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jdeereanton
Silver Wing Guru
Silver Wing Guru
jdeereanton

Number of posts : 1997
Age : 73
Location : Huntsville, AL
Points : 6403
Registration date : 2008-12-24

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PostSubject: Lake Superior Circle Tour   Lake Superior Circle Tour I_icon_minitimeSat Dec 27, 2008 6:53 am

Disclaimer: My wife and I rode Honda Reflex(es/i) on this particular trip. It was somewhere along the southern shore of Lake Superior that we decided to move up to the SilverWings. So there is a SilverWing connection.

In July of 2005 we loaded our Scooters (2003 Honda Reflex x 2) onto a trailer and headed north from Huntsville, AL to North Branch, MN for a visit with our parents and families before heading out on our first long distance tour on the Scoots.

A little bit about how we travel on the scoots - We stay overnight in hotels, no camping as my Uncle Sam cured me of that bad habit. Seven months living out of a tent/armored vehicle in the Middle East and I have no more desire to sleep out in the elements. We pack the under seat storage full, added a tail bag, and a “tank bag” for additional storage. We typically travel for 3 to 4 days then do laundry and start over. We carry no tools or spare parts – and so far this has worked for us, it’s a Honda.

July 5th we head north toward Duluth, MN on MN-61, hit a slight sprinkle within 10 miles and that was the end of the rain for this 1,700 mile trip. We had come to MN from AL in July so we did not anticipate the low 50 degree daylight temps that we were now riding in, and our light windbreakers over our riding jackets did not do much for us. In Pine City, MN we stopped got our sweatshirts on, put our jackets back on and headed toward Duluth. By the time we arrived in Duluth we were feeling like little scootersicles and found a boat shop that carried Helly Hansen gear. The shop owner took pity on us and sold us some nice HH rain schooner jackets for a substantial discount. Back out on the road to ride the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior stopping to view light houses and quaint towns and to warm up on the way to our first stop in Grand Marias, MN for the night. Grand Marias is a picturesque little town and we had a great dinner of fresh fish while looking out on Lake Superior.

Day 2 was bright and sunny and we hoped it would be much warmer. None the less we bundled up with as many clothes as we dared along with our new HH jackets and headed out toward Thunder Bay, Ontario with a destination of a bed and breakfast in Rossport, ON. At the international border we stopped to assess the temps and when we stopped the locals were out walking around in shorts and tank tops while we were bundled like arctic explorers, we stowed the HH Jackets and donned the fleece jackets we’d purchased in Grand Marais. This was a short day of only 180 miles with lots of stops to sight see and explore including a trip down about 5 miles of rutted gravel to an amethyst mine. We met quite a few Canadians on big cruisers and they were all interested in the Reflex and surprised we were doing the circle tour on a 250cc machine. But they were also encouraging and a little envious, we rode along in their pack for a few miles and I think they were impressed with the scoots. This part of the North shore is rugged near the lake and studded with pine trees and bogs away from the lake shore, very interesting. The roads were under construction between Thunder Bay and Nipigon so we rode on quite a bit of milled surface – not fun.

In Rossport we had time to relax and just sit looking out on the bay and marveling at the rocky beauty of the surroundings. Dinner that night was welcome and surprising. The restaurant was in a hotel that used to be a home and the rooms on the ground floor were the dining rooms. The food was tasty and the atmosphere was great.

Day 3 was an interesting day as the circle tour route and geography takes traffic away from the lake after crossing through Marathon, ON. Prior to this there are numerous little pull offs and national parks to explore. We encountered a young bear that was roaming down the road looking for handouts. We slowly rolled past at about 20 yards away from him and stopped to watch him beg from the cars that had stopped. We did not stop in the Hemlo Gold fields as the locals had advised us to not try the roads due to the truck traffic. We did stop in White River to view the Winnie the Pooh Museum. The museum was small and full of Winnie memorabilia, not our thing – very touristy, but interesting. Next stop Wawa – for the evening.

Day 4 is the last day in Canada and the eastern shore of Lake Superior is the beginning of a transformation from the rugged rocky shoreline to the sandy lakeshore of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The geography here was very interesting and the lake was incredibly calm. We rode back into Batchawana Bay and the water was crystal clear down to about 30 feet with the surface looking like sheet glass. This was a picture perfect location that was mostly wild and undeveloped. The rest of the ride to the international border crossing and on into Sault Ste. Marie was remarkable for the views of the lake as we crested hill after hill. The road would takes us away from the lake and then we’d come around a curve with the lake laid out in front of us with a commanding vista. This kind of scenery makes riding a challenge.

