Around Lake Superior 2013

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by histguy, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. TarmacSurfer

    TarmacSurfer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    71
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    Maryland U.S.
    Keeping the pics coming guys :nod
    #41
  2. Travex

    Travex Lost is found

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    143
    Location:
    Western NY State
    Great report and appreciating your ideas for my ride. Keep up the good work and have a safe one guys!
    #42
  3. Bultaco206

    Bultaco206 Back-to-back motos suck

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,101
    Location:
    Mineral Point, WI
    I did H58 yesterday from Grand Marais to the Bear Trap where I cut down to 94. Too much traffic!

    I'm scheduled to start the Circle on the 17th...starting at Munising and heading west.
    #43
  4. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    We went to bed early last night because the rain has arrived. By 1:30am the thunderstorms started. Gail force winds and some very serious rain. The lightning and thunder was quite the show as well. Sitting in the tent in the middle of the night during the storm all you hear is things crashing around the campground. Thankfully, we awoke dry as a bone, inside our tent anyways.

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    Others did not fair as well- man does this look miserable

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    So we had a very slow start to the day as we waited for everything to dry. We went for a hike along the Lake Superior shoreline and chatted up with the campground host. Nice folks from lower Michigan who retired as camp hosts around the various Michigan State Parks. Tom got treated to some bacon and eggs by another camper while I went into town to do yesterdays ride report.

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    We also took the chance to charge up our plethora of electronic gadgets we are using on the trip. Man does that stuff add up.

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    Finally we hit the road, first stop was the Lake in the Clouds

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    We saw another ADVrider’s bike in the parking lot but didn’t see him.

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    We then headed for our twisty road of the day, the South Boundary Road of the Porcupine State Park. This is a serious must ride if you are doing the Lake Superior Circle Tour, I don’t know why more guys don’t do it. A few comments on the road. It is really lightly travelled, we only saw 2 oncoming cars and 1 car behind us for the entire trip. The first 7 miles is in really rough shape but is a good road afterwards. The last 10 miles has been recently repaved and is perfect.

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    The South Boundary Road stops at North County Road 519 where you head south back to U.S 2. There are these small gravel cut outs every ¼ mile for the entire length of the road. May be fixed by the time someone else goes through there but for now they just suck.

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    Nevertheless, a great road to ride. It is so quiet, thet just play basketball in the middle of the road.

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    We then made it to Wisconsin!

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    We blasted through Wisconsin in short order. What was amazing about today was the extreme temperature swings we have been experiencing. As today’s thermometer shows we had weather has hot as 96 in Wisconsin to as low as 51 in Minnesota.

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    Rolled into Duluth as a cold front was coming in. Had to breakout the cold weather gear. We had wanted to eat at this place.

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    It was featured on Diner’s, Drive-in and Dives. I have always wanted to eat at one of the places from that show. And well it did not disappoint. We both had the featured Pasty

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    You can watch the segment from the show on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqbGQ6y6emQ

    After dinner we headed up the north shore on 61.

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    The fog was getting intense and it got really cold and windy (remember the thermometer!)

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    We stopped at Tettegouche State Park for a campsite for the night. The only one they had left was very wet and we were really cold. Decided to spring for a hotel instead.

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    We first tried in Finland, MN but moved on and pushed for Grand Marais. Doing laundry and enjoying the comforts of 4 walls. 307 miles today. Tomorrow we head back into Ontario.
    #44
  5. TarmacSurfer

    TarmacSurfer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Maryland U.S.
    That's some serious fog you encountered!! Keep on rolling :ricky
    #45
  6. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    We spent the night at the Aspen Inn, Grand Marais MN. Rooms were a bit pricey ($109 per night) but included a pool, wifi, free laundry, a continental breakfast, and covered parking for the bikes. Well worth the money to do laundry and recoup a little.

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    I had to try a donut (a skizzle to be precise) from the World’s Best Donut shop.

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    Donut was okay, not world class in my opinon… This place next door though was pretty cool.

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    We then headed north on MN state road 61 to the border.

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    First stop of the day was the Harley Dealership in Thunder Bay so Tom could buy a overpriced t-shirt. Forgot to get a picture of it, but it is right off the main road into town. Second stop was for my coffee fix and lunch. It had been 4.5 days since I had my last Tim’s

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    We then headed north out of Thunder Bay on the Trans-Canada Hwy.

