Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail (UPAT - 1250 miles)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Wolves, moose, bears, ships, logging, mining, history, tourist stops, and extended dual sport riding.

    This report is about a dual sport ride that I am sharing that covers much of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It loops the UP and covers a distance of between 1200 and 1300 miles (options). It is intended for small/medium dual sports but has go-arounds that allow riders on large dual sports to enjoy the ride while avoiding segments that exclude many big bikes (excessive sand, single track, etc).

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    Some of you know that I host 1100 mile dual sport rides in the UP each year. Usually there is more interest in joining in than the legal limit of 19 riders allows. Even so, not everyone would enjoy the long days and hard riding of the CannonTreks. To allow more people to enjoy a CannonTrek-like ride, I am sharing a GPS file and describing the paths in this report so that people can enjoy a UP ride on their own or in small groups.

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    GPS tracks available for download here.
    #1
  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    This is not a CannonTrek per se, but it is similar and is designed to take in the scenery, history, and some of the points of interest along the route. Each time I ride a long loop in the UP, when I finish I want to just keep going and ride it all over again. It is that much fun. Some others that have joined me on the Treks will no doubt join in to comment with their enthusiasm for some of the riding covered in this report.

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    I will describe the trail segments in this report so that people can decide for themselves whether to follow the primary route or the go-around. Even with the go-arounds, big bike riders will find a challenging and enjoyable ride. Just because it is a go-around does not mean that it is not sometimes a narrow and rugged path. I sought solid surfaces for the go-around, not always pavement or something easy. As with most tracks I share, a novice will be able to plod through and have a satisfying and challenging ride. More skilled riders will find the same satisfaction simply by riding at a pace commensurate with their skills.

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  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The ride incorporates single track, ATV trails, railroad grade ORV trails, two-tracks, forest roads, and a mix of other paved and unpaved roads. I intentionally included some significant segments of pavement because the ride is so good on them - even on a dirt bike (shore roads, twisties, etc). Before someone asks, yes there are some other paved segments. Some are out of necessity and some out of convenience. This is simply the cost of doing business as this dual sport ride covers a large area. I have many, many tracks in the UP. The idea in putting out this path is to provide an entertaining mix of riding that will cover the distance in a reasonable amount of time. No one has minded the pavement too much in the past. In fact, sometimes they were grateful for it so as to get a break for a bit. :lol3

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    I will post GPS tracks for download once I polish the file up a bit.

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    I will principally use photos I took over the past few days when I was enjoying the ride myself. Sometimes I will include some photos from some of the CannonTreks if it helps to better describe a trail segment.

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    #3
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    I don't like to use "Trans-" to describe this ride as I sometimes think it is overused. Think of this ride as a loop that covers the UP that is about half the length of the Great Divide Ride. The nice thing about this one is that it loops back to the start. You can ride it in sections (east or west) spending a 2-3 day weekend on each part. It doesn't need to be done all at once.

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    Someone that is traversing the UP as part of another ride could ride a combination of segments on their way across the UP as part of a Trans-UP route.

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    Lots of things to check out along the way.
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    The optional single track will tax you.
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    Unusual sights to see.
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    Fantastic riding of all types.
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    Stimulating wildlife encouters.
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    #4
  5. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Fall has arrived at the UP. Great photos. May I ask what camera you used for these shots?
    Thanks
    Lion
    #5
  6. K_N_Fodder

    K_N_Fodder Long timer

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    Oh man... talk about a teaser for the intro...
    #6
  7. mxbundy

    mxbundy Been here awhile

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    Are your cannontreks guided tours? If so, how much? Looks real fun?:D
    I lived in lower Mich. a couple of years, but never got to ride the UP!

    Bundy
    #7
  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Colors are just a little past peak in most places. Leaves were falling most of the time I was on the trail. I was able to enjoy some unusually warm and sunny weather that really lit up the forests. Sometimes the glow seemed radioactive. :lol3 The camera didn't catch the full effect.

    I was using my Nikon D60 with an 18-200 lens. I had a chest holster to carry the camera in since I was riding my DRZ.
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    I also used my waterproof Pentax Optio for shots on the fly.

    Just trying to cover some pesky details and set the stage so we can get on the trail. :D

    The CannonTreks are guided in that they are group rides that I facilitate and provide the tracks and support information for. I do not charge people to ride along (even though it actually costs me to host these things). I host the rides to provide a great riding opportunity to some people that might not otherwise undertake a ride like this.

