1. Adventure Rider Print Magazine!
    We're doing a print magazine this November - 128 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase a copy for $9. Limited copies still available.
    Dismiss Notice

Wisconsin - Michigan Dual Sport Adventure

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by Cannonshot, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Some people have been looking for some more loop type dual sport rides so I put one together that covers some great riding in Wisconsin and Michigan.
    [​IMG]

    The route runs about 1,900 miles (not counting the nautical ferry miles across Lake Michigan) and can be ridden in segments. Different segments are suited for different kinds of bikes. More on that in a bit.

    There are plenty of fuel and camping spots on the route. I added those as waypoints to make your individual planning a little easier.
    [​IMG]

    The segment across southern Wisconsin is derived from some tracks I posted some time ago. Since most of the southern part of the state is paved, I relied on a large section of former railroad grade ORV trail and a string of rustic roads to keep it entertaining. In fact, if you ride the southern segment and take your photo in front of each Rustic Road sign, you can be awarded a patch from the WI DOT.
    [​IMG]

    http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/scenic/rusticroads.htm

    http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/vehicle/motorcycle/rusticroads.htm

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228891

    You can download a pamphlet that covers the Rustic Roads in Wisconsin.
    http://www.travelwisconsin.com/PDF/RUSTIC_ROADS.pdf

    [​IMG]

    To ride the railroad grade on this segment you will need a Tri-County Trails permit. You will also have to do the usual checking on whether the trail is open or not.
    http://www.tricountytrails.com/

    Part of the southern section runs through the beautiful Kettle Morraine area of southeast Wisconsin. Enjoy the unique topography and lakes on your ride.

    The southern section can be ridden on a big bike with ease (except for the potential for whoops on the ORV trail).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continued . . .
    #1
  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Rather than force a route through northern Illinois and Indiana, and up southern Michigan, I opted for the ferry crossings. This eliminates a lot of less satisfying travel miles to get around Chicago and the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

    The high speed ferry is much like riding an airliner. You tie down your own bike using their tie-downs. It takes a couple of hours to cross. Ferry information is at http://www.lake-express.com/ .
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A thread that has more information on taking the high speed ferry is here:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138402

    Personally, I prefer the larger coal-fired ferry. It is a better maritime experience, but takes twice as long to cross. SS Badger information is at http://www.ssbadger.com/newhome.aspx .

    [​IMG]

    On this ship, you supply your own tie-downs. You tie down to floor grates in the hold of the ship.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More info about riding this ship can be found in this thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95040 .

    Continued . . .
    #2
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Once you land in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, you will ride a route from your landing (Muskegon or Ludington) to a point that gets you back to a single trail. Both routes are good to ride.

    From Muskegon.
    [​IMG]

    From Ludington.
    [​IMG]

    As a side note, if you are curious about some of what you might see along the way when hooking up with these ferries, check out some sections of this thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164626 . If you have time to spend while waiting for the ferry in Manitowoc, try to visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum - well worth the visit. http://www.wisconsinmaritime.org/

    Continued . . .
    #3
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    With the exception of the Tunnel of Trees, the riding in the lower peninsula is best suited for a medium sized dual sport bike. There is a lot of sand, two-track, and a little bit of trail. I can't tell you if some sections are "difficult" or not because that is subjective - it depends on your skill and your bike. I can offer a thread with some other's experiences that you can read and judge for yourself. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=364415

    In my opinion the LP segment is the probably the best ride of this whole loop.

    A good portion of the lower peninsula route is taken from the tracks that the Great Lakes Dual Sporters published at no charge for all to use. You do not have to be a member to benefit from these tracks (although membership to this fine organization is only $10 so why wouldn't someone join just to endorse such great initiatives). http://www.gldsmc.org/ Many thanks to GLDS and 2TrakR on this forum for their contribution to this route!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This segment takes on a neat section of pavement called the "Tunnel of Trees". http://www.nwm.org/m119.asp

    It also crosses the Mackinac Bridge. http://www.mackinacbridge.org/
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continued . . .
    #4
  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    The Upper Peninsula ride is probably the second best segment on this loop. It is a little easier to ride than the lower peninsula section and could be ridden on a larger dual sport. There is some troublesome sand in a spot or two but that could be avoided if you planned a go-around. Much of this route is based on part of the CannonTrek route in the UP with some adjoining RR ORV trails and some forest and rural roads.

