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  1. #1
    Senior Member LindaB's Avatar
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    Lake Michigan trip and Sault St. Maire - HELP!

    This July we're planning to ride from Milwaukee, WI to Mackinac Island. Due to time constraints we need to head home to California from there (our friends will continue on for many weeks - lucky them!). I'm hoping to get home in 2 days from Mackinac Island - 1 day to get to an airport, and 1 day to fly home.

    So far the easiest looks like:
    Ride St. Ignace to Sault St. Maire, MI (looks like about 52 miles) and fly home. Haven't been able to find out if the small plane out of there will take bikes yet, but the flight cost is very reasonable. Any ideas on shipping a bike from Sault St. Maire, as well as local transportation to airport etc once we are bike-less?? Are taxis readily available?

    I've looked at taking a bus back to Milwaukee and flying home from there, but doesn't seem to simplify things, and adds all new problems, like bikes on bus, arrival at bus station at night, etc.

    Any information on Sault St. Maire, MI or other ideas on a good way home from Mackinac Island would be much appreciated! We're experienced tourists and have packed bikes in airports in quite a few countries, but have never shipped our bikes home via UPS or other carrier.

  2. #2
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Ok did some quick checking including getting you to a bigger airport in a day without renting a car, not doable.

    I would call the airline and see what plane is likely for your flight. As for shipping the bikes, fed ex UPS etc is similar to packing for the airlines. Problem is getting boxes etc to pack them. I am familiar with the area so let me do some checking.
    Jim
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  3. #3
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Checked Air Canada, if it is a Air Canada plane you should be good, if it is a "Jazz" plane (feeder airline) you need to check, some of them might be iffy on taking a bike. There is a Mackinac island charter service also, not sure what your budget is like.

    http://www.greatlakesair.net/

    Other options would be renting a car and driving to Traverse city Airport or Alpena Airport.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_Capital_Airport

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpena_...gional_Airport

    Northwest serves Alpena and Traverse is served by many airlines.
    Jim
    my bikes
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    1970s (or 80s) fuji touring with a Yakima Big Tow
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  4. #4
    Senior Member LindaB's Avatar
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    Jim -
    Thanks so much for your efforts! The flights we're looking at are Delta - we're working on calling the airline, and hope to get an anwer today about whether they'll take a bike. The plane out of Sault St. Maire, MI is a Saab 340 Turbo Prop, which has about 40 seats. I also found Northwest Airlines flights, but not Air Canada - I'll check again.

    I didn't know about Traverse City or Alpena airports, so will look at those.
    Thanks,
    Linda

  5. #5
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Could you perhaps box and ship your bike back? A LBS could do that for you.

  6. #6
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Kuan>no LBS I could find, they are few and far between up there. Only one is on Mackinac island and is more of a bike rental place than anything. I've traveled the area quite a bit and closest LBS i could remember is way south or West, google didn't add anything to my memory.
    Jim
    my bikes
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    1970s (or 80s) fuji touring with a Yakima Big Tow
    2008 Surly LHT with Axiom Racks and SKS Fenders (for sale)
    Mid 80's Cannondale Road Bike

  7. #7
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    If you are at Mackinaw, you might want to check Pellston Airport. I believe a lot of the hotels in Mackinaw have a free shuttle to that one (they did when I rode my bike up there last year). I believe there are a few daily flights to Detroit (Northwest/Delta). From there it's pretty easy to get anywhere.

  8. #8
    Mechanic/Tourist
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    Your choices are limited but I advise all cyclists to avoid Delta, and to object on their website feedback form to their high bicycle baggage fees - $175 per trip domestic/Canada, $300 overseas flights.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LindaB's Avatar
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    Thanks Jim, Mike and the rest... this is one of the knottiest transport puzzles we've ever encountered. I'm starting to think our whole trip plan is just a bad idea, but I haven't given up just yet. Delta (which is combined with NW) out of Sault St. Marie, MI will take only ONE bike per flight, at that outrageous $175 fee. Leaving one behind doesn't seem like a very good option! The other small airports (Pellston, Traverse City, Alpena) seem to use the same model small plane, so don't seem any more likely to take 2 bikes.

    Tomorrow I'm going to phone all the bike rental places on Mackinac Island (6 as far as I can tell), and see what they know about boxing and shipping bikes from the island. Then just getting the two of us and our panniers to an airport and home should be relatively simple. Other option is to get us and the bikes to Pellston, rent a car or van and drive to Detroit or back to Milwaukee.

