Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Routes => Topic started by: jwrushman on July 08, 2020, 05:45:15 pm

Title: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: jwrushman on July 08, 2020, 05:45:15 pm
I was looking at the ACA overview map, thinking about loops I'd like to take, and wondered if people have done routes around Lake Huron and Lake Superior.  I did a car trip with my family (50-ish years ago) around Lake Superior.  Roads were a little rough then.  I wonder if ACA is considering venturing north.  Except for the short stretches near Lake Erie and Glacier, it seems to me that ACA's focus is US only.  I think I'll check out CGOAB...
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: John Nettles on July 08, 2020, 06:04:32 pm
I think I'll check out CGOAB...

That is what I was going to suggest.  I believe lots of people have but then it might be hard to qualify "Route around the Great Lakes" as some may take that to mean you have to circumnavigate all the the Great Lakes while others might just think a route that meanders between and near the general Great Lake area.

Hope you have a great tour!  John
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: trek520touring on July 08, 2020, 06:12:19 pm
Check out USBR41  it covers north side to grand portage .

I hope this helps
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: canalligators on July 11, 2020, 10:32:27 pm
Were you asking about routes around individual lakes, or a big loop around them all?  I once considered making a big loop around all the lakes and was astounded to find that you were looking at close to 3,000 miles.  Then I figured if I was going to ride that far, I'd rather it be a C2C.

I circled Ontario.  Others have circled many of the lakes, check CGOAB.  One rider who has gone inactive, Jamie Noble, rode two or three of the lakes.  I think that Rich Haubert has also circled a number of the lakes.

One sticking point is Ontario Hwy. 17 on the north side of Lake Huron.  It is the only route (close to the lake) and was notorious for heavy traffic and no paved shoulders.  Ontario MOT did announce they were taking an initiative to improve cycling infrastructure, so that situation may be better.  But Ontario generally has a lot of rural provincial and regional highways with no paved shoulders.  Research it carefully.  Oh, MapArt makes a good series of maps that include all local roads for a lot of Canada.
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: mafranklin on September 12, 2020, 02:21:04 am
Just completed a loop around Lake Michigan. Created my own route using existing trails (paved & gravel), USBRS routes, and ACA's North Lakes route and connected them all together using Strava's Heat Maps. Great 1100 mile and 2 week adventure!

Here is the RidewithGPS route:

Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: John Nettles on September 12, 2020, 10:28:04 am
Welcome to the ACA Forums and I am glad you enjoyed the ride!  Curious, how was the traffic between Marinette and Escanaba?  I have heard other reports it was not that enjoyable.  And how was your last day in regards to traffic?

Tailwinds, John 
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: jwrushman on September 12, 2020, 03:04:01 pm
Looks like a great trip!  Any highlights you'd like to comment on?  Many coronavirus issues?  With the mileage you covered, it doesn't look like you did much site seeing, even on Mackinaw.
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: mafranklin on September 14, 2020, 03:55:37 am
John Nettles
- Thank you!
- Between Marinette and Escanaba there was a lot of traffic, though I felt very comfortable with the space we had on the shoulder.
- As for the last day from Warren Dunes in MI and south across IN to IL, traffic was not bad. Intitially when you leave Warren Dunes in MI and head south on USBRS 35 there is construction on the Red Arrow Highway currently. Some sections are down from 4 lanes to two lanes. Some sections of USBRS in this area do not have a paved shoulder to the right of the white line, so you are forced to ride to the left of the white line. Living in the Chicago area and riding in Southern MI and Northern IN for years, I was already familiar with the shoulder issue with USBRS 35. Since this was the last day of our trip, and also a Sunday (traffic light on Sat/Sun mornings), we left camp early in the morning and there was no real traffic on USBRS and we felt very comfortable on the route. I personally know the local paved bike routes in the area and could have extended the miles to stay off of the Red Arrow Highway - but it was the weekend and early morning, so went with it. Lastly, after that the route is nearly all rail trails (Prairie Duneland, Oak Savannah, and Erie Lackawanna) across IN and then bike lanes leading into Chicago connecting the the Lakefront Path.

- Thank you to you also!
- This trip was a different tour for us. The three of us live in the Midwest and two of us grew up here (one in IL and the other in MI). We have been to many destinations for vacations whether cycling or not across WI, MI, IN, and IL. With regards to Mackinac Island, we had all been there before, so we were just connecting with our bikes on the ferries and riding around the island. We did spend a couple hours there with the 8.2 miles around the island, resting, some ice cream, etc... So again back to my previous statement that this trip was different for us. We decided to go around Lake Michigan and stick to nature, biking, and hiking - and to avoid anything indoors or where crowds were likely to be (our COVID precautions). This is why all but one of our nights was in state parks, national forests, county parks. We hiked a bit after arriving at each campsite, sometimes swimming, lounging on the beaches, watching sunrises and sunsets.
- We took COVID precautions designing this trip to be more about nature and outdoors. We also cooked at camp for both breakfast and dinner on the majority of days, instead of restaurants or eating out. During the day while riding, rest and lunch stops were ordered takeout. Lunches were often spent on benches, picnic tables, and often curbs behind businesses. The only COVID-specific recommendations I would make are specific to Mackinaw Island as it was the only place I could not wait to depart: 1) Get in line early for the ferry that way you can ensure you have a seat on the top outdoor deck and not the bottom indoor deck(s). The boats were packed full! Everyone was required and did wear a mask. 2) Get out of the Mackinaw Island downtown area after you get of the ferry. The downtown was swarmed with people, I felt uncomfortable, and moved out of there quickly. There were quite a number of people in the crowds without masks.

- Lastly, as the Lake Michigan levels continue to rise, there was flooding and locations where traffic was down to one lane with temporary traffic lights set up as well as temporary levees and huge pumps to remove water off the road and back into the lake. This was all in MI so check MDOT for alerts so you are not surprised.
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: mafranklin on September 14, 2020, 04:29:31 am
The highlight of the trip was disconnecting and enjoying the outdoors, nature, and exploring the national, state, and county parks. We made it a point to take note of each sunrise and sunset over Lake Michigan (missed only a few as a result of storms).

The biggest highlight was Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! Every place was wonderful, this place was just amazing.
Title: Re: Route around the Great Lakes
Post by: on March 16, 2021, 04:00:09 pm
Thanks for posting mafranklin.

I am considering doing this trip in 2022 and appreciate your sharing your RideWithGPS route.