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You got info on the Lake Michigan Car ferry S.S. Badger

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by Boingo, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. Boingo

    Boingo Comfortably road numb

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Oddometer:
    193
    Location:
    Pleasant Hill, CA
    Me want, heap bad.

    Doing a San Francisco to Port Austin, Michigan trip in a couple of weeks and am thinking about taking Badger boat across Lake Michigan.

    Questions:

    Have you done it, and what did you think?
    Redeye Manitowoc to Ludington (12:30 am – 5:30 am), good or bad? Get room, or plenty of space to sleep on deck? Any chance to wash nasty little body after 3 nights of camping on the cheap without a room?
    Tie downs: Need two, we talking about rope or some more?

    Mucho thanks!
    #1
  2. Dingo Joe

    Dingo Joe Frick You...

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    ss
    #2
  3. Boingo

    Boingo Comfortably road numb

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    Thanks DJ!

    Already checked out the web site, was hoping someone had some first hand experience they were willing to share.
    #3
  4. mogwai

    mogwai humorless prick

    Joined:
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    4,400
    Second hand info here--a MI guzzisti friend regularly uses that ferry to attend WI Guzzi rallies. I "think" they slept on the deck... :dunno
    #4
  5. reverand

    reverand I love Dogs

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Manitowoc, Wisconsin
    I'm origanally from Manitowoc and I have had many opertunities to take the Badger but I won't because of this reason. I have no problem supplying tie-downs for my bike but they don't let you tie it down yourself. That in itself is not a problem but it is clearly stated that they are not responsilble for damage due to improper tie-down. Now I'm sure that hundreds of bike make the trip unscaved every season but I won't take the chance. Other than that I don't know about the conditions on board. Milwuakee has a new highspeed ferry that just started runing in June, its called the Lake Express.

    Marc
    #5
  6. Boingo

    Boingo Comfortably road numb

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    Thanks mogwai and reverend, just what I was looking for.

    I checked into the Lake Express, and it looks like a solid option. It is faster, crosses more, and is just about the same price (+$5). If they provide the motorcycle tie downs, it is a done deal (email response pending).
    #6
  7. rayder

    rayder Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
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    midwest michigan
    for my very first post ever I'll weigh anchor (sorry) from the ludington side, The badger carries many bikes. last year they carried thousands of harleys headded to the hundred year reunion. They can be a little arrogant and expensive, expect to pay another hundred for a room with a shower and bed, but they don't drop things. There won't be any traffic issues into or out of manitowac or ludington, the badger is old and slow and huge (read smooth, unless there's a forty mile wind blowing). on the other hand the lake express is new and shiny and fast, but because of wake laws there is a half hour putting through muskegon lake they don't mention. Research some articles on it's maiden voyage and see how carefully the reporters skirted the words "seasick" and "vomit rocket". bottom line if you got a schedule go through milwaukee/muskegon, if not, turn left at ludington to manistee, then M-22 up the coast, you'll think you're still in CA.
    #7
  8. Boingo

    Boingo Comfortably road numb

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    AVAST rayder, that was painful, back to lurk land for you! Just kidding, we will forgive you since the boat hasn’t left harbor yet :ksteve

    You label the Express a vomit rocket like this is a bad thing. For some of us, this is high entertainment :wink:

    Thanks everyone for the info! If the trip is not too dull, I may do a write up and will be sure to post something about the ferry (but not the fairies, they stay back home).
    #8
  9. rallybug

    rallybug Local Yokel

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    Ah, just like the Super SeaCat and SeaCat that they use between England and the Isle of Man over the Irish Sea - otherwise known as the Vomit Comet and the SickCat :D
    #9
  10. Quetzal

    Quetzal Guatemalan Import

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Guatemala City
    You might want to consider the new Lake Express (www.lake-express.com) going out from Milwaukee. I just used it and was a great experience, everything is new, they provide the tie downs, super comfortable accomodations and hyper fast (2+hours).
    Due to limited space, I recomend making reservations in advance, at least the day before. It's only $5 more than the Badger (+$15 in business class).

    Attached Files:

    #10
  11. Spikehead

    Spikehead Two-Bit Throttle Bum

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    #11
  12. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer Supporter

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    I did it a few years ago and it was very nice. It was about mid point in a 3 week mc trip and a nice interlude. I forget the exact type of tie downs, but they were more than rope and whatever it was worked well on an "about average" (I asked) voyage. Its a big boat so you don't bounce around so much. Fwiw, I also enjoyed riding around the upper peninsula for a day. For some reason it "felt" very much like the south.

    Have fun!
    #12
  13. Boingo

    Boingo Comfortably road numb

    Joined:
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    Just back from the trip, and missed the last four responses…but thanks all the same gentlemen.

    I ended up taking the SS Badger out of Manitowoc. Arrived after riding 650ish miles (Started at Al's Oasis, stopped to see the SPAM Museum, ended up at the Damn Badger). I found the ferry and got a 12:30 am ticket ($60.80 total). Asked the very nice cashier about the tie downs, she said you have to have them, but if you don’t, we can sell you a couple for $12. Okay, let’s have a pair. She goes through a couple of boxes, all out. Don’t worry about it, just go on board, they have a couple you can use. Works for me.

    I had a couple of hours to burn, so I grabbed something to eat at the Golden Flame Family Restaurant (Custer and S 26th St). Told them I was waiting for the ferry, and they gave me a coffee pot to suck on and not a half bad steak. Quickly the vibration buzz was replaced with one of caffeine, and it was time to board.

    Back to the boat, rode it up, and was directed in by a young crew dude. Parked with inches to spare next to number two bike (I was number three). Asked for a couple of tie downs, he started on the mantra “you must have your”, I cut him short with the supply problem, he shrugged and handed me a couple from the rack…no problem. I was ratcheting down the bike when an old crew dude walked by and asked if I needed a couple of extra tie downs. Sure man, thanks. Yeah, they used just supply them, don’t know why they stopped. Will this leave you guys short, what if some more bikes come up? Ah, we can up come up with a couple of extras. Secured the bike nice and tight, and went topside. Found the bar, grabbed a beer, and looked for a place to crash. The quiet room was quiet, but like a sauna, port and starboard rail side was cold and windy, but the aft seating area was just right. Had the ‘stich on, so I just found a corner and crashed out on the deck. I would say I slept like a baby, but I didn’t wake up every two hours and cry. Next thing I knew, the loudspeaker was screaming something about “battle stations” and “approaching Ludington”.

    All in all a nice trip. Don’t think the cabins are worth the cash. They run about $34, and you only get to use them for 5 hours.

    wpbarlo: Da UP, eh! I hit that on the way back, fantastic!
    #13