Exploring the Upper Peninsula - an UPAT trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by BuiltnotBought, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    Never underestimate the power of persuasion that Tim Allen can have on you. All those years of listening to his "Pure Michigan" advertisements finally got the better of me I guess and I finally just had to see what was "up" in the "UP".

    [​IMG]

    Years ago I spent part of a summer riding around the upper part of the mitten of Michigan, slept on the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, and explored a bunch of the Lake Huron shore area. At that time I had the opportunity to go to the Upper Peninsula to see the Pictured Rocks shore area, I was not far from the bridge, but I opted out of the trip figuring it would be too much money to spend on my poor college budget so the trip never came about.

    Then last year I learned about the Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail (UPAT) route that @Cannonshot had put together and the plans for an adventure started forming. Cannonshots ride report is incredibly detailed, and the route very well laid out, so I'll take this opportunity to say Thanks! to Cannonshot and also highly recommend his route to anyone looking for a great ride in that part of the world.

    [​IMG]

    The route does a loop around the UP, hitting just a fraction of the myriad of trails that the UP has to offer. I allowed the better part of a week for the trip, going solo, on an F800GS. Cannonshot put in some big bike go-arounds for some of the harrier sections of the route which I did make some use of. My initial plan was to do the whole route but in the end I did not, for reasons of weather, and then making a bit of an error on time estimation on my part. I ended up cutting out most of the south western portion of the route and the whole trip took me 4.5 days door to door.
    #1
    drbuzzard, no, 9Realms and 5 others like this.
  2. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    Day 1 was really just a "getting there" trip. I left southern Ontario and headed to the border, remembering as I headed there that it was a long weekend. It took a good hour to get across the border, I believe I got a border guard that had just about every last ounce of joy sucked out of his life, he was honestly quite a miserable fellow, but let me through without much trouble. From there it was slab time for 4 or 5 hours to get to the Mackinac Bridge which would mark the start of the UPAT for me. The nice thing about the UPAT is that it is a loop, so you can start where ever you want, even start in the middle and do an east loop or a west loop if you don't have a full week.

    Not even a week before I also realized that I needed to find a campsite for one night... on short notice, on the last holiday weekend of the summer. I lucked out and found a campground that had some overflow camping available for one night. It was a full campground, but it was fairly quiet. Their overflow camping was right on the beach with a view of Mackinac Island in the distance. I rolled in and set up camp just in time before dark and plan a bit for the next day.

    [​IMG]

    I was tired from the highway riding, I don't like it, even on the big bike, but I was also nervous for the adventure that lay ahead. Never having ridden sand, let alone on a big bike I had no idea how much the next day would be spent picking up the bike. Would the sand be my breaking point? Would my bike hold together? Would I get flats on the first day of the trip like I did my last trip? (2 on the first day last time!) Will I be able to cover enough ground each day? All the questions that swirl through your head when you are on a solo trip just starting out.

    edit: You'll notice I have just one mirror in this pic. The day before I was leaving I took the bike off its center stand in the garage and I have no idea what happened but the weight just got away from me the wrong way and I had to lay the bike down "gently" onto the snowblower sitting beside it in my garage! The result was a broken mirror the day before my trip. I tried real hard not to take it as a bad omen!
    #2
    Umpire, 9Realms, 15's Pop and 4 others like this.
  3. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,120
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Bring it on !
    #3
  4. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    I didn't sleep too well that night, woke up at 2am hearing a drizzle and had to get up and throw a cover on my tankbag. Little did I know it would be the best nights sleep I would have this week.

    I rolled out as early as I could, heading north out of St Ignace. The first section that offered a go around I knew was because of a couple of culverts, one of which was potentially under water so I had no qualms about taking the big bike option for that small portion. The next section that offered a go-around due to sand I opted for the difficult route, just to see how hard it would really be to handle my 450lb pig, (we'll say 500lb with gear) in the sand.
    Here is a shot of that section
    [​IMG]

    The sand was a little easier to handle because it was abit damp from the drizzle from the night before. I handled it pretty good I think for my first go.