We spent two nights in Sault Ste. Marie and this was planned so we could do our laundry and ride to some local sites. Took a dinner cruise on Lake Superior and toured the locks on the US and Canadian sides. We can recommend the ride out to the Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Tahquamenon Falls. The lighthouse was fun and we chatted with the caretakers for much longer than we realized, they we so interesting. The falls were inside a MI state park and we were charged full entrance for both bikes so we used two parking spaces – full price means full usage.

Our next day back on the tour took us all the way to Baraga, MI through Grand Marais and with a detour in Munising to view the sandstone rock formations North East of town. These formations and cliffs were really quite beautiful geological oddities and provided spectacular views of the lake and the harbor at Munising.

Baraga, MI to Ashland, WI took us up through the U.P. of the U.P., the vistas here were back to the rugged rocky shoreline and the mesh bridge at Houghton / Hancock was a delight not to be missed in both directions! We enjoyed the tree canopied roads of this part of the ride and as we left the U.P. of the U.P. toward Ashland we would soon miss the tree cover even more. The ride from Ontonagon west was mostly through what I’d call prairie or grassland / farmland. I like farmland as I grew up on a farm and am still a farmer at heart, but the sun was up and it was blazing. Even the mesh jackets had to come off and we were soon down to t-shirts, but kept the helmets and gloves on.

Ashland to Bayfield to superior and back to North Branch was remarkable only in that I managed to get stung by a bee twice as we rode into Bayfield, WI. So when we stopped downtown in this tourist mecca I was tearing off jacket and shirts to get at the offending insect without regard to the people around us. I got the bug and the people in Bayfield got an eyeful of my less than perfect abs – round is a shape!

This ride took us over 1,700 miles and the scenery was amazing. We had a great time relaxing at night and during the day while riding along. We spent 8 days total out riding and enjoying the freedom that riding gives. If you ever have a chance – I’d encourage you to take the Lake Superior Circle Tour on your scoot.
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PostSubject: Re: Lake Superior Circle Tour   Lake Superior Circle Tour I_icon_minitimeMon Dec 29, 2008 8:11 pm

Wow that sounds wonderful. I live north of Cincinnati. I have thought about riding to WI around lake Michigan and them come down through Michigan. I'd like to just ride by the lake. I have a girlfriend who retired with her hubby right near the UP in Michigan so I know I would have one place to stay. I love to just wander without a schedule....
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jdeereanton
Silver Wing Guru
Silver Wing Guru
jdeereanton

Number of posts : 1997
Age : 73
Location : Huntsville, AL
Points : 6403
Registration date : 2008-12-24

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Superior Circle Tour   Lake Superior Circle Tour I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 30, 2008 5:37 am

Do it!

The circle tours are really fun. Each of the Great Lakes has a marked route that is easy to follow and there are plenty of things to see along the way.

http://www.great-lakes.net/tourism/circletour/

We set a fairly leisurely pace (for us) and really had a great time. We want to do the rest of the lakes, but will not get to any of them in 2009. These are easy rides to plan for as the primary route is fairly well laid out and all you have to do is set up the side rides. We started with the main website then went on-line and pinged all of the tourism sites along the route. Then we sat back and waited for the information avalanche to pour in, we were rewarded with ton's of info. Starting far enough out we were able to really get in all of the sight seeing we wanted to do and still got to ride some amazing roads.

The only thing we did not do was get the Lake Superior Circle Tour patch, but we can get that anytime so...

If you live close enough to ride these routes - do it!
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PostSubject: Re: Lake Superior Circle Tour   Lake Superior Circle Tour I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 01, 2009 4:19 pm

Wow that looks like a great site. I will have to spend some time looking at that. In the past I look up interesting places to visit, mapquest and off I go. I'm looking forward to longer rides when I get my new Silverwing. sunny
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PostSubject: Re: Lake Superior Circle Tour   Lake Superior Circle Tour I_icon_minitimeFri Jan 02, 2009 3:22 pm

That is a good site, it has lots of links to other sites which were helpful. I could spend hours just looking at places to visit. Boy riding is such freedom and a chance to enjoy the views. sunny
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