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  1. #1
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    Safe N-S Upper Peninsula (MI) Routes

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm going to ride around Lake Michigan starting May 5 using some well-established tour routes. However, when I get near the north end of the lake I want to make a side trip to Houghton, MI. From there I plan to take a ferry to Isle Royale and do a few day's worth of backpacking.

    Does anyone know if the following roads are safe for touring?

    577: heading north from Menominee
    2: heading northwest between Norway and Iron Mountain
    95: heading north from Iron Mountain
    41/28: heading west from intersection with 95
    41: heading north after split with 28

    As always, any input is much appreciated!

    Sincerely,

    -D

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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input, but I already have these maps. They are very good, but do not make the connection up to the Keweenaw peninsula.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldener

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    oh. i am dumb.

  5. #5
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    Hey-- not at all! If I didn't happen to already have the AC maps, I'd be thrilled to get the tip.

    I just had a communication with a tourer familiar with the area, and he said that 141 is fine and has a shoulder. That gets me through the stretch for which there are the fewest options and is more direct than 95, so I think I'll be in good shape.

    -D

    Quote Originally Posted by goldener
    oh. i am dumb.

  6. #6
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed
    577: heading north from Menominee
    2: heading northwest between Norway and Iron Mountain
    95: heading north from Iron Mountain
    41/28: heading west from intersection with 95
    41: heading north after split with 28

    Beautiful country there. You have my ... jealosy!

    I've ridden that area several times, but not in the past 5 yrs or so. In general, early in the year (May) even the state hwys in the western UP are quite sedate traffic-wise. Later, of course, tourist traffic w/ motor homes often creates a challenge around weekends; in May you'll get some logging trucks, etc but I don't think much heavy traffic otherwise. Compared to lower Mich (I live in the Grand Rapids area) west-UP traffic is non-existant. Your final stretch (41 N from L"Anse) might be busy if your timing unfortunately coinsides with year-end at NMU - a pretty road, nonetheless.

    I've not ridden 557 N from Menominee - used 41 & 35 instead, with no problems. I think the E-W state hwys there tend to have wider shoulders, but it seems to me an 18" or so shoulder is rather standard. Dunno about the road surface conditions.

    Good west-UP hills there - long gradual climbs which are very do-able w/ touring gear. Plenty of small town stops for supplies. Folks up there don't see a lot of cycle tourists, so expect friendly curiosity. Except from the dogs.

    Perhaps someone on the Great Lakes forum could give recent specific info.

    Have a great trip!

    J.W.

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    if you ride as far as Houghton/Hancock, you have GOT TO RIDE all the way to Copper Harbor and take that boat to Isle Royale..... don't stop in Houghton, its pretty minorly beautiful until after you cross the ship canal and head into the Keewenaw.

    a good place to stealth camp in houghton/hancock is at the top of the ski hill in Hancock.

    The Keewenaw Peninsula is some of the most beautiful midwestern touring you can ride.

    MUST RIDE Brockway Mountain drive into Copper Harbor. Also, back 26 along the north shore of the keewenaw. stop at the little jam store run by some benedictine monks up in Eagle Harbor or Eagle River.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-19-07 at 01:41 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  8. #8
    Junior Member betanzos's Avatar
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    ride during the week and there should be less than 10 cars of traffic. However, your timing will coincide with summer tourists. They can be a mixed bag from pedal to the metal to 60 year olds in buicks. good luck from MQT.

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm back from the trip, and it was awesome!

    I did go all the way to Copper Harbor and very much enjoyed Brockway Mountain Drive. Unfortunately, the Jampot store was closed the day I went through. All the highways I rode in the U.P. were absolutely fine due to the wide shoulders (577, 41, 28). Traffic was light everywhere except around Houghton. The only problems I had were some nasty headwinds. I had a headwind the entire trip east before I went south to get over the Mackinaw Bridge (via a government truck).

    All told, my trip was 1500 miles: I rode from South Bend, IN to Muskegon and took a ferry to Milwaukee, WI. From there I followed Lake Michigan up to the U.P.-- found I was ahead of scheduled so slowed the pace and went to check out some waterfalls. I spent five days backpacking on Isle Royale (I shipped the backpack and heavy boots). I came back down the east side of Lake Michigan.

    I was very fortunate, and despite bad luck with wind had ZERO techinical problems-- no body or bike problems. Not even a flat tire, despite hundreds of miles on shoulders and some trails.

