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Adventure in the Midwest: Ride Lake Superior

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

  1. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,783
    Location:
    North by South
    Go to Newfoundland. You can't NOT see them there!
    #41
  2. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Somewhere in the US
    Still Sunday morning.
    The road up from Sault St. Marie is mountainous, two-lane with wide shoulders, and not much traffic. It's not winding. More loping.
    [​IMG]
    And it's not much farther up the road from the first place we stop when we see Lake Superior really open itself up to be seen by travelers. There's a pull off, and we take it. It seems like just on the other side of the guard rail is a path to get down the 10 or 20 feet to the water. Huge granite boulders to stand on down there.
    [​IMG]
    An elderly couple is returning to their car when we walk by, and we start talking. The man had a lot of experience in the area, and they were on their way to enjoy Lake Superior Provincial Park. He busted out his map on the hood of his SUV, and gave us the lay of the land. Which was awesome. What a friendly guy!
    [​IMG]
    I always like how we see the same people over and over on the long trips.
    After speaking with the couple, we go down to the water. It feels super cold. Which is kind of an obvious observation.
    [​IMG]
    This place happens to be the closest point to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. And that makes me want to play the song so bad. But cellular coverage isn't good so I can't stream it.
    But all is not lost. We're back on the road heading north, am I'm jamming out to Animal - Def Leppard. My wife and I went to a concert recently, which made me realize I know more than just "Pour Some Sugar On Me".
    The music is so good, I can't help but sing over the intercom. Colin's a good sport - but I know I'm annoying. Too funny to me to pass it up.
    We're heading to see the Pictographs which both the lady at Northlander and the couple just back there at the pull-off recommend.
    [​IMG]
    And I want!
    And I need!
    And I lust!
    Animal!
    #42
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  3. st1100y2k

    st1100y2k Adventurer

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    Dec 5, 2003
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    Location:
    Hot Springs Village, AR
    Looks like winter might be moving in on you.....get south.
    #43
  4. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Somewhere in the US
    Twilight Resort:
    We made it up the mountain to the Lake Superior Provincial Park Office, bought some day passes and asked for a local restaurant. The lady said the closest place to get lunch was ten miles back the way we came. That sucks to hear. But we headed back anyways. The road itself was gorgeous. It's even more fun to go down the mountain. Before we left we got some pretty good shots of the bikes:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    10 miles back down the mountain, I spot a tiny sign for Twilight resort. Which is a nice little campground.
    Two people are outside staining the main lodge. The restaurant is built into a little shed across the road from the lodge. The owner lady says she'll flag down the chef. He shows up in a few moments, unlocks the shed, and proceeds to get the kitchen running. It's just a burger and a coke, but it is a welcome meal. Note to self. Next time bring snacks along.
    After the meal we head back up to Lake Superior Provincial Park. The same couple from the pull off earlier is in the parking lot at the trail head to the pictographs. We chat with them again. They're super nice. The guy this time tells us about a town called Rossport. Says it's beautiful Note to self.
    And speaking of the trail. Dead silent. No bug sounds. No animals. No car sounds in the distance. No wind. Quite bizzare.
    Here are my photos from the trail. I don't have any handy of the pictographs, but you can see them several places during the video on the first page.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Down at the pictographs there's a guide. She is really nice. Tells everyone that she recommends removing shoes before getting down on the granite. I slip on the granite trying to get to a place to take my shoes off. Colin asks her if he can fly his drone there. The answer is no.
    Too bad too, because it was beautiful.
    #44
  5. Bobbrecken

