Yooper Loop
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 9192
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:08 pm quote
First off, I'll explain the title for non-Midwesterners. Yooper refers to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, otherwise known as the U.P. with residents nicknamed Yoopers. Credit goes to JKJ for that one.....

The entire ride encompassed both lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, Ontario and Wisconsin. This link should give a fairly decent overview: https://goo.gl/maps/r7Mp4QSsMzk

Anyway, after a family vacation last year, looking a twisty roads and great scenery, I fantasized riding it by scooter.....and so this winter started planning and invited a few friends to get a small group of riders to tackle it. JKJ, gitder and Madison Sully bit on my invitation (Bill Leuthold and son Sam were coming, but Bill got sidelined with some health issues and had to pull out at the last minute). Planned for 4 days, including the ferry.

Kraig/JKJ, Madison Sully and I met at my house, rode an hour or so up to the SS Badger ferry, actually on the National Register- a 70ish year old coal=burner that once transported railroad cars...with tracks still intact in the hold.

Despite being told we'd be first on, we had to wait in line with the cars- and even though we arrived at the designated time, there was already a huge line of cars that I was doubting would fit. They managed to, we got our scooters tied down and took off on the 4 hour lake crossing.

After disembarking late in the day, we rode to our overnight stop to spend the night.

Day two was a ride up Michigan's M-22, a great road that wove up the western coast adjacent to Lake Michigan. It was generally wooded and shady, with the big lake off to our left and frequent inland lakes to our right.

After a few stops, crossed the huge Mackinac bridge to the Upper Peninsula, for night two, with our room facing Lake Huron.

Next morning, we did a straight run up to Sault St. Marie, and their famous boat locks, with freighters over 1000 feet passing regularly. We decided to cross over into Ontario to see the smaller Canadian locks there up close and personal, and make the obligatory stop at Tim Hortons for breakfast. It was going to be a double header with poutine as well, but apparently the launch last year didn't go well. No expert here, but the guy at the locks told us that supposedly the best poutine is made with Quebecois cheese...or at least they say so... Back over the bridge....when things got a bit interesting. Gitder and I passed customs, and immediately after they put cones down and stopped all the lanes....leaving two of our group stranded for maybe 5 minutes. No idea why.

Off to ride along the southern shore of Lake Superior in light rain. Got a bit wet, but barely worth gearing up for, as the sun eventually came out and riding dried us off. Stopped at an old lighthouse, and worked our way westward, having to head south to avoid a long stretch of sandy gravel.

After returning to the shoreline, got onto a stretch of new asphalt, forested, curves one after another for miles. Heavenly....except for the setting sun in our eyes intermittently. Eventually made it to our last overnight.

The last day was a run home, about 250 miles. Long ride, but time to go home, and out of scenery and twisties.

All in all, odometer read 880 miles. I was informed it would be be less if it wasn't for all the U-turns.

Ferry line. Slow enough to duck walk scooters. Good workout, especially with an MP3

The beast

A small breakfast to start the day.....


Gotta mess around....



Outside of an antique shop...

Canadian locks....now pretty much outdated except for tours.

Ferry passenger. Built to look like the off road racers of a century ago.

Gitder starting on a long twisty stretch.

Mackinac Bridge

Nice mural.

Last edited by fledermaus on Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:02 am; edited 1 time in total
73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86,95,96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3616
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:56 pm quote
Nice pics! Had to dig out a map to look at the U.P. And trace your route.

Where did you catch the SS Badger ferry and where did it drop you off?
2016 Sprint S 150 (his), 2016 Sprint 150 Blu Gaiola (hers), 2006 GTS 250 Excalibur Gray (hers), 2006 GTS 250 Black (his), 2012 Kymco Downtown 200
Joined: 21 Oct 2016
Posts: 842
Location: Vermont
Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:59 am quote
Thank you the report and pictures. Took me back to when I was around 20 and looking at transferring to an engineering college and went to UP to look at a college. This was a trip with my father (PhD History) and a friend of his (PhD Geology) from Sault St. Marie. We toured the UP with me in the back seat listening to the history of the region and the geology of the region!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 9192
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:39 am quote
MJRally wrote:
Nice pics! Had to dig out a map to look at the U.P. And trace your route.

Where did you catch the SS Badger ferry and where did it drop you off?
Ferry loaded at Manitowoc on the Wisconsin side, unloaded in Ludington, Michigan.
GTS 250...Like 150i
Joined: 05 Mar 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Kenosha, WI
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:55 am quote
7/25_thur: Dave doesn't answer phone, ghosting Derrick when he arrived to meet the three other guys in Manitowoc. Stealthily, Derrick finds the guys at their lunch location - re-dialing Dave and letting him know he was busting in on their pre-trip party. On the ferry, Dave has troubles finding Kraig and Derrick who both wander off unannounced to different locations. Both are rounded up prior to de-boarding. The first overnight in Manistee was complicated by our late arrival at approx. 8:30. There were two restaurant options within walking distance. The first, TJ's, was pretty full and had a 30 minute wait. Feeling our chances would improve we wandered up the street to the brewery, where availability was not an issue. At issue was they were closing at 9 for special maintenance and we arrived around 9:05. So back to TJ's we went, where it took an hour to get seated as others glad jumped in line while we were off trying to jump the gun.

7/26_fri: A mini hurricane in Dave's room delayed his departure in the morning, apparently. Kraig ordered eggs and pancakes, which were some of the largest oversized samples we've ever witnessed. Picture does not do it justice.

The café is in an old railroad depot, where the first room we were in was where trains would pass through on the tracks.

During breakfast Derrick becomes under appreciated as a coffee aficionado, but wins carb contest (some issue with the amount of sugar used, but unclear what the issue was).

After breakfast finds us looking for route 22, but in the topsy turvy world of ours somehow going south on it is the new north. After a bit a u-turn is executed and we are on our way north to Frankfort.

We park near the lighthouse in Frankfort, where Kraig waives his right to see the light. Thereafter we continue north to Leland, previously known as a thriving fishing town. Some of that history rubbed off, as Kraig, Robert and Derrick had to go old school fishing in Leland to find Dave who swam away from the group unescorted. Before leaving Leland Dave picks picks up an extra route 21 sticker to improve his memory skills (he forgot Derrick isn't in to stickers).

Next POI was a brief drive thru of downtown Traverse City before heading into the great northern tunnel of trees, where Derrick made himself at home on the roadside while traveling 30mph.

Emerging otherwise unscathed from the tunnel we are transported back in time to the early 1900's where a polish gentleman built Leggs Inn, a restaurant which is a sprawling artistic homage to woodworking and imagination.

Continuing on we passed thru Charlevoix and viewed the magical mushroom houses.

Our final stop has us arriving in St. Ignacie at K Royale motel where we have views like royalty of Lake Michigan. Upon arrival, however, the mini hurricane followed us, only to Dave and Roberts room strangely, and reeked havoc by removing the headboard from its fixings and leaving it somewhere strewn around the room ending as a leanto rather than attached fixture.

For dinner we passed getting seated at Bentleys cafe for pastys, only to outsmart ourselves as karma figured it would be more authentic to continue waiting an only half an hour when we went to Gang Plank for an all fresco fish experience. While waiting we had a polite conversation with two Harley couples, who highly recommended we visit a deer sanctuary. Yeah ok.

7/27_sat: D&K enjoy breakfast on the balcony while Dave and Robert wait like scolded pups by the bikes. NO breakfast for them! After an aborted stop for apricots we head to Canada, stopping at Tim Norton's for a belated breakfast for the poor boys, where we are double warned first for parking within the wrong lines and then of impending helmet doom by the friendly Tim's assistant. Lesson - don't leave your helmet on your bike in Canada. Apparently.

While at Timmy H's we got intimidated by the old school ruffian packing cigs in his arm sleeve. But also were greeted warmly by a local boy and two grams who upon leaving swarmed around Roberts bike with many happy smiles. Prior to heading out Dave started an argument amongst some old timers in the restaurant about the best route to the locks. Not that we needed directions, you know, because of GPS these days and everything, but hey Dave got to talk to old timers!

The day included stopping at Sault St. Marie...twice. First we visited with an empty parking lot in Canada, checked that the lock was operating correctly, then some had an argument about poutain-ite or something ridiculous. Someone (Dave, maybe Robert?) couldn't just buy souvenirs and quietly exit like a good tourist. Unconfirmed reports suggest someone's misbehavior was reported to border security agents, as after Dave and Derrick pass through the border, all lanes leaving Canada are closed, leaving Kraig and Robert to sweat it out (literally, it was around 90 degrees sitting in the sun). The border agents all had a nice laugh and offered to take Derrick out to lunch when they reminded him that no pictures were allowed, but he politely declined and put his camera away. Thankfully no evidence exists of the clandestine recording of the border closing. Perhaps 15 minutes later the lanes were re-opened and Robert and Kraig quickly left without looking back over their shoulders to see who may have been following.

The second visit to Sault St. Marie had us circle through town and around again before parking next to our two wheeled brothers, i.e. a big Harley group, which tried to stare us down but as usual we owned our space.

On the U.S. side we found more locks were operating and one of us found a nice gift for a loved one - totally to Roberts chagrin as he was left waiting an additional 20 minutes after waiting 20 minutes in an air conditioned establishment (yeah not too sorry Robert).

Leaving the Sault's behind we made a mad dash to the Iroquois lighthouse as the rain started. Got bundled up a little later, although heavy rain held off and it was over shortly. Lunch in Paradise had us waiting for a table again, but just then minutes, if that. And then, drum roll please, it was poutine paradise! Popped the virgin bubble for each if us - except Dave who had a Canadian experience but we all know that what happens over the border is done in a different language where its potieneue or something like that.

Meandered over to Grand Marnier for an ice cream and a view of the pickle barrel house. Before leaving had the unique and unexpected experience at the 'grand central' gas station where we had to wait an especially long time both for filling and for paying. Riding the 58 to Munising to finish the day was a beautiful meandering road. Kraig liked it so much he decided to do it in slow motion. But he got the last laugh as he found the way to town around the detour faster than the group did. We don't know if it was because he was blinded from the ride to town or if he followed a premonition, but he nailed it.

Until Munising we've had the pleasure of staying in town. Here we stayed five miles outside of town. Robert was so mad he refused to go swimming.

Deciding on dinner had Robert and Derrick choosing the Dog Patch, with all looking forward to good food and drinks. As it was a family restaurant with many children and not so much beer we re-grouped and headed to Shooters across the street, the local brew pub. As Robert and Derrick were so in touch with each others thoughts this evening they shared a meat lovers pizza - you know the type all meat lovers love to share - not that there's anything wrong with that. Dave and Kraig did their own thing. Didn't share either. Reflecting upon the three days of riding Dave received confirmation that his carbon footprint was lacking due to excessive use if u-turn maneuvers.

7/28_sun: Dave lost his phone charger then started to lose his marbles as he got drowsy on the ride down to Marinette, WI. Group parted ways on good terms, making plans to ride together again at Wisconscoot in August.

Kraig's giant pancakes

train pass through room

mushroom house

Legg's Inn

Legg's Inn

K Royale front view

K Royale back view

old school ruffian (cigs in shirt sleeve)

canadian lock

iroquois lighthouse

pickel barrel

dog patch family restaurant

brewery - where good pizza sharing happens

Dave - looking for something?

poutain recipe

busted on the border

Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 9192
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:36 am quote
Quite the write-up Derrick. I think we need to nominate you group stenographer!

You know, I still don't know how to get my phone answered when it's locked. My previous Samsung was a breeze. Kinda frustrating to get a call you want and not be able to answer. You do have pretty amazing locating skills...wondering if you chipped my scooter some time in the past.

BTW, to explain that ferry event....Kraig ducked off early before we settled in, but gitder simply moved from our table to a more comfortable padded seat in a lounge area THIRTY FEET AWAY. I walked the entire ship TWICE and never saw him. The whole time I could have stood up and seen him from my position.

Last edited by fledermaus on Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:37 am; edited 1 time in total
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 6017
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:34 pm quote
Entirely accurate, both accounts.

Seriously, nice write-ups, and my thanks for a super trip.
I'm looking forward to Wisconscoot for sure!
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1723
Location: Minneapolis USA
Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:10 pm quote
Thanks for the Ride Report
I wondered where that wily Kraig Jones ran off to. He usually joins
our Minn-Max extended ride. While you guys were running the Upper
Penn we were riding Lake Superior from the West side by Duluth.

I do want to take that long ferry ride on the Badger. Your route must have been
beautiful. In my experience, the smaller group rides are a great format because it gives you more flexibility.

Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

Bob Copeland
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
Posts: 2868
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:06 am quote
So this was not a Weight Watchers approved ride?

Looks like a grand, properly midwestern (sane, no blood, no tears or drunken brawls etc.) trip!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 9192
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:48 am quote
tdrake wrote:
So this was not a Weight Watchers approved ride?

Looks like a grand, properly midwestern (sane, no blood, no tears or drunken brawls etc.) trip!
Well, TBH, it was a rather calorically-sane trip, other than that breakfast and the MOUNDS of poutine that arrived at our table near the end of the trip.

Started most days with rather sad free hotel breakfasts.....

Midwestern indeed, despite my concerted attempt to bring in some furriners...
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