Author Topic: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector  (Read 1126 times)

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Offline fussball

Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« on: April 02, 2011, 01:59:05 pm »
Hi All,

I am building a cross country route from Hanover NH to Seattle WA. Most of the time we will be following the Northern Tier Route or the Lake Erie Connector.

There are two sections that I need to plan that will be off the ACA route: I plan to go from Marine City MI to Muskegon MI (instead of Ludington), and I plan to take the ferry to Milwaukee WI, and continue on to Minneapolis, MN.

I have browsed the LMB.org website for a route across Michigan. Right now, I may do the ACA route from Marine City to Bay City, and the LMB route from there on to Montague MI, but that is further north than I would like to go ideally.

I haven't done much for Wisconsin yet. I just ordered Wisconsin biking maps and I am waiting for those to determine my Milwaukee to Minneapolis route.

Does anyone have links to route that are already planned for those sections? I'd appreciate any input you could provide!

Thanks!

PS- we'll be riding from mid june to late july on a supported ride doing 100-120 miles a day.

Offline MIBIKER

Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 07:30:06 pm »
Also check out this web site www.michigantrails.org.  In July Michigan Trails and Greenway  offers a week long tour using  rail trails.  A few years ago they offer a tour that went trough part of the area you want to ride.  Ask if they might have a map left over.  They rode from west to east so you would have to use the map in reverse order.  Some of the towns they went though are Rockford (north of Grand Rapids), Edmore, St. Charles, Frankenmuth.  From Rockford you would ride back roads then get on another rail trail.   That trail will get you close to Muskegon. Good luck

Offline commuter

Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2011, 06:34:59 pm »
Hey there traveler
I did the route you are questioning last summer. I can't be of much help in Michigan because I was riding blind without maps once I left the Lake Erie Connector, but I did find Muskeogon. Anyway, once you cross the Lake to Wisconsin you may be interested in riding the rail trails across the state. The New Berlin trail starts in New Berlin,WI. duh! , which is a suburb of Milwaukee. It will take you to Waukesau. By following the signs through town you will find yourself at the beginning of the Glacial Drumlin Trail. This will take you to Cottage Grove just east of Madison. You will have to find your way through Madison to a town called Reedsburg or Reedsville ( about 75 miles). Here you will find the start of the 400 Mile Trail. The 400 runs into the Sparta/Elroy Trail in Elroy. At Sparta the trail heads straight into the LaCrosse Trail. Near LaCrosse veer north following the signs to the Great River Trail. This trail kind of ends in the middle of nowhere but you need to continue heading north finding Hwy 35. Continue north until a river crossing ( I think it is at Alma, WI) which will bring you into Wabasha, Minnesota. Head north on Hwy 61 and you will run into the Northern Tier Route 
Hope this helps and remember, you are never lost if it doesn't matter where you are.
Happy Trails

Offline fussball

Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 09:10:10 pm »
Thanks for the replies! commuter, you described my intended route through WI almost exactly! We'll be on road bikes with narrow slick tires, so I'm checking into the feasibility of the WI trails- it sounds like they are mostly screened limestone.

MIBIKER, I'll see what I can find on michigantrails.org. Thanks!

Offline commuter

Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 02:40:02 pm »
Hi
I rode the Sparta/Elroy trail several years ago on a Trek 5200 carbon fiber bike. I think I had 23c tires on it at the time. I made it without any problems. Wisconsin does a very good job of maintaining their trails. I was told that they run a machine over the trails every spring which is supposed to compact the dirt. Whatever they do the trails are in very good condition. Last summer I was on the Glacial/Drumlin trail the day after some high winds came through. There were a lot of huge trees down across the trail which made it very difficult. I had to lift my loaded touring bike up and crawl through and over the branches of the trees. About 2:00 PM that day I ran into a DNR truck on the trail. They had been working all day and had cleared the trail ahead of me. I guess what I'm saying is that even though they do a very good job with their trails, you still can run into issues. Also, by riding that many miles on hardpack you will probably have more flats with your thin walled skinny tires.
Good Luck      Steve

Offline jimbo

Re: Route Planning: Off the Lake Erie Connector
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2011, 07:46:27 pm »
Be sure to ignore the signs at the Sparta-Elroy tunnels that tell you not to ride in them. It's a thrill ..but do keep a headlamp on so no one else runs into you.  Just keep your eye on that needle of light at the other end.  I had no trouble with the surface with 28's. We rode the Root River Trails on the Minn side and they were nice, but that would not get you north.
JK