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Old 06-21-09, 11:24 AM   #1
mroest
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20-25 Day Tour in Michigan -suggestions?

Hello,

I'm new to this forum and touring.

I am planning a self-supported bike tour in Michigan. I would love to get some input on good/safe routes, free & cheap camp sites. If anyone has done an extensive bike tour in Michigan, please let me know. I would love to hear your stories and get some ideas.

I will be biking into Michigan from Toledo. All I know as of right now is that I would like to bike through Ann Arbor (have some friends to visit). Anything past that I am open for suggestions. I will be traveling on a front suspension hardtail mountain bike, so I do have to ability to travel on unpaved surfaces. I have roughly 25 days to get back to the Toledo area.

I would really appreciate your help as I have found other posts on this forum to be extremely helpful in preparing for this trip!
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Old 06-21-09, 12:51 PM   #2
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I have found the roads around Ann Arbor to be great for biking. I passed through them on a tour last Summer. Going West toward Dexter and Chelsea were smooth and light traffic.

I would probably suggest getting to the west side of the state and then follow the shore line. That's the tour I have been wanting to do for a little while now. Manistee and Sleeping Bear Dunes might be good things to see.
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Old 06-21-09, 01:32 PM   #3
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Yep to da Yoop.
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Old 06-21-09, 01:39 PM   #4
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That's enough days for a major tour.. You might get some information on routing from these folks.
My choice. Up the Lake Michigan coast from South Haven.. Into the UP along US 2. Cross over to Marquette. Head for the Keweenaw Peninsula via Brockway Mountain Drive and up to Cooper Harbor. 25 days. That should be possible.




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Old 06-22-09, 08:04 AM   #5
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Lived in ann arbor a couple years ago, and I was born in Mich. and lived there 22 years. Its pretty flat, so big per day mileage is a snap. There are glacial features that can cause some short hills, I talked to some locals that think 100' a mile is steep.

the state has a LOT of great roads and MANY paved secondary roads. Get maps that have the dirt roads (generally laid out on 1 mile grid) and you can rectify most any routing mistake. the dirt roads are usually plenty good for a loaded tour bike. except after having been graded (soft)

getting to copper harbor and back - think 25 days too short, but if you dont have to get back to toledo it should OK.
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Old 06-22-09, 08:18 AM   #6
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The UP is the place to go but you might find that a bit ambitious. even 50 mile days would get you there pretty quick though.

I'm with cyclezealot, you want to get to the Lake Michigan coast pronto and ride north. Aim for Holland, MI.

then Grand Haven, Manistee National forest, Frankfort, Leeleenau county. Begin to Meander once you get to Frankfort.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Leeleenau state park at the tip of the county would provide a great turnaround point and a nice, really nice, summer destination. Classic.

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Old 06-22-09, 09:30 AM   #7
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pick up a copy of the michigan atlas & gazeteer, and create your own route up the lake michigan coast. Camping in michigan is ridiculously expensive at the more popular parks, but its still worth it to be near the beach every day.
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Old 06-22-09, 09:33 AM   #8
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Taking the day trip to South manitou island (sleeping bear dunes) was a great way to relax on a rest day, if your in the area.
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Old 06-22-09, 09:52 AM   #9
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From Toledo and with 20 days to ride, you should be able to plan your tour for a complete circle of the lower Michigan lake shores. I would approach, going west from Ann Arbor and either start at South Haven (there is trail from dwntwn Kalamazoo that is to take you to the lake) or Holland, then ride north to Mackinaw, then follow the shore south and depending on your available time, complete the thumb shore, or if seen enough you could drop straight south back home.

Have fun, and hope to the wind is always at your back and sun brightening your path!
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Old 06-22-09, 10:12 AM   #10
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As a michigander, forget cheap camping, even state forest campgrounds with pit toilets and a hand pump for water are in the $14 to $20 range. The route suggestions so far have been good.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:57 PM   #11
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Has anyone have experience stealth camping on tours through Michigan? Or is it best to stick to the campgrounds?
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Old 06-23-09, 07:37 AM   #12
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think there is no more risk than elsewhere. Farmers can be kind of touchy - or not. folks are pretty friendly though, I bet you can camp free by asking for permission.
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Old 06-23-09, 07:47 AM   #13
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You can stealth camp anywhere, the trick is in picking the spot!

Michigan, esp northern michigan, will have oodles of spots to camp, seriously. Think 'beach'.
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Old 06-23-09, 06:02 PM   #14
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the input. I think a trip north along the cost of Lake Michigan would be nice. I might buy one of those shoreline tour maps just to be safe. There is also a route that I can take that starts in Luther Michigan, cuts across the state to the east side, goes into Canada, and then I'd take a ferry across Lake Erie back to Sandusky which is really close to Oberlin. If anyone has any additional ideas or input in terms of routes & places to camp, please let me know! I'm still open ears.

Again, I appreciate your help.
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