    After the first difficult section I came to the abandoned RACO Army Airfield. It is still used apparently for some cold weather tire or driving testing, but generally its just a big patch of open tarmack. I took a rip down and back just for fun. At certain times it used to be used for informal drag racing even.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I rode on taking some forest roads, one of which had recently been the site of a controled burn. These guys take forestry up here really seriously. I'm not sure how they controled this fire to keep it out of the larger trees, but the main idea here is promote healthy forest regeneration.

    [​IMG]

    Usually I find clearcuts to be depressing, but there was something about this area that didn't say "we cut this just to rape the landscape", instead I really got the vibe that they were being intentional about where they cut, when the cut, and how they cut.

    [​IMG]
    #4
    9Realms, 15's Pop, popscycle and 2 others like this.
  5. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    I stopped at Paradise for lunch. There was a very nice lady there who helped me get a ORV permit I had intended on getting one earlier in the day but this was the first place I found that sold them. Apparently the application for an out of state ORV permit is a bit of a hassle so she worked some magic and - I think she used her own licence number or something, several other people in line even offered to use theirs, really nice people! Not sure how legit it was, but the money went to a good cause, and I never got stopped by an officer, so it was all good!

    In the name of making good time I opted out of making the trip out to Whitefish Point, as well as Two Heart River. It was the first day and I wanted to give myself every chance of covering some good ground and missing some forecasted rain if at all possible. It might have been a mistake - but it was what I opted for.

    Instead of the Two Heart River ORV trail I opted for the "easier" Rabbit Patch Rd route. This is where things got REALLY sandy! There is no way I would have made it far on the more difficult route if what I did was the easier of the options.
    By this time here is what I had learned about riding in sand: Do like all the videos say; keep your weight on the pegs, keep your butt way back over the seat, keep the revs up, and let the front wander. Generally this was good advice but for anyone who has not ridden sand before I would also add a couple points to describe it. I describe it as feeling like a mix between water skiing and downhill snow skiiing. Its like water skiing in that you are really pushing down with your feet trying to lift the front and keep the weight back as much as you can. But like snow skiing in the way you steer. It felt like the "steering" portion of riding in sand felt a lot like the "plowing" action you do when you downhill ski when you zig and zag. I found that you can also get away with a LOT of over-corrections in the sand. Over-corrections that normally would send you into a highside crash will actually keep you from dumping the bike because the sand will just absorb those movements and if you keep your cool you can save it. The one thing I did NOT get used to though was going downhill in sand, I couldn't find a good way to keep the weight off the front tire. Any downhills I came to in sand were "pucker" moments.

    Back to Rabbit Patch Rd. This got into some serious sand, I will stick together a video at the end and it will show some of it. Thankfully I never burried the tire from spinning too much, and I never dumped the bike while *riding* through the sand. (* will be explained later on)
    Getting deeper sand
    [​IMG]
    This is what a "Oh Sh*t!" moment looks like
    [​IMG]

    I thought I had more pics of the sand but see the video for the best of it.
    There was maybe a quarter mile of REALLY deep sand that firmed up finally...just to present itself to a nice big water crossing! I hate water crossings on any bike but especially on a big bike. Alone. In the middle of nowhere. And Michigan water was nice and dark and murky. I took a stick and did some probing and it was a deep one. There was no available go-around but there was a narrow ledge on the one side of the hole that was maybe 15-20" wide and only 6" deep at the worst. I opted to aim for it and hope nothing caved in on me. I made it through fine! Just to come around the bend to this the bike in the distance will give you scale:

    [​IMG]

