"I don't know what time it is, I've switched to kilometers"...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by mbabc, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    or how 5 Kentucky boys spent 9 days riding the Lake Superior Circle Tour.


    Preview...


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    Tomorrow we ride!
    #1
  2. hilljak

    hilljak Hayseed

    Joined:
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    Lost in the mulligrubs...
    Bring It!
    Looks like you fellers had some fun! And great pics Mark!
    #2
  3. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    This is hopefully going to be a collaborative ride report with everyone throwing their comments and pics on the pile.

    Cast of characters -

    Group shot at a planning & bs meeting.


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    Anthony - "The elder statesman"
    IT consultant, professor and part time banjo player.

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    Brennan - "Captain D"
    Professional exotic automobile tech and part time disk golf player.

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    Tim - "Woodly"
    Optical engineer and drag (racing) nut.


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    Josh - "The kid"
    Part time student, remodeler and full time jack of all trades.


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    Mark (your reporter) - "The boy scout"
    Mild mannered spectacle merchant.


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    I'm not sure exactly how this ride idea got started but a few of us had been kicking around the idea of going to the Texas Hill country this Spring. That never panned out due to scheduling conflicts but I'd just read Cannonshot's great ride report on his Superior Circle Tour so I sent the link to a few riding buddy's. A few emails and several more beers later things began to come together. After several tries to nail down a week that would suit everyone we finally decided on June 20 - 28.

    Josh, Brennan and myself were to roll Friday the 20th and ride the southern shore of Lake Superior while Tim and Anthony left Sunday the 22. The plan was to meet up at Aerostich in Duluth, MN. on Monday the 23. From there we'd ride clockwise around the big lake (which I here after referred to as the "big tub of ice water').


    All packed and ready. I'm cheap (former KLR rider) but other brought those fancy Mountain House dinners...


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    The meet up point in Louisville, Brennan rolls in.


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    7:30 AM, a little early for Josh but he made it on time.


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    We took Indiana Hwy 3 north towards Ft. Wayne with plans to make either Interlochen State park in Michigan to camp if time permitted or motel it if weather forced it.


    Lunch stop.


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    Ran into some rain and lot's of traffic in Grand Rapids. So motel it is, off to Cadillac, MI we go!


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    Found a fairly nice motel just outside Cadillac for the night.


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    3 to a room, so Josh took the floor this night.


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    Pizza and Buds for dinner.


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    Tale of the tape day #1


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    Tomorrow we cross the big bridge at Macinac to officially start the Circle Tour.
    #3
  4. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Sure glad you added the (racing) part of that statement about me :D

    Great start Mark, hopefully I will be able to add to the story shortly
    #4
  5. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    IIRC, you drink one and rub the other on your body. Can't seem to remember which is which, though.

    Nice Yellow 'Strom (the fastest color):clap
    #5
  6. the_doc

    the_doc Street Convert

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    Looks good, I'm in for the ride- Right through my stomping grounds
    #6
  7. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    So as Mark has already mentioned, we have all been waiting for this ride for quite some time and with the long winter it couldn't have come soon enough for me. For some odd reason Anthony and I both had different weddings to attend on Saturday evening but decided to meet up Sunday morning at the ass crack of dawn and slab it north towards Davenport, Iowa.

    Although I was super excited to get to cooler latitudes, I was not looking forward to the slab. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised by the ride, even on the interstate. Usually I avoid all divided four lane like the plague but for some reason, after we cleared Indy, the traffic let up significantly and we just cruised along looking at the wind turbines and corn. All was good in the world. We stopped for a quick lunch and some fuel in Peoria. Just a little longer before were off to ride along side the mighty Mississippi on the Great River Road. This is where it gets good, the roads through Iowa are typical midwest rolling terrain near the river. Kinda reminds me of home and riding near the Ohio.

