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Thread: Lake Michigan Circle/Loop Tour

  1. #1

    Lake Michigan Circle/Loop Tour

    Hey all,

    I'm new to the OA, primarily in anticipation of this upcoming event: a Lake Michigan circle or loop tour. My brother in law and I will be heading out from the part that everyone seems to hate the most, Chicago. We'll be going counterclockwise, ripping through northern Indiana first and coming north through Michigan. Planning for a return on day 4, about 250 miles per day, plus side trips/diversions/etc. Planning to do at least 1 night camping, 2 if needed (and availability of preferred areas). This will be in mid-July.

    So my request is for any particular sights, roads, places to stay, places to eat, etc., from any locals or those who may have done it before. I'm on a 2000 R11RS, he's on an 1100 cruiser, so no off roading (at least on purpose.) Just had some engine work and brakes done prior to hitting 36k miles (not to mention the freaking HES replaced), will be doing my fluid changes next week.

    I've been searching the forums for some recommendations, but thought I'd post this as well for more up to date info.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Lake Michigan Circle

    A lot of the Lake Michigan shoreline old industrial areas or populated areas so travel is slow lots of traffic control
    North of harbor springs route 119 is a don't miss work on up the shore wilderness state park nice lots of good stuff both ends of the mackinaw bridge rumor has it crossing the mighty mac on a windy day very memorable. In the upper peninsula it is hard to go wrong Tahoquamenon falls state park very worth while detour to prep for this read song of Hiawatha and listen to the song running bear (poor little white dove)back to Lake Michigan good to Green Bay door county south of that not so much fun think I would do a half circle tour start at Holland Michigan end Door county Wisconsin

  3. #3
    Thank you for the input!
    Definitely interested in Tahoquamenon falls state park - hadn't come across that yet, and the love that old lore stuff.
    Will definitely check out your other recommendations and see how it all fits the itinerary.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    You might take a ride through the "Tunnel of Trees" on the west side of the Lower Peninsula. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-119_(Michigan_highway) Also, up in that area is the "Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore." Very nice place. See: https://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm

    I've been to both and they're well worth the trip.

    Here's a photo taken along the "Tunnel of Trees:"

    DSC_3505.jpg

    And another from the UP side of the Mackinac Bridge:

    DSC_3519.jpg

    I crossed on a windy day, and it was no problem. Just keep your shoulders and elbows loose.

    Have fun, and welcome to the MOA Forums!
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  5. #5
    Thanks, [https://forums.bmwmoa.org/member.php?40457-ExGMan], Tunnel of Trees is definitely on the "must do" list. And thanks for the advice on the bridge, I've dealt with high crosswinds before, but there's usually more space around, I'll just have to keep it loose. Sleeping Bear is likely to be a drive through, we'll be in the UP for night 2, so I hope to be OTR for that stuff near sunrise, and hopefully catch the Bridge early as well.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankjr View Post
    Thanks, [https://forums.bmwmoa.org/member.php?40457-ExGMan], Tunnel of Trees is definitely on the "must do" list. And thanks for the advice on the bridge, I've dealt with high crosswinds before, but there's usually more space around, I'll just have to keep it loose. Sleeping Bear is likely to be a drive through, we'll be in the UP for night 2, so I hope to be OTR for that stuff near sunrise, and hopefully catch the Bridge early as well.

    Thanks again!
    Glad to help. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a fee-entry area, similar to a National Park. As to driving through, you won't see much from the road, as I recall and it's not a cheap entry fee. There's a point where you could park the bike, walk to the top of the dune and regard the amazing sight below. Here's are samples of the view. The first shows dunes with folks walking on them...and the second eliminates people.

    DSC_1579.jpg

    DSC_1580.jpg

    In my Aerostich jacket and boots I decided not to attempt a dune trip.

