3 days, 2 bikes, 1 tent in the UP. Looking for route/stop suggestions

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by Friction275, May 3, 2013.

  1. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
    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
    #1
  2. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,607
    Location:
    West Mitten
    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.
    #2
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,666
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    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.
    #3
  4. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,527
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    :lol3


    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).
    #4
  5. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    211
    Location:
    Western U.P.
    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,
    Dave
    #5
  6. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
    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.
    #6
  7. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
    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.
    #7
  8. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
  9. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,666
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    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.

    http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/boat-tour.htm

    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.
    #9
  10. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    211
    Location:
    Western U.P.
    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
    #10
  11. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
    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.
    #11
  12. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
    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.
    #12
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,666
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    .
    #13
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,666
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Added some pix of Deer Park soft stuff to previous post.
    #14
  15. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    828
    Location:
    Twin cities mn
    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.
    #15
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,666
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail

    [​IMG]

    Western UP History Tour

    [​IMG]

    Routes based out of Eagle River

    Iron County History Tour

    Segments from the Lake Superior Loop

    [​IMG]

    I've got more, but this should hold you for a while. :D
    #16
  17. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    828
    Location:
    Twin cities mn
    Sort of I'm not really a gps user, I can look at those but don't have anything to load those into. I don't even think I have a program to view gps files.
    #17
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,666
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    basecamp download

    There are other products on the web that allow you to view GPX files.

    I usually include map segments in the ride report so you can see what path I am following and where the waypoints are. You can transfer that to a paper map if that is what you prefer. Scan through the reports to get an idea of the mapshots that are in there.

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Friction275

    Friction275 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    West of Indy
    Wife and I will be riding a clockwise route around Lake Michigan next week on some of Cannontracks big bike routes. Always happy to link up with other riders along the way to get local info on the best roads, trails, pubs, eateries, attractions and campgrounds.

    Sunday: Indy through Chicago along the coast to somewhere near Milwaukee
    Monday: Door county all day until we find a campground
    Tuesday: make our way to Munising for a sunset tour of the rocks
    Wednesday: head East until we find a place to camp somewhere in the UP
    Thursday: make our way to traverse city
    Friday: South along the East coast of LM to West Olive
    Sat: Beach and libations

    Let me know if your going to be in the area or have any reccomendations for spots not to miss along the way.
    #19
  20. 07wee

    07wee Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    Enjoy the ride!
    I rode to Ludington and caught the Badger across to Wisconsin, and rode up through green bay, across the Mackinac bridge and back home last year. I want to make my way up to copper harbor and continue into Canada this year.
    #20