    We ran in and out of some sprinkles and just before it started to get heavy we stopped to get out the rain gear. This is where I thought about taking my first pictures because although I didn't get a shot of Anthony in his gloves, we will just say that his approach to rain gear is interesting :D

    Pics are uploading as I type so it should be soon.
    #7
  8. bluestar

    bluestar misfit

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    Drink enough out of the big bottle and you don't have to worry about the skeeters. :rofl
    #8
  9. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Thanks for the post Wes. Told the boys about the bang fest at your place that Sunday. Let me know if there's another and we'll come for sure!


    I needed both Michael. Skeeters were terrible some evenings.


    Post up those pics Tim. Need some of me in this report.
    #9
  10. keeponriding

    keeponriding Been here awhile

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    Not sure why Mark called me the elder statesman....I might have the most years in, but definitely not the most mature.

    Timmy and I took off Sunday and as he said, great riding on the slab. No traffic or trucks...and the weather was almost perfect.

    Riding was great once we got to the Quad Cities and started following the river. We got up to LaCrosse, WI...thought it was a small town, so we went back to a motel that looked OK...until we found out it was the local stop for the illegals and the tweakers. Timmy and I watched some gal tweaked out of her mind sweep her front steps with her foot for about 10 minutes.

    Couldn't wait to get that behind us...then after 5 miles, found the "nice" part of town...with the chain motels and restaurants.

    We did have a good Mexican dinner with decent margaritas...hey no lie, after 12 hours in the saddle...any margarita was going to be good.
    #10
  11. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Sorry man I am slacking, just busy, no excuses! I will try to post up some tonight
    #11
  12. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    OK so as mentioned, the ride north was great. When we started to see some rain we stopped for rain gear and a few pics, somewhere around Clinton I think.

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    Anthony

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    I think we rode another three hours or so after that and then decided to stop for the night. Because we had seen a Mexican joint on the way into LaCrosse we decided to stay at the little motel next door. As Anthony has said, we could have picked a better neighborhood but all was good. The only real interaction we had was some strange lady that wanted the keys to my bike so she could take it for a ride :eek1...think she was kinda high so I just laughed and went into my room. I slept with the window open and all night it just god louder and more strange outside by my bike. Nobody messed with anything so it was cool, just didn't sleep too well.

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    So the next morning as we headed out of town we found that the north side seemed to be more of what we were looking for if we had riden on the night before.
    We were headed for Aerostitch and a rendezvou with the rest of the crew at lunch time. Anthony had to get some grub to take his medicine so we stopped in a cool little town and had breakfast at the "Garden of Eatin".

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    We rode some scenic roads and had a few laughs before we hit Duluth...good times and great pace.

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    The morning was cool and foggy

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    Seemed that the trees were getting shorter, maybe we were getting close to the lake?

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    Yep, big water! And we must have lost 20 degrees as we came down into the valley by the lake. Burrr :vardy

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    After we crossed into Minnesota we found the Stitch pretty easily and the boys were all there waiting for us

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    We shopped a bit and then headed north to get some lunch and ride the scenic route!
    #12
  13. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Day #2 (Saturday) dawned cool and clear. Today we head across the Mackinac Bridge and into the UP of Michigan. We were using Cannonshots track as a general guide but we did have to make Duluth by Monday afternoon so we did by pass some of his sight seeing detours. We took 131 from Cadillac up to Petoskey and then on to the bridge. It was a beautiful day with very little wind so crossing was very easy. I can't imagine what it'd be like if it was howling and rainy.

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    They were painting underneath the bridge so a big section of the paved lane was closed so we had to ride the grate.


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    Good shot of Josh. I got on tarmac as soon as I could! Looked down once through the grating but I was busy keeping it on two wheels.


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    Made a lunch stop in Trout Lake and I think we had the worst meal of the entire trip there. Brennan and I ordered the fried whitefish to try the local fare. Only way I can describe it was that it was like eating deep fried sardines. Man, that fish was strong! Brennan also ordered a pasty which he wasn't too happy with. Josh played it safe getting his usual plain cheese burger & fries.


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    Next up was Whitefish (bleh...) Point to get our first close up of the big lake. Stopped at the Whitefish Point Lighthouse and Museum.


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    Big rudder.


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    I asked one of the volunteer guides if the lake was always so calm...he invited me to come back in November!
    Also we saw no ice the whole trip. Finally melted.


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    Freighter headed into Sault I guess.


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    Good to be out on a ride after a long winter.


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    We didn't do too much dirt on this trip but we did ride the Grand Marais Truck Trail (407). Packed dirt with several VERY sandy sections. Yikes! I hate sand more than mud on big pigs! We all made through fine though.


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    Josh -

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    Brennan -

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    We were hot and sweaty after the sand and took a break where the pavement hooked back up. Once you stopped moving the mosquitoes would descend. Josh has his bug dope ready...


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    Show me your warrior face 'D'.


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    Brennan sez..."Get my good side".


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    Obligatory pissing pic.


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    "Take me to your leader"


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    Lot's of very neat lake front villages.


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    We always knew if we were getting close to the lake. Temps would drop 20 degrees in seconds. I wore my electric liner most of the trip. I'd just crank it on and off as needed.


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    Our goal tonight was camping at Perkins Park at Big Bay just northwest of Marquette. Beautiful road up to it. Getting gas, a local said that's where moose & wolf country begins.

    Very nice county park. Full of families getting in some early summer camping.


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    Brennan not spilling his hot water.


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    Great weather. Nice & cool.


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    Tale of the tape day #2 -


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    Tomorrow we ride into Wisconsin.
    #13
  14. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Great pics Tim!

    I'll post day #3 tomorrow.
    #14
  15. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Right on Mark, nice to see the pics you guys took while we were still at home slacking...

    Guess I should have thought about that before I posted up all the way to Aerostitch...
    #15
  16. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Bring them on Tim! Can't wait to see your other pics.
    #16
  17. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Sunday's (Day #3) goal was to try to get pretty close to Duluth since we had to meet up with Tim and Anthony early afternoon Monday.


    Brennan saying good morning.


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    Breakfast in camp.


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    Let's ride!


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    Coming down from Big Bay we took a little sight seeing tour of the Marquette lake front.


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    I think I can see Canada from here...


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    Another beautiful day!


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    I was leading the last few days so I didn't get to see Josh ride his strom off the road. Seems a fly went up his nose and as he was trying to evict it he went off the sandy shoulder. Brennan was behind him and was wondering WTF Josh was up to! He kept it up right and we continued into Ontonagon, MI for lunch.

    I'd been here once before with a group from the 2009 Central ADV Rally.

    Ate at Sly's then.


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    Old buddy Jerry got a patsy.


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    Klay went for a swim.


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    We tried Lynn's North Counrty Café this trip. Very good!


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    We got back on Cannonshot's track to ride the tiny roads in the Porcupine mountains. Fantastic roads with grass growing up from the asphalt.


    Popped out of the Porky's near Wakefield and then into Wisconsin.


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    Stopped in Ashland to talk about where we'd spend the night but first Josh had to stock up on his Red Bulls.


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    We thought we'd ride up towards Bayfield to grab a motel so we'd be rolling early to make into Duluth. I'm leading the way and see a sign about a bridge being out 20 something miles up the road. I of course ignored it thinking, "Surely they'd have more than one sign saying the main tourist road up to the Apostile Islands was out". Wrong...we stop in Bayfield for gas and a local on a sportster tells us the skinny.


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    We then back track down to Washburn where we find the North Coast Inn & Chalets. Super nice motel, very friendly proprietor, Dom.


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    I got the floor tonight. Short day compared to the first 2.


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    Duluth and the big reunion up next.
    #17
  18. Suncoast

    Suncoast Been here awhile

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    neat RR, subbed looking forward to your trip around the lakehead!:norton
    #18
  19. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Day 4 (Monday) was the day we're all meeting up at Aerostich in Duluth.