    And right after it was another about half the size too! Well going back was not an option, and at least this was showed evidence of an ATV go-around so I explored it and deemed it a viable option. As I came back to mount the bike and give it a go a side by side came up and he said the previous water hole was deep enough that it came inside his cab. Glad I didn't aim for the middle. The go-around was uneventful for me and thankfully it was the last water hole and deep sand I would have to deal with for a while.
    #5
    dstutz and LeMaitre like this.
  6. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    I carried on making good time, stopped by the log slide area on Lake Superior - wow what a view. They used to slide logs 300ft down an almost sheer sand dune to the lake to be bundled then floated all the way down to lumber mills on Lake Michigan. The amount of old growth pine that went down this hill is probably mind boggling. Doing a little research these guys were smart about their work, they way that 2 horses could pull those massive loads of logs is they would have crews of guys that went out at night in the winter and put water down on the roads so they would ice over, making a nice easy pulling surface for the sleighs loaded with lumber. Lumber was a serious industry back in the day. Its a bit sad that the 150ft white pines are no more, but impressive the manpower that went into the industry - no chainsaws, no trucks, no tractors. Hand saws, axes, horses, boats, and trains, thats all.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From there the day was starting to wind down. I opted out of the difficult section behind Pictured Rocks, the sand was wearing me down, and I also confess I totally missed the turnoff on my gps. I wasn't too sad about missing it though. I pressed on, watching the clouds thicken and dreading a forecast that called for possible rain that night. I saw a waypoint on the route that showed a motel at Sawyer and got hopeful. I rolled in to Sawyer and was sorely disappointed. Not to speak ill of Sawyer-ites but the town... it looked rough. Lots of what looked like low income apartment housing, then a lot of abandoned apartment housing, then finally rolling to the motel waypoint... she had been closed up a loooong time judging by the weeds growing around out front. Then I remembered that the air force base in town had closed up I believe, which was probably the reason for the rough look of the town. I did snag some pics of some of the aircraft they had on display, the Stratofortress - WOW what a plane!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At this point I gave up on finding a motel for the night but managed to find a nice campground east of Marqette that I aimed for. I knew rain was coming so I hunkered down for the night early. My front tire had felt a little soft all day but I had never got a flat! I was real gun shy about this because last years trip to ride the TWVT in WV had landed me 2 flats on the first day as a result of running too low of air preasure. I checked the preasure on my front after I set up camp and it was at 16psi! no wonder it felt soft all day! I can only imagine it did not land me a flat because it was mostly sand all day and no rocks to pinch it on. I aired up to just above 20psi to be safe.
    [​IMG]

    This tent is second hand to me, I bought it from the guy I rode WV with last year and was very pleased with how it served me this trip. That night it rained pretty steady and I was nice and dry all night. The one other campsite that was occupied near me had one of those guys whose only volume is LOUD so falling asleep even with earplugs was not the easiest, then the rain started, and it was pretty darn cold that night too! I did not sleep well at all.
    In the morning I checked the radar and waited until the rain passed then broke camp and made for Marquette to at least have a warm breakfast. Breakfast was warm, but not good. I couldn't even finish it it was so greasy (and overpriced too I will say).

    The forecast for today did not look good. My goal for the day was to get up the Keweenaw Peninsula, but the forecast showed a lot of rain all day swirling around that whole area. The forecast radar showed a storm popping up in my path between Marquette and LAnse, but I opted to ignore it in the hopes I could maybe make it through before the storm popped up. This proved to be wishful thinking. I don't have many pics from this stretch but I wish I did because it was pretty wild. The road was slippy, not quite sand but not quite mud, something in between. It would have made some great riding if it hadn't been so wet from the night before.

    [​IMG]
    You just can't go fast on this stuff
    [​IMG]

    Things got worse. Working my way between Marquette and LAnse it started to drizzle. I was under the trees so it wasn't too bad. But then it started to rain, then it poured. And I mean POURED, as in thunder and lightning, so much rain coming down that the 2 track trail I was on turned into 2 rivers of solid rushing water! And there was absolutely NO place to stop to get out of it, no choice but to just keep riding through this madness. Fortunatly my jacket was waterproof and it did its job very well, my overpants did "OK" but they did soak through a bit. Hands a feet were soaked. It was a very special experience riding through the middle of nowhere on a remote track in the pouring rain. Not one I will rush back into though I will admit.

    I managed to make it through the storm to LAnse and found a Subway to dry out in and have a coffee and plan my next move. The rain was still swirling around up on the Keweenaw so I was in no rush to go too far. It looked like I might stay dry if I tried to make it to Houghton part way up the peninsula so I made a run for it. The rout headed south for a bit and things actually started to look a little sunnier and a touch warmer - have I mentioned it was a cold day? I went along the Barga Plains road, still on soggy roads that made for slow going.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Minor re-route due to a closed gate
    [​IMG]

    As I carried on the roads did begin to dry but at a "T" in the road I came to this sign:

    [​IMG]

    Well this could be interesting. I thought briefly about going for it anyway and seeing if I could make it around whatever had the road closed, then though better of likely having to make a 7 mile backtrack. I looked at the map an the best way to re-route would actually take me almost back to LAnse where I had started from (very frustrating), so I opted to carry on further south to Rt 28, then head west, then north on FH-16 up to RT 38, then back east to get back on track. I worked well, I crossed the Sturgeon River:
    [​IMG]
    Then was fortunate to come to about a 10" blow down that had JUST been cleared by a crew of DNR workers. I passed them up a few miles up the road, stopped to talk to them and thank them. The re-route was unexpected, but still a very nice ride.
    Blowdown in the background
    [​IMG]
    No way I would have been able to get around this one
    [​IMG]

    Heading north up to Houghton the temps went down and the rain started up again. By the time I got to town it was raining, blowing, and it was in the mid 40's. I stopped for gas and asked if I could hole up inside for a half hour till it blew out, the guy was very kind and said no problem and gave me a coffee on the house. Good guy.
    By now it was close to 4:30 and it was clear I was not going to avoid rain for the rest of the day if I kept riding up the Peninsula today. The next day looked clear and warm so I opted to call it a day early, find a place to dry out, and tackle the Keweenaw fresh in the morning. I went a bit further north of town once the rain stopped to the old smelting factory/dredge. I won't admit where I stayed that night but lets just say it was dry, albeit cold, and the traffic noise was a bit of a bother. It was dry at least.
    Abandoned dredge - this thing was massive
    [​IMG]
    Inside smelting factory
    [​IMG]
    Huge washout behind the smelter had almost washed the place out in previous years
    [​IMG]

    Day 3 will be tackling the Keweenaw. With SUN!
    #6
    9Realms, 15's Pop, TimCC and 2 others like this.
  7. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,562
    Location:
    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    Great trip so far!

    Ya' just gotta make the best of the weather you are given....
    #7
    BuiltnotBought likes this.
  8. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    Day 3 broke crisp and cool. The clouds from the day before were fast clearing but it was cool enough to have the heated grips turned on for a bit of the morning. I headed north from Houghton with my goal set to get the Keweenaw knocked off today. Immediately after the smelter by Dollar Bay I ran into my first roadblock, the route called for a bit of a rip down a railbed but it looked like someone had put the kibosh on that, a trail closed sign and piles of stumps and brush made it pretty clear traffic was not welcome.

    [​IMG]

    A short bit on the road then back to get onto an ORV trail I believe it was. A bit of a hill climb to get onto it and at the top was another trail closed sign, which I had to blast past due to momentum. I stopped as soon as I reached the top and turned the bike off to check my gps make sure I was on the right track. I hear a noise to my right and look over to see this little guy. He walked across the trail within feet of me, no fear at all. Grouse are a neat bird I have always enjoyed seeing, and this far north they seem to always be so tame/oblivious to danger so you can encounter them quite close.

    [​IMG]

    Heading further north to the snow meter. 26.5ft last year, WOW. No wonder its a sledders paradise up here.

