Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. Default 20 days around the Lakes!

    Hi travellers,

    I'm a frenchman who plans to go on a road trip this summer, around the Great Lakes.

    Here's all I am sure about for now:

    Duration: 20 days
    Vehicle: Car (or Van ?)
    Trippers: My girlfriend and I. Another friend will join us in Madison, WI.
    Starting point: Montréal, Canada
    Arrival: also Montréal
    "Checkpoints": Madison around day 10 (to pick our friend up), then Chicago, and NYC around day 18 (before going back to Montréal).

    We are now trying to define the route.

    First part of the trip: Montréal-Madison (10 days)

    Here, we've got basically two choices.

    We can either travel by the north side of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, and cross the border in Sault Ste. Marie
    --> See MAP 1

    ... Or we can pass between Lake Huron and Lake Erie (Toronto, London, ...) and then go towards the north when we get to Michigan to join the previous route.
    --> See MAP 2
    For this route, it would also be possible to go through Chicago. But since we'd like to visit this city on the second part of the trip, it'd be a pity to do that.

    Second part of the trip: Madison-Chicago-NY-Montréal (10 days)

    So here, we pick up a friend of us in Madison. If it's difficult for her to cross the canadian border, we plan to stay in the US and follow a route through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania :
    --> See MAP 3

    If she CAN cross the border, it might be more intersting to travel "between" the lakes (Detroit, Hamilton, ...) before getting to NYC
    --> See MAP 4


    What do you guys think about all this?
    As you can see, there are many possibilities. We are very flexible, and any idea or any tip to improve our trip would be useful!

    I really don't know this part of the US, and it's kinda hard to figure out what could be the best choice for us.

    I does not really matter if we do not visit some very touristic places (like the Niagara Falls). Our goal is simply to travel through different landscapes, and see different places (from small villages to big cities), and basically to have a good time! (like anyone here, I guess)

    Last but not least, we have not determined yet where we will sleep.
    3 possibilities: Motels, renting a van (large enough for 3 persons ?), or camping... Or perhaps a mixing of the three!

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Your friend will have no problem crossing the border if she has a passport and has no felony or DUI convictions on her record.

    The most economical way to do this would be (assuming you own a suitable car) a combination of tent camping and motels.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Wander

    Bienvenue sur les forums de RoadTrip Amérique. Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The best thing you've got going for you on this trip is the ample amount of time that you have for it. That means that you'll have plenty of time to wander off the routes you've sketched out so far. To give you just a few examples, I wouldn't use the routes of either Map 1 or Map 2, but a more indirect route somewhat between the two. From Montréal I'd probably start out by following the St. Lawrence up into the Thousand Islands area and continue across the top of Lake Ontario to Toronto as on Map 2 but then I'd head north through Owen Sound to Tobermory and take the ferry over to South Baymouth and the Trans Canada Highway (and Map 1) at Espanola. Then after crossing into the US at Sault Ste. Marie, I'd head down to St Ignace MI and take in both Mackinac State Park on Mackinac Island and Colonial Michilimackinac Park in Mackinaw City before continuing west along the northern shore of Lake Michigan to Madison.

    The return trip route is really going t depend on whether your friends have their passports in order. It takes 6-8 weeks to go through the process of getting them or getting them renewed, so if they don't have them already, and your trip isn't until July or later, then get them cracking on getting them. I will assume that they either have them or can get them in time for this trip. In which case, I'd again split the difference on your proposed routes. Unless you really want to see Chicago, and assuming you'd like to have an adventure or two while on this RoadTrip, I'd suggest you look at taking the ferry from Manitowoc WI to Ludington MI. The cost for a car and 3 adults would be $240, but you'd save yourself some driving, the hassle of getting through Chicago, and be able to relax and enjoy the cruise across Lake Michigan. Spend some time on the Michigan side of the lake, maybe checking out Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, before heading for Sarnia ON and the crossing (back) into Canada. Then, after once again entering the US look to head south a bit sooner and taking in some of the great natural wonders of western New York including Letchworth, Watkins Glen, and Taughannock Falls State Parks.

    As for where to sleep each night, motels are probably your best bet. RVs are not a cost effective way to travel, and as with all camping methods they take time to set up each night and ready for travel the next morning. That's time that could otherwise be devoted to more rewarding activities. You might want to mix in an occasional night of camping to enjoy the outdoors. That's your choice, and if you do so state parks are probably your best bet for low-cost but still enjoyably rustic camp sites.

    Hope that helps.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thanks to both of you for your very helpful answers!

