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Discussion Starter #1
I'm heading out tomorrow for 8 or 9 days wandering around northern Wisconsin and the Michigan UP. Friday wife and I will head up to Hayward and hotel it for a couple nights and ride the area together on Saturday. Sunday she'll head home and I'll ... well, I have no plans. I have my camping stuff, I'll do some of that and some motelling I'm sure. I'm just gonna wander for a week.

It'll be my first tour on the V-Strom. My Bonneville has been my touring bike, a damn fine one actually. I fear I'm going to miss the "nice bike" gas station conversations, and it was always kinda fun to bring that bike where it didn't really belong. On the V-Strom I fear I'll be a nobody, just another guy on the fire roads on a V-Strom, not even going to South America or Alaska or anything. But the strom will be as fun I'm sure, and more comfortable.

I got a SPOT device for the trip, should have done that years ago. Although, I'm really disappointed in it's reliability just playing with it at home. The GPS light is green, it appears to be able to send signals. But they aren't reported on my maps reliably. Hopefully the thing is worth the money. I do want the SOS and SOV capability when outside cell signal, and my wife being able to see where I'm at. Ya know, in case they have to search for the body ;) This is the public map for this trip, not that you should care: Enable Cookies - SPOT Tracking. It'll be empty until I take off tomorrow.

I'll likely post up some pics and stuff here as I go, depending on time and cell signal.
 

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On the V-Strom I fear I'll be a nobody
The fear is real! My Vee is the clunkiest, ugliest, least well-put-together bike I've ever owned, and gets compliments from nobody, ever; exactly the opposite of most of the other bikes I've owned...much to the dismay of the "performer" in me. Sad!

And yet...I've never had more fun on a bike. Period.

Such a wierd thing!!
 

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A few roads to hit!
Wisconsin
Clam Lake to Mellon GG
Mellon to HWY 2 169

The South Shore Brewery in Ashland WI is worth a stop. Grab a growler of the nutbrown for camp. One should do the trick :).

The UP is great place to ride! They are so far away and no one goes there. Every gas station and place of business is SO HAPPY that you are there to spend money. They bend over backwards for you. Salt of the earth type of people.
If you like photography just over the border on HWY 2 there is a rest stop. They have some crazy number waterfalls and book to show them all off. Grab one, most of them are a short walk from the road. Great rest stops and amazing pictures! Again nice people.

If you are not from Wisconsin PLEASE watch out for deer. My wife hit two so far this year alone (none on a bike but one with my truck). They seem to be thick this year.
 

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My favorite areas in the UP:
  • Highway H-58 from Munising to Grand Marais - 60 miles of curves through the woods, through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Grand Marais is one of my favorite little lake towns, and they have a huge campground right on the edge of town (within stumbling distance of the few bars/restaurants). The campground is mostly for campers/RVs, but they have about a dozen tent sites, and I've always found one available.
  • Highway 41 up the Kenai Peninsula to Copper Harbor - Copper Harbor is a quaint town, but we forewarned -- the last time I was there 2 years ago, there was no cell coverage in town. I had to ride up and over nearby Brockway Mountain (a fun ride in and of itself) to catch a signal across the water from down the peninsula.
  • Mackinaw Bridge - Ride it over and back...just cuz.
  • Porcupine Mountain State Park
 

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Oh, and if you don't mind traveling to the west, visit the Aerostich factory/store in Duluth, MN. Check their returned goods rack and you may find a great deal.
 

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I spent the first 18 years of my life in Mercer, then went back for a few more years after I got out of the Air Force.

Everything Paddle said (especially regarding the Nut Brown Ale at the Deepwater Grille/South Shore Brewery), and I'd like to add County Road K from Boulder Junction thru Star Lake over to Conover (I think). Damn fine riding road, nice smooth pavement too.
County Road B from Presque Isle to Land O Lakes. Another great one, more sweepery than twisty.
And if you play in da UP make sure you skulk around on the old railroad grades and search for some old mining equipment.

Have fun! And yea, watch out for deer, especially at dusk.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the tips guys. I've actually been up in the UP quite bit. I'm sure I'll go up on the Keweenaw up to Copper Harbor. I like the road between Gay and Bete Grise. I've camped at High Rock Bay before, perhaps I'll do that again. Jampot and Fitzgeralds?

I've not been up to Whitefish Point before, I'll do that. For some reason I thought it was a dirt road up there, which is usually fine with me but it can get very sandy up there. And I don't like sand. But now I realize it paved, so I'll do that. And I've not been east of 75. I think I read once there is an abandoned air strip over there you can get on. Roco field I think. Might check that out.

I might try and push to the west of 26 between Houghton and Ontonagon. Nothing paved in there, could be a minor adventure. Although, if it's sandy I'll put my tail between my legs and back out.

I really like the idea of camping in Grand Marais. I usually camp in the state forest campgrounds (not the state parks though!). But the idea of camping in town and being able to walk to dinner and drinks does sound marvelous. And I like that town. Especially the West Bay diner.

I've tried to get from Big Bay to Skanee before and failed (sand, again). I may stick my nose in there and see what happens. Maybe Point Abbaye and Mt. Arvon. Or, sit in camp and read a book :)

I have K and B written down, that is a nice part of the world to ride through. Wife and I found this forest service road a couple years back, an old military road. Love the narrow, windy forest service roads: 6951-6881 Military Rd to Washington

Not sure what I'm gonna do, it'll be interesting to find out :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's how it looks setup for a week of camping. Tent and sleeping bag and a dry bag tied to the rear of the sea, with tent poles and a dromedary bag. If I don't stay hydrated like cramp all night in the tent. Clothes in 1 Givu bag, camping gear and rain suit in the other side. Miscellaneous tools and camera and stuff the tail box.

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Great day today, if a bit hot. I let my Kurviger app pick a route and it did good.

Only drama was I bent my key at a 45 degree angle after hitting it while it was in the gas cap. But it didn't break, and all seems well.
 

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I was just on the North Shore MN on HWY 61, the Gunflint Trail and to Aerostich. My ride report would be to avoid it at all cost. The place is packed solid cars and almost every campsite booked. I was just west of you and you picked a better ride. The beer back at camp was good :).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was just on the North Shore MN on HWY 61, the Gunflint Trail and to Aerostich. My ride report would be to avoid it at all cost.
Ha, I was up there a few weeks ago. Was fortunate enough to go up 61 on a weekday, that has to have been better. On the weekend we took highway 1 out to Ely, that's a really nice ride. Used to be better before they straightened out, but it's still a great ride.

A few roads to hit!
Wisconsin
Clam Lake to Mellon GG
Mellon to HWY 2 16
I ran down GG today, and up and down D several times. And lots of gravel roads in the forest. It rained this morning, so is a little bit sloppy. But it was good practice getting used to the new V-Strom. Have to build up the confidence to be on the offense on the gravel, things go to pot when I'm on defense.

One hidden gem was "Upper A" off of route 77 heading north, across from where A intersects with 77. Paved with a lot of tight little corners, narrow road, it was great.

Had dinner at The Ranch, love that place.

Spent an extra day in Hayward with the wife today because of the rain, but I'll start heading east tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Worked east today. Setup camp early at Wabasso Lake because it was so damn quiet and peaceful.

There must have been major storms to the SE of Clam Lake, because there was water on the road everywhere. Eventually I got a section that not even a proper Adventure Bike could pass.

I thought this bike was going to be a compromise, but damn, I gave up very little. I really enjoy a day on it's saddle.

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Discussion Starter #13
I got too close to Munsing and the campgrounds were pretty full. Finally found one and too a much needed lake bath.

Kurviger is generally great, but once in a while it goes crazy. It tried to take me down this "road". I have it a shot and then declined.

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Discussion Starter #14
Hmmmm, not sure how much to let this change my plans. I'm in a nice $40 motel in Paradise tonight. Staying at a Motel 8 a couple nights in Houghton next. Campgrounds are all full up here, people are taking about that more than the weather. I guess covid got people free time and the urge to get out of the house.

But, now I may put some time into getting new tires tomorrow, if I can. Not sure.

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Those look too low regardless of the cracking. Pony up and be safe.

Maybe I'm just too cautious but I would have replaced those tires before even starting that trip, especially if I'm chancing rain.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's just the pictures, 4,000 miles on them and very far from the wear bars. But it's on a 2016 I bought a month ago, when it had 2700 miles on it. I expect they were run with low pressure, or they're just brittle from the years. It's been on my mind to replace them both, can't do everything at once.
 

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Even the UP is busy?!?!?! COVID has changed ADV riding. I love packing a tent and heading out. Now you have to make plans and a reservation even on a week day. Sorry bud. Stay away from the crowds and have fun.
 

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Last time I went to the UP I needed DEET for the normal mosquitoes and a 9mm for the bigger ones. Beautiful pictures OP.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Fist night of camping I had mosquitoes but they really didn't bother me. Although, now I have welts all up and down my arms, so I guess they got their meals.

Couldn't get my tire changed out yesterday, but the crack seems stable. It's not growing. I'm just going to ride and watch it. If it becomes an issue I'll rent a uhaul and get home that way, but I don't see that happening.

$39 motel room in Paradise is highly recommended. Super 8 in Houghton as well, it's right on the canal with a deck to sit on and enjoy. I'm there for two nights and bumming around the Keweenaw peninsula today. Long ride home tomorrow.

Man, there are some crappy paved secondary roads south of Marquette. It was a relief to get onto gravel.

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Kanai Peninsula / Copper Harbor - take the 26 along the lake shore on the way back out, through Eagle Harbor. Nice road, good views. The lighthouse/museum at Eagle Harbor is worth a stop if you like that sort of thing.

Marquette: good place to stop for lunch. Try a Cornish Pastie, something of a local specialty (from Cornwall originally, obviously).
 
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