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Lake Superior Road Trip

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 1788 miles / 2877.5 km
  • Ride Time: 1 week (5-7 days)
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $135.89
  • State: Michigan
Submitted by:
bobcushman

Lake Superior Road Trip I have recently returned from a trip around Lake Superior on my Goldwing. Jim Dingus, my GWRRA chapter leader, has asked me to write about it. I purchased my Goldwing about 16 months ago and have been itching to take it on a serious trip. My wife has made it clear that she didn't want to partake of any serious long distance rides so I had to make it solo. I had been granted a week's vacation starting July 28 th so that was my 'D' day. ( D is for discover.) I had a week to utilize and I wanted to 'smell the flowers' along the way. This coupled with my desire to obtain some free lodging through the use of hotel points lead me to chose the following locations as my evening destinations : Sault Ste. Marie; Wawa, Ontario; Thunder Bay, Ontario, Duluth, MN; Munising, Mi.; and Mackinaw City, and Holland, MI. (Note: My sister lives in Holland so I could count on free lodging there.) I began my trip on Saturday July 28 th in a beautiful blue sky day. I elected to get up north quickly by taking US-23 and I-75. I stopped for a couple of pictures of the Mighty Mack before crossing the great bridge. It was coincidental that the bridge was being shut down twice this day for a parade and fireworks for it's 50 th birthday. This left me feeling old as I can remember being about 6 or 7 years old and crossing the straights with my parents on a ferry while the bridge was being built. I began to utilize the inner metal grating of the bridge but quickly decided that the ensuing 'direction-hunting' of the bike on the grating was not 'fun' so I moved back to the paved surface. The view was exhilarating but I could understand how someone with a fear of heights might be a little freaked. Being 200 feet in the air is normal for me as a pilot at least twice every flight, so I was at home with it. I took some side roads from the bridge to the Soo for fun and had a nice white fish dinner downtown across from the Soo Locks.On Sunday I crossed into Canada and only had to wait 15 minutes for my turn to clear immigration and was 'on my way'. After what seemed like 20 stop lights I was out of town and happily heading west( and north) route 17 toward Wawa. Another beautiful blue sky day beckoned me west ward and before long I was enjoying the beautiful Lake Superior scenery. The towns and other outcroppings of civilizations quickly became sparse and I began to notice yellow warning signs that warned of Moose danger at night. Later, in Thunder Bay I parked beside a couple of guys that just crashed ( that very same day) into a moose at 4 AM in the dark. Fortunately for the passenger, the only portion of the moose that was in the path of the van was the head. The impact shattered the right side of the windshield. The head remained attached to the body and the wrapping around of the body caused the right side of the van to be caved inward. It was obvious that if the entire body of the moose would have been in line with the windshield that one or both occupants of the front seat would have been crushed by the massive animal. Notice that nothing below the windshield was touched. Gives you an idea how tall the moose was! Wawa Ontario seems to be a popular vacation destination and I enjoyed a great dinner at the Kinnewabi Pines restaurant. The restaurant has been operated by a family from the Island of Trinidad in the Caribbean and they have a great gourmet chef. Before dinner I took a side trip and short hike at one of the waterfalls nearby. On Monday I began the trek toward Thunder Bay with yet another blue sky day. The scenery from the highway between Sault Ste. Marie and Wawa and from Wawa to Thunder Bay is totally beautiful and unlike what we Michiganders have been used to. It involves hills and mountains and highways cut through rock and a fair amount of vertical climbs and descents toward the special shades of blue that define Lake Superior. The unfortunate part for me was that I had not developed a good way to take pictures and drive the Goldwing at the same time.I did stop at Terrace Bay for a break and a picture of a beautiful water falls. After I arrived in Thunder Bay and checked into the Econolodge, I elected to take a side trip to the Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. These falls are referred to as the Niagara of the north, Kakabeka Falls are worth a visit in their own right. Water gushes over a 40-metre (131-foot) steep wall of a canyon creating a thundering display. You need to experience the unique topography of the Lake Superior Canadian coast line to appreciate how very different it is from the