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Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff

Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff
by Colleen Burcar
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Motorcycle Road Trips Through The Midwest

by Bruce Carlson

The Midwest offers some of the most exciting and accessible motorcycle rides in the country. From Midwestern college towns and big cities, riders can easily connect with the region's treasure trove of state parks, Great Lakes and small town charm. Riders looking for new bike trips can find some of the Midwest's flavor with these three classic routes.

Wisconsin's State Route 33

At 72 miles, this route is perfect for riders looking for an overnight drive. Begin in La Crosse and travel southeast to Reedsburg, then opt to extend your trip 15 miles east for an overnight stay in any of the famous Wisconsin Dells hotel with a water park. The Dells offers ample entertainment, from kayaking and mini-golf to ziplining and go-karting. La Crosse is home to music, arts and entertainment and hosts many annual festivals that would be fun for bikers, including an Oktoberfest and Mardi Gras. Heading southeast from La Cross, riders will pass through Amish country, wind through Wildcat Mountain State Park and continue along windy roads through small towns. Riders can detour between La Crosse and Reedsburg on any of the county roads, which offer a more rural option and a way to see some beautiful scenery.

WisconsinDellsWisconsinDowntownWIS23WIS16WIS13US12

Photo by Royalbroil via Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota's North Shore Tour

The 154-mile trek along Minnesota's North Shore is perfect for riders looking to escape the grind and connect with nature. The ride begins in Duluth, Minnesota, and curves northeast around the shores of Lake Superior. Riders will pass through Gooseberry Falls State Park, Temperance River State Park, Cascade River State Park and Judge C.R. Magney State Park before ending at the Canadian border, right on the edge of Pigeon River Provincial Park. Ample state parks give riders plenty of opportunity to camp out along the ride, and quality restaurants along the side of Route 61 offer ample food to fill up on before heading out. The scenery is gorgeous, particularly in the early fall when temperatures have dropped or in spring when everything is blooming.

Shovel Point on the North Shore of Lake Superior

Photo by Steve Moses via Flickr

Michigan's Lake Michigan Tour

Stretching from St. Joseph, Michigan, north to Escanaba, the Lake Michigan Tour passes through big cities and small towns. According to Lake Michigan Circle Tour, route highlights include Ludington, home to the top-rated state park in Michigan; Traverse City, the country's cherry capital and home to golf courses, vineyards and other tourist attractions; Petonsky, a cute town with boutique shopping; and an optional foray to Mackinac Island, home to historic forts and natural parks. Plan overnight stops in these towns or others along the way. Bikers visiting Mackinac Island will have to lock up their ride beforehand since motorized vehicles are prohibited. Riders looking to extend their vacation can continue the Circle Tour into Illinois and Wisconsin to see Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay.

2005 Lake Michigan Circle Tour 03

Photo by Michael Sprage via Flickr

These are just a sampling of some of the excellent riding the Midwest offers. Have any readers tried these Midwestern motorcycle routes? What are your favorites?

Bruce Carlson Bruce collects and fixes motorcycles, and then he writes about them. He could not picture a cooler job.



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