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Old 12-02-11, 09:29 PM   #1
rgtft
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Ferry Across Lake Michigan -- Muskegon to Milwaukee or Ludington to Manitowoc

I'm thinking/planning a trip next July from south-central Michigan (Lansing area), taking the ferry across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin and riding across part or all of Wisconsin where I'll met my family as we then drive out to Yellowstone National Park.

There are two ferries that cross Lake Michigan:

1. Muskegon, MI to Milwaukee, WI (Lake Express Ferry)
The advantages seem that it crosses Lake Michigan further south (hence closer to Lansing and closer to 90/94 to meetup with family); but the disadvantages are routing out of the city of Milwaukee seems problematic to me.

2. Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI (SS Badger)
The advantages are that this is on the Adventure Cycling route, so there is already a route mapped. I would imagine there is less traffic in Manitowac than in Milwaukee. But Ludington, MI is a farther ride from Lansing and Manitowoc is farther away from 90/94 where I'd meet up with my family.

Does anyone have any experience opinions on either of these ferry options?
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Old 12-03-11, 10:42 AM   #2
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My wife and I took bikes across from Muskegon to Milwaukee last year and took a car across from Ludington to Manitowoc several years back. Using 2011 bike rates, Muskegon to Milwaukee was 2 1/2 hours, cost approx $110 each on a small fast ship. It was like taking a commuter train. Ludington to Manitowoc was 4 hrs, cost approx $75 each on a huge old boat. It was like a short cruise. They are different experiences, but both were pleasant.

As for routing out of Milwaukee, you can bicycle from the Lake Express terminal in Milwaukee to Madison and on to Dodgeville ... about 130 mi ... and be in bike lanes, paths, side paths, or rail trails almost all the way. There's a 2 or 3 mile gap just east of Waukeshaw and a 5 mile gap east of Madison. Check google maps and turn the bicycling option on.
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Old 12-03-11, 12:02 PM   #3
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Don't let the routing in Milwaukee stop you. Check Google's bike view. You have a short hop to Milwaukee's primary N/S commuter route, a quick dash on Florida St gets you to the Hank Aaron State Trail. Short connectors get you to the New Berlin trail and then a slightly messy connector through Waukesha to the Glacial Drumlin State trail. That will get you to Madison if you're open to riding on limestone (paving ends about 15 miles west of Waukesha).

Sure, the route is urban, but not as difficult as it might appear. Personally, I think the idea of riding from near the heart of the city into the suburbs and then to the rural areas into a single day would be a treat.
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Old 12-05-11, 02:05 PM   #4
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Thorn & Recycle, thanks for your replies. I think I will take the Muskegon ferry; I should be able to time it so that I cross the lake on a Sunday morning so my ride out of Milwaukee should have less trafic.
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Old 12-05-11, 04:21 PM   #5
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Yep, the Manitowoc ferry would be less intense and less cost from what I've heard. You could then work your way south to the Ozaukee Interurban rail trail. Then depending upon where your family is located you could either continue south along the lakeshore to I-94, or can diagonal through Ozaukee and Washington and Waukesha counties if the family is west of Milwaukee county.

If you get in a hurry just take the faster boat to Milwaukee and have them meet you at the docks.
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