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.


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.


Ride Lake Superior: Day 3 Nipigon to Wawa

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The day started with my first go ’round with Timmy Horton. Delish. Scrumptious. Ok. So, maybe I’m giving away my lack of knowledge about Tim Hortons. They have one, right there in Nipigon. So, ot only can you start your day with a good cup of piping hot coffee, a fresh breakfast sandwich with a side of ‘breakfast’ tot…but they have DONUTS! Seriously! This place is a calorie gut bomb waiting to explode, on my tongue!

MOOOOOOOving on.

Tip #1: This is a 200+mile day. So be sure to plan out your ride, deciding when you want to arrive at your destination. This way you can back into how many site-seeing stops you can make along the way.

As we were running just ahead of the storm that was following our direction around the Lake, much of the next few days were kinda gloomy. The night before, Nipigon was enveloped in fog, as the storm settled low on the lake. There just wasn’t a whole lot to see as we rode into town. Certainly, there were no good views of the Lake.  We woke however, to a higher cloud cover, so we could finally see the Lake. The sun peeked in an out periodically, but it was still pretty chilly. While chilly, every view we encountered was just breathtakingly beautiful. (My ‘back seat’ photography took a little getting used to!)

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Tip #2: Pack bug spray or lotion. Holy cow, we traveled in July, but once you got away from the Lake and its breeze, you’d think it was the peak of mosquito season. Not Kidding. They Swarm. OH, and once again, your rain gear comes in very handy…just keep your helmet on and your visor down if you are not doused in insecticide. That works well in a pinch!

There are many great places to stop along the way. Take the time to ride down and see some the many waterfalls available for you to see.

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And odd landmarks,

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And, more poutine along the way! (Not nearly as good as Montana’s though. I’ll be chasing that ‘high’ forever.)

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And when you see the goose, you’ve hit Wawa!

Tip #3: The Visitor Center there is well worth the stop. There is very interesting history involved in the founding of Wawa. It’s just off the highway, and if you continue on, you’ll wind up at Young’s General Store. (See Day 4)

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We stayed at the Best Northern Motel:

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I highly recommend staying here if you stop overnight in Wawa. It was clean, quiet, well maintained, right on the highway, and they had an EXCELLENT restaurant on property. One appreciates the simplicity of not having to gear up just to grab a bite to eat at the end of the day! Especially when the weather is being challenging, and all you wanna do is warm up and relax. They have a full menu, but feature traditional Polish dishes. I ordered the cabbage rolls and pierogi. Hubby, the cabbage rolls with mashed potatoes. Oh wow…So, so good! This is fine eats at its best, in a casual, comfy environment.

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Rounding up a wonderful meal was a nice after dinner drink, followed by stogie time for hubby on their little deck:

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This wraps up our third day of our journey.
Tip #4: Be sure to stop and smell the roses along the way. It’s impossible to fit all the sights in if you are doing the circuit in one week. Have maybe one or two sights you’d like to see, that way you can have some freedom to stop spontaneously along the way, at places that catch your eye.

Next: Day 4. Wawa to Sault Ste Marie.