    [​IMG]

    The Keweenaw is where the road surface started turning into a more solid surface, the sand gave way to rocky trails with solid bottomed puddles scattered throughout.
    [​IMG]

    The trails were great, a nice 2 track mostly. Heading into Lac Labelle I ran into a roadblock again. A washout had occured and dirt had been piled up on either side of it to indicate "do not use". The trail suggested that there was another way around after a slight backtrack but after exploring it it was obvious no one had used that trail some time either. I ended up backtracking and taking Plante's Road in towards Lac Labelle and it was a terrific high speed dirt run.

    Never a good sign
    [​IMG]
    Steeper and deeper than it looks
    [​IMG]

    Heading of Lac Labelle there was a short big bike go around, which I am still not sure if I took the easy or the hard way... The way I took forked off the main road to the left into an immediate steep and rocky climb! Fun! But I could see some folks being freaked out by it. Maybe someone can let me know if that was the big bike route or the primary.
    Anyway, things were getting rockier, more loose rock too.
    [​IMG]

    There was a primary section here that I admit I bailed on next. Mandan road was a GREAT ride, and forking off of it was a section that it was noted there were a couple of "bad bridges". I had seen a video that suggested that maybe one of these bridges was no longer even in place and it was of a few guys riding through the stream instead (with mixed success). I started down the trail but came to these water holes before the first bridge. I walked it a bit, weighed the options, and opted to return to Mandan Road and carry on towards the tip. I had gotten wet enough yesterday! I'd like to hear from the guy on the TW up there the same day, did you make it through this section?
    The turning point
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There is no explaining how great the riding was up on the Keweenaw. The trails/roads were all amazing, and very well kept, never once did I come to a blown down tree that hadn't been cleaned up. Further towards the tip the road to High Rock Bay was especially full of water holes, I think I covered twice the length of the road just with all the zigging and zagging I had to do to avoid them all. They all were avoidable, I imagine some of them were pretty deep though. The thought that kept going through my mind was "Every mud hole has a bottom, just doesn't mean I need to try to find it!" I have some good video of this section showing all the mud holes.
    After weaving my 500lb pig around for a few miles I finally made it to High Rock Bay!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I had hoped to time it so I could camp the night on High Rock Bay initially but it just was not going to happen. I hit there about noon so I took some time to explore a bit, sit down take a rest and grab a bite, then head back south. I made one decision here I regret a bit. There is loop here that I wish I had taken the time to ride but I was starting to get fearful for time again so I opted to take the most direct route south which was Hwy 26 back to Houghton. I don't regret riding it though, wow what a great winding road! There was no traffic to speak of and I'll confess I didn't pay much attention to whatever speed limits there were, it was just a great ride for any bike!
    I did have my first and only spill here though. 26 hugs the shore with great views at every turn, but most of the land is private and has signs up indicating no stopping. Came around a curve at I think Cats Bay and saw a perfect photo op as the road went right up to the beach. I quickly braked and started to pull off on the (sand) shoulder. I had NO time to react as the sand just swallowed my front tire and down the bike went at pretty much a stop onto its side! I couldn't help but laugh at how it all happened! The one dump I had on this trip and all for the sake of a stupid pic! So give it the credit its due, here is the pic:
    [​IMG]
    It was actually a nice spot :)
    [​IMG]