    Bobbrecken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    One great place to go in Rosport is the Serindipity Cafe. Voted the best food in Canada by "The Fat Guy from New York" years ago. You are doing this trip pletty late. We did it three weeks earlier two years ago and had ran and cold all the way. Looks like it is warming upthis week.
    #45
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Fur shur! Vamos! Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,480
    Location:
    South of the Border on the Minnesota Riviera
    It appears you are riding counterclockwise, heading towards Rossport and Thunder Bay. Prior to Thunder Bay, where TC11/17 merge back together, near the Nipigon River bridge is a turn off to the south. You should go there. It's all blacktop, and Silver Islet is at the end. https://www.reddit.com/r/AbandonedP...e_abandoned_mining_town_on_silver_islet_lake/ and https://magicmastsandsturdyships.weebly.com/silver-islet---mining-silver-under-lake-superior.html

    You go under an impressive railroad trestle, and down a curvy windy blacktop road. There is a good bit of information at the Sleeping Giant Prov Parkbout the mining, before you get to Silver Islet. Read the link, it's amazing what those folks did on Lake Superior.

    I'm in MN, 45 miles south of the border. We're getting cold weather, as you surely are experiencing. There is snow above the Lake, up the hill, but probably none in the immediate future along the shore.
    #46
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  7. Bruincounselor

    Bruincounselor North Plains Drifter Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,899
    Read post #1 again. He did this trip in August so it's not in real time.
    #47
    Gham and scootac like this.
  8. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

    Joined:
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    Thanks Bruincounselor, I was going to say that. Yeah, so we gas up in Wawa... the town doesn't look like anything at all. Turns out we really never saw the town on 17. That's why. Colin and I are pretty drained when we get to White River. There's a gas stop there, two motels, a donut shop and a restaurant adjoined to one of the motels. Continental motel.
    Inside, we deliberate on our overnight accomadations. Interesting that we've only gone 230 miles or so, but there was so much to see and do that we're just mentally drained. The food is good, and the time off the bike is welcome. The waitress tells us about her last trip to Thunder Bay with her boyfriend. They drove 7 or 8 hours to get there, only to not be able to find a hotel. They eventually found a really cheap hotel on the outskirts. It ended up being clean. She said not to assume that hotels were available. That echoes what we experienced last night... no hotels in Sault St. Marie, MI.
    The woodwork in the Continental restaurant was pretty cool. The ceiling and wainscotting was a black painted background, probably gypsum board. But on top of it were perfectly stained, placed, and spaced 1 inch by 1 inch wood strips. The effect takes down the echoing significantly. And it looks nice. I wonder how long it took to do all that.
    After dinner I walk over to check on the availability of the Continental hotel. They're pretty proud of their prices... $120 canadian plus their %13 tax. So we have a decision to make. We could press on to a campground. But there's not any other options until Marathon... another 2 hours down the road. It took some convincing, I think, for Colin to want to go any further. It sucks when you're tired. And we bought some snacks from the gas station just in case we couldn't find breakfast. Then we headed west on 17 again. Should only be about 14 miles to White Lake Provincial Park. They'll have camping there.
    14 miles later I turn too quickly. It's a reservation entrance. Man! Let's get to the campground before dark.
    And we do. The provincial park comes up on the left. The girl there at the checkin booth is young and nice. She asks what type of site we want. I say we'd like one secluded and near the lake and the showers. Is that possible?
    Colin buys us a bundle of wood. I tried to bungee it on top of my bivvy sack. It fell off after some wicked bumps. So I put it in my lap. Big Harleys are good for something! This technique works great, and I know that I'll use it again.
    Turns out the lady at the check-in has totally hooked us up. Best site ever. Just a few steps from the water. Just down the hill from the showers. And we can't see anyone at all.
    [​IMG]
    We have to borrow a lighter - I didn't test mine before leaving from Indiana and it's totally drained. But within minutes the tent is up, the fire's going, and we have enough time for a chilly swim.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    So that's it for Day one. In August.
    Colin's got a bottle of gin, and I have my smoking pipe.
    [​IMG]
    #48
  9. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    Sep 8, 2008
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    [​IMG]
    #49
  10. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    The only time my bike's sound concerns me is between 5 and 6 AM. It's loud, even at idle. So I get out of the camp quickly. Colin and I have to ride about 60 miles to get breakfast - at some restaurant in Marathon we hope. Otherwise I have some half-crushed powdered donuts from the gas stop. But no coffee.
    It's a brisk 60 miles. It's the first time that I am glad I have my electric jacket. I brought it for Colin because he didn't have a sweatshirt or jacket to wear off the bike. The roadcrafter makes you look like a space alien walking around town.
    At first we miss the turn off for Marathon. But we circle back and head a few miles down into town. On the left pops up the perfect cafe: Happy Cafe. Just the type of moms and pops joint that we like. Colin's got a dead camera/phone to charge, and it's not busy. The owner is super nice too. He tells us that he had an accident with a moose just last year. Says they come out onto the road for some reprieve from all the bugs in the bush. In his case, he was driving a Dodge Caravan - brand new mind you - when a huge moose darted in front of him. The moose hit his head on the very top of the van, where the post/windshield/roof meet. Dented it in so bad that it was totalled.
    The owner also tells us about Rossport. He says that there is a history of rich folk from the U.S. who come up there in their yachts and wreck them on the islands surrounding. Tells us that there's an inn there whose flag pole is made from the mast of one of those yachts. So we're intrigued. In my mind we have to get to Thunder Bay tonight so I'm hoping we have time to stop in.
    After breakfast we shed a few layers... it's warming up. Next stop Terrace Bay!
    #50
  11. munchmeister

