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Old 04-25-07, 07:59 PM   #1
Tom Stormcrowe
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Exactly how unimproved are the "Unimproved Roads up in the Northern UP of Michigan?

In particular, along the Lake Superior coast from Whitefish Point to Munising? Is it going to be a doable route with a trike and a road touring bike and trailer? There is an inland route as well that is paved, but is a lot longer. Any info would be appreciated.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:02 PM   #2
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From my experience, "unimproved" usually means "unpaved". That could be anything from a dirt track, to fairly rideable hard-packed mud, to thick gravel ... or anything in between, and varying from one mile to the next.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:12 PM   #3
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Here's the tentative route

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=895344
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Old 04-25-07, 08:16 PM   #4
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I live in low Michigan and if it is unimproved it could mean a dirt two track or a washed out farm road with ruts.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
In particular, along the Lake Superior coast from Whitefish Point to Munising? Is it going to be a doable route with a trike and a road touring bike and trailer? There is an inland route as well that is paved, but is a lot longer. Any info would be appreciated.
Tom I'm familiar with the road along the lakeshore from Munising to Grand Marais, at least. The road goes through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and it's really beautiful, for sure. My wife and I made the trek in our minivan about 4 years ago, in July, and let me tell you, it was difficult in a van - I can't imagine doing it on a loaded touring bike - a very lightly loaded mountain bike with super wide tires, maybe. The roads were a combination of dirt and loose gravel, with large washed-out areas due to rainfall and poor drainage. This is in reference to the county roads that go through the National Lakeshore, near the coast.

You'll also have to deal with large logging trucks barreling through this area at what seemed to us as unsafe speeds. There are some campsites in this area that are really scenic, however. The route from Grand Marais to Whitefish Point is probably better, but we didn't venture into those areas.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:26 PM   #6
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Old 04-25-07, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
In particular, along the Lake Superior coast from Whitefish Point to Munising? Is it going to be a doable route with a trike and a road touring bike and trailer? There is an inland route as well that is paved, but is a lot longer. Any info would be appreciated.
Tom, let me send this thread to my stepdad and I'll let you know what he says. Taerom may be able to help you, as well.
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Old 04-25-07, 08:43 PM   #8
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Tom, let me send this thread to my stepdad and I'll let you know what he says. Taerom may be able to help you, as well.
Yep, I just PM'd Taerom and waiting on his response. Great minds?
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Old 04-25-07, 09:14 PM   #9
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Tom, I used to live up there, you need a wide tired mountain bike. its heinous, loose sand and loose gravel and pretty marginal dirt roads.

I'd try it on 700x 37s underinflated to 45 PSI, mebbe. but that's me.

that's VERY sandy country, up by Grand Marais and east.

the UP's "unimproved" roads are beautiful,

but if you're on a trike and a 'road bike' pulling a trailer, best go the Paradise to Seney to Shingleton to Munising.
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Old 04-25-07, 09:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
Tom, I used to live up there, you need a wide tired mountain bike. its heinous, loose sand and loose gravel and pretty marginal dirt roads.

I'd try it on 700x 37s underinflated to 45 PSI, mebbe. but that's me.

that's VERY sandy country, up by Grand Marais and east.

the UP's "unimproved" roads are beautiful,

but if you're on a trike and a 'road bike' pulling a trailer, best go the Paradise to Seney to Shingleton to Munising.
Thanks, that's what I needed to know. I suspected as much, but was hoping........

Edit:

I'm running 27"X 32mm (630-32) road tires on an old 86 touring bike and the wife rides a recumbent delta trike, so that's what we'll do then!
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Old 04-25-07, 09:51 PM   #11
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I lived in Munising for a number of years. As others have already noted, the roads over a good portion of this route are sugar sand.

Unless they have improved the road, there is not much shoulder on the Seney to Shingleton stretch. It's the flatest, straightest, most monotinous 50 miles you'll ever ride. The motor traffic will be going 70+mph, with numerous trucks in the mix.
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Old 04-26-07, 12:22 AM   #12
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the "seney stretch" is just 25 miles, but it FEELS like 50!

yeah, keep an eye out to your back on the Seney stretch. It is unfortunate for the bicycle tourist there are few viable options E-W on pavement across the middle of the UP.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
In particular, along the Lake Superior coast from Whitefish Point to Munising? Is it going to be a doable route with a trike and a road touring bike and trailer? There is an inland route as well that is paved, but is a lot longer. Any info would be appreciated.
Tom -

I biked it years ago - when I was 33.
But I was loaded down with all my cycling gear - so it can be done.
BTW - I was on a Trek 8000 MTB with (I'm guessing) 1.75 tires.
Brutal - lots of sand - thus spin-outs.
Plus it's just rolling enough to make for difficult downhills and near-impossible uphills.

BUT!!!
The benefits are well worth it.
If you haven't seen a sunset over a remote stretch of Superior shore
then your life ain't complete.


Question?
If you break the route into three sections:
1) Why are you taking the dirt roads from Whitefish Point to Deer Park when there is the paved option of Hwy 123 and Co Rd H-37? What's more, this route accesses Tahquemenon Falls - gorgeous! Rarely does any road - paved or unpaved - offer you views of the lake. You have to get off your bike and hike over a dune or two. 2) Then the stretch from Deer Park to Hurricane River is mostly paved with numerous camping options close by. 3) The tough stretch is H-58 to Little Beaver Junction.

