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Adventure in the Midwest: Ride Lake Superior

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TommyBBQ, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    121
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    Somewhere in the US
    This thread will document a great vacation that my friend (and brother-in-law) took mid-August 2018. He's in advertising, and I'm a Marine... so the whole thing will come off a bit corny at times. But I wanted to record my thoughts, our preparation (or lack thereof), and our route. One reason is because I won't remember it very well later on. Another reason is because I think there are a lot of riders out there like us. They might just be on the fence about going so far for the first time.

    Here's a preview:


    And here's the route:
    [​IMG]Lake Superior Route Map by Thomas, on Flickr

    My recording agenda will generally be:
    -Trip selection
    -Prior Planning
    -Packing List
    -Day-by-Day Notes
    -Take Aways
    #1
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  2. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Subscribed. Excellent video production! :clap
    I took that trip alone several many years ago and had a ball.
    #2
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  3. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

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    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    Excellent video!

    Can't wait to see the rest.
    #3
    TommyBBQ likes this.
  4. Bultaco206

    Bultaco206 Back-to-back motos suck

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    :lurk
    #4
    drumdog, V2Neal and TommyBBQ like this.
  5. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

    Joined:
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    Just a few more images before I start recording the adventure.
    This is my brother-in-law Colin and his 2004 Suzuki V-Strom 650. Coincidentally, this bike has a rebuilt title. I smacked it into a deer going 60 mph in 2008. Rebuilt it for him over that winter. Might've been a contributing factor in him keeping it so long. It's not worth a lot to sell, and it's a fantastic bike!
    [​IMG]
    Next to Colin and the Wee is my 2011 Street Glide. At 6'4" I was never quite comfortable on the Wee, or any of the smaller dual sports I had previously. But when the Street Glide fell into my lap a few years ago, I decided to give Harley-Davidson a try. It's been nicely outfitted. My own mods include a taller wind-screen, a seat to put me back and lower, and a kit to move the foot boards forward and down. Super comfortable.

    And here is Lake Superior in all its glory. I took this picture at a pull-off just 39 miles away from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
    [​IMG]

    And last one, Colin and I were at Uncle Loui's Breakfast Diner in Duluth, sitting near the window to keep an eye on the bikes. I didn't notice where we parked in front of...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. burbansk

    burbansk Exit 202 Mio Mad Man

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    Excellent, The wife and I did it 2 years ago on our GS. The Upper Penn. is truly GODS country. Very lucky that we live less than a 100 miles from the Big Mac. Have been going UP there all my life and still have not seen it all. Thanks for the pictures and video.
    #6
    spudboy52 and colind like this.
  7. bkendig76

    bkendig76 Adventurer

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    Aug 25, 2016
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    Conestoga PA
    :lurk
    #7
  8. Dudley

    Dudley Been here awhile

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    985
    Location:
    Chaska, Minnesota, Palm Desert, California
    I rode this a number of years ago...great ride if you only have a few days to get away from it all!
    Dudley
    #8
    TommyBBQ likes this.
  9. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    Why We Chose the Lake Superior Ride:

    I did my first long distance ride in August 2017, from Monterey, California to Indianapolis, Indiana. I wasn't sure it would be fun. I know a lot of folks on ADVrider have ridden all over H.E.L.L. and it's there gig. But I have to assume a lot of people were like me. My longest ride prior to last year's was about 800 miles round trip. So biting off the California to Indiana challenge (2400 miles) was a leap of faith.

    I shipped my car 3 months ahead of time, forcing myself onto the decision.
    It's just too easy to ship your bike when the military is willing to pay for it.

    Long story short, the trip was amazing!
    Sure, I had a sore butt a few times - more as the days grew.
    And I planned around 300 miles a day that trip.
    But that moved to 500 per day as I got into Kansas. Straight roads, hot, cross-wind, exhaust gas from semi-trailers... not fun.

    But I learned that the long trips could be great (for me): everyone is so willing to talk to a lone traveler, especially a uniformed service member, and if you listen to people and take their advice, you can see some stuff that no one else would.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Somewhere along the trip I thought about doing another one - to somewhere else. And to have my buddy Colin along. Colin's longest ride - I think - was my previous longest ride. He met me in West Virginia one time where we camped off the bikes, went white-water rafting, and had a great time.

    Anyways. Colin's always up for an adventure.
    We talked. He had some reservations about taking the Strom that far. Would it be fun?

    So we agreed on Lake Superior. Planned it for summer 2018.
    That was about the extent of it until February 2018.
    Stuck in the snow and yearning for better days, I discovered CannonShot's ride report, and a google search brought me to www.RideLakeSuperior.com.
    They offer a free map. So why not.
    [​IMG]

    I did have a few reservations. Was it going to be too touristy?
    It was really CannonShot's photos that made me still want to try it out.

