Monday, September 14, 2015

Michigan Road Trip - Day 1/2


Hoping to escape the heat of labor day weekend, we quickly planned a short motorcycle road trip to Lake Superior and Michigan’s upper peninsula.


We lightly loaded up the SV650. One of the rack’s supports for the side bags cracked while I was in North Carolina last month, so we couldn’t put anything in the side bags. No, I don’t know exactly when/why it broke, just that it was on that trip. I only had the sidebags half full on that trip, so I had room to stash my gear during stops. For those keeping track, this has to be the fifth time now it has cracked. Always in a different spot too. Maybe this is why they don’t make this rack anymore.


We left early on Sunday morning as soon as the rain stopped and headed north on I-35 toward Duluth and the big lake. It was a quiet ride along the freeway. We took frequent stops to stretch and look at the trees. We stopped on top of one of the hills to snap the photo above before taking the scenic drive the rest of the way into Duluth. I couldn’t resist getting a photo of Laura tweeting.


We arrived in Duluth around lunch which we had at the local co-op. It was nice to relax and look at the lake while eating some good food. It was also starting to feel very warm. We headed East into Wisconsin on US-2 to skirt the bottom of Lake Superior. We had a brilliant view of the harbor as we crossed the very tall bridge. They pass ocean sized ships through there. We stuffed everything into a backpack, so no gopro on this trip to capture the view.


While riding through northern Wisconsin, we passed through numerous small towns as the speed limit went bounced around. One of the small towns thermometers claimed it was 91F! So much for beating the heat! We eventually arrived in Ashland, WI.


We originally wanted to stay there. It is right on Lake Superior and very beautiful. The Internet didn’t show any affordable hotels. We were a bit dismayed to see many cheap motels with the vacancy signs brightly lit. Dang. 


Ashland has claimed the “mural capital of Wisconsin” as it’s title. There are over a dozen very large murals on the sides of the buildings. All of the murals above came from Ashland. I enjoyed riding around looking for them. It was a fun scavenger hunt. The heat reduced the fun factor as we went. Time to keep riding. It wasn’t too hot to ride; it was too hot to stop.


We crossed over into Michigan. It has been a while since either of us had been there. We booked a hotel in Ironwood just across the border. Ironwood on the border of the Ottawa National Forest which looked like it was chock full of waterfalls and nice hiking trails.


Ironwood’s other claim to fame is this giant indian statue called “Hiawatha”. The sign claimed it was “The World’s Tallest Indian”. Made of all fiberglass it stands over 52 feet high and weigh 18,000lbs. It was constructed in 1964. It was massive as you can tell from our photo below.


After riding for almost 350 miles, we were happy to retreat to the hot tub of our hotel. We did manage to explore the town some more to find almost everything was closed for the holiday weekend. No worries, we brought our own food. The other thing that surprised me about Ironwood was how cheap the homes were. We spotted many “for sale” signs while walking around. The average price seemed to be $15k-30k!

Stay tuned for the second half of the trip were we go chasing waterfalls in the National Forest.


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  1. $15-30K for a house? Must be small houses.

    That's one big Indian Statue! I liked all the murals....

    1. not small, 3 bedroom with a garage and .15 of an acre. check it out online. cheap area.

  2. Maybe there is flexing between the rear subframe and the bikes frame and the rack is taking the full load or preventing the movement.

    I really like the murals. $15k or $150k?

    1. I just looked on Zillow, you weren't kidding about the house prices!

    2. yea 15k not 150k. :) yea, something weird is going on for sure. I think it's a bad design as have some of the welder's who have fixed it. guess i just have to get a different bike ;) ;)

  3. Replies
    1. haha! probably not. I like all the conveniences of a city. now maybe if i had a plane i could use to fly to work...

  4. That is a good day of miles on the SV. Great pictures of the murals and the Indian.

    Do they not make a newer sturdier rack for your saddlebags, or is it a matter of principle now to see how many times you can fix the existing ones?

    1. it was a good day. i really enjoyed the murals too.

      this is the only rack they made for the 1st gen SV. they don't even make it anymore. 2nd gen has two+ choices, but not much for a 15 year old bike.

  5. I can't wait to see where else you went.

    Think twice about moving up here LOL... Bring a stout shovel and a strong back, or maybe a large front end loader and a dump truck. It's right in the heart of "lake effect snow" territory. Ironwood averages 144+ inches of snowfall in a season.. That's 12 FEET That might have something to do with the affordability of things!

    Nice pictures of the murals in Ashland. I've thought about taking some pics and posting them, but you beat me to it

    1. oh, I've already thought twice about it. i like living in the city. yea... and 12 feet of snow?! yikes. no thanks. I guess that reminds me of the photos I've seen of people carving trails to get out their doors and the snow it up to the roof line or higher. yikes. nope. haha

      you can post the murals of ashland. I didn't find all of them :)

  6. I love getting the local art in photographs, nice murals.