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post #1 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 7:53 am Thread Starter
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Question Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

All, I'm planning a ride around the Great Lakes sometime this summer...always wanted to make the big loop. Here's the link to the map: Google Maps.

The questions is, has anyone made a segment or the whole loop? Any watch outs like off-road, non-paved kind of things, sticky wickets..that sort?

Suggestions for places to see, stop, and most importantly eat at?

Thanks in advance,
Alan
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post #2 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 8:25 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Here is a link to a waterfall trail around Lake Superior. With the snow-melt in May these are fairly impressive waterfalls.

http://www.superiortrails.com/lakesuperior1.html

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post #3 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 8:57 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

I did the Lake Superior Circle Tour last summer and really enjoyed it. One thing I would suggest for you which caught me by surprise was how cold it can be near the lakefront. We went in July and most days it was in the mid to upper 50's. Cetainly not freezing, but I was not prepared for it

Be prepared for some striking scenery. You are going to love it

One last suggestion. Up in that area of Canada, gas stations are often not paved, just gravel and potholes. Bring something to support your sidestand and it will reduce your stress level


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post #4 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 3:02 pm
 
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

If you're going through WI as well, I'd cut hte loop slightly short and take the ferry accross ot Milwalkee to avoid Chicago.

You can take the Blue Water Bridge from Canada to Port Huron north of Detroit as well to avoid Detroit traffic.

Lake Michigan is generally more scenic than Lake Huron, but there can be lake effect preciptiation and wind. Western Michigan I think is only second to the Pacific Northwest for rain. I never realized how many cloudy days we had in Michigan until I moved to Iowa.

I almost did a tour around Lake Michigan this summer year but didn't have enough days to really enjoy ourselves and I needed a day to visit my parents in the Detroit area. We're camping 3 nights in Northern MI instead.
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post #5 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 3:43 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Here are a few sugestions.

The Tollway from the north side of Chicago to the IL/WI state line is under construction and down to two lanes in both directions. It can be a traffic nightmare at rush hour(s). If you don't have an I-Pass, buy one. Not having to stop to pay tolls will save at least an hour between Chicago and the WI state line.

Two alternate routes in WI to consider are:

I-43 north through Green Bay to HWY 41, then north to MI HWY 2, and HWY 2 west to Superior/Duluth. If yo have time, you could ride to Door County (the thumb if you look at WI like it's the back of your right hand). Door County is like going to Cape Cod.

Or go to Priaire Du Chien in SW WI and take the Great River Road (WI side - HWY 35) north to Duluth. This is an awesome ride.

When you are on Lake Superior's west shore, be sure to stop in Grand Marais MN for the night, if possible. It's a beautiful village on a stunning part of the Lake Superior shore.

Whichever route you choose, you'll want to return again. It's all beautiful. Except Gary. You mgiht want to go up the east side of Lake Michigan to Muskegon and catch the Lake Express ferry to Milwaukee. It will save you the hassle of riding through northern Indiana and the Chicago metro area.

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post #6 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 3:46 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

I forgot the most important thing. Go to Green Bay and stop at Lambeau Field. Go through the Packer hall of fame. Spend the night at St. Brendan's Irish Inn.

Whether you are a Packer fan or not, Lambeau Field is an incredible place, rich in football history.

Last time I was there, the tourists included a bus full of guys from Japan who flew into Chicago and chartered a bus to Green Bay, just to see Lambeau.

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post #7 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 4:10 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

+1 on the side stand in Ontario at the gas stations, especially between Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie.

A must do if you are staying over in Sault Ste Marie Ontario is to do the Agawa Canyon Train Tour. It is 8-5 with lunch at Agawa Canyon. You also have the option of eating breakfast on the train before the train leaves the Depot.

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post #8 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 6:27 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

If you stop in Thunder Bay you should PM me for Finn pancakes at the Hoito, you won't be disappointed. The Willows B & B in Rossport, 2.5 hours east of Thunder Bay and Serendipity restaurant in Rossport are a must. Incredible food in a small lakeside village.

