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Lake Superior Circle Tour - CHECK

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  1. Duksilla

    Well, this is one of those trips that has been on my Bucket List for years. A buddy of mine mentioned that he and some others were going on this trip and asked if my wife and I would be interested in tagging along. Checked the schedule, it was basically clear, and we decided to do it. And what a trip it was!!

    For starters, I ride an '08 Raider, which I have owned for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and had only about 275 miles on before we left. My wife rides an '07 V-Star 1300 Tourer. We went on this trip with 13 other people, on twelve other bikes. There were 7 Harleys, 6 Yamahas, and one Victory. We had never rode with most of the other riders in the group, but pretty much knew everyone. This was our first long ride with any of the others.

    Our vacation started last Saturday going to see Kid Rock at Boyne Mountain. It was an awesome party and since we had a designated driver, we both tied on one, then another, then another too many and partied the night away. Our plan was to be kickstands up at 8:00 AM on Sunday morning, however I was only able to get up and call to let them know we would be a few hours behind them. Despite the temptation to lay back down, succumb to the fog, and call it quits, we got up out of bed and hit the road at about 11:00 AM. Not too bad considering we both had a Kid Rock Concert sized hangover.

    The first days ride starts from home in Mio, Mi and we are riding to WaWa, Ont. Canada, about 320 miles away. It goes pretty smoothly, but it is a pretty boring ride. The best parts of the day were crossing over the Mackinaw Bridge and crossing the border at Sault Ste Marie. The roads were pretty much straight, with not much in the way of scenery, but it was a good way to start the road trip. We met up with the rest of group at the Beaver Motel in WaWa. Very nice hosts and a decent place to stay. One of the local tavern owners was even nice enough to deliver a couple cases of beers to the motel for us, even though it is illegal to sell beer for takeout after 4:00 PM.

    Monday starts out at 8:30 AM and we start out towards Thunder Bay, Ontario, about 300 miles down the road. This is one of the sections of road that make people do this trip, it is an awesome ride with great scenery and many things to see and do. Along the way, we met a couple of other bikers who recommended this bridge walk thing up the road near Thunder Bay. We decided to check it out. It is a pretty cool area, basically it is a privately owned piece of land with the tail end of a giant gorge, maybe 800 feet down, located on it. Apparently, back in the day, the father had built of bridge across the gorge for his family to use. Someone thought it was cool, and they opened it up to the public. Later, they built a second bridge, over 600 feet across, which is the longest suspension bridge in Canada. For $18, you get a crazy old dude, who was drinkin' beers when we got there, to give you a death defying 4 wheeler ride up the side of a cliff, then walk across the first bridge, down a little ways, and back across the second bridge. Then you can walk down into the gorge and follow a path along the river back to the start. When we got back the owner had a case of cold ones waiting for us, which was extremely welcome considering it was about 85 and sunny out. Over all, I think it was worth stopping, although I had some serious questions about the safety of the whole set-up after I learned the old dude and his son are the ones that hand built the bridges. I mean seriously, wouldn't you think a for-profit venture, featuring a 600 ft. bridge across an 800 ft. deep chasm would need some serious engineering behind it. Oh well, ya gotta love Canada.

    We made it into Thunder Bay without too much incident, although two of the Harleys were exhibiting some problems and had to go the dealer for repairs. Basically, one of them had pretty much all of the spokes in the rear wheel go loose and start to cause a serious wobble in the bike at any sort of speed. The other one decided it no longer wished to have most of the electrical system work, including brake lights, taillights, gauges - pretty much everything except the ignition. They took them in at 8:00 AM and ended up basically taking all day.

    It gave the rest of us time during the day check out some local sites including a really cool waterfall. We get back to the dealership, and find out they need a couple more hours to fix the bikes, most of us decide to head out toward Duluth, MN before it gets too late. The road from Thunder Bay to Duluth is pretty boring, although we did stop at another waterfall along the way to take a break. We decided to stop a little shy of Duluth, cause it was getting towards dusk and we found a decent hotel. Back at Thunder Bay Harley, they finally got the bikes patched back up. They got about 40 miles away, when one of the other Harleys that had stayed behind blew out his front tire. That took another couple of hours to get towed in and have the tire changed. They ended up catching up to us at about 11:30 that night. We only ended up riding about 180 miles that day, but it seemed like it was the longest day of all.

    Day four starts with a beautifully scenic ride along Lake Superior, before we get into Duluth. All morning long we can see a storm coming in from the Northwest and the weather channel the night before showed some seriously strong storms heading our way. When we make it into Duluth, we stop at a gas station for a quick pit stop and to verify our directions. As we start to pull out, it begins sprinkling, I look back behind me and it literally looks like all hell is breaking loose back there, the rain is being driven horizontally and we can see the front of the storm blowing garbage cans over, leaves, dirt and other crap start blowing every which way and it goes from basically sunny to dark as night in no more than 45 seconds, it was very weird. It almost looked like a Tornado was rolling through. Two minutes earlier, and we would not have had one drop of rain, two minutes later, and we would have been sitting at the bar for several hours, or stayin' another night in Duluth. As it turned out we out ran the storm as we turned the corner of Lake Superior and started heading Northeast towards Wisconsin. The day could not have been more beautiful after we got out of Duluth. We had nothing but warm sun and the open road. Because it was so nice, I suggested that we take a detour to the Porcupine Mountains, once we got back into Michigan and visit The Lake of the Clouds within the state park there. I have been here several times before, but no one else in our group had, so it was a must see. The road that borders the State Park, S. Boundary Road, is perhaps one of the best riding roads I have ever ridden. It is 33 miles long and features twist after turn after curve the whole way. It is not as intense as Deals Gap, but after riding mostly straight highways for 4 days, this was a fantastic diversion. The view of Lake of the Clouds is fantastic and I highly recommend it to those who have never seen it. From there we shot 50 miles North to Houghton, MI and found a nice roadside motel for the evening. This was the last night that we would be spending with the group, as my wife and I needed to be back on Friday, while everyone else was staying until Saturday. We all partied until the wee hours of the morning, it was a good last night with the group. We stayed the Budget Host Motel and the owner was awesome. When she got home from the bar after 2:00 AM, she stayed up and partied with us for a while after that, she was cool.

    Thursday morning brings grey skies to the East and sunshine to the North. The rest of group is heading North into the Keweenaw Peninsula for the day to explore one of Michigans many hidden gems. Again, my wife and I have been here many times, but most of the group had never been, I gave them some ideas of where to ride and what to check out, and then my wife and I headed East towards home, right through a nasty thunderstorm. I was very jealous of the rest of the group. Luckily, we only caught the tail end of the storm and only rode in the rain for about ten minutes. It was pretty grey and overcast all day, which was ok, cause my nose and cheeks were pretty sunburned from being exposed all week. We made it into St. Ignace, just North of the Mackinaw Bridge and the Lower Peninsula. We got a nice hotel room with a hot tub and a view of the bridge. The skies cleared up and it was an incredibly awesome view of the Big Mac all lit up at night. The hot tub was exactly what I needed after being on the road for 5 days, it was well worth the $30 more it cost than a standard room.

    The last day, and we are only about 100 miles from home. We decide to go to Mackinaw City to see about getting a new tattoo. I decided I wanted a vacation tat, but the guy who owns the shop had better plans that morning and decided to not show up for work. After that, we hightail it home, get our dogs from my mom's and sit down to relax for the evening, glad to be home!! All in all, we put about 1550 miles on in 6 days of riding.

    To do it over again, I would like to take ten days and do this trip. This would allow you to see a lot of the scenic stuff along the way that we had to skip over. I would think if you planned 150 miles a day, instead of the 250-300 we averaged, it would be more fun.

    To cap off one the funnest weeks I have ever had, me and three of my buddies attended MayhemFest yesterday. MayhemFest is an all day Heavy Metal Music Festival featuring Slipknot, Disturbed, Metal Mullisha Freestyle motocross show and 12 other bands. Besides the fact that it rained and they canceled the FMX stuff, it was incredible. I have a whole new respect for Slipknot as they put on an unbelievable set that blew everyone away. It helped that we were sitting in the tenth row right up front, but I bet it was still awesome way up at the top of the hill.

    Today, I slept in till about 2:30 in the afternoon. My body refused to get out of bed before then, and I am SOOOO glad I didn't have to work today.

    Well, that's about it, let's see what's next on the Bucket List. Hmmm, I think the next one involves a couple of strippers and a whole bunch of tequila, I wonder if the wife will mind??

  2. Coundrj17

    Sounds Like an awsome trip! I may have to get a hold of you when I go up north, my place is in Luzerne (Right by the Sky Ranch)


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