  10. #10
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Well if you rent a car you can save a couple hours drive and fly out of MBS (Saginaw) Airport or Flint Bishop airport. However in my experience it is much more expensive than driving to Detroit. The option to drive to Milwaukee is probably a better one as far as being scenic, the trip from Mackinac to Detroit is mind numbingly boring, while the drive across the UP of Michigan is nice.
    Jim
    my bikes
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    1970s (or 80s) fuji touring with a Yakima Big Tow
    2008 Surly LHT with Axiom Racks and SKS Fenders (for sale)
    Mid 80's Cannondale Road Bike

  11. #11
    Senior Member LindaB's Avatar
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    I'm finally getting the pieces of this puzzle together, thanks to Jim and to Google Earth! Current plan for getting to California from Mackinac Island with bikes:
    A lovely day of cycling via Mackinaw City to Harbor Springs MI.
    The "Touring Gear Bike Shop" there will pack our bikes and take them to UPS. Ed there seems very helpful! (Google Earth found this shop for me).
    There appear to be 2 places to stay within walking distance of the bike shop.
    Next step is still a little iffy - shuttle to Traverse City Airport. So far the taxi I've found is a little pricey. Many choice of flights at quite good rates from TVC to California. (Thanks, Jim for suggesting this airport!)

  12. #12
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    You are welcome Linda, you might post in the Great Lakes forum and see if someone from the board can give you a ride. Would be worth posting, I'm sure someone would love to help you out.
    Jim
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    1970s (or 80s) fuji touring with a Yakima Big Tow
    2008 Surly LHT with Axiom Racks and SKS Fenders (for sale)
    Mid 80's Cannondale Road Bike

  13. #13
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    I may have missed it in the posts, but when are you planning this trip?

  14. #14
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    I'll be riding from Manitowoc to Luddington in the same time period. I'm going to loop it by catching the ferry back to my car in WI.

    While that doesn't help in your situation, if you see an old guy on a red Americano with yellow panniers, stop and say hello!

  15. #15
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdiehl View Post
    I'll be riding from Manitowoc to Luddington in the same time period. I'm going to loop it by catching the ferry back to my car in WI.

    While that doesn't help in your situation, if you see an old guy on a red Americano with yellow panniers, stop and say hello!
    kdiehl -- I was just looking at that loop (except parking in Luddington rather than Manitowoc) this afternoon in an attempt to find a route a friend and I could do in late July. Do you happen to have a route planned?

  16. #16
    Senior Member LindaB's Avatar
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    Orignal poster here again... we'll be looking for that red Americano, bwgride! We'll be on a blue Bianchi and red LeMond with yellow Ortliebs.

    We're starting to ride on July 3rd from Milwaukee, meeting our friends in Two Rivers on the 4th, riding around the coastline following the routes in "Round Lake Michigan" by Harvey Botzman. On July 15th we'll arrive on Mackinac Island. On the 16th our friends will leave to continue around Huron then the rest of Lake Michigan, we will head south to Harbor Springs, ship the bikes home thanks to the Touring Gear Bike Shop, and take a shuttle to either Pellston or Traverse City airport, and be home on July 17th. "Round Lake Michigan" is very thorough, and comes well recommended to us, so I'm hoping it provides good guidance. It can be ordered at cyclotour.com. This book gives the routes in both directions, clockwise and counterclockwise around the lake.

    Now, what about the bugs rumored to be in Michigan??

  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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    Get some Deet. Black flies up on the UP are miserable and swarm you.
    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.


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  18. #18
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    Funny about the bugs. I have ridden around the lake once, and every year ride up the shoreline from my home in the SW corner of MI to Mackinaw City. Have never really had a bug problem. I know others have so I must just be lucky. I am going around the lake again this year, but won't be until about a month later. Enjoy the ride. Get some smoked fish in Cut River.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    I'm only going for the pasties!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
    kdiehl -- I was just looking at that loop (except parking in Luddington rather than Manitowoc) this afternoon in an attempt to find a route a friend and I could do in late July. Do you happen to have a route planned?
    Nothing too special. I grew up in Michigan and I'm sure nothing has changed since I left 35 years ago, so why plan!

    I'm wandering the back roads from Manitowoc to Green Bay. From there to Mackinaw City, I'm just following the Lake and the Adventure Cycling map.

    http://www.cherrycapitalcyclingclub.org/ has a nice paper map and links to MDOT cycling maps. I'm going to follow the shoreline, eat pasties and cherries and maybe pie.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Neil G.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdiehl View Post
    I'm only going for the pasties!
    Damn straight. I rode around the UP and northern Wisconsin a few years back, and damn, does a pasty do a good job of refueling the touring-cyclist's engine. I've now been through many other states where I say to myself "why the hell can't I get a pasty here?!?"

    Neil

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