Well, took a week off work, headed up 75 to spend a couple days with my folks before going for some touring in Michigan with not much planned. 7 days and 2480 miles later, had a lot of fun so thought I would share:
Day 1 - M-22, Sleeping Bear Dunes
M-22 IS the best road in Michigan....road a couple that were close near outskirts of Lewiston, southwest of Alpena, but M-22 is nice! Took it from the city down to north of Empire, with a stop off at the Sleeping Bear Dunes which I caught nearing sun down...just beautiful.
Also went to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse...highly recommend against it unless you are a lighthouse nut...$8 bucks for a state park entrance and you don't even get a tour, that costs extra.
Day 2 - Mackinaw bridge, Soo Locks, Pictured Rock lakeshore
Took M-31 up to 75, smooth most of the way but more traffic than I like. Stopped in Mackinaw City for some lunch and then over the bridge. Signs said high winds but I didn't even notice them. Road the green metal inner lane which was a butt pucker moment when you look down
Shot up to the Soo locks. Didn't feel like sticking around 30 minutes for the next boat which was tiny, but they installed cameras since I was last there so you can now sit indoors and wait for the boats...hi-tec
Next stop was going to be Pictured Rock lakeshore...had no clue about this place, so tool M-28 and then up to Grand Marais thinking I could ride in and thru...wrong. Most of the main road is "rough" planks and gravel, or so I learned when I stopped at the visitor center. 50 miles and time wasted but live and learn again
Back on M-28 (which was mostly smooth but had some construction spots) to Munising and stopped at the Miners falls and then another 12 miles to the only road accessible view for Pictured Rocks...or so I thought. When I got to the overlook deck on Lake Superior, the first words on the sign said..."The rocks are best view from boat tours from..." Live and learn part 3. Still a pretty neat sight. Miners Castle reminded me a lagoon with the water so shallow and clear.
Stayed pretty cheap in Margette and ate a nice steak at Timber Creak steak house.
Day 3 - Delaware Mine, Copper Harbor and Brockway Mountain Parkway
Took M-41 up to the Copper Harbor area with first stop at the Delaware copper mine tour. I would probably pass on this one...honestly not much there to see and paying $10 bucks for a self-guided tour...read as tourist trap. Finally up the rest of the 41 to where it ends. Had a sign reading 1990 miles to Miami, FL Unfortunately, road to the Copper harbor lighthouse is not MC friendly, so just took some photos from the bay shore.
Lunch at a one of the local joints and then up the number 1 ranks road by MI DOT engineers, Brockway Mountain Parkway. This road is definitely a seasonal road...not a smooth ride that I was hoping for but it produces some breathtaking views of the town the lake and the mountainous areas. The leaves were already changing which would attest to the how cold things get up there
I already want to go back to do a day or two stay out on Isle Isle Royale National Park.
Took M-26 back down past Eagle River which was a nice road with some more views along the way. Called it a day down in Iron Mountain, MI on the border.
Day 3 - Harley Powertrain plant tour
Rather than heading back the same way home, I thought I would hit some bigger city tourist attractions along the way. Road slab through Green Bay and then Milwaukee. First off....what the hell is wrong with Milwaukee drivers? I had not one, but two psycho road raging soccer moms driving in the left lane, both talking on their cell phones go ballistic when I had the nerve to flash my lights at them to try to get them to move over after tailing them for 5 minutes. Worst drivers I have seen so far...not to mention way too much traffic for my liking in Milwaukee.
The above picture I call "Enemy at the gates" Finally managed to find the Harley plant and got in just for the last tour which only runs till 1 PM. Pretty cool, would only recommend to see it if you are in town looking for something to do, but would not go out of my way for it. Many machines, but not unlike any other assembly plant. What was cool was outside they had priority bike parking up front, and the employees parking strip was packed with hogs no less which I thought was very cool. Got the hell out of Milwaukee and stayed in Rockford, IL for the night.
Day 4 - Lincoln tomb, museum and St. Louis gateway arch
I always wanted to go atop the arch so used it as my excuse to completely bypass Chi-town. Since I saw his boyhood memorial in Indiana this year, thought I would stop in Springfield, IL to see Lincoln's tomb and the new museum that opened this year. Museum was okay, I did not care for some of the flare and side shows, was more interested in the relics from Lincoln himself which they had.
Stopped at for some lunch feed at the famed Cozy Dog's on the old route 66. Had a corn dog, first time since I can't remember when and it was not too bad.
Finally, shot the rest of the way down to the arch. Traffic was nuts through downtown, accidentally parked in the old cathedral parking lot. Feeling the guilt after I realized it, I went in a left a donation of 5 bucks
Did let me get an aerial view of the bike for 630 feet on top of the arch. The spec by that bus is my bike.
Ride up the arch was interesting....my with my mesh gear on and a little ripe stuffed in some men in black module with 4 other strangers
Finally stayed in Effingham, IL, and made a straight shot home on I-70 the final day. All I can say is I wish I had another 7 days off to continue my journey Will have to live with a few short weekend trips until next year