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    Stopped to take a look at the Terry Fox Memorial. Terry needs no introduction for our Canadian readers, but for everyone else… Terry was in remission from a battle with a cancer that took one of his legs. To raise money and awareness of Cancer he ran the Marathon of Hope in 1980-81 from Newfoundland across Canada. He did not make it, stopping near Thunder Bay and passing away shortly thereafter. Today, most Canadian cities have an annual Terry Fox Run in his honour and for a fundraiser for cancer

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    Next was the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park road. This is a must ride if you are doing the circle tour!!! The road is in good condition, we saw nearly no other cars (other bikes though!) and is full of twisties. It winds through some amazing forests, highlands, and has many lookouts along the way. Takes about 1.5 hours to run down and back taking your time.

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    We had to stop along the way for our first wildlife encounter of the day, a turtle in the road. Tom saved it before the one car that drives down the road each day came by to squish it.

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    We saw 2 deer while in the park as well but couldn’t get the camera ready for a photograph quick enough. Great lookout of the Sleeping Giant

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    At the end of the road is Silver Islet. A very quaint little hamlet, exceptionally quiet down there and the scenery is amazing. We chatted for some time with one of the locals who told us the general store had recently closed because the owner had fallen ill. The store has been there since the early 1900’s. Hope it reopens, from the stories told it was quite the place.

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    We then headed up the Ouimet Canyon Road and stopped in at this place

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    We had to check out Canada’s longest suspension bridge. It did not disappoint! What a feeling being out over the canyon. You can really feel the sway in the bridge with even just the 2 of us on it. We would recommend it to anyone. Considered the zip line, it looked really cool too but they wanted $60 for it! Too rich for our blood

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    Then on to Ouimet Canyon. You have to take a steep winding road up the side of the mountains. Very nice road! The canyon is very impressive. Only a short 10-15 minute hike from the parking lot.

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    On our way back on the canyon road we ran into 2 black bears, a mamma bear and a cub. The momma bear got way up on her hind legs when we approached, clearly telling us not to come any closer. Luckily Tom was able to snap a quick shot with the handlebar cam before they ran off. Too bad we couldn’t get a closer shot. Another 2km up the road we saw a another bear but it too ran off before we could get the cameras out.

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    We stopped for the night near Dorion, Ontario at the Wolf River campground. Neat small old campground, it has been here since 1936. The original trans-canada runs right through the middle of the campground. We had noticed for the last few hours how bad the black flies were getting but decided that we were at the most northern point of the trip and we had to tough it out. Great campground with super clean showers, cheap rate ($22), good firewood and a nice owner. But man were the flyies really really bad.

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    Nevertheless we had to make the most of it and enjoy the evening. I broke out the mini bottle of wine I picked up in Wisconsin and huddled up close to the smoke of the campfire where the flies didn’t like to be.

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    I would recommend this campground to anyone, but only if you are coming later in the summer when the fly season is over. 202 miles today.
    Tomorrow we continue eastward.
    #46
  7. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    We awoke this morning in the Wolf River Campground. Tom and I both woke about the same time, 6am. Got out of the tent for the obligatory morning trip to the bathroom and then immediatly climbed back in our respective tents to start packing. The bugs were just as bad this morning as they were last night. No breakfast in camp, just packup and get out. We backed up everything and was on the road in 20 minutes flat. Wet tents and all, it was just that bad!

    The fog was intense this morning as we made out way into Nipigon for breakfast and to get some wifi.

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    We ate at the Husky Truck Stop and uploaded yesterdays report while we waited for the fog to lift. Well it didn't.

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    Not only was it foggy but it was cold! Got down to 46 while we were riding

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    This was our first day without a planned twisty road to ride. There is really only 1 way through this area so we tried to make the best of what was along the route. For instance, we stopped at the Aguasabon Falls and Gorge. Nice.

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    We stopped in Marathon for lunch. Decent place. Not somewhere to go out of your way for but if you want a solid and quick soup and sandwich this is the place

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    After Marathon the Trans-Canada moves inland away from the lake. That helped raise the temperatures (the themometre pic was actually taken here) and the fog was greatly reduced. The ride through here is quite nice.

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    All along the route they constantly remind you to watch out for the moose.
    We certainly adhered to the warnings, not only to stay safe but also because we really wanted to add one to our wildlife sighting list. Thankfully the wilds didn't disappointed. We were able to get a quick shot of him while he was running away into the woods

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    We stopped for the day in Wawa. And of course had to get a photo with the famous Wawa Goose

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    They are calling for thundershowers tonight here in Wawa and areas south so we elected not to repeat the Porcupine Mountain day and get a motel. Had supper and settled in for the evening. 259 miles today.

    Tomorrow we head along the scenic drive through Lake Superior Provincial Park and back into the upper peninsula of Michigan.
    #47
  8. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    858
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Really enjoying the ride. Thanks
    #48
  9. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Thanks Jim!
    #49
  10. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    We spent the night at the Bristol Motel in Wawa to keep out of the thunderstorms that were passing through. We expected the storm to continue into the morning hours but were pleased to see that it ended early morning. We waited a little while for the roads to dry then we packed the bikes up to head out.

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    Before we left we chatted again with Larry from Hamilton in the parking lot. Larry was just returning from a month long ride to Yellowknife and back on his V-strom 650. He had quite an adventure himself including having his bike stolen in Yellowknife and having to do some on-the-road electrical repairs. Fun to her the stories about his adventures.

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    We gased up and hit the road. Not 20 minutes south of Wawa on the Trans-Canada we hit very dense fog and a little later along some rain. Our first rain of the trip- we could have only been so lucky to have only had to ride in the rain for a couple of hours on a week long trip.

    Don suited up for the rain

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    As a result we didn't see much of the scenic road between Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie, nor did we get many pictures because we didn't want to expose the handbar cam to the elements

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    Thankfully the weather cleared by the time we reached the Soo and we made out way over the border back into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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    We stopped at ate lunch at the Antler's Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It is a bit of a tourist trap but the perch and whitefish were very good the decor is cool.

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    We decided to just jump on I-75 for the short run through the UP back to the Mackinaw Bridge. Our circle tour is now complete! We made it around Lake Superior!!

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    Because we had such poor riding weather in the morning and the weather had turned to a perfect blue sky and 75 degrees we decided to take a few last twisties on our way back down the Lower Peninsula. This is the North Black River Road, which is located just south of Cheboygan.

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    We stopped for the night in Mio at the Oscode County Campground which sits on the picturesque Au Sable River.

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    We sat around the campfire and reminisced about all of the adventures during our trip. What a great ride. If you are at all considering doing Lake Superior and are unsure if it is worth the time, trust us it is.

    Our ride is over but the memories will live on. Till next time...

    Don

    (P.S- thanks again to everyone for their encouragement and suggestions along the way)
    #50
  11. dthogey

    dthogey Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Kalkaska, MI
    Thank you for taking the time to post this info and pics. It really has helped me in planning my ride around the lake. I hope to do it yet this summer.

    You did a great job here,

    Thanks again :wave
    #51
  12. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
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    41
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    Here is our final route. All 3,323KM (2,065 miles) of it!

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    #52
  13. TarmacSurfer

    TarmacSurfer Adventurer

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    Location:
    Maryland U.S.
    Thanks for posting this RR, and glad to see you made it safely! ride on. :clap
    #53
  14. Trane Francks

    Trane Francks Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    645
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Thanks for making me homesick for Canada. Lovely pics! :D
    #54
  15. slick_kipper

    slick_kipper i'm supposed 2b this way

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I rounded Superior in 07.

    Really is no such thing as "the same trip."
    #55
  16. WheelBass

    WheelBass n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Horseshoe Bay, Ontario, Lake Superior, Canada
    Thanks for the report and pics. Some good tips in there. Kudos for toughing out the flies!
    #56
  17. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    41
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    Ontario Canada
    They should tell you to bring an extra bag of blood with you when you do Superior, those bugs were intense!

    Thanks again!
    #57
  18. GSPD750

    GSPD750 Adventurer

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    Feb 14, 2005
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    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Thanks for sharing. Great report and pics.
    #58
  19. dthogey

    dthogey Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    Kalkaska, MI
    I just got back from lake superior ride. Your report and tips paid off, thanks again! I did 1427 miles. The first 3 days was very rainy and temps in the 40'a and 50s. The last two were sunny and temps between 60-70.

    I really want to know what's up with the south bounty road pavement cutouts. You know, the road from the porcupines south
    #59
  20. histguy

    histguy Histguy

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    41
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    Ontario Canada
    Great to hear you had a great ride! I was thinking about the ride this week, being thankful we went when we did. It has been in the 50s here in SW Ontario, so surely it would have been colder along the big lake.

    I too am curious about those road cutouts, they were the worst stretch of road we experienced the entire trip. I am guessing they are repairing frost heaves, but they surely are taking there time with them and could have put a few signs up warning you that they are coming!
    #60