    Putting this track out will allow more people to small group this thing (or do it solo). Here is your chance to enjoy some pre-scouted excellent riding in the UP!
    #8
  9. gettr

    gettr Professional Loser

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    I look forward to it :thumb
    #9
  10. Canned Soup

    Canned Soup The Itenerate Engineer

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    Wow :eek2

    The photos are awesome, the idea of the trail is greater.

    One of my favorite areas. I have always wondered about riding some of the trails, I too await the gps files.
    :bow
    #10
  11. Pinktoad

    Pinktoad Been here awhile

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    Looks like a fantastic ride! Can't wait to see the rest of it. Hey- this looks like the perfect route for Ron's group ride. :rofl
    #11
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The go-arounds will make this ride a much better experience for you and the missus. The eastern side on a three day weekend would be very comfortable but challenging and fun. (Two days is comfortable for most, but why rush it.)

    You will enjoy these. Hope you get a chance to enjoy it.

    Ahem, I believe the concept of hosting an all chick iteration of the CannonTrek was your idea. When I was riding this and noting that the go-arounds took out many of the torturous-for-some-segments, I actually gave your idea some thought (for a microsecond). :lol3 Keep in mind that you would be expected to be a hostess of sorts when (I mean if) that ever happened.
    #12
  13. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    That's just hot.
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  14. Pinktoad

    Pinktoad Been here awhile

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    But then I would have to worry about what to wear and everything. Besides, the conversation at the men's table is much more interesting. :evil I would enjoy this ride though.
    #14
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    I think I would give that a little more thought. :lol3

    This would be a perfect 5-6 day ride for you and The Shark. Lots to see and explore, the "best/worst" parts can be comfortably by-passed, and you guys could do a lot of intersting photography along the way.

    I'm pretty happy about this version being more friendly to the newer dirt rides while still entertaining the more experienced folks.
    #15
  16. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    It looks like a great ride.

    I want to hear what Klay thinks about it before I commit my marriage though.

    Sometimes you see solid track where I see sand and lawyers.

    John
    #16
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    It will be a lot better once I get into it. I'm having a hard time getting started on this - like always. Once I "get out on the trail" the report thing gets a lot easier. :lol3

    Klay rode along for the eastern portion and I'm sure he'll offer some comments once we get going.

    I was conscious of noting trail surfaces this time through since, like you say, I sometimes find some things unremarkable that others think are notable. :evil I really gave a lot of thought to the big bike potential. It will be quite doable and enjoyable for a big biker (or a novice on a smaller bike) using the go-arounds.
    #17
  18. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    :eyes
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  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Gwinn is the start point for this ride. It is an old mining town in the Central UP. The Cleveland-Cliffs Mining Company picked up the land in 1901. The company president hired a well-known Boston landscape designer to lay out the town. Not only did they take advantage of the natural setting, but 8% of the cost of the town was designated for outdoor improvements. The town was built between 1907 and 1915. As mining declined, the company town was sold off. It was known as a model town and the school sports teams are known as "Modeltowners".
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    Two miners, Fredric Croix and Quickslide Rick were blues musicians from Gwinn. In 1928-29 they were cutting 78 rpm records for RCA.
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    Overview of this segment.
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    The dark blue lines are go-arounds and the red track is the primary route. I offered a go-around coming out of Gwinn as it can be sandy, whooped, and sometimes muddy.
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    It was still dark when we started out this morning so I'll borrow a few pictures from one of the Treks for this.
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    By the way, when this ore dust gets wet it is very slick - like water on ice.
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    This winding road is a bunch of fun. Still a little dark though.
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    #19
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The next go-around I put in because the two-track gets pretty rough with potholes and some limbs and logs placed into the surface for stabilization in a couple of spots.
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    We ran across wolf tracks in this stretch in the past.
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    We head onto some roads for a bit.
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    Sun in the eyes - not so good.
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    Rapid RIver was once a big lumber town with a dozen sawmills at one time. They now have an outfit that manufactures cedar log homes.
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    Not a lot there anymore.
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    Excellent breakfast, meals, and pie.
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    Lots of "CannonCard" tags throughout the UP. :lol3
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    #20