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Ride Lake Superior Day 6: Munising to Copper Harbor

Today started out glorious, sunshine in abundance. So welcome after all the cold and gloom we had in Canada. We packed up the bike, filled the coffee mugs, next destination – Copper Harbor.

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Along the way to Copper Harbor, you have the opportunity to ride up and through Marquette. We chose to bypass the college town and just continue along our way. There is a Harley dealer just on the outskirts of Marquette, where we did stop and check out. Nice thing about the dealers, they always have coffee and clean potties!

Then we continued along Hwy 41 until we hit the city of Houghton, Michigan, a cute little town on a waterway. It was a perfect distance to get off and stretch our legs. They had a cool surplus store on the main street and we grabbed an unremarkable lunch at the Downtowner Lounge in Houghton. But, the view was pretty, and they had a huge outdoor bar/patio. From there, we continued north to Copper Bay. This is some GORGEOUS scenery as you travel lakeside and inland.

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You have a choice of which Harbor to stay in along this leg. (I neglected to mention in Day 5 [click on the highlighted link] you can choose to stay in either Munising and Marquette. Unless you have a passion for college towns, I recommend staying where we were. It was just too beautiful to pass by.) On this particular leg of the trip you can choose between Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor. Copper Harbor is the northern most point of Keweenaw Peninsula, with Eagle Bay lying to the west. We chose Copper Harbor and stayed at The Bella Vista Motel, on the water.

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This was a LOVELY little place to stay. If I did this ride again, I’d choose to stay here 2 nights. It was such a wonderfully friendly, intimate accommodations and town, where plenty to do was in walking distance. On the main drag, they had a cool little Brewery and tasting room, where we happened to meet the Harbor Master and local Mayor!

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When in town, even if you’re merely traveling through, its worth a stop at the Habor Haus Restaurant and B&B. The food is AMAZING and it is only open in the summertime. Here is a sampling our our delicious eats:

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Fois gras? Fresh Seafood? Amazing Cesare Salad and deliciously prepared fresh veggies? Oh yeah baby! Whatever you do, if the soufflé is on the menu, you MUST try it! It ROCKED. And bikers, no worries. While this is white tablecloth, I think you’d feel perfectly comfortable in jeans. I did pack some leggings (I’m a girl after all), but hubby was clad in jeans and riding boots. Food this good isn’t to be passed by easily. And I would honestly make a trip back, just to have some of this good grub in a breathtakingly beautiful setting.

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To wrap up a perfectly perfect day, Hubby built me a bonfire. He knows I love them, and the motel grounds had a lovely bonfire pit with all the makings, and a wooden swing close by.

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That wraps up Day 6.
Up next: Day 7 – Copper Bay, MI to Bayfield, WI.


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Ride Lake Superior: Day 5 Sault Ste. Marie to Munising

This leg of the trip is about 245 miles if you are headed to Munising, which was our destination, so get an early start so you have time to stop at many of the sights along the way. We started the morning off with a quick breakfast in the reception area of the Sleep Inn, then hit the road.
First Stop: The Soo Locks in Sault Ste Marie.

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Then it was off to cross over the bridge to the USA side of the border.

Tip #1: When you cross over to the USA side, there is a Visitors Center on the other side of the bridge. It’s a great place to stop and re-orient yourself and gear up, or gear down. I prefer to ride without a helmet when I can. (And when it’s not freakin freezing 35 degrees!) I say this as the passenger, who is riding with a man who has lived his whole life on a bike. I am confident in my husbands abilities to ride defensively, so I don’t wear one if I don’t have to. So, we strapped our helmets to the luggage and changed into lighter gear. This Visitors Center is a great place to secure everything for your ride up the point.

The weather finally warmed up, what a relief. It seemed that we left that storm behind in Canada and could shed the leathers for something a bit more appropriate for July!
Our next destination was Point Iroquois Lighthouse, but some beautiful scenery along the way…

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When you get to the Lighthouse, climb it! It’s worth the view!

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It was a quaint little light house where the guide stationed there kindly advised us the best route to Munising due to road construction, and encouraged us to stop at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, up on Whitefish Point. Allow yourself enough time to stop and really enjoy this museum and the grounds. The history is rich in this region, and the museum is well done.

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Either on the way up to the Shipwreck Museum, or on the way back, you MUST swing in to the Berry Patch, located in Paradise, right there on Hwy 123. And you simply MUST have a Pastie! Back on the west coast, we don’t call them ‘Pasties’, we call them meat pies. But hey, when in Rome….
This is a place the locals hang out in, both summertime cabin owners and full time residents. At the table next to us was a couple with their grandchildren who were enjoying north cabin time with their grandparents. We struck up a conversation with them, as it seemed everyone we ran across on this ride was friendly! The food is excellent, the staff very helpful, and the atmosphere quaint and casual. A great stop before the long haul to Munising.

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Then more breathtaking scenery before heading across the state on the inland side. There was road construction from the Museum to Grand Marais, so we missed the ‘beautifully paved’ new road described at the RideLakeSuperior site. Instead, as per the suggestion from the Lighthouse Keeper, we returned back through Paradise and headed west across the state. Miles and miles of gorgeous tree-line.

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We arrived in Munising with plenty of daylight to spare. Man, I totally scored with my choice of local lodgings: Sunset Motel on the Bay. I highly recommend you skip the Marquette temptation and make this is your overnight destination. I cannot imagine a more gorgeous view to end the day with! It was BREATHTAKING!

