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  1. Default Route advice/timing needed, Ely, MN to Ludington, MI (motorcycles)

    I'm working on a route for motorcycle trip in August, using Google Maps and Rand McNally... I pretty much like what I have, although I'm pretty sure the days are a little too long and I will be working on that. One thing that I can't find online is actual speed limits or travel times, and that is something I was hoping you guys could help out with a little. I would like to be confident that we would be able to average around 60 but we won't be able to do that if there are tons of small towns with low speed limits and stop signs, of course.

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

    Day 4

    Specific segments that we are not familiar with are Duluth -> Silver Bay -> Ely, and then pretty much everything across the northern edge of Wisconsin and the shoreline of Michigan.

    St. Paul to Ashland we've got pretty well sorted out and then from Ludington back to St. Paul should be ok too.

    Anyhow, if you want to check out the links above and maybe report back if you've ridden/driven any of it and about how long/hard/fast it was that would be awesome.

    Also, any other info you have about the areas too if you know it well would be much appriciated. We are planning on motel rooms and we hope to be pretty flexible in general on the routes and where we stay since all that depends on how everyone feels and the weather and stuff. We definitely don't want to have a sissy-trip OR have to spend dawn-to-dusk on the bikes stressed out either.

    Thanks!

    a.s.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-31-2007 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Preferred link format

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default mostly

    welcome to the RTA forum!

    I don't think you'll have much luck finding the exact speed limits for all of those legs, but its a good bet that there are lots of towns are areas that will slow you down.

    Even on the interstate, its tough to average 60 mph hour over a full days drive, when you include basic stops. Since the speed limits here are going to be mostly 55, with some 45 stretches - plus stop signs and 25 mph in town limits - I'd say you'll be doing real real well if you average 50 mph.

    As far as your legs go, the only one that looks really bad is your day through Michigan. Its over 500 miles which will likely be a dawn to dusk type trip. The rest are closer to 400, which I think will be ok for your trip.

  3. Default

    Thank you! I have been reading here a lot today and while I don't have a lot of time for road-tripping, I think I fit the profile; I love to just get out, explore, and see things.

    Yeah, I was thinking probably more like 60mph not counting stops/breaks... 5 hours @ 60mph = 300 miles of actual seat time, leaving time for gas, food, sights, etc. That actually seems short, only 2 tanks of fuel for the thirstiest bike...

    I was wondering if the NW coast of Michigan is "can't miss" or what... Making the part down to Ludington a backwards "L", even off of the interstate should be a lot shorter/faster.

    Thanks,

    a.s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    welcome to the RTA forum!

    I don't think you'll have much luck finding the exact speed limits for all of those legs, but its a good bet that there are lots of towns are areas that will slow you down.

    Even on the interstate, its tough to average 60 mph hour over a full days drive, when you include basic stops. Since the speed limits here are going to be mostly 55, with some 45 stretches - plus stop signs and 25 mph in town limits - I'd say you'll be doing real real well if you average 50 mph.

    As far as your legs go, the only one that looks really bad is your day through Michigan. Its over 500 miles which will likely be a dawn to dusk type trip. The rest are closer to 400, which I think will be ok for your trip.

  4. Default

    Well, it's been a long time since we completed it, but we did do it, and it was a pretty good time.

    1,564 total miles, for me
    1,654 minutes riding time (27 hours, 34 minutes), ~49 hours "on the road"


    Day 1 - Baldwin, WI to Ely, MN -- Google Map of the day's route

    Details from my records: St. Paul to Ely, 401 miles, 430 minutes (7 hours, 10 minutes) in the saddle (approx), ~12 hours for the day (7am-7pm).


    Day 2 - Ely, MN to Ashland, WI -- Google Map of the day's route

    Details from my records: Ely to Ashland, 189 miles, 215 minutes (3 hours, 35 minutes) in the saddle (approx), ~11.5 hours for the day (9:20am-9pm).

    So this is the day Zac fell. The shortest story is that he panicked approaching a corner, "stood it up" (stopped turning), and was unable to stop before riding off the road at the corner.

    He flew about 15 feet as the ditch sloped down pretty steeply and then slid along with his bike under / past a tree. His bike hit a boulder, but he was blessed and came to a stop without hitting anything solid. He was pretty shaken, but up and walking around almost immediately. Many people stopped to see if they could help, a tow truck took Zac and his bike to Duluth where he got checked over at the hospital (2 fractured vertebrae, a couple very minor scratches), then he and his bike were hauled home by his in-laws. He has recovered quite nicely and ran in the Olympic Trials marathon Nov 4th.

    After Zac was properly cared for, Pete, Dan, and I decided to press on, adjusting the route to account for the serious delay but still trying to make Ludington, MI by 7am Wednesday morning when the ferry set sail.


    Day 3 - Ashland, WI, to Ludington, MI -- Google Map of the day's route

    Details from my records: Ashland to Ludington, 605 miles, 628 minutes (10 hours, 28 minutes) in the saddle (approx), ~13.5 hours for the day (7:50am CDT-10:10pm EDT). This was a HUGE day of riding, people say 300-400 is pretty good, we had over 600.

    We had stayed at the Best Western in Ashland, and woke up to heavy rain. We got really lucky and only had rain for maybe an hour, and then a couple wet road sections after that.


    Day 4 - Manitowoc, WI, to St. Paul, MN -- Google Map of the day's route

    Details from my records: Manitowoc to St. Paul, 349 miles, 381 minutes (6 hours, 21 minutes) in the saddle (approx), ~12 hours for the day (6:45 EDT - 8pm CDT).

    We had rain again leaving the hotel, but to be honest I'd rather have that than get wet and have to stop somewhere to put on our rainsuits. By the time we had loaded our bikes onto the boat it had tapered off and was done shortly after we were onboard.


    All in all, I think we each had fun. I know that I wish we could have agreed to go faster, I felt like I was dragging the other riders along the super-slab. The route wasn't interesting enough (after adjusting for the crash delay) and we had too many miles (in my opinion) for us to be coasting along at barely the speed limit. We actually got passed by a dump-truck at one point. So, shorten the distances and make everyone get a GPS unit to confirm actual speed.

    Thanks,

    a.s.

  5. #5

    Default Michigan's UP

    aschendel-

    Long ago, in another life, I worked a job where the entire western 2/3rds of the UP was my field project territory. Even though it was 25 years ago, I'm fairly confident the generalities are essentially the same.

    First, the UP is a great, great place for a road trip. Especially from the WI border on east or northeast for the first 100-150 miles, it's pretty much open highway through fir forest, swamps, lakes, and rivers.

    I see you're going all the way out the Keewenaw Peninsula to Copper Harbor. The peninsula is nice, but you don't get as much of a view of the lake as you might think along the way. Unless there's a compelling reason for going all the way up there, you can shorten one day or another by skipping that segment.

    From about Ishpeming all the way through Munising, you're in a somewhat developed area, with lots of small communities, stoplights, and fairly slow travel. If you were to skip out on the Copper Harbor stop, you could stay on US 2 through Iron River, Crystal Falls, dip into Wisconsin just a bit, and pass through Iron Mountain enroute to Escanaba. From there, US 2 pretty much runs the shore of Lake Michigan and there are many places where you'll see the lake. From the WI border to Crystal Falls is around 100 miles with only the town of Iron River to slow you down much. Crystal Falls is a small town, as is Florence, WI. Iron Mountain is a larger town, and there are a few slowdowns from there to Escanaba. All in all, not much more or less of traffic/developed areas than you'd see from L'anse to Copper Harbor or from Ishpeming through Munising.

    Hope this helps some.

    Foy

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