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WI: Touring Sturgeon Bay & Door County

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WI: Touring Sturgeon Bay & Door County

Old 01-04-21, 10:28 AM
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mrv 
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WI: Touring Sturgeon Bay & Door County

Howdy -
Doing a bit of trip planning for late spring (late May / early June). The very tentative plan is to hop the AMTRAK in Ann Arbor, MI (7:30AM). Get off in Milwaukee, WI (5PM). Then (a few days later) return home would be on the SS Badger (2PM launch?), back to Luddington, MI (+4 hours). Then ride home over 2 days.

Off the train on day 1, probably use warmshowers.org to camp in someone's yard north of Milwaukee. I could not find a non-RV campground within a few miles.
From there ride 100 miles to Point Beach State Park (day 2). There are rustic sites there that allow a single night stay. Worst case I carry my bike on my back 0.5 miles to the Ice Age campsite (if the DNR doesn't let me roll it down the trail).
https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/park...eation/camping

Cycling north (of Manitowoc) for say 3 days of camping and riding, what would locals recommend? The state parks all seem to require 2 nights stay after late May. I am not keen to trespass (or attempt to sleep while trespassing....) - just ain't my bag, man.
Possibly two days at Peninsula State Park would be nice, just looking for where to go cycling recommendations.
https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/park...eation/camping

Northport looks to be 20 miles from Peninsula. So a day trip to Washington Island looks feasible. https://wisferry.com/washington-island/

I've checked this link out: https://wibikeroutes.net/index.html
- kind of helpful, but not specific to where I'll be.

Any suggestions or links to old threads would be appreciated. Or warnings about the weather and timing! (or the tourists being bad....)
cheers.
some old links from google:
Door County, WI - places to ride?
Door County, WI Route Suggestions
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Old 01-04-21, 10:39 PM
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debade
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I'll be as helpful as I can. I lived in Milwaukee for many years. I grew up in Detroit. You can't guarantee summer until July1 in eastern WI. For example, people can swim in Lake Michigan on the Michigan side in summer but not on the WI side, even in Summer. Consequently, WI can stay cool for a long time. Falls in WI are beautiful. Short answer, you might or might not end up with good weather in WI that time of year. Ann Arbor will likely be nice by then.

Biking to Manitowoc from Milwaukee is an OK ride. I have ridden from Ann Arbor to Muskegon. That worked out well and I expect your ride from Ludington will too. If you had time, you could check out the fast ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon. You would obviously need to bike back to Milwaukee. If this becomes an option, make sure you check when they start running.

I have ridden in Door County for a 100 kilometer event. I have visited several times. Motorists there are tourists but I think concerned about cyclists. Roads can be narrow with little traffic but if memory serves, there are decent shoulders on the main roads. I think you will be there a little early for the after school crowd but the Door is becoming more of a year around vacation spot.

A day trip to Washington Island should be no problem.

Milwaukee is a good biking town. I expect there are Warm Shower hosts. We were when we lived there. I think there might be a biking Hostel in town that you could check out. That could be another option.

Good luck, It will be a fun ride. My main concern for you is that it might be cold.
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Old 01-13-21, 04:22 PM
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richjac
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There will be relatively few tourists at a that time of year. I have ridden the Door County Century several times and that is a great route, particularly the first half - starting in Sturgeon Bay, up along the West side of the peninsula, through Peninsula State Park, up to Sister Bay. Other than the two main highways (42 and 57) there are no bad roads for cycling.
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Old 01-13-21, 06:03 PM
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https://www.travelwisconsin.com/order-guides

I would recommend ordering the Travel Wisconsin Bicycle Guide, as well as the Rustic Roads Guide. There is a great road in the Rustic Road guide that travels several miles up the east side of the peninsula, a very pleasant lightly traveled road.
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Old 01-15-21, 07:02 AM
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Thanks, everyone. ober27 - I will check out the travel guides.

Another question: How's cycling north from Chicago? Any recommendations as far as sticking to the Lake Michigan shoreline? Looking at the mighty-mighty google maps, the cycling network looks pretty comprehensive.