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We checked in, and asked around for a place to grab a bite.

Tip #2: Do NOT eat at the Dog Patch in town. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great. The menu was longer than the Grapes of Wrath and hard to read. The decor was odd and out of place. They had a ‘seafood buffet’ while we were there that smelled off. The staff was friendly, but the food was very mediocre. Instead, do what we should have done – get a pizza delivered to you; grab a bottle of wine and/or adult beverage from in town, and have a picnic dinner by the bay. The view is just so spectacular you cannot get enough of it, and they have nice chairs on the lawn.

Tip #3: Pack a corkscrew pull in your gear. (Wine opener) This way, you can pick up a bottle along the way and enjoy at your evening stops.

I’m not going to even post pictures of the meal we ate at the Dog Patch. Instead, I’d rather post some of the shots we took as the sun set on the Bay.

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And my favorite shot, only because it encapsulates the ride in one photo:

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That wraps up Day 5.
Up Next: Day 6 Munising to Copper Harbor.


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Ride Lake Superior: Day 4 Wawa to Sault Ste Marie

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This leg of the ride is only about 145 miles, so it’s a fairly easy journey, with no need to rush. Before leaving Wawa, we headed over to the Young’s General Store, truly a must see. It was unique, kitschy and full of wild and interesting products. Very, very interesting items! Get your photo taken with the moose! Because, if you are on the bike, about the only thing you take away are the photos. There just isn’t room to ‘shop’! (This made hubby very happy!)

Tip #1: If you really, REALLY want to shop and buy, I would suggest maybe finding a post office and shipping, because there just isn’t room to haul with you. Or, you can ask if the purveyor can to ship for you. But honestly? There is freedom in only taking away memories and photographs!

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Before leaving The Best Northern Motel, be sure to head back over to the restaurant on property and have a delicious breakfast. I didn’t take notes, so I apologize for not being able to recall what kind of a cake this was, but I remember thinking “these are so fantastic, I’ll never forget”. Well, yeah. Age happens! They were like a German Pancake, but were polish. They were homemade, fresh and totally worth taking the time to enjoy before hitting the road again.

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Next stop before leaving town is a trip down to the Wawa Falls, which you pass as you head south. Be sure to take care. Parts of this road are not paved and it has some steep areas. And don’t forget your bug spray! We were SWARMED here, but because of the weather, we were geared in our rain suits. And its Canada, so you have your helmet on. Just move quickly and you can get some great photos of these beautiful Falls before blood is drawn.

Tip #2: Canada has a helmet law. If you are riding with a passenger, it’s nice it to invest in intercom head sets. You’d be surprised how cold it can be on the northern part of the Lake, and you spend a lot of time on the road, which means lots of time spent in the helmet. We happened to plan for headsets in our helmets, and I’m glad we did. It made communication so much easier than yelling ‘Blah blah blah’ and the predictable response of ‘WHAT?’. Which is what would have happened. And that would have gotten frustrating. So, for us, it was worth it the investment.

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More gorgeous views along the way, this leg is simply breathtaking, and so diverse. We passed by 2 moose, one of the side of the road and one in a field. We were cruising along so I wasn’t able to grab a picture of them. There are sure a lot of signs along the highway warning you of them though! One was grazing in the ditch on the side of the road, so be attentive.

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As you approach lunchtime and are looking for a place to eat, DO NOT stop at the tourist traps you’ll see about halfway to Sault Ste. Marie. There will be huge signs and as you roll by ( and please…roll on by) you’ll know what I’m talking about. Instead, go a little further south to Batchawana Bay, where you’ll find this little gem: Voyageurs Lodge and Cookhouse. The food is fantastic here, and the view beautiful.

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We had a wonderful lunch of soup, local fried fish and dessert. Oh, get the dessert! They are homemade!:

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After filling up the human tank, it was off to our final destination: Sault Ste. Marie.

My lodging recommendation is the Sleep Inn on the Ontario side of the border. It was very clean, the rooms quiet, great pricing, the staff very friendly and helpful; and they have a nice little breakfast bar where you can grab a bite to eat before leaving the next morning. Plus, its right on the waterfront and a short walk to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, which is a MUST see! We arrived fairly early in the day, so we checked in and walked over to the museum.

Tip #3: Try to find lodging near what you want to see, or eat. It just makes it convenient, and after a day on the bike, it’s nice to stretch your legs.

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Dinner tonight was in town, still in Sault Ste. Marie, was a great little Italian place a short ride from the motel: Solo Trattoria. The food is excellent and no one looked at us oddly for being in our gear! There are lots of great eats in this town, this is the one that was recommended to us, and which I can recommend to you. You know you’ve struck golden when they start you out with a head of fresh roasted garlic and yummy warm bread, and be sure to try their delicious Cesear salad!

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Hubby and I each ordered a dish and we shared. We could have just ordered one dish and split. Great Italian fare!

Tip #4: Remember you are on a bike, which means, no way to keep leftovers. So keep that in mind when ordering your food! Some of these places had generous portion sizes.

And this wraps up Day 4. What a great day! Great scenery, great eats, no thunder…or lightening!

Up Next: Day 5 Sault Ste. Marie to Munising, Michigan.