Another great restaurant, Kinnewabi Pines, just a couple miles east of Wawa, north shore of Lake Superior.

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post #9 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 7:31 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Watch out for turkeys! I came across two different flocks of turkeys hanging out in the middle of the road. Once in Michigan and once in Wisconsin. Scared the flock out of me.

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post #10 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 8:18 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

You will probably save about 300km if you take #17 from North Bay to #15 then #29 to New York instead of going down to Toronto. The trip from North Bay to Toronto to Kingston is almost all super slab. #17 is a nicer ride.

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post #11 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 8:22 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Briantime
One last suggestion. Up in that area of Canada, gas stations are often not paved, just gravel and potholes. Bring something to support your sidestand and it will reduce your stress level
We are not that far in the boonies. there usually is concrete pad around the 45 gal drum they put the gas in for you to sifinn out.

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post #12 of 23 Old Apr 30th, 2008, 11:12 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

I did the Lake Erie Loop a few years ago...twas fun, but it seems like youre just hitting the S shore of LE. If youre a rock and roll fan, hit the RnR Hall of Fame in Cleveland - lots of neat stuff there. A good place to eat on the West side of Cleveland on the loop is Dons Lighthouse Inn...its directly on your route, no fuss, no muss and excellent seafood.

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post #13 of 23 Old May 1st, 2008, 8:16 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoSirfir
All, I'm planning a ride around the Great Lakes sometime this summer...always wanted to make the big loop. Here's the link to the map: Google Maps.

The questions is, has anyone made a segment or the whole loop? Any watch outs like off-road, non-paved kind of things, sticky wickets..that sort?

Suggestions for places to see, stop, and most importantly eat at?

Thanks in advance,
Alan
I've done the entire trip and really enjoyed the part through Canada above Lake Superior. During mid June, it got very cold at the top of Lake Superior - in the 30's near Marathon Bay. Watch out for brown bears crossing the road, if you ride after it gets dark. I didn't see a moose although signs are posted along the road.

FWIW-the Iron Butt Assn. lists this as a certificate earning ride if you do it in 100 hours. I don't think that is difficult to do if you are so inclined. We weren't aware of that at the time. Never-the-less, it took us 105 hours Chicago to Chicago which included sitting out a storm that passed through Wisconsin.

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post #14 of 23 Old May 1st, 2008, 11:12 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

A bit of advice--end each day's ride at dusk.

Canada, especially the north side of Lake Superior, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnestoa have a high polulation of deer and other big mammals (moose in Canada) that wander across roadways, especially between sunset and sunrise.

It's a safe practice to park you bike at dusk in order to avoid hitting them.

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post #15 of 23 Old May 1st, 2008, 7:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

All I can say is "WOW" ... this board continues to amaze me...I figured I'd get a few suggestions here and there. But now i've got 13 posts (so far) of excursions, alternate routes, wildlife warnings and proper ways to get Canadian gas! Looks like we'll be hitting the loop around July 2nd through the 6th so hoping that the northern end will be cool but not cold. I'm defnitely looking for avoiding the large citys and snarls, but do have a slight time table to keep...need to be in Kingston ON by the night of the 5th (so that's 5 full days dawn till dusk) so should be fine.

Thanks again, folks...and certainly keep the ideas coming...i've got a few weeks more to plan (but not too much .. there should be some adventure).

