The Keweenaw Peninsula juts into Lake Superior, so much so that latitudinally the tip is halfway across the lake. It's historically famous for it's huge copper reserves, first exploited by Native Americans, commercial mining came in in the later 1800s bringing large numbers of Italian, Finnish and Welsh immigrants to work the mines. I plotted out about 750 miles of riding, and when I invited MVer Ken who summers in northern Wisconsin, he in turn invited our posse to overnight at his lake house. Offer accepted!
I met two of our group riding up from Milwaukee, and we proceeded on to Ken's house arriving a bit late after relaxing more than expected (I blame the Mexican restaurant we had lunch at for lulling is into complacency), but in plenty of time for a pontoon cruise of the lake. Kraig (JKJ-FJ6) meanwhile rode over from Minneapolis...longer ride, but at least he stayed on schedule. My bit was around 220 or so miles. Ride was pretty uneventful, though we did pass ginseng fields that I'd never seen before. My CEL came on which was a little unnerving, but after a brief discussion with my friends decided to ignore it (almost certain I'd dealt with a bit of that last year) and motor on.
After our reunion and lake cruise (complete with a loon and bald eagle), enjoyed a great dinner and went off to our beds.
Day 2 had us heading north to Copper Harbor through National and State Forest land, and the southern edge of the Porcupine Mountains State Wilderness in Northern Michigan, hugging the shore of Lake Superior. Route was about 230 miles. All went well at the start, got to Porcupine Mountains with a rest stop at a small river crossing. The road through the Porkies was something else, however. Generally okay surface, but then some nasty potholes/bumps/whatever that surprised us, got Ken airborne and killed his engine (which restarted and ran fine after a minute). I had a moment of panic when my phone came out of the holder (that I thought was amazingly secure so didn't use the rubber tether) and landed between my feet at 40+ mph. What we didn't know at that time was that Kraig had hit a bump as well. After the bumps, we saw signs for "loose rocks."
We finished with the Porkies segment, arriving at Lake Superior where the road ran along the shore for some miles. Stopped in the small city of Ontanagon for lunch, which, in true Yooper fashion offered pasties (as well as a $100 10 pasty cooler option to take home). Rode on to Houghton at the base of the peninsula, just got into town when a couple of our guys went missing (seems like every time I don't look in the mirror obsessively I lose people )
Eventually we all wound up going back to look...I was working through possible scenarios and without communication from the guys we sent back to check, I was half expecting to see flashing red lights as I came over the rise. Fortunately it wasn't that bad, but major rear drive issues was problematic. Bits of metal falling out was pretty ominous. We spent a few hours waiting to see what could be done (200 miles from the closest dealer limited options). Eventually Kraig went for a UHaul van to get him and the scooter home. We'd sent a couple of guys north to secure the rooms, got the ailing Beverly into the box truck and the remaining two of us scooted off into the sunset.
Despite the challenging day, the last miles were on a narrow, winding, hilly road, mostly covered by trees, with ZERO traffic. We took advantage. Arrived to find the others settled in, found a restaurant that was still open, and relaxed, finally. Copper Harbor has a couple of long islands that protect the harbor. Usually Superior is at least a little wild (Lake is a bit of a misnomer-it took down the thousand foot freighter Edmond Fitzgerald) but it was amazingly quiet, almost glass-like in the harbor.
Our motel was less than impressive, though the rooms were actually quite clean and functional. Off for breakfast the next day, and, courtesy of Canada's smoke exports, visibility was horrid and we passed by a scenic elevated drive that would have had great panoramas of the lake. Not to be had this trip. We rode south sans Kraig making good time for a late lunch near Ken's place. Our Milwaukee contingent had been discussing the next day's weather, which included possible thunderstorms, so at lunch we wound up telling Ken we wouldn't be enjoying his hospitality, instead making a run for it to avoid the storms. We kept moving with the occasional stop for gas, and, as it turned out the random drawbridge. The guys split off in my town, and luckily for them their route avoided the railroad crossing that stopped me. I stepped off to stretch and look at the train and was tired enough I didn't secure the sidestand and nearly dropped the bike. Made it home with about 325 miles for the day. It was around 90 and humid....I was convinced I had left my jeans on under my mesh riding pants.
Overall, still a good trip, though I doubt Kraig would quite agree. If weather cooperated and we'd avoided bumps, I think it would have made a great ride. The mileage would have been better over 4 days, perhaps even five. Maybe next time.
⚠️ Last edited by fledermaus on UTC; edited 1 time