Just working through some options as I consider waiting in Union Station or not. I've got about 4 hours between trains.
I thought about spending the time cycling to Glenview, which google says is 17 miles north. But AMTRAK's system would not allow me to reserve a bike-spot getting onboard in Glenview and getting off in Milwaukee.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-15-21, 09:49 AM
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I live south of Milwaukee and know the cycling options from Waukegan, IL to Door County fairly well.

Weather that time of year..shouldn't be an issue as long as you have clothing for cooler weather...overall though, temps would be great for cycling. The biggest issue is a N, NE, or E wind as that'll pull air off the lake, which will be quite cool. Swimming.. swimming in Lake Michigan is very popular all summer. Again, the wind is the key factor. If you have westerly winds then the warmer surface water is pushed east to the Michigan shoreline & the cooler water (50's-60ish) replaces the warm water on the WI shoreline. If the wind is easterly, then the opposite happens. Warm water (70ish+ in the summer) is pushed to the WI shore and people dive in. Shallow bays of Lake Michigan also warm much faster than open water shorelines.

As for your suggested route... I'd do some searching on RWGPS as you find all kinds of routes in the areas you'll be visiting or passing through. There are decent routes from Union Station up to the WI state line. You'd have to keep a close eye on navigation, but it's a well established origin-destination. Once you get to Illinois Beach State Park, it's a great ride to Door County with 85%+ of it on dedicated multi-use trails..nearly all paved with some rail-trail surfaces here and there. I have (RWGPS) routes for the entire way. Not sure if you're interested in roads or MUPs..

If you're not interested in riding up from Chicago, you might consider jumping off the Hiawatha in Sturtevant. There's two campgrounds in Racine county..Cliffside will be the best and just a few miles from the Oak Leaf Trailhead on County Line Road..that trail takes you up to Sheboygan Falls. Touring cyclists are common at Cliffside. I'm not sure about taking a bike off at the Sturevant stop..you'd have to check. Navigating through Milwaukee is easy..if you know the route. Depending on when you're passing through, I may be able to ride you through the Oak Leaf Trailhead to the north side of downtown Milw..from there it's clear sailing to Port Washington and beyond.

As for "2 night stay in WI State Parks.."..that's news to me. I've camped in WI for 40+ years..not heard of the two night thing. WI is one of the states that has a hiker-biker no-turn-away policy. If a state park is full, and you come in under your own power, they'll find a place for you to camp. Only one night is allowed though under this rule.

Once in Door County..stay away from hwys 57 & 42. After that, about anywhere is good riding. RWGPS has lots of routes up there. You can take the Ahnapee State Trail from Kewaunee to Sturgeon Bay. Potowatomi State Park is in Sturgeon Bay and is much nicer than Peninsula, for camping at least. However, Peninsula is a fair bit north and possibly closer to areas you want to be in. Peninsula is a big park, but gets very busy in season. Peninsula State Park hosts a theater group in the summer and has an outdoor theater..very good..not sure how early the performances start.

Lots of options for the trip (routes, day rides, lodging..) depending on what you're interested in.

Last edited by fishboat; 01-15-21 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 01-15-21, 11:43 AM
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Our experience during the summer of 2019 was that single night stays were allowed in Wisconsin State Parks.
Potawatomi State Park is a very nice park. It may not show up on maps, but there is a shortcut in and out of the park if you're biking or walking. Their park trails meet up with a dead end street. It saves riding the long narrow entrance road with the RVs.
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Old 01-16-21, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ober27 View Post
... It may not show up on maps, but there is a shortcut in and out of the park if you're biking or walking. Their park trails meet up with a dead end street. It saves riding the long narrow entrance road with the RVs.
The red route is the better one. The main road (going past the airport) that leads to the park entrance is a bit narrow, but sees very little traffic..although the speed limit is 45mph, at least. Best to avoid. The campsite registration process has changed with the covid thing. In a couple parks last summer all we had to do was arrive at the campsite..no check in at the main office, no card to mount on the post with exit date. The Parkies know when people are going to arrive and leave..if a campsite is reserved and someone is occupying it..they assume that all is good and don't question things.

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