They paved a stretch last summer. And will pave the entire route by 2010. No paving is scheduled this summer.

Use this National Park Service map:
http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisi...ad/PIROmap.pdf

Your routing between Hurrucane and Little Beaver is just plain wrong.
There are no public roads - dirt or paved - where you have marked.
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Old 04-26-07, 12:14 PM   #14
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Hey Tom, I'm originally from Newberry in the central U P. A lot of that country you picked out is pretty wild, more suited to dirt bikes or jeeps. If you didn't have a particular reason for that specific area and just want the U P experience, take a look at the keweenaw peninsula. We once camped at Hancock and did day trips from there. Besides the lake there is a lot to do there like mine tours, museums etc. There is a snow gauge along the road that is 33' tall! Also you are close to the Porcupine Mountains, a very nice area.
Is this trip in addition to your Indiana tour or in place of? Also, be aware that the weather up there can vary from beautiful to freeze you a$$, even in the same day. Lake Superior is cold. Once I was at Marquette in the middle of July, and the water temp was 43.
To find out what the road conditions are like you could contact the county road commission, sheriffs dept, or Michigan state police in the appropiate area.
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Old 04-26-07, 02:20 PM   #15
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Hey Tom, I'm originally from Newberry in the central U P. A lot of that country you picked out is pretty wild, more suited to dirt bikes or jeeps. If you didn't have a particular reason for that specific area and just want the U P experience, take a look at the keweenaw peninsula. We once camped at Hancock and did day trips from there. Besides the lake there is a lot to do there like mine tours, museums etc. There is a snow gauge along the road that is 33' tall! Also you are close to the Porcupine Mountains, a very nice area.
Is this trip in addition to your Indiana tour or in place of? Also, be aware that the weather up there can vary from beautiful to freeze you a$$, even in the same day. Lake Superior is cold. Once I was at Marquette in the middle of July, and the water temp was 43.
To find out what the road conditions are like you could contact the county road commission, sheriffs dept, or Michigan state police in the appropiate area.
This is in place of, we just did the fastest replan you ever saw! We've already opted for the paved inland route from Paradise to stay on pavement, by the way. Bek gave me some great feedback there, as far a suitability of the northern shoreline route for a Road touring bike.

We're planning for cold weather as well, with a 4 season tent and arctic bags good for -20 and ventable if it's warmer, as well as cold weather clothing. I do have arctic experience, havibg worked Alaska and Siberia as an equipment hauler on several pipeline projects and have Military arctic survival training to keep us out of trouble.

I also got bear spray, maps and compass, and will be hauling an EPIRB along for real emergency as well, I figure that is 2 pounds of insurance as it can uplink a location to any passenger jet, military or sattelite, and get help summoned. Good weather, bad weather, it's all good to me....... (As long as it doesn't snow a$$ deep on a 10 foot indian!)
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Old 04-26-07, 02:54 PM   #16
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We're planning for cold weather as well, with a 4 season tent and arctic bags good for -20 and ventable if it's warmer, as well as cold weather clothing. I do have arctic experience, havibg worked Alaska and Siberia as an equipment hauler on several pipeline projects and have Military arctic survival training to keep us out of trouble.

I also got bear spray, maps and compass, and will be hauling an EPIRB along for real emergency as well, I figure that is 2 pounds of insurance as it can uplink a location to any passenger jet, military or sattelite, and get help summoned. Good weather, bad weather, it's all good to me....... (As long as it doesn't snow a$$ deep on a 10 foot indian!)
whoa. you kinda scare me. you are going in the summer?
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Old 04-26-07, 03:30 PM   #17
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We head out in 2 weeks! Departure is May 10.
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Old 04-26-07, 03:32 PM   #18
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We head out in 2 weeks! Departure is May 10.
and you are haulin all that stuff self supported? wowee. how many miles a day you plannin?
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Old 04-26-07, 03:37 PM   #19
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and you are haulin all that stuff self supported? wowee. how many miles a day you plannin?
40 or so a day. It's not going to be as heavy as you think, and I'm using a trailer and the wife is pulling a bit of the load as well. It's not how fats you go, but how much fun you have. Even on the paved roads, we'll get into some remore areas, by the way. We're planning on 1 1/2 - 2 months on the tour.
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Old 04-26-07, 03:42 PM   #20
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So are you going Paradise to Munising then? It's between snowmobile season and summer so you might have the place to yourself. You will be by the falls and if you go 123 into Newberry there is a bear ranch north of town. I hope you like to look at trees cause thats most of what you will see. If you do go to Munising thats a pretty little town, my aunt lives west of there in Deerton.
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Old 04-26-07, 04:13 PM   #21
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So are you going Paradise to Munising then? It's between snowmobile season and summer so you might have the place to yourself. You will be by the falls and if you go 123 into Newberry there is a bear ranch north of town. I hope you like to look at trees cause thats most of what you will see. If you do go to Munising thats a pretty little town, my aunt lives west of there in Deerton.
Yep, that's the general idea! We'll take a couple of days or so up in Munising, spend some time in Pictured Rocks.

Then we head off for Copper Harbor.

We're thinking about Isle Royal Nat Park as well, but haven't decided yet.
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