    AZBuck, you have pointed some very nice places (especially the Thousand Islands archipelago. It would have been a shame to miss it).
    The route you have described for the first part of the trip sounds really interesting (passing on this small path of land in the middle of Lake Huron)

    I have tried to sketch your route, tell me if I'm right :)
    --> Map 5: AZBuck's map

    Also, if we decide to visit Chicago, here's an alternative map:
    --> Map 6

    In this second case, we might need to remove the "Sleeping Bear Dunes" part, because the route is already 2500+ miles (and I think it's well enough for a 20 day trip... isn't it?)


    Does anyone else has some more ideas to improve the route?

    - What can we visit in the north part of Wisconsin, while heading towards Madison?

    - While traveling in Michigan/northern Indiana, should we cross them fast, or are there places to stop at?

    - We are still not quite sure about going to the north or the south of Lake Erie (right now it seems to us that the north part is "better", but we can be wrong).

    - Also, you talked about crossing the border to Sarnia, MI. You do not recommend to visit Detroit?

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by ciidjj; 05-05-2014 at 09:03 AM.

  5. Default

    You could easily modify Map 1 to include Algonquin Provincial Park. It's not spectacular like the Canadian Rockies National Parks, but it is very pleasant and well worth a visit if you're in the area.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Suprises along the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by ciidjj View Post
    - What can we visit in the north part of Wisconsin, while heading towards Madison?

    - While traveling in Michigan/northern Indiana, should we cross them fast, or are there places to stop at?
    Have you thought of maybe just taking the scenic route, and enjoying it. Good paper maps such as produced by CAA, AAA and Rand McNally, have the scenic routes marked on them, as well as many attractions - historical, natural and touristy. Some of the most amazing and surprising sites I have stumbled upon where on unplanned routes.

    This article might give you some more ideas.

    If you are a member of your local automobile association, check with them to see if they have a reciprocal relationship with the CAA / AAA. If they do, make sure you bring your membership with you, as it will give you access to free maps and tourist information from CAA and AAA.

    When I drove from Sault Ste. Marie to Eau Claire, I stopped so often that I was running very late to get to my destination. Mostly shore attractions, but I recall it as a wonderful trip. Similarly when I have driven through northern IN off the toll road. There are Amish Communities along route 20, and of course the Indiana Lake Shore, including the Dunes. And lots more!

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Wisconsin (and Elsewhere)

    Between Sault Ste. Marie (or the Straits of Mackinac) and Madison, there are a number of very nice scenic areas and smaller interesting venues that might appeal to you given the general outline of your trip so far. First would be along the northern Shore of the Upper Peninsula (the UP) of Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Then if you've heard of the Great Chicago Fire, you might want to stop in Peshtigo WI which had a larger fire on the same night with a greater loss in both property and lives. If you come through Green Bay, you might want to double back up into Door County (the peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan) for some scenery and photo ops. Appleton WI was the boyhood home of Harry Houdini and there is museum dedicated to him there. Finally Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area near the town of the same name might appeal to you.

    And yes, your Maps 5/6 are pretty much what I was describing. As for going north or south of Lake Erie (assuming you come through Chicago) there is no right answer, just which route you choose given the trade offs. Going north through Canada is a bit shorter, but gas in Canada is quite a bit more expensive, while going south puts you mostly on relatively expensive toll roads but lets you see Cleveland which has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History - all worth seeing. Detroit is going through some very hard times at the moment and many of its neighborhoods are blighted if not outright abandoned.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    The Detroit border crossings can also be more difficult to deal with from a traffic standpoint than the Sarnia crossing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Going north through Canada is a bit shorter, but gas in Canada is quite a bit more expensive
    If you're just driving directly across Southern Ontario, from Michigan to Niagara Falls, you're looking at a drive of less than 250 miles. It's pretty easy to make the drive without having to refuel in Canada, as long as you fill up before crossing the border.

    If you cross using the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, you can actually get gas at a bit of a discount at the Duty Free shop.

    I've never found any real patterns with traffic at the 3 lower Michigan crossings (Bridge, Tunnel, or Sarnia). I've had extended waits at Sarnia and breezed right on through in Detroit, and vice versa. The one benefit of Sarnia is that it is basically all freeway, except for the crossing itself. If you cross in Detroit, you've got a bit of in-town traffic through Windsor to get through.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Detroit.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Detroit is going through some very hard times at the moment and many of its neighborhoods are blighted if not outright abandoned.
    It helps to do some reading / research about Detroit, and the events of the last three decades which have got it into the situation it is now facing. Still an interesting city, and with their problems at the moment, needs all the business it can get.

    Lifey

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-25-2010, 03:09 PM
  2. Motorcycle ride - Southern NH to the Great Lakes, 4 days..
    By russb in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-09-2009, 11:28 AM
  3. NY Finger lakes
    By lamrine in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-07-2009, 09:11 AM
  4. Looking for lakes : VT, NY and NH
    By Quebec Gen in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-30-2005, 09:44 AM
  5. Great Lakes
    By imported_Ellen in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-22-2002, 11:43 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES