A Travellerspoint blog

July 2011 - Motorcycle trip through the Upper Peninsula

1500 miles in 5 days!

sunny 70 °F

Wednesday, July 6: We had breakfast at our favorite restaurant in town, The Feedbag Cafe, before hitting the road. Took 127/75 across the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula. Stopped for lunch at THE BEST pasty shop - Lehto's - on Rte. 2 outside St. Ignace. We ate the pasty outside while we visited with the owner. All along the way we saw these purple, triangular "things" hanging in the trees. Didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason to them, but we really wanted to know what they were. We arrived around 5:00 at the Superior Motel in Munising, unloaded the bike and headed to the Pictured Rocks office to get tickets for the sunset cruise. We then headed over to have dinner at Dogpatch - rainbow trout. Finished with time to spare and headed over to the boat dock, taking some time to look through the gift shop before boarding our boat - Miss Superior - for the 7:30 cruise. The beautiful sunset really brought out the colors of the rock formations - absolutely gorgeous. We started out sitting on the upper deck outside but it was chilly so we went inside. I plan on uploading pictures soon. We returned to the hotel and promptly passed out!

Thursday, July 7: Had breakfast at The Navigator in Munising. Good food, but they were short a waitress so it was a longer wait than usual. Ran into a little bit of rain outside Marquette so had to stop and put on the rain suits for a while. Saw one ship in the bay - most likely a saltwater vessel. As we were riding, we saw a strange looking vehicle - turned out to be the Google Street Maps car, taking footage for the website! Crossed into the Keweenaw, taking the western route along Lake Superior starting at Eagle River. Stopped at the Jam Pot for some baked goods (http://www.societystjohn.com/store/) and preserves. It's not a trip to the Keweenaw without stopping there! Best fruitcake you'll ever eat! Stopped for a bit at Jacob Falls next to the bakery. Ken filled our water bottle with some of the best tasting spring water around. Continued on to Eagle Harbor, then opted for the Brockway Mountain Drive, stopping at the gift shop at the summit. Bought myself a silver/malachite ring and something special for my daughter. Saw another ship out in the lake - may have been the same one from earlier on its way to Duluth. Continued on to Copper Harbor, stopped for a few at the Fanny Hooe Falls then had a wonder planked whitefish dinner at The Harbor Haus. Saw another ship on the lake. Continued on to our accomodations for the night at the Freda Cliffs Bed & Breakfast in Freda on the cliffs over Lake Superior. A bargain at $60 per night, the home is owned by an older man named Clyde Durocher. He turned the century old house into a 3 room inn. Not your typical, expensive B&B with a spa and masseuse, but very nice, clean and comfortable. Clyde is great to talk to. He cooks for 3 frat houses at Michigan Tech during the week, and bakes his own bread and makes his own jam for his guests. After we unpacked we took a walk to try and find the beach. On the way we ran into a dismantled copper mill, which was quite interesting to explore. We never did make it to the beach, but did learn from Clyde that it ceased operating in the 70's and has been left abandoned since. Pictures to come! We saw one ship out on the lake, and the lights of another after dark. It rained after we got back, and the sound of the rain promptly put us to sleep.

Friday, July 8: Woke up early to coffee, fresh fruit, and a full breakfast cooked to order by Clyde. His homemade bread and jams were fabulous. I would highly recommend this inn to anyone travelling to the Keweenaw - we will definitely be staying there again! The day started out quite chilly, so full gloves and jackets were worn. Saw a lot of deer and turtles on our travels, as well as more of the purple things in the trees. We have a TomTom GPS that has the voice of Homer Simpson, so we have nicknamed the GPS Homer (for future reference!) Homer took us the wrong way, which actually turned out to be a good thing, as we were able to see Agate Falls, which were beautiful. There were also some wild roses growing beside the path - the most fragrant roses I've ever smelled. We got back on track and stopped in Ontonagon so I could see the lighthouse there. It was super foggy that morning, so I couldn't see it very well but took a picture anyway. We had lunch at The Foothills in Silver City, just before the Porcupine Mountains. Upon entering the national forest, there was a sign at the entrance that informed us about the Emerald Ash Borer - and the purple things were traps for them! Mystery solved!! Drove thru the Porcuping Mountains along beautiful Lake Superior, and arrived at the entrance to the Lake of the Clouds. Parked next to another motorcycle that was completely decorated with Warner Brothers cartoon characters, particularly Marvin the Martian - it was called Marvin's Silver Rocket. Wish I'd taken a picture! Walked the 300 feet up to the overlook - absolutely beautiful. It was a gorgeous day and the lake looked lovely. Found out, at the info station, that they have a lot of primitive cabins for rent in the park - would be nice to come back someday and stay for a week. We continued on to our next destination, Iron River. We stopped at Bond Falls, which were by far the most amazing falls we've seen in Michigan(outside of Tahquammenon.) We were able to walk up beside them to their source (the water was actually flowing so strong it was coming down the stairs), a pond that fed them from 2 or 3 places. On our way back down, we saw a muskrat taking a shower in the water - so cute - and a lot of crawfish in the pools at the bottom. We saw an old Corvair off of Route 2 as we entered Iron River (Ken has been into Corvairs for years - more on that another time) and checked into the Lakeshore Motel, on Ice Lake. Very nice, rustic looking (with a REALLY comfy rocker - just ask Ken!) We headed out for dinner at Riverside Pizza in town - different, but very good. Came back and went down to the dock to sit for a while. Saw a lot of bluegill, perch and turtles in the lake. They had boats for rent by guests, but we were too tired to go out. Would like to come back here and stay sometime too and do a little fishing!

Saturday, July 9: Had breakfast at the Main Street Cafe in town - because they make Swedish Pancakes, and were they good! Ken's Eggs Benedict were yummy too. We crossed into Wisconsin for a bit, then arrived in Vulcan (no we did not see Mr. Spock) to take the Iron Mountain Iron Mine tour. The tour was very interesting, and took us by train some 2600 feet underground into the old mine. We stopped for lunch in Escanaba at Hudson's classic grill. Our next stop was outside Manistique at Kitch-Iti-Kipi, "the big spring." If you've never been there, it's pretty amazing. Water flows at a rate of 10,000 gallons per minute from underneath, and you can take a self-propelled raft across the 40 foot deep pool. The water is crystal clear and emerald green - just beautiful. On our way back to Rte. 2, a gray fox crossed the road in front of us. We stayed at The Balsams outside St. Ignace. Lehto's wasn't open, so we tried another pasty place and were sorely disappointed. They were just ok, but tasted more like a store bought pot pie. Never again! We crossed Rte. 2 to walk on the beach for a bit, then came back and watched a Harry Potter marathon. Had my favorite slice of fruitcake from the Jam Pot - Jamaican Black Bread. No nuts, but all the fruit has been marinated in wine and rum for months. Yes, you can get drunk from a slice! So, we both promptly fell asleep in front of the TV.

Sunday, July 10: Our last day in the U.P. Saw a saltwater ship in the Straits as we headed out to have breakfast at Java Joe's in town. Very large menu with unusual offerings - we chose the smoked whitefish omelet, and it was very good! Java Joe is an old hippie who owns Java Joes as well as a local Mexican restaurant. Everyone was very friendly. We met an older couple from Royal Oak and another couple from Saline, so we had good company for breakfast. Traffic was very heavy for the bridge, and it was quite windy as we crossed. Took the Lake Michigan route and went through Cross Village, although we were not able to stop for lunch at Legs Inn, our favorite Polish restaurant (too close to breakfast.) We took the Tunnel of Trees drive which was beautiful. Stopped in Kalkaska for a drink and sat at a carved wood table of Michigan - quite unusual for a McDonald's!! Arrived home in the early evening.

What a great 5 days it was. Got to see a lot of natural attractions that we've never seen before and had a fantastic time together. Next year we're hoping to make it a 2-3 week trip out west to the Grand Canyon - but after we get a better bike seat!!!

Posted by mzbetherz 13:57 Archived in USA Tagged mountains nature rocks falls motorcycle upper iron michigan peninsula pictured Comments (0)

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