    From Houghton I made a bad call to cut off what turned out to be too much of the route. I was worried I would not be able to make it back to St Ignace when I needed to, I honestly feel like the physical strain of the riding, fighting the rain, combined with about 3 nights of miserable sleeping was all starting to get to me some. From Houghton I tracked back south to LAnse and then took a fairly direct route down to Crystal falls, essentially cutting off the whole of the western third of the track. I felt with the headway I was making I would still have 2 days of riding ahead of me which fit my schedule well. Turns out I made great time getting to Crystal Falls then was still able to make it as far as Rapid River all that day. I found a very nice lady at a RV park who let me pitch my tent though they normally only do RV's. Very decent place but for the fact it was right on a hill on the main road which meant I got to listen to jake brakes all night long... I only slept until about 2am then the cold was too much for me, I had to put my riding jacket on inside my sleeping bag... after only sleeping intermittently when I got up in the morning the bike told me it was 41 degrees. That was not a good night.
    #8
    9Realms, dstutz and LeMaitre like this.
  9. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    I needed warmth, coffee, and food. Jacks was in town so I grabbed breakfast there. I swear all breakfast shops are all the same, each has to have a contingent of local old cronies that have to come in for their coffee and shoot the breeze, I saw it every morning I ate at a restaurant :) I had a good chat with a local who had just bought a KTM to do some dual sport riding. I always try to make time for interactions like that on my trips. I am generally pretty focused on these types of things - I hate wasting time, feel like I need to "conquer" it, cover as much ground as I can. The more trips I do though the more I am seeing the value in knowing when to take things slower and to stop and intentionally making time to talk with people I encounter and enjoy that as part of the whole experience. Rather than just saying "thanks" and putting my helmet on when he told me I had a nice bike I had a real good chat with John about riding in the area. I learned from the lady at the campground the night before that the cordwood barn was almost 150 years old. I met Roger riding his mountain bike up on the Keweenaw. The DNR guys who were clearing the roads told me why the road was closed. And the other DNR guys who reeeallly hated the beavers that kept damming up the bridge they were spending the day unplugging - it was funny how much this guy hated beavers! lol All great parts of the trip.

    Beside Jacks was a place I wish I had caught when it was open, just peaking through the window was pretty interesting. Check it out if you are passing by. I imagine a "mad hatter" kind of guy bustling about inside making these wild creations. There were tons more on the shelves inside too.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    geese?
    [​IMG]
    dog on a bike
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    From Rapid City there is an option for an ATV trail that Cannonshot says "could be difficult for some big bikes"- I have to offer contrary advice I am afraid. I would say this ATV trail the PERFECT route for a big bike! I was amazing, beautiful, a little narrow, but it felt like if you could ask for something like a single track but for big bikes this is what it would be. Perfectly manageable for big bikes, nothing that will scare you as for as obstacles but just the right degree of challenging and also just a beautiful pine wooded area. If your on a big bike do it, you will not regret the experience, it was one of my favorite sections.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Into some surreal tree farm areas. These red pine had been planted in perfect rows. There was a high canopy, with a beautiful fern ground cover, so peaceful and still. Pictures don't capture the beauty of the place, you have to go there.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    On to some absolutely beautiful fast dirt roads. Again, the woods here was just beautiful and went on for miles. I tried to get more video from some of these sections but was having trouble with the battery being too low on my gopro saddly.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I was heading back east now and things were starting to get sandy again. I was feeling a lot more confident with my sand skills so I opted to take some of the harder sections and opted out of the big bike go arounds.

    [​IMG]

    I got a little carried away with this plan and found myself on a tight ATV trail heading to a waypoint marked "Mudhole" which started to worry me. When I came to it however I was pleasantly surprised to find it overgrown and dried up, with a very nice go around to the right of it. I would recommend it can be removed as a hazard.

    Mudhole, note all traffic going right
    [​IMG]

    ATV trail was a little tight at that spot
    [​IMG]

    More sand
    [​IMG]

    The one primary section I did bail on was just outside of Rexton. I followed it for just a few hundred yards and came to a pretty steep long downhill in deep sand. As I said earlier, sand going downhill was something I just could not get comfortable with and this hill was steep enough and long enough I did not see it ending well, let alone if I had to double back I was pretty sure my big pig would not go back up that hill very easily. I opted to take the easier route there but was not disappointed.

    I did run into these and had to stop to check them out. These are wolf tracks, and a big one at that. There were 2 sets of adult, one bigger one smaller, then also what looked to be like a set of pup tracks if you look in the middle you can kind of make it out. I would have loved to see one of these but it was clear we missed eachother. The tracks alone were enough to make me keep my guard up while stopped, it would be a BIG dog to make an imprint this deep. The biggest set was close to 4" across.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    By this point it was becoming clear to me I had misjudged my time and I was going to make it back to St Ignace today. The 2 days of riding I thought I had ahead of me turned into only one. I rolled into St Ignace at about 4:30. I had a 6 hour ride to get home where there was a warm bed, so I opted to hunker down and hit the slab. That was about a 700 mile day, got home very tired and vowing to get a throttle lock for my nice big trip.
    The mighty Mac
    [​IMG]

    It was a heck of a trip, great experience, great lessons learned, found a little bit more of what I was made of. And the bike, as much of a big pig as she is never let me down.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #9
    Bigbob1, BLZ2DWL, WIsixfitty and 4 others like this.
  10. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,049
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD
    Looks like you had a great time! Thanks for the report/pics. Still looking to get this done in the next couple years. I see you got a DS helmet now too.
    #10
    BuiltnotBought likes this.
  11. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    It was a great trip, you won't be disappointed! And that tent worked perfect, thanks again!
    I did find myself the odd time wishing for a smaller lighter bike, but every time I did I tried to remember the 6 hours of slab that I had to do to get where I was. Its always a trade off. Your 701 would handle this route just fine I think. There was a good bit of single track that you could maybe do too that there was NO way I was going to fit down. From what I saw some of it looked quite sandy, and most of it looked quite narrow. My F8 with the saddle bags is a bit wide in the hips :rofl
    #11
    dstutz likes this.
  12. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    Video of trip.

    #12
  13. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,049
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD
    Glad the tent is serving you well. Yeah, I'm not worried about the sand too much. I got towed out of the pine barrens through stuff like from your vid @ 3:45, LOL. Still running the same Shinkos? Seems like they would have been real good for you up there. Ain't 'nothin wrong with a girl with wide hips!
    #13
    BuiltnotBought likes this.
  14. Myll

    Myll Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Illinois
    Great video. That sand section reminded me of when I took the r1200 in that. A workout is an under statement.

    I have been thinking of doing that UPAT. Now I know to bring a friend
    #14
    BuiltnotBought likes this.
  15. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2018
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    most excellent report.
    can't wait to see more of your adventures.
    thanks for sharing.
    pops
    #15
    BuiltnotBought likes this.
  16. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    Front was the same yes, and it actually handled the sand better I think than the mud of WV.
    The rear I switched out because the tread was getting mighty low, I don't remember off hand what the brandnis but it worked very well and I will probably get another. It had more of a broken lug pattern than a "bar" type of lug like the shinko and I think gave better grip on the sides. I was very surprised how well it gripped especially in some of the deep sand. I thought for sure my bike would be digging holes for itself but never had that issue even in the really sugary stuff.
    #16
    dstutz likes this.
  17. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    Definitely a good candidate for a trip on a big bike, having a friend always gives a bit of extra confidence, you know, so you can get yourself REALLY stuck!:D
    #17
  18. Ohio Rider

    Ohio Rider n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Ohio
    I camped for a week in the UP about 6 weeks ago. I spent some time in Paradise. (it's where we ran for coffee) I was surprised at the dirt roads. Relatively well maintained, but sections had little 1/2 inch tall ridges...every 10 inches or so. So it made a huge vibration while driving. (in a car...wasn't on motorcycle) Made it as far west as Munising. Miners Castle overlook was pretty cool. We were very fortunate: It sprinkled for about 5 minutes on the first morning...otherwise it was perfect weather all week. We'll be back.
    #18
  19. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Ontario
    I saw a bunch of cars poking along and on a lot of the roads because of those and yes, I was able to travel a lot faster.
    #19
  20. Umpire

    Umpire Trapped in Time, Surrounded by Evil, Low on Fuel

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    381
    Location:
    Some trail in Michigan
    Nice ride report:thumb.

    Like yourself ...Sand is my nemesis.
    I had a similar incident with dumping my bike up near Ranger lake in Ontario . Pull off pavement , front tire got swallowed up by sand and over we go. :muutt .
    #20