    munchmeister Grow'd Up Mini Trail

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
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    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Really well done video!
    #51
  12. RebornRider

    RebornRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    West Massachusetts
    Been "in" for a while now..... Truly GREAT RR and Video! Thanks for sharing.
    Ride safe all.
    gary
    #52
  13. Pdrhound

    Pdrhound Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
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    80421
    Sign me up. Wish i could watch video. Not a vimeo member....?
    #53
  14. RebornRider

    RebornRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
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    West Massachusetts
    Pdrhound,
    I'm not a vimeo member. I watched it. Give it a shot!
    Ride safe.
    g
    #54
  15. marmoto

    marmoto n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I am one of those sketchy Sault Ste Marie, Ontario people. Enjoying your story so far!
    #55
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  16. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    Sep 8, 2008
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    Terrace Bay has a REALLY nice waterfall. And a nice canyon. And apparently everyone in Ontario calls it a 'hydro bill' not electric bill, because there's a nice power plant there too?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Leaving Terrace Bay, Colin gives the Street Glide a try. I like the V-Strom! So different. Like a cat ready to pounce. On to Rossport!
    #56
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  17. Pdrhound

    Pdrhound Been here awhile Supporter

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    Aug 15, 2015
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    546
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    80421
    Worked this time. The drone adds so much.
    #57
    colind likes this.
  18. Pdrhound

    Pdrhound Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Oddometer:
    546
    Location:
    80421
    Sketchy is right. My dad and i drove across canada when i was 21 (then down to paris island). We found a cheap motel in SSM and an old drunk French Canadian woman tried to molest my dad. No shit, she said "ahhh, you like my tittys? You want you want to touch my titties?" At least 10 times. Followed us aroind the lot make all kinds of free offers. We laughed about it everyday i saw him till he died 8 years later. Classic travelling moment. Thunderbay was definitely a little more sketchy though. Least in 1990.
    #58
    TommyBBQ likes this.
  19. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
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    22,595
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    If the same guy is at the Northlander, he's very moto friendly. I've circumnavigated the lake 4 times, the first time on my new 74 Norton Interstate and the last time on my 2004 Wee Strom. I enjoyed the ride so much that when I reached Duluth I turned around and rode around the lake in the other direction - 10 days on that trip.
    #59
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  20. TommyBBQ

    TommyBBQ More Road than Dirt

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    Sep 8, 2008
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    Somewhere in the US
    Hahah! Hilarious.
    #60