I have been over this route many times. I took a lot more pictures than I normally do on a trip. But I can see already I should have taken a lot more pictures if I was going to do a ride report. The ride from Sarnia to London is a very boring, long, straight super slab. But too much text alreay. Here is a picture of us at my daughter and Don's house and the weather an hour or so later. The weather looked a lot worse in person than in the photo.




ADVtortoise screwed with this post 08-28-2012 at 05:52 PM Reason: Trying to get photos to post
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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More Day One

Here is a map showing the first half of the ride. This was a ride around Lake Huron, not necessarily the lake shore. We took roads that looked interesting. When I got to Michigan I actually spend some time on the Lake Michigan shore.



Regardless of Don's guarantee that it wouldn't rain, it rained off and on all day and we had at least an hour of steady rain at one point. There were some nice roads but because of the weather and not thinking about the ride report I didn't take any photos.

We stopped for the night at the Tay Motel in Tay, Ontario. One highlight of today's ride was that it downpoured while we were eating dinner at a diner but stopped by the time we were done eating. Mileage for the day was 312 (miles, not kilometers). But in Canada everything is in kilometers and I never did get used to the distance signs or the distance on the GPS. I kept thinking in miles when all the numbers were in kilometers.

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Old 08-29-2012, 07:37 PM   #3
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Day 2 Sunday, August 12, 2012

The weather was much better today. We stopped at the Big Chute Marine Railway. This is the only marine railway still in use in North America. It is kind of the reverse of a lock. Instead of using a lock to change the water level, the marine railway lifts the boats overland from one body of water to the other. It just shows there is always more than one way to do something. I found this very interesting. It is on the Trent-Severn Waterway and the difference in water levels is around 60 feet.

But on the way to the Big Chute Marine Railway we came across a number of signs like these. There are a number of endangered snakes in the area and they donít want you running them over.



I also didn't do a very good job of getting photos of the signs.



Here are a number of photos onf the Marine Railway in action.














I also took a short video of this that you can see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFk0XugP8ko&feature=em-share_video_user


The terrain changes as you go north and you start to see a lot more rock.



We decided to go to Sudbury for the night. I wanted to stop at the Harley dealer and because Don didnít have any camping gear we wanted to go to a city that had a few motels. On the way we stopped at the snowmobile bridge that goes over the French River and is in the French River Provincial Park. The snowmobile bridge is right off the Trans-Canada which is also Provincial Highway 69 at this point. Being new to writing ride reports, I forgot to get a picture of the snowmobile bridge itself.

But you can walk over the snowmobile bridge and I did take some photos from the bridge.




Here is a photo I took from the snowmobile bridge over the French River of the the Trans-Canada Bridge.



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Old 08-30-2012, 07:02 PM   #4
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Day 3 Monday, August 13, 2012

We stayed Sunday night in Sudbury. Monday morning we went to The Big Nickel. I had never heard of The Big Nickel. But there are lots of things I have never heard of and this turned out to be a very well known landmark. It is a 30 foot high replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel (although it is made out of stainless steel). There is a lot of nickel mining done around Sudbury which is part of the tie-in why there is a big nickel here.


I read up on it on Wikipedia and it has a very interesting story. Ted Szilva suggested The Big Nickel be built as a tourist attraction and the city turned the idea down. So Szilva bought and leased land for it, raised money to have it built and when the city refused to give him a permit to build it he built it 3 feet outside the Sudbury city limits so a building permit was not required. Eventually the city did buy it and an underground mine and exhibit was also built.


I did take a number of pictures of The Big Nickel but this one with Don is the only one that wasnít blurry.



From Sudbury we took the Trans-Canada highway (which in this section is also Provincial Highway 17) to the north side of Manitoulin Island. On the way we went though the city of Espanola. I have started trying to learn Spanish, with very limited success, in hopes of a ride through Mexico and Central America in the future. So I was excided to see the Espanola welcome sign with what I first thought was welcome in Spanish (bienvenida). I was very disappointed when I realized it said welcome in French (bienvenue), not Spanish. French on a sign welcoming you to Espanola, really?




The Trans-Canada highway from Sudbury to Manitoulin is a nice road. It gets very scenic from Espanola to Manitoulin Island.

He are a couple of photos of Don on the highway.




I already forgot the name of this waterfall. But it was on a little side road off the Trans-Canada highway.
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:47 PM   #5
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More Day 3

Here is a better map of the route we took. The first map I posted was just an approximation and didnít have the correct way points. This map also appears to show in gray the route I took from Manitoulin Island through Michigan and to home. I did not even know my GPS (a Zumo 220) would record where I went. The route to Manitoulin Island was up loaded into the GPS from Donís computer. So to get a photo of the route we took I uploaded it into my computer from the GPS. The gray just showed up when I uploaded the route from my GPS. It also uploaded all the other custom routes that are in the GPS on the same map but I just deleted the other ones. I love being able to do custom routes on a GPS and the other benefits of using a GPS, but I still have a lot to learn
.


