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  1. #1
    Junior Member iron lungs's Avatar
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    Lake superior circuit ride

    Hello folks. I'm planning a circuit ride around Lake Superior, this June 27th. I'm allotting 16 days for this ride, theoretically starting at Sault St Marie, Ontario, and counter clockwise to finish with wind at my back at Sault St Marie, Ontario. I am hoping 12_14 days ideally with exceptional weather. Realistically, I envision several rainy days, and strong headwinds, regardless of clockwise or counterclockwise. I've studied up on a few people's blogs, of the road conditions in Ontario on 17.
    I am going solo, but my wife and granddaughter, and maybe two dogs will SAG for me. I informed my wife that there may be rides where I may not get the allotted miles, and that I'll have to stealth camp somewhere along the way.
    My main concerns are the prevailing winds/weather, during this time of year, as well as is it easier to ride the circuit CLOCKWISE, or COUNTERCLOCKWISE, starting/ending at Sault Ste Marie, Ont.?
    Has anyone experienced the Circuit? Thanks for any info.
    Last edited by iron lungs; 04-17-15 at 08:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member auldgeunquers's Avatar
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    Hi there Iron Lungs - and you may need them on this ride.

    First off, though I live in Sault, ON, I am not a long distance rider (as yet) but I will share some thoughts on the rotation.

    If you do the circle counter clockwise, you will experience the most spectacular scenery and most challenging climbs first. The ride along the south shore of the Lake will be comparatively flat, and prevailing wind patterns give you a better than average chance at having the wind at your back accross the home stretch.

    Clockwise will turn that prevailing wind pattern into a good chance at headwinds the first few days of the ride, and will save the more challenging hills for the later part of the ride - including a good challenge of a hill just on the home stretch - but this hill can also be bypassed. You will also save the preponderance of spectacular scenery for later in the ride.

    Either direction I hope you enjoy the ride.
    More bicycles will make you more happy. Soon you will have a garage-full of bicycles and your spouse will wonder why you're so happy when the garage is such a mess. -Jeff Wills

  3. #3
    Junior Member iron lungs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auldgeunquers View Post
    Hi there Iron Lungs - and you may need them on this ride.

    First off, though I live in Sault, ON, I am not a long distance rider (as yet) but I will share some thoughts on the rotation.

    If you do the circle counter clockwise, you will experience the most spectacular scenery and most challenging climbs first. The ride along the south shore of the Lake will be comparatively flat, and prevailing wind patterns give you a better than average chance at having the wind at your back accross the home stretch.

    Clockwise will turn that prevailing wind pattern into a good chance at headwinds the first few days of the ride, and will save the more challenging hills for the later part of the ride - including a good challenge of a hill just on the home stretch - but this hill can also be bypassed. You will also save the preponderance of spectacular scenery for later in the ride.

    Either direction I hope you enjoy the ride.
    Hello Auldgeunquers, sorry it has taken so long to respond. I had a fantastic ride from the Soo to 20 miles north of Thunder Bay, going CCW. My wife went with me, insisting on "carrying the entire house" for camping! I stayed true to my original intent, to ride solo. I carried about 25 pounds on my rear, of the Scattante R570. That included noshing foods, camping gear and repair gear. My intent was to average 100 miles daily, or close to it. The wife killed that plan the first day, by posting a campsite at Pancake Bay, prematurely! I was only 55 miles in, of a 95 mile plus day. I could have gone on, but I was in hunting mode to find her at our "prescribed meeting place" at Pancake. I slept in the tent, along with our grand daughter and two dogs. Exceptional scenery!
    Next day, I got off about 7am to Wawa, by dark just over 100 miles. I checked out the Petroglyphs down from Pancake. Enjoyed a great breakfast at a very small campground restaurant prior to the glyphs. Set up a hammock outside town and went into town for food supplies. Nice sleep that night.
    Next day, from Wawa to Pebble Beach/Marathon at a tad over 114 miles. The ride into Marathon took me through White River and seeing the Winnie The Pooh statue. Rain was had later in the day, and stopped as I got into Marathon, only to pick up about 9:30. I couldn't find the wife that night, though we agreed to meet at Pebble or the campground in Marathon. I did not wish to hang my hammoch in the rain/under an open shelter in the campground, so I opted for the men's rest room. First time for me sleeping in such! The room was pristine, and no one bothered me the entire night. I got up, went to the 24 hour donut shop, tried calling wife. two guys helped me. They got her! She was in the airport motel!!!! I got a late start after she picked me up, leaving at 10AM for Rainbow Falls Provincial at 68 miles. This was a very beautiful ride! The vistas were breathtaking! I pulled into the campground and had a good camp dinner with wife and grand daughter. The night got down to 34 degrees!!
    I awoke to leave for Thunder bay at 7AM. I stopped at a restaurant west of Gravel River nature Preserve at 21 miles. The owner made for great conversation. I told him my destination that day was Thunder Bay, to which he kind of sneered and doubted I could make it. I told him not to underestimate me.
    up to, including this day, the mountains were very impressively long and I took them confidently in stride, going about 5 MPH up, and throttling down the 50mph to a manageable 30mph downhill. I actually enjoyed the climbs.
    I met a 76 year old man riding from Vancouver to Ottawa. I was about 40 miles in, and he doubted my chance to reach Thunder Bay that day. Again, I told him, also, not to underestimate me. I reached Nipigon and literally blew it open on speed! All flat-ish from there! I was going through scenarios, in my head, wondering if I would even make it to the Provincial park in Thunder Bay, (Kakabeka Falls) another 20 miles. What if I couldn't reach her? She was not paying attention to any of my directives, so I had "Plan B" If I couldn't get to the site next day was going into the USA, and I would have no pass port. I would have to wait for her at customs! (phone connection was not there, and texting was spotty!).
    I was 20 miles away from Thunder Bay, still light out, and I figured I could make it to the Prov Park by 11pm...after I saw the Terry Fox Statue! If I couldn't make it, I would hang my hammock by stealth camping, wake up very early and go into the park to find her, collect my passport, and ride into the USA. My wife got to me at 20 miles from Thunder. She was frantic! Her aunt had passed away! The ride stopped right there. 436 miles total. I went into an emotional drop simply the thought of ending the ride did a great number on me, even though I knew I had to stop. It was the right thing to do, but, being in a zone, and disrupted really does a bad thing to a person's psyche!
    I drove until I couldn't, pulled off and slept a while, and drove to Chippewa Falls for a night, and drove into home. All along the lakeside, I did not look off to the side to see the vistas. I wanted to wait to see them next year, from my bicycle vantage point.
    Lake Superior will be there next year. I will start over, and I will do things very differently, aside from the wife's agenda. I will sart over and ride to my prescribed stop overs. Like the past ride, I'll carry my gear, and stealth camp as needed. I hope to have incorporated my new bike and even lighter fare. The bike is a Cannondale Carbon Synapse Ultegra. I cannot have a luggage rack, but will try for frame bags. I will hope to go 20 pounds or less.
    I was awed by the views, the people, the riders I met, the food. I enjoyed it all! Next year, I will know what to expect and will enjoy it as much as this year.
    Sorry for the long winded-ness. But I wanted you to know. You were one of the very, very, very few who responded to my post. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member auldgeunquers's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the story of your trip - I was wondering if the ride had happened.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed what you completed - and sorry to hear that it had to end - and for yours and your wife's loss.

    As you said, the lake will be there next year. Might even be a coffee waiting for you in Sault Ste. Marie if I know you're coming.

    Peace be with you and yours.
    Last edited by auldgeunquers; 08-18-15 at 08:38 PM. Reason: reducing redundancy reduction
    More bicycles will make you more happy. Soon you will have a garage-full of bicycles and your spouse will wonder why you're so happy when the garage is such a mess. -Jeff Wills

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