    I got home yesterday (the 27th) and started on May 4th. Today is my first rest day-- I rode or backpacked every day -- 500 miles over the past five days, and am seriously enjoying some time on the couch! What a great experience!

    -D

    Brief bike details: Surly Cross Check with Shimano 8-speed Nexus internal hub, front generator hub and light, 700x35 Panaracer Pasela TG tires. I used a rear rack with paniers and a trunk bag and a handlebar bag. I camped almost every night, but ate out for almost all meals.
    Last edited by Derailed; 05-28-07 at 09:54 PM.

  10. #10
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed

    I was very fortunate, and despite bad luck with wind had ZERO techinical problems-- no body or bike problems. Not even a flat tire, despite hundreds of miles on shoulders and some trails.
    Congrats on a cool trip!

    How were the bugs???!!!

  11. #11
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    right on!

    my trip on a bike to Copper Harbor back in 87 or 88 was some of the most enjoyable bicycling i've done. Glad to hear you enjoyed the ride.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  12. #12
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    Congratulations on a great trip. I did a tour with a dozen or so other folks in the Western UP in 2000 and have great memories of it. Sorry I did not see your earlier request for input but obviously you discovered that there is not much traffic up there. We did our tour at the peak of tourist season (watched fireworks on July 4th from our campsite outside Ontenogen (sp?) and the traffic was still light in most places.

    Yours sounds like an even better trip.

  13. #13
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Derailed, How'd you route up out of South Bend?
    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm back from the trip, and it was awesome!

    I did go all the way to Copper Harbor and very much enjoyed Brockway Mountain Drive. Unfortunately, the Jampot store was closed the day I went through. All the highways I rode in the U.P. were absolutely fine due to the wide shoulders (577, 41, 28). Traffic was light everywhere except around Houghton. The only problems I had were some nasty headwinds. I had a headwind the entire trip east before I went south to get over the Mackinaw Bridge (via a government truck).

    All told, my trip was 1500 miles: I rode from South Bend, IN to Muskegon and took a ferry to Milwaukee, WI. From there I followed Lake Michigan up to the U.P.-- found I was ahead of scheduled so slowed the pace and went to check out some waterfalls. I spent five days backpacking on Isle Royale (I shipped the backpack and heavy boots). I came back down the east side of Lake Michigan.

    I was very fortunate, and despite bad luck with wind had ZERO techinical problems-- no body or bike problems. Not even a flat tire, despite hundreds of miles on shoulders and some trails.

    I got home yesterday (the 27th) and started on May 4th. Today is my first rest day-- I rode or backpacked every day -- 500 miles over the past five days, and am seriously enjoying some time on the couch! What a great experience!

    -D

    Brief bike details: Surly Cross Check with Shimano 8-speed Nexus internal hub, front generator hub and light, 700x35 Panaracer Pasela TG tires. I used a rear rack with paniers and a trunk bag and a handlebar bag. I camped almost every night, but ate out for almost all meals.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  14. #14
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    I went up Riverside Drive to Darden, the west to Lilac (which becomes Copp) and then north to Bertrand. After following Bertrand for a while I can't remember exactly which roads I took (I had a copy of a page from the MI gazetteer with me), but I alternately went west and north until I hit St. Joseph. From there I followed the 'Round Lake Michigan book to Muskegon. Once on the other side of the lake I again followed that book until I reached Menominee. From there I followed routes choosen from a gazetteer in the U.P. until I got to Mackinaw City. To get south from Mackinaw City I used the Adventure Cycling Great Lakes route.

    The following website is a "work in progress", but if interested, you can see pictures from the trip (my favorite 100)... so far I've just picked out my favorites and labeled them, but I have not yet done any cropping or editing:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/hpscott/...vorite100Shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    Derailed, How'd you route up out of South Bend?

  15. #15
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed
    I went up Riverside Drive to Darden, the west to Lilac (which becomes Copp) and then north to Bertrand. After following Bertrand for a while I can't remember exactly which roads I took (I had a copy of a page from the MI gazetteer with me), but I alternately went west and north until I hit St. Joseph. From there I followed the 'Round Lake Michigan book to Muskegon. Once on the other side of the lake I again followed that book until I reached Menominee. From there I followed routes choosen from a gazetteer in the U.P. until I got to Mackinaw City. To get south from Mackinaw City I used the Adventure Cycling Great Lakes route.

    The following website is a "work in progress", but if interested, you can see pictures from the trip (my favorite 100)... so far I've just picked out my favorites and labeled them, but I have not yet done any cropping or editing:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/hpscott/...vorite100Shots
    I'm heading back up to the UP Saturday and was quietly debating riding out of Lafayette to Copper Harbor and back. Since I'm going solo, I'll be able to cover about a hundred miles a day vs 40 or so with the wife.

    If I do this I'm thinking about the US31 corridor, it's 4 lane, but not limited access (other than 4 or 5 ramps to negotiate) with HUGE shoulders, and I can legally ride it, I believe. I was thinking about the Eastern shore route up to Mac, then out to Copper Harbor, and back. I have a month to do this and would only have to average 45 a day or so.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  16. #16
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    I've never riddent 31, but why not follow a bicycle-friendly route like the one published by A.C. to get through MI to Mackinaw city? In fact, it would even get you pretty far west in the U.P. before you'd head north to the Keweenaw peninsula following a route of your choosing. I was very happy with their route. Once I got close to IN on the return trip, for example, I rode the shoulders of 12 for a while to get west. It was doable, but really not very nice. That is, although less direct, I was much happier following the more picturesque routes of A.C.

    I was not very happy with the 'Round Lake Michigan book, by the way. However, to be fair, its explicit goal was to follow the lakeshore as much as possible. My experience, however, was that I got plenty of lake exposure once I was on Lake Superior (and even the northern part of Lake Michigan), and was plenty satisfied with the scenery of the A.C. route. In my experience, nothing even comes close to the convenience of using their maps.

    If you're leaving on Saturday there's probably not enough time, but I would be willing to lend or even sell my 'Round Lake Michigan book or the A.C. maps pretty cheaply (with so many rides I want to do, I can't image ever following the same route again). Send me a PM if you're interested.

    -D



    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    I'm heading back up to the UP Saturday and was quietly debating riding out of Lafayette to Copper Harbor and back. Since I'm going solo, I'll be able to cover about a hundred miles a day vs 40 or so with the wife.

    If I do this I'm thinking about the US31 corridor, it's 4 lane, but not limited access (other than 4 or 5 ramps to negotiate) with HUGE shoulders, and I can legally ride it, I believe. I was thinking about the Eastern shore route up to Mac, then out to Copper Harbor, and back. I have a month to do this and would only have to average 45 a day or so.

  17. #17
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    31 is only to get up to the line, and is safer than trying to ride up 43/421...that route has narrow shoulders to no shoulders, and any parallel routing gets incredibly complex. I can also swing off on "Old 31" for a larger portion of Indiana than I initially thought.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  18. #18
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    Okay... gotcha. Sounds like you've got it covered. Have a great ride; you'll love the Keweenaw peninsula. As mentioned previously, definitely make sure you take Brockway Mountain Drive.

    -D

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    31 is only to get up to the line, and is safer than trying to ride up 43/421...that route has narrow shoulders to no shoulders, and any parallel routing gets incredibly complex. I can also swing off on "Old 31" for a larger portion of Indiana than I initially thought.

  19. #19
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed
    Okay... gotcha. Sounds like you've got it covered. Have a great ride; you'll love the Keweenaw peninsula. As mentioned previously, definitely make sure you take Brockway Mountain Drive.

    -D
    Willdo, and thanks for the offer! I've got the back roads of Indiana maps, by the way, the Charley Meyr book if you ever need a county map for any indiana county, just PM me.....I'll set you up!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  20. #20
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed
    I'm going to ride around Lake Michigan starting May 5...
    I'm planning my first tour in early July which just so happens to be going around Lake Michigan as well. I'm planning on following the adventurecycling routes for as much of the route as makes sense (through all of Michigan), but I'm going to have to find my own way through Wisconsin, Illinois (including Chicago) and northern Indiana.

    Are you planning on traveling through Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana? How did you find your route? Anyone else have any suggestions?

  21. #21
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    Are you aware of the "'Round Lake Michigan" book? It is specifically for bicycle touring around the lake. I wasn't thrilled with it, but it is certainly a good resource for figuring out a good route. The author is very friendly and even responded to some questions I asked him about riding in the U.P. Send me a PM if you'd be interested in my copy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Dirt Hill
    I'm planning my first tour in early July which just so happens to be going around Lake Michigan as well. I'm planning on following the adventurecycling routes for as much of the route as makes sense (through all of Michigan), but I'm going to have to find my own way through Wisconsin, Illinois (including Chicago) and northern Indiana.

    Are you planning on traveling through Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana? How did you find your route? Anyone else have any suggestions?

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