I really like the R&R Hall of Fame idea, did want to see that at least once.
:-)
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post #16 of 23 Old May 1st, 2008, 8:23 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Now that I've read through everyone's suggestions a little more thoroughly...revised route: Google Map #2

Took the Green Bay and Trans Can Highway ideas...only added 100 miles or so total. I'm sure Chicago / Gary area will be a nightmare, but hoping to hit that second day either very early or mid-day...depending. In the spirit of the ride, taking the ferry across the tip kinda defeats the purpose...but somewhere between Gary and getting free of Chicago...I'll probably think better of it . Now the tough part will be to estimate daily progress and where (roughly) nights (and more importantly) meals will be had. Keep the suggestions coming...and continued thanks...I can't wait!!!
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post #17 of 23 Old May 1st, 2008, 9:17 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

I've done most of your planned ride (several times) when I lived in Michigan.

I like your second route map much better than the first but Chicago/Gary sucks anytime of the day or night.

On the other hand the west coast of Michigan is as beautiful as the east coast of Wisconsin and the ferry is a pretty cool experience as well as an opportunity to get some rest (some run at night with sleeping rooms)

I understand you can't do it all but... if it were me,
I'd ride the west coast of Michigan from Muskegon to the Mackinac and across the UP,
Copper Harbour is also worth a "side trip.


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post #18 of 23 Old May 2nd, 2008, 5:55 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Great route!

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post #19 of 23 Old May 2nd, 2008, 7:04 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Alan,

Thunder Bay to Toronto is about 17-18 hour drive in a car, Kingston is another 3 hours, plan accordingly. Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie 7-7.5 hours. I think the Canadian gas thing is exaggerated, I can only think of a couple of "ma and pop"
places with gravel.

The north shore of L Superior can get cool but most of the drive is away from the Lake so you'll be comfortable most of the time. It can also get pretty hot that time of year.

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post #20 of 23 Old May 2nd, 2008, 7:45 am
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoSirfir
Now that I've read through everyone's suggestions a little more thoroughly...revised route: Google Map #2

Took the Green Bay and Trans Can Highway ideas...only added 100 miles or so total. I'm sure Chicago / Gary area will be a nightmare, but hoping to hit that second day either very early or mid-day...depending. In the spirit of the ride, taking the ferry across the tip kinda defeats the purpose...but somewhere between Gary and getting free of Chicago...I'll probably think better of it . Now the tough part will be to estimate daily progress and where (roughly) nights (and more importantly) meals will be had. Keep the suggestions coming...and continued thanks...I can't wait!!!
FWIW...Looking at your Route #2, I'd be inclined (and did when I did the Great Lakes ride) to go south from Sudbury on CDN 69/400 toward Orillia then east to Kingston. I rode east through Canada to New Brunswick last year from Sault Ste. Marie. I don't recall anything particularly memorable while riding on CDN 17 east of Sudbury.

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post #21 of 23 Old May 2nd, 2008, 3:23 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhsonderb
FWIW...Looking at your Route #2, I'd be inclined (and did when I did the Great Lakes ride) to go south from Sudbury on CDN 69/400 toward Orillia then east to Kingston. I rode east through Canada to New Brunswick last year from Sault Ste. Marie. I don't recall anything particularly memorable while riding on CDN 17 east of Sudbury.
The trip from North Bay to Kingston Via Toronto is 598 Km 7.75 hrs
The trip from North Bay to Kingston Via hyway 17 is 459 Km 6 hrs.

The first is allmost all super slab (thru Toronto)
Scenery is nicer on the hyway #17 than super slab 400 & 401 hyways.

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post #22 of 23 Old May 2nd, 2008, 4:12 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

+1 on skipping Chicagoland. From South Bend go north, up the Lake Michigan shoreline. Catch the boat there. 2 boats, one fast ~2 hours to WI, the other slow and also overnight ~ 6 hours. They both make provisions for bikes, but take your own tie-downs.
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post #23 of 23 Old May 2nd, 2008, 7:06 pm
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Re: Great Lakes Loop..any suggestions?

I rode hwy 17 and it was a pretty decent hwy with no problems at all. I am not much of a city guy myself, But Toronto is a great city with plenty to do if you have the time. I was amazed how huge it is. Rush is from Toronto how bad can it be? The thousand island area is fantastic

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