US shoreline. it is much more vertical and rocky and uniquely scenic. On Tuesday ( yes another blue sky day!) I traveled from Thunder Bay to Duluth at the western most part of Lake Superior. There was a significant change of topography from the shore line east of Thunder Bay to the shore line between Thunder Bay and Duluth. There was still rock and some vertical height , but not to the same magnitude. About an hour out of Thunder Bay it was time to clear US immigration at the Ontario-Minnesota border at the Pigeon River. The wait to talk to immigration was about 25 minutes. I stopped at Grand Marais and had a light lunch. The daytime highs had been into the upper 80's and once the lower 90's but when you drive near Lake Superior the temperature drops quickly into the upper 60's and lower 70's so this kept me relatively comfortable on the North side of Lake Superior. This day was a short mileage day so I had time after checking in, to take a much needed walk along the beautiful Duluth shore line. The Duluth city planners have done an excellent job of making the city shoreline available and desirable to people by adding wooden walking trails and paved bike paths and beaches and memorials, and shopping, etc. I stayed at the Hampton Inn which is located on a peninsula that is populated by lots of hotels and restaurants. I ate at a great restaurant named Grandmas.Another great day!On Wednesday, I departed Duluth and headed east to Munising, Mi. The route consisted of the legendary US route 2 and Michigan's route 28. US route 2 is an excellent road and did not have any significant traffic , at least not on the portion that I used.( As a side note I spent most of the trip on two lane roads that were well paved and was able to maintain about 60 MPH. The only expressway that I took for any length of time was in Michigan's lower peninsula. ) I took a box of protein bars that I used as mini meals and this day I stopped at a beautiful local lake side park in Wakefield Michigan to take a break and rest for awhile. the rest of the ride to Munising was uneventful albeit 'warm. That evening I dined at a restaurant that offered a view of Lake superior. Another day in paradise!On Thursday I departed for Mackinaw City with side trips to Tahquamenon Falls: and White Fish point ( light house and shore). Then I had one more chance to cross the Might Mack ! I wanted to take a couple of pictures so I had my camera dangling from my right risk by it's strap. The winds were westerly at 20 gusting to 30 knots, maybe a little more so I was leaning to the right, cruise control set with my flashers blinking as I was in the outside truck lane behind a semi, trying to take pictures. Luckily I got a few: I had a pleasant night in Mackinaw City and departed Friday morning for Holland. I took a side trip to view the legendary M-119 to see the 'Tunnel of the Trees'. This unique road stretches north from Harbor Springs along the Lake Michigan shoreline to Cross Village. I took my time and thoroughly enjoyed myself. After reaching Petoskey I put myself in a get there mode and beat feet for Holland for the Practical end of my trip and a welcome dip in the pool. It was a great trip that consumed 8 sunny days with 5 minutes of light rain and 2000 miles and no mechanical issues. What more can a mere mortal ask for ? Date From To Dist. Time * Lodging Phone No. 7/28 Sat Northville Sault Ste. Marie 338 5:04 Holiday Inn Exp. 906-632-3999 7/29 Sun Sault Ste. Marie Wawa, Ont. 147 3:08 Kinniwabi Pines Motel 705-856-7302 7/30 Mon Wawa, Ont. Thunder Bay, Ont. 301 6:16 Econolodge (807) 344-6688 7/31 Tue Thunder Bay, Ont. Duluth, MN 190 4:05 Duluth, MN - Hampton Inn 218-720-3000 8/1 Wed Duluth, MN Munising, Mi 295 5:48 Best Western - Munising 906-387-4864 8/2 Thur Munising, Mi Mackinaw City 124 2:12 Mackinaw City - Hampton Inn 231-436-7829 8/3 Fri Mackinaw City Holland, Mi 270 4:17 Peggy and Dave's house 8/4 Sat Holland, Mi Northville 157 2:29 Totals 1822 * = Time according to mapquest (fastest way)

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Michigan. This motorcycle route has 9 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by bobcushman in October. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by bobcushman

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Lake Superior Road Trip
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Lake Superior Road Trip
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Lake Superior Road Trip
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Lake Superior Road Trip
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Lake Superior Road Trip

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesBeachesUrban/ResidentialFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Summer

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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