On northern Manitoulin Island there is a one lane swing bridge to get onto the Island.



Manitoulin Island is the largest fresh water island in the world. We were told this by probably half a dozen people when they heard we were going to Manitoulin Island. The swing bridge takes you right into the town of Little Current where we stopped at the Anchor Inn and had lunch on their patio. Don had a peameal bacon cheese burger. I have never heard of peameal bacon outside of Canada. It is a cured pork loin with a cornmeal coating. Sorry, no photo of the peameal bacon cheese burger.



You could see the Yorktown, a 257 foot long cruise ship that travels the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes, docked from where we were eating lunch. Not a real good photo as I was trying to get the name so I could look it up when I got home. I also have a lot to learn regarding taking photos for a ride report.


Here are some photos of Bridal Veil Falls which is on Manitoulin Island. This is a neat water fall that you can walk underneath. There were a number of people swimming at the base of the falls.




Here are a couple of pictures of me behind the falls.




We spend the rest of the day riding around the island. I didnít take many photos, but here is one of a cafe and then a photo of boats that I took from the tower at the top of the cafe.




We took our time and enjoyed the day. We put on 182 miles for the day. I think we both decided that we actually enjoyed the ride to the island more than the island itself. But we still enjoyed the island.

Don was going to take the ferry the next day from South Baymouth on the south end of Manitoulin Island to the Canadian mainland. So we got a motel that evening right across the street from where the Chi Cheemaun ferry docks.
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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Day 4 Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don put his motorcycle in line for the ferry in the morning. Motorcycles go on first so they are at the beginning of the line. You can see by the number of motorcycles and cars in line that this is a pretty big ferry.



Once the ferry docked the motorcycles on the ferry were also the first ones off.



After all the motorcycles and cars were off the ferry, Don, the other motorcycles, and cars went on.





Once everyone was onboard then they closed up the ship and it started on its 2 hour ride to Tobermory on the Canadian mainland.







Then Don and the Chi Cheemaun sailed into the distance.



While Don was headed south, I headed north across the island back towards the bridge by Little Current. Here are some photos I took as I went across the island.







The rectangular item on an angle in the background is a bear-proof garbage can. I had to read the instructions the first time I tried to open it. I am pretty sure I would have figured it out eventually.



Once I got back on the mainland the terrain got rocker and hillier.





I could see storm clouds in the distance all morning and it was alternately overcast and sunny. By the time I got back to Espanola around 1:00 the sun was out and the weather was beautiful. While I was heading north into sunshine, Don was heading south into rain. Hopefully Don will post about his ride home on this report.


In Espanola I figured it would be my last meal in Canada as I should be in Michigan by dinner time, so I decided to eat like a Canadian. For lunch I stopped at Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is a restaurant chain started by a hockey player and they are all over Ontario and I think most of Canada. They are will known for their coffee, donuts, bagels and as a place to get a quick sandwich or soup.





I took Provincial Highway 17 to Sault Ste. Marie and crossed into Michigan. I never got used to kilometers and one of the first things I did when I crossed back into the United States was switch the GPS back to miles mode.

It started to cloud up and right when I made it to Brimley State Park on Lake Huron it started to rain. I rushed through putting up the tent and as soon as I got it up, it stopped raining. Then the sky cleared, the sun came back out and it was a beautiful clear and cool evening.



For those of you that think Harleys are useless around a campground, here is photo of how I transported my firewood to the campsite.



One thing I didnít mention is how much higher prices are in Canada. The United States dollar and the Canadian dollar have an exchange rate of almost 1 to 1 right now so it makes it easy to compare prices. Judging by the restaurants, motels, and the gas I bought, my impression is that Canadian prices are 20% or more higher than similar items in the United States.

In the Michigan State Campground at least 50% of the vehicles had Ontario license plates. My neighbor in the closest occupied campsite was from Ontario. Talking to him he said he lives not too far over the border and loves to come to Michigan whenever he can because everything costs so much less. He was a nice guy and gave me a beer. In Canada they usually refer to Molson Canadian beer as just a ďCanadian.Ē When he give me a beer he said: ďHereís a good Canadian for a good American.Ē I thought it was a great line, and so did he.


279 miles for the day.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:24 AM   #7
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Sudbury, Ont.

This is really a great ride with some super interesting photos. I noticed you went through Sudbury, Ont. and I'm reading a book right now where the author lived there at one time. Shannia Twainn, I'm sure some of you have heard of her, the great singer!

I rode around Lake Superior last summer and am planning on some of Lake Huron soon. Thanks for taking the time for this RR......

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride

Grampa’s National Monument Ride
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
This is really a great ride with some super interesting photos. I noticed you went through Sudbury, Ont. and I'm reading a book right now where the author lived there at one time. Shannia Twainn, I'm sure some of you have heard of her, the great singer!

I rode around Lake Superior last summer and am planning on some of Lake Huron soon. Thanks for taking the time for this RR......

Gary "Oldone"

Grampaís Lake Superior Ride

Grampaís National Monument Ride
Thanks Gary for the kind words, I really appreciate it and I am glad you are enjoying the report. It is a lot more work than I thought to write a ride report. I have a lot of respect for the effort and skill that went into the many great ride reports on this site. I did not know that Shannia Twainn was from Sudbury.

Don and I are hoping to do a ride around Lake Superior next summer, so once I get my ride report finished I will certainly be reading yours.

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Old 09-04-2012, 06:51 PM   #9
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Thanks

I'm really liking this report. There are not enough riders of street bikes doing interesting ride stories. I thank you for the effort, please continue!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Go-4-It View Post
I'm really liking this report. There are not enough riders of street bikes doing interesting ride stories. I thank you for the effort, please continue!
Thanks for the support. I am glad you are enjoying it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:19 PM   #11
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Day 5 Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nice weather today. After cooking breakfast and leisurely packing up, I headed towards Michiganís Lower Peninsula. I took two-lane highways that basically ran parallel with I-75 in Michiganís Upper Peninsula to St. Ignace.

This is typically of the roads I took to St. Ignace.



I didnít see much wildlife on this trip, but I didnít really ride at dusk or dawn when the wildlife is usually out. That is OK, as the last thing I want is to literally see a deer in the headlights. On the highway to St. Ignace there was a ruffed grouse just standing by the side of the road as I rode by. I never saw a ruffed grouse standing by the side of the road before. I turned around to try to get a photo but he decided he had been standing around long enough, so no photo.

In St. Ignace I had to stop and get a pastie. If you have never had a pastie and ever find yourself in Michiganís Upper Peninsula, do yourself a favor and get one. A pastie is a pastry filled with diced potatoes, onions, rutabaga, carrots, salt, pepper, and usually beef. It is a complete meal although you can put gravy on it if you want.

The story is that the Cornish miners that came over to work the mines in the Upper Peninsula brought it with them. They used to wrap the hot pasties in a towel to take with them to work and they were still warm when it was lunch time. There are quite a few pastie shops around St. Ignace. Over the years I have had pasties from a number of different shops in the Upper Peninsula and they are all a little different but every one I have ever had was excellent.

So when I saw this sign I had to stop.



And here is the pastie.


To my horror there was no rutabaga in the pastie. I donít know if you can officially call it a pastie if it doesnít have rutabaga in it. By this point I was committed, and hungry, so I ate it anyway. While I still felt a little like I was mislead, I have to admit it was very tasty.

After lunch I headed over the Mackinac Bridge which connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas . The bridge was opened in 1957 and it is still the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. It is truly an engineering marvel.


The Mackinac Bridge is a four-lane bridge. The center two lanes have grating instead of pavement, which I believe is to save weight. However, there was construction in the outer two lanes on most of the bridge. This meant I had to ride on the grating for over a mile. The bike did not like that -- it was very squirrelly. Being on a motorcycle also meant I could look down 200 feet through the grating to the water below to distract myself from the squirrelly handling.


Once in the Lower Peninsula I headed over to Cycle-Moore campground. Cycle-Moore is a motorcycle campground that I had never been to so I wanted to try it out. Cycle-Moore is by Interlochen so I took U.S. 31 most of the way, which took me along Lake Michigan and both Little and Grand Traverse Bay. Here are some photos on the way to Cycle-Moore.











I made it to Cycle-Moore, which is an independent motorcycle repair facility and motorcycle campground.











I will talk more about Cycle-Moore in my next post. It was a very enjoyable 199 miles today.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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Day 6 Thursday, August 16, 2012

I woke up to a light rain today. Looking at the sky it didnít look good. My original plan for today was to take a ride up north of Petoskey on highway M119 which is known as the ďTunnel of Trees.Ē This stretch of road goes along the shore of Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan and is supposed to be very scenic. I was also planning on going to lunch at Leggs Inn in Cross Village. I have never been to Leggs Inn and it is highly recommended. But, I donít really enjoy riding in the rain and it seems a waste on a scenic road. So I decided to stay at the campground and do some reading and see if the weather improved.


It was still over cast but the rain let up for a little later in the morning so I made a run to McDonalds for some Egg McMuffins.



If there was any doubt that this was a motorcycle campground, check out the horseshoes.



When I checked into the campground yesterday I only paid for one night. I wanted to see how the campground was before I paid for two nights. They have a decent bathroom with hot showers and I was happy with the campground. About the only drawback is that it is right off of U.S. 31 so you get some traffic noise at night. But if it is just a rider on a motorcycle Cycle-Moore charges $7.00 per night! This was by far the best deal of the whole trip.


So I went to the shop to pay for the second night. The weather was still lousy so I decided to look around the shop. The whole back of the shop is full of old motorcycles. I didnít see any of this the first day when I checked in and probably wouldnít have seen it today if I werenít trying to kill time.







They had some great bikes. The motorcycles are packed in together so it was hard to get good photos of them, but here are a few photos.

AJS


1948 Excelsior 125 Villers


1953 BSA M-20 Flat Head


I had never heard of a Cooper.



I donít believe I ever heard of a Lilac either; here are some photos of this unusual machine.









It continued to rain on and off most of the day so I ended up hanging out at the pavilion as I got tired of reading in the tent. There was a group of around 15 Gold Wing riders in camp and I spent some time talking with them. In the early evening the weather finally started to clear up. Then 3 riders came in riding 45 cubic inch flat head Harleys. I am not sure of the years but I think they ranged from 1939 to 1944. I had heard them leave in the morning but I didnít realize what bikes they riding.


I was so impressed. I have seen a lot of old bikes on display but these guys were not only riding them but taking a trip on them! They were from Kalamazoo, Michigan which is about 200 miles south of the campground. They said they had also been to the Upper Peninsula on their trip. Today they were out riding all day in the rain on these bikes. I just love it that these guys restored these bikes to be ridden and took them on a trip like this. Unfortunately I donít remember their names and l wish I would have taken a picture of them actually riding the bikes.









Except for going out to eat when the rain let up I didnít do any riding today and the weather was bad. But it still turned out to be a very interesting and enjoyable day. I put on a grand total of 22 miles today.


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Old 09-06-2012, 07:47 PM   #13
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Day 7 Friday, August 17, 2012

Woke up to good, but cool, weather. My plan for today was to go to the Buckley Old Engine Show. I have never been to the show. They were predicting rain tomorrow so I decided to pack up, go to the show and then head a little closer to home for the night in case it rained tomorrow.


Buckley is only about 20 miles from Cycle-Moore campground. From the parking lot to the Buckley Old Engine Show I had to walk over a little hill. When I crested the hill I felt like I was walking into the Industrial Revolution.



They had a lot of steam and old gasoline engines on display and almost all of them were running. Here are a few pictures of the bigger ones.








They were also outboard motors and lots of other things.





I thought this was great. It is a 1932 Maytag washing machine. I talked the guy that restored it and he explained that in 1932 there were still a lot of people without electricity. So Maytag made washing machines with 2-cycle engines. It had water in it and the guy started it up for me. To start it you step on a pedal to turn the motor over. If you look close at the photo you can see it is stirring up the water.



Years ago I use to make parts that went into Gardner-Denver air compressors. Every now and then I see an old one somewhere. I donít know what year this is but it is definitely the oldest one I have ever seen. It is a steam-powered air compressor, and like most of the engines on display it was running.



They hold the Old Engine Show every year in Buckley so they have some buildings with larger displays in them. Here is an awesome display, a saw mill! They ran the whole saw mill off of one of the steam-driven tractors with a belt running to the drive pulley in the saw mill. The boards they were making are used for the buildings that house the displays.














I spent most of the day at the Old Engine Show. Then I headed to Wilson State Park which is actually right in the city of Harrison. The Masonic Lodge in Harrison sells homemade pasties on the weekend. They use the money for scholarships for kids at the local high school. So I was able to get a great homemade pastie even though I wasnít in the Upper Peninsula. I checked and they do use rutabaga in thier pasties and they were aghast when I told them I had a pastie in the Upper Peninsula that didn't have rutabaga in it. It was delicious.



I put on an even 100 miles today.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:09 PM   #14
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Day 8 Saturday, August 18, 2012

My cell phone said it went down to 42 degrees last night. However, once the sun came up it warmed up and was great riding weather. The temperature was in the low 70's until late in the afternoon when it got up to around 80. They were predicting rain for late today in Harrison where I was camping, but I was long gone by the time it was supposed to rain.

Once I got south of Harrison it was mostly farmland and not much in the way of hills, curves or forests. I took mostly 2-lane highways and it looked a lot like this for 197 miles today.


And that is it. I made it home safe and sound. Total mileage for the trip was 1,514 miles. For me it was a great trip. I enjoyed it and have a lot of great memories. If you read the ride report I hope you enjoyed it. If you are going to be riding in any of the areas I wrote about, hopefully you saw an interesting place that you may want to stop at. I learned a lot about writing a ride report from this. If you have any constructive criticism I would appreciate the feedback.


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Old 09-07-2012, 06:38 PM   #15
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Thanks for the RR.
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