    So that was why we chose Superior. It can be done leisurely in about 7-8 days. It's reachable in a day from Indiana. It seemed scenic enough. And we have never been up there.

    The next post will be about planning. Which was limited to say the least. Life just gets in the way sometimes of real planning... but that's part of the adventure too.
    #9
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  10. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    I took the luxury of ten days when I did it... knowing I might encounter some places I might have wanted to stay two nights in and further explore (in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), and or the possibility of loosing a ride day due to weather which also indeed occurred. Nice to roll over on a rain day and just stay put, but then I stayed in motels on my tour.
    #10
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  11. Trasch

    Trasch Adventurer

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    Jan 21, 2017
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    Sconnie
    Looking forward to the ride report, I'm pretty sure I met and talked with you guys outside at the Aerostich factory, Colin was installing the tank panniers. I had just returned from Alaska and was getting my Darien jacket fixed. Glad you guys had a great trip!
    #11
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  12. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    Yes! We followed your advice and went to Delta Diner. The owner then gave us an awesome route to get up the Keweenah Peninsula. We took that too! This trip was great because we kept doing that - diverting for things that were passed by word of mouth. Targets of opportunity.
    #12
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  13. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    We were extremely lucky to have maybe a sprinkle the entire week. Ten would have been great. We would have stopped for a longer time at a few more places: Rossport for kayaking and Lake Superior Provincial Park for a few more trails.
    #13
  14. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile

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    Very true, all the research in the world does not beat "local knowledge". Most excellent plan you developed.
    #14
  15. colind

    colind n00b

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    4
    Indeed, Trasch -- it was great meeting with you! The Delta Diner advice was great, and, like Tom said, led to further "targets of opportunity." That's you, I think, making a little cameo in the ride video around 4:40.
    #15
    Trasch likes this.
  16. Trasch

    Trasch Adventurer

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    Ahh yes, I hadn't finished watching the video to that point yet, next time I shouldn't be standing next to a 6' 4" marine, bad for my figure :D . Great video and the narration is fantastic, also looks like you got some great use out of that drone.
    #16
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  17. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    How to Get to The Beginning:
    You know for as many jabs from ADV-types that I get about riding a bike that somewhat resembles a police vehicle, the thing is more comfortable than my car. So when it came to "how to get started", I was game for the ~540 miles from Indy to Sault St. Marie as a start. Truth be told I'd have spent an extra day or two navigating up on secondary roads along Michigan's west border... but not everyone gets 30 days paid vacation per year. The most direct route goes on a straight, fast, bland highway (I-69) and similar roads in Michigan, circumnavigating Ann Arbor along the way. It wouldn't be a great addition to the trip. So Colin thought we should trailer the bikes there. And when we finally put it on the calendar to go, I felt like the ride up would at least give the passenger some time to plan routes and stops.
    I've had a small 5x10 trailer forever now, and had put a new floor on in the spring. But I wondered if the trailer would fit both bikes. Maybe I'd ride and Colin would haul. He had the crazy notion that he could take off his rear-view mirrors and windscreen and fit the V-Strom in the back of the Odyssey. I didn't think that was likely. He eventually found out it wouldn't fit.
    The weekend before our planned departure I thought I should find out "for sure". I had to adjust my wheel chock a few times. See? It was tight!
    [​IMG]
    My girls liked the trial runs. They can't wait to be big enough to come along. Might have to get a side-hack in order to bring both when that day comes.
    [​IMG]
    Colin's wheel chock showed up Thursday/Friday.
    We were supposed to go Saturday morning. So we thought we'd fit in his V-Strom Saturday morning.

    Oh! And I scraped the ever-loving-Hell out of my bike's stand and frame trying to get up the ramp. His Odyssey's suspension was pulled so low that the trailer's angle with the ramp was just enough to cause panic at the sound of "SSCCCRRRAAAAPE!!!!"
    #17
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  18. header

    header Chris

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    :lurk
    #18
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  19. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    Switching to Present Tense:
    It's 8:30 AM and we're nearly loaded in Colin's driveway. We've drilled new holes (sorry neighbors) through 1/4" steel on the trailer, and loaded up the V-Strom.
    Colin nearly biffed it getting up the ramp. His back tire spun out when it arrived on the metal gate. He was super-close to the rails of the trail, so I think he hesitated for a brief second.
    What's this? Dang. Colin's Odyssey has an RV wiring adapter and he doesn't have a 7:4 connector to make our trailer lights work.
    [​IMG]
    Another stop along the way to Walmart or Lowes. But here we go!
    [​IMG]
    Note the Aerostich Roadcrafters laying in the back of the van. I'll write about what I packed on the way up to Sault St. Marie.
    #19
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  20. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale The Adventures of Peter Pan

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    #20