    As I was packing up in the motel Monday morning I hear Brennan yelling. I thought he'd run into some old friends way out here the way he was carrying on. He was actually joking around with some guys who were parking their Rv/trailer rig out front. This one guys gets out, spots out bikes and screams... "Where the hell ya'll been!", Brennan screams back..."We've been here all morning waiting on you guys!!". With that they came over to say hey, check out our bikes and breakfast plans. These guys were from Texas (via other places) and were riding/RV'ing around the upper Midwest.


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    We joined them for breakfast and shared our adventures. Great guys!


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    Humm...bacon.


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    New best friends.


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    Brennan called me the "Ride Manager" because I kept us rolling at a pretty good pace when needed and slower if we were making good time. This morning we had plenty of time as Duluth was only 2 hours away.


    Snow machine crossing

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    More neat little towns.

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    Took county road 'C' up to Cornucopia. Again, once we got near Superior the temps would drop and today fog formed.
    We stopped to visit the shore.

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    Rolling into Duluth. Brennan being his usual friendly self.


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    We make it to Aerostich first and look around.


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    Neat place even if I'm in my Motoport kit. Several other bikes there.


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    Brennan has been having zipper problems with his jacket. Josh helped too.


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    Just a little late Anthony & Tim arrive.


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    'Fellowship of the Ride'


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    We ride towards 61, the North Shore Scenic Drive.


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    Beautiful day in Minnesota.


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    We stop for lunch at a lake front restaurant.


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    Great road!


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    The goal tonight was Lamb's Resort campground near Schroeder.


    They put us at a nice quiet part of the campground. Few hundred yards off the lake. Campsites right on the water were smaller and foggy.


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    Great time!


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    Brennan telling one of his many jokes.


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    Walking down to the lake.


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    Beautiful rocky shoreline.


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    Neat colored lichens.


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    We usually (maybe everytime?) ate dinner in camp.


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    Total Day 4 -

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    Tomorrow we ride towards Ely and the Minnesota back country.
    #19
  20. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Day #5 we decided to ride inland towards Ely, MI grab some lunch and then continue back to the coast. Then north along the lake, with tonight's goal the Gunflint Pines campground at the end of the Gunflint Trail.

    Got an early start this foggy morning. Cool too, glad my warm-n-safe liner was working well.


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    This little ground squirrel was determined to get at the granola bar in the trash bag!


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    Check out time.


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    Taking the scenic road up to Finland.


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    Stopped in Finland for a break.


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    We were hoping the fog would clear by then but no luck. Least it wasn't raining...yet.


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    Past Finland a ways the fog did begin to lift.


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    Dark clouds ahead...


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    Great road into Ely.


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    Started to rain just before we reached Ely. While stopped for this construction the mosquitos really got bad. Luckily we were buttoned up with our gear.


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    We arrived in Ely before most places were open for lunch, so we busted on out to find something down the road. Problem was we didn't stop to fully gear up for the rain ahead. We paid the price and got pretty soaked the next 25 miles of so.

    Finally stopped in a nice place in Babbit (maybe??).
    We all felt better once we'd dried out.


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    Don't usually do bathroom pics but this one was special.


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    Waited for the worst of the rain to pass and headed back to the coast.


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    Along here Anthony decided to jettison his tent. Just got a few road rash scrapes on the stuff sack. He bought bungee cords later that day.


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    Rain finally stopped and we made our way back to 61. Stopped at the Split Rock Lighthouse, wish they didn't charge admission to get a closer look.


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    After a stop in Grand Marais for beer & supplies we start the Gunflint Trail.


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    At Gunflint Pines Resort & Campground we reserved a 'camping cabin' for the night.


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    Great cabin with 2 sets of bunk beds. Brennan got the floor tonight.

    He didn't mind...being so big and strong like he is.


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    Fire!


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    Having fun now!


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    Ended up being a great day even with the rain. Great guys & great roads!


    Few more miles today.


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    Tomorrow we cross into Canada.
    #20