    I hope you have good weather and again, Have Fun!
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  7. #7
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankjr View Post
    Definitely interested in Tahoquamenon falls state park -
    Last year we stopped at the falls on our Lake Superior Circle Tour.

    Here's the Upper Falls.
    Upper Falls, UP (1).jpg

    Upper Falls (2).jpg

    Lower Falls
    Lower Falls, UP (2).jpg
    Last edited by Lee; 06-11-2017 at 10:39 PM.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
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    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  8. #8
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    While you're in the area of the falls you may want to visit Whitefish Point Light and Point Iroquois Light on Lake Superior.

    Whitefish Point Light UP (2).jpg


    Point Iroquois Light UP (1).jpg
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ExGMan View Post
    Glad to help. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a fee-entry area, similar to a National Park. As to driving through, you won't see much from the road, as I recall and it's not a cheap entry fee.'
    Very good to know; may just take the walk. Or, find more interesting roads!

  10. #10
    Registered User MUNMI's Avatar
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    A fun dining stop is Boondocks in Glen Arbor, west of Traverse City along Lake Michigan. Very easy find along M-22. Another frequent stop along M119 (Tunnel of Trees) is the Good Hart General Store. Then continue north to to Cross Village and stop at Legg's Inn for lunch or dinner or dessert
    Scott
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MUNMI View Post
    A fun dining stop is Boondocks in Glen Arbor, west of Traverse City along Lake Michigan. Very easy find along M-22. Another frequent stop along M119 (Tunnel of Trees) is the Good Hart General Store. Then continue north to to Cross Village and stop at Legg's Inn for lunch or dinner or dessert
    Thanks! Will add these to the list!

  12. #12
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    Going to be doing the Around Lake Michigan Tour in mid September over 6 days with 3 other friends. We will be going clockwise meeting up in downtown Chicago and heading up Lakeshore Drive and then along Sheridan Road. Probably be slow going through Chicago and into Wisconsin but hoping to stay as close to the Lake as possible and avoid the Tollway and Interstate. Lunch in Milwaukee at the Harley Museum, no Harley riders in group, but will be in Milwaukee at lunch time, so why not. Some recent changes to route have us heading away from Lake Michigan after Milwaukee to ride through Kettle Moraine area and maybe a quick stop at Road America. We will head back towards the Lake and spend the night around Sturgeon Bay as the gateway to Door County.

    We plan to take it easy on day two and ride around Door County and take the ferry to Washington Island. We have the entire day to ride some backroads and stop and see the sights and find some good food in Door County. Will head to Green Bay, WI for overnight before riding around the UP of Michigan.

    Day three and we will ride west to east across the UP with our goal of crossing the Big Mack bridge at the end of the day. Never been up to this area, may deviate from the direct route if we making good time and will get to the bridge before darkness. Will be staying around Mackinaw City on third night.

    On day 4 will ride the tunnel of trees M119 and try and hug the coast as close as we can working from Macinaw City to Charlevoix and Traverse City. Looking to make Ludington at end of day but may only get to Traverse City depending on riding and stops. We are keeping last couple nights flexible.

    Day 5 and we are looking to have a partial day at Silver Lake State Park, maybe rent a jeep and ride the sand dunes.

    The last day we will head back towards Chicago, probably splitting off at Sound Bend as we are from IL, IN and OH. Last spring we did the western side of Michigan along Lake Michigan so won't be dong much sightseeing along this portion. Mostly follow the Red Arrow Highway and Blue Star Highway. There is a nice section of road, Lake Shore Drive, from Grand Haven to Holland, MI that we will probably try and ride again as we found it to be a nice road near the Lake with some nice homes and newly paved road.

    I've tried to integrate as many recommended roads along our route as I could find from other rider's recommendations that I have found online as well as scouting out roads on Google Street View to give us an idea of what to expect. Our one goal was to avoid as much of the Superhighway/Interstates as possible and stick to state roads, county roads and back roads. We'll see how it goes next month.
    2014 BMW C650T
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