Here's the official report from Northern Michigan (Petoskey):
1. Black fly season in the U.P. is all but over, however, I understand the mosquitos are on the rampage--DEET up and camp on the breezy shores of Lake Michigan if you can. Things should be better in August, however.
2. The Great Lakes create their own unpredictable weather patterns; typically, there is a westerly wind, but friends of mine who rode the same route as you last September had headwinds across the U.P. Go figure.
Perhaps some of the most difficult winds to combat are those that come off fully-laden lumber trucks on U.S. 2--there is a good shoulder on this road, but be cautious and check that mirror!
3. What's the perspective of the information you received on hills? No, there aren't any mountains on the route, but here is lots of up and down (aggrevating in some cases).
I can't comment on Wisconsin, but you'll have relatively flat land across the U.P. on U.S. 2. Once you hit the lower peninsula, however, things get pretty hilly, particularly around Harbor Springs and Petoskey. If you plan to hug the shoreline (like we did last year) you will encounter some good hills all the way to Manistee (US 31, M-22, etc.). This does, however, make for a beautiful ride.
There are bike paths running through Petoskey and Traverse City that minimize the horrible summer traffic danger in these busy tourist towns. If you'd like details on these routes as well as good pub stops (
), feel free to email me. I can also recommend (or recommend against) certain campgrounds on your route.
This is a great trip--you'll have lots of fun!