    [​IMG]

    The Highwater Truck Trail on this segment can be sandy and troublesome.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While near Ashland, you may want to visit the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. http://www.northerngreatlakescenter.org/

    To get a feel for the riding in the eastern UP, take a look at Days 2 and 3 from this ride report: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=352617 .



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continued . . .
    #5
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    The west section of this loop connects to the Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail that rokklym laid out. http://www.lonewolfexpeditions.com/twat.html

    This segment is about 550 miles and could be ridden on a larger adventure bike. There are some soft sand roads along the route. The route includes scenic rural and forest roads, a segment of ATV trail, and some scenic roads in the driftless area and along the Mississippi River. Much of the route is gravel based.

    Here is a thread that gives more information and pictures about riding this segment. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=343821

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continued . . .
    #6
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Once we get things back to normal in the GPS forums, I will post this information and my portion of the track for you to download. I will also be happy to answer any questions that come up as you plan a trip.

    For now, I will only post my portion of the track for download on ADV. Rokklym wants people to get the TWT route from him via e-mail versus posting it here for download.

    When I prepared the GPS track files for both the TWT and the rest of the Wisconsin-Michigan Dual Sport Adventure (WMDSA), I added camping and gas spots as waypoints. I also added the Rustic Roads as waypoints to assist you in scoring a patch from the WI DOT. I also added historical markers along the route. If you want to read the markers ahead of time, click on the waypoint and go to "Waypoint Properties". In waypoint properties are specific road directions to the marker and a URL that will take you to a picture of the marker so you can read it ahead of time.

    When I put together the TWT GPS tracks, I made 10 tracks of less than 250 points each. I am going to revise that file so that it gets down to five tracks of no more than 500 points each. The rest of the track segments for the WMDSA are close to (but less than) 500 points each. The change to the TWT file will gives us more "room" by getting us down to about 14 track segments and 190 waypoints. Most modern GPS units that accept tracklines as tracks will easily accommodate this.

    As usual, the tracklines are intended to be used at a scale of .2-.3 miles. Due to the length and off-highway nature of this route, tracks have been drawn somewhat loosely. A reasonably skilled GPS user will have no problem navigating solely by the trackline.

    The links provided will give you a great deal of information about the varying segments of this route. They will be a good photo-recon.

    More details to follow over time.
    #7
  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Since some of the Michigan segments of this trail use ORV trails, you will need to purchase a Michigan ORV permit for $16.25 to ride the Michigan segments of the WMDSA.

    These can be purchased on-line (to get a durable decal) or a places where they sell hunting licenses (to get a printed decal).
    http://www.mdnr-elicense.com/welcome.asp

    The cost in the past was $16.25, but I'm not sure what it will be when the new year starts in March.
    #8
  9. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    #9
  10. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Ride a significant portion of the WMDSA and you'll qualify for a ride sticker.


    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Shaft

    Shaft counting my blessings

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    15,513
    Location:
    Crook county
    Thanks for the info Cannonshot. I will be heading up to Thunderbay next June and intend to do some of those trails.

    :clap
    #11
  12. rcniss

    rcniss Not that way!!

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Jackson,Wisconsin USA
    Love it when someone does all the work and I get to have all the fun :lol3

    First ride on the list for next summer!! :clap

    Thanks for taking the time to put this one together!!
    #12
  13. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    21,784
    Location:
    GB-Wisconsin
    Bryan you are simply unstoppable! :thumb
    #13
  14. Monty_Burns

    Monty_Burns Excellent.

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,295
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Thanks for making living in the Midwest such an enjoyable riding experience! You're a scholar and a gentleman.
    #14
  15. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    120,302
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    Is this route suitable for a solo rider? It sounds like just the thing I've been wanting to do.
    #15
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    #16
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    You are quite welcome. You could easily knock off the southern WI section over a weekend and score yourself a Rustic Roads patch.
    #17
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Glad to contribute to the cause. Hope you enjoy this ride. The Michigan stuff is a blast! I never get tired of it. Feel free to contact me for additional info if questions arise as you get closer to making the ride.
    #18
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Giving back in my retirement . . . doing things for the next guy. :D
    #19
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    37,188
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Thanks Monty.

    It looks like you were having an "enjoyable riding experience" last summer when you were riding some of the UP segment! :thumb
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #20