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My wife was looking at our road atlas this evening, we color in all the states we have visited (by any means of transportation, not just the bike), and we started talking about where we haven't been. I was looking at Washington DC and that area and made the comment that we probably wouldn't make it to the New England area on the bike for quite some time. We've already been there twice- flew in both times. She started calculating mileage in her head and decided to try Lake Michigan instead. So now she is planning a trip on the bike for the Circle Tour... in 2012! She did a little reading and decided it should be a fall ride, around the end of Sept. or early Oct. Is this a good time? The other option would be late spring, possibly May or so. Interested in any thoughts\ experiences on the subject.
 

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She did a little reading and decided it should be a fall ride, around the end of Sept. or early Oct. Is this a good time? The other option would be late spring, possibly May or so..
I think late September/early October would be a great time. Even down to the 3 week of October. The fall foliage should be developing real nicely about that time in upper Wisconsin and Michigan. Weather should still be holding up pretty well.
 

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Circle tour

I agree that it would be a great time, but you need heated gear and the best rain gear if you get unlucky with the weather. It very easily could be nice, but it could be an awful time to ride a moto too. It is the correct time for a color tour, but I live here and I can't tell you within a 2 week period when the peak will be. You didn't say how much time you have to do this, but if you can, I would suggest that you look for a good weather window around that time and do it on short notice. Traffic should be light and accomadations easy and on sale. The exception will be if you hit it perfect. Every leaf-peeper in the north will be out then, but it will still be worth it.

Richard
 

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Sept. or Oct. is a great time. West side of MI is fun to ride. Another plus is one of the Ferry's across Lake Michagan is running a special ....Motorcycles are free with paid adult fee. http://www.lake-express.com/pricing/index.aspx

I personally have not taken the Lake Express, but have had many friends take this ferry......fast and a good time. We have traveled on the SS Badger across the big Lake. Crossing on the Badger is around 4 Hours.

The ferry crossing IMO is the way to go. That way you don't have to ride around the most southern part of Lake Michigan.........Bad road, lots of traffic, riding through northern Indana, not too exciting and Chicago....did I say Chicago.

If you take the ferry you can save the better part of a days ride. Get a room and enjoy some of the nicer roads in MI or WI.

Great trip to do........... have fun and be safe.
\
Lee
 

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Last summer, in late July, when the temperatures in VA were upper 90's, a buddy and I did what we called "The Great Lakes Ride". You're in LA, so it'd be longer for you, of course, but from VA, we went up through OH, across IN, into MI, up the west coast of MI, and seeing Lake Michigan.

We spent an extra day in Traverse City, continued up the west coast, across the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Penninsula, up to Whitefish Point (the Shipwreck Museum) on the shore of Lake Superior. The temperatures throughout Michigan were superb and refreshing: mid/upper 70's. Ahhhh!

We backtracked back across the Mackinac Bridge (40mph winds) and then down the east coast of MI, taking in Lake Huron on the way. We crossed into Canada at Port Huron, went across ONT to Niagara Falls where we took in the falls and a short trip north to see Lake Ontario.

We headed south, through Buffalo and down the shores of Lake Erie. From there, we shot south and home.

I forget the mileage, but think it was about 2300 in 8 days. You'd have to add at least three days for extra travel from LA, but this trip would definitely color in your US states map.

It was a great ride and a perfect break from the summer heat. Before we hit Michigan and got relief, I think it was 97 degrees in Richmond, IN at an overnight stop. I put my puck under my sidestand and covered my bike for the night. When I uncovered my bike, I had to pick my puck out of a half-inch indentation in the asphalt!

Have fun planning it. For me, that's half the enjoyment.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. My wife really enjoys planning trips and will spend 6 months doing this one I'm sure. She will know every 'must see' site in the area (already knows several), and will have an itenerary planned out with a couple of days buffer in case we really like something we see. The trip around the lake is just under 1,000 miles for the route we are currently looking at, and it's almost 1,000 miles to and from the starting points. We did 3300 miles on our trip to Big Bend this spring so it's easily do-able for us. Weather is always a concern but we have to bite the bullet and pick a date due to vacation issues at work. We should have either 9 or 10 days available for the trip.
My wife also likes to watch the online booking sites and pick a low spot in the rates and book them then. That has saved us a ton of money in the past. We went to Japan a couple of years ago and she saved us $650 per ticket (x 3) with that strategy. I'm sure I will chime in with more questions as we go along. That's what I like about this forum, you can get 'local' knowledge from a thousand miles away, can't beat it!
 

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I've been to Sault Ste. Marie, MI, Marquette, MI, Duluth, and Grand Marais, MN, and Milwaukee, WI several times with a truck and fifth wheel but never in the area by motorcycle.

I'm seriously considering a trip either around Lake Michigan or Lake Superior late this month or in August.

I'm assuming I can expect good weather. Is that probably correct?

How about lodging along the lake(s)? Is lodging likely to be a challenge without a firm plan and reservations?

Any advice will be appreciated.
 

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Check out www.uptravel.com
A great book about the U. P. Of Michigan.
Also the 2 ferrys are great for crossing Lake Michigan.
There is nothing to see on the south end of the lake.
We take either one, just depends how fast we want to get across.

High Speed from Milwaukee, Wi to Muskigon, Mi (or Mi to Wi), is 2 hour trip.
Motorcycles travel free, May and June then again Sept and Oct.

The SS Badger is a 4 hour crossing form Manitowoc, Wi to Lundington, Mi (or Mi to Wis).
This one will get you up the 2 states about 60 miles.

Both are fun with more to do on the Badger.
 

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Thanks to both of you who posted suggestions.

I opened and saved both websites and will be looking them over.
 

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Up cruising

Heres an alternate. We did the lake Huron tour last week. It was great. We entered Canada @ Sarnia rode the ferry (Chi-chimon) across at Tobomorie up to the manatolin islands to Espanola then into the Sioux. Canada is expensive so be prepared. Anywhere in the UP is great curising...

I offer no guarantee as to the accuracy of the spelling of the Canadian words...
 

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spellin

LOL, I live here and deal with them all of the time (Charlevoix). The towns on both sides of the border are spelled Sault Saint Marie. Many are French (both of these examples) because of the early fur traders and missionaries. Mainly eastern tribes, Ojibway, Ontanogon, Odawa (Ottawa), and others. Many of the towns and counties are named for them, and all of the casinos. Really good suggestions about the ferrys across Lk Michigan, and I may ck into the one from Muskegon myself, for the next time I go west. I've done the trip around Lake superior and loved it. Great road and a little more remote atmosphere. For the Lake Superior Circle Tour there is a good websight too.

Richard
 

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I circled Lake Michigan last September. When I left east Tennessee it was 94 degrees and I was putting on my heated clothes in Green Bay. Stayed the night in Ludington. Neat little town. Went to the Harley museum and walked around Chicago. Beautiful city for taking photos. One of my better trips. :cool::cool:
 

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I lead a group around it every year at the end of August or beginning of September. We make a long weekend of it and do about 1200 miles in 3.5 days, all in the daylight. We miss the colors by doing it earlier in the fall, but we get a lot more daylight and people I ride with usually can't take a week or two off from work to do it.

You can see last years ride report here: http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257830
 
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