DAY 0 – Gathering Day in Cleveland, Ohio. Friday 28th June 2013. Those wishing to visit world famous Cedar Point Amusement Park, or the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Dayton (you know who you are) may wish to arrive a day or two early. Eagle Riders is available for Riders looking to rent a fine steed for the week. The rest of us will gather and have our choice of two nice beaches to visit and dip our toes in Lake Erie, the shallowest-and warmest-of the Great Lakes. Evening gathering will feature special guests at our orientation dinner, which will be hosted by our good friend and longtime supporter Paul Vincent of Vincent Lighting!
DAY 1 – Saturday 29th June. A rousing 10 years of Long Reachin’ and Long Ridin’ having been celebrated the evening prior, we will focus on the latter half of that equation: Getting a nice view of the western Lake Erie shoreline is best experienced by way of a few nice bridges before we head through the cornfields to Lake Michigan. Welcome to the Midwest! Today will give the Riders an opportunity to adapt to group riding dynamics in city and highway environments. Capping off the day will be an exceptional stay overlooking Lake Michigan, in the rural area of South Haven. Be prepared for a *stunning* sunset, and a great location for stargazing. Miles: 320.
DAY 2 – Sunday 30th June will take us from South Haven to Ludington, MI, eastern port of the SS Badger carferry. Hugging the bluffs and sand dunes of Lake Michigan will let us ease into the riding day. After lunch, our route will take us inland for a cruise through the Manistee National Forest. An easy 180 mile day will bring us a unique opportunity at the conclusion if we wish: visiting the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness, the home of 3500-4000 year old sand dunes. And, perhaps, another gorgeous sunset.
DAY 3 – Monday 1st July: A 9am ferry appointment will whisk us away. The SS Badger is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is the only coal fired steamship in North America. Stay tuned in during this ride though, the Kazoo-totin’ Long Reach Long Riders will fit right with the onboard entertainment. After reaching land, mind the clock as we will pass into Central Time Zone. We will head to Middleton WI immediately after the ferry ride, where the LRLR will enjoy an official escort through town to the ETC factory for a tour and a meal on campus. Then it’s back on the bikes and up to Wittenberg WI for the evening.
DAY 4 – Wittenberg to Hancock, MI. Today’s ride will feature a run up the Keweenaw Peninsula to Copper Harbor. As some say, we’ll be travelling up to the “tip of the thumb”. Photo ops here at Brockway Mountain will give us 2 options: endless views of Lake Superior, or endless views of forest. Brilliant! We’ll end up travelling the same road, which resembles a tunnel of trees, back through to Hancock, continuing on to explore more scenery in the western UP. If you have never ridden through these parts, you’ll understand by the end of the day why the Yoopers (Michiganders who live on the UP) never wanted bridge access to the lower Michigan panhandle. But be aware-little traffic and few gas stations will require that we bring a gas can or three with us.
DAY 5 – Wednesday 3rd July will take us across the UP to Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Highlights along this route will include the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where there will be an opportunity for the young at heart to dip their toes into Lake Superior-the largest (larger than the other 4 combined, with 2 extra Lake Eries added!), furthest north, and coldest of the Great Lakes with an average early July surface temperature near 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This National Lakeshore is a free park-no passes needed-and spreads over 40 miles of lakeshore Truly a unique place. 265 miles for the day.
DAY 6 – Thursday 4th July. Passports will be required today for a morning entry into Canada. A late morning will get us on the road for a nice ride to the Manitoulin Island. Directions should be easy: Trans-Canada Highway east to Ontario Route 6 South. Seeing as there are very few options upon which to turn south off of the Trans Canada without riding directly into water, we will take Route 6 to the town of Little Current. We will be able to explore the idyllic Manitoulin Island after check in at our hotel. Opportunity in the evening to dip your toes into lovely Lake Huron while watching the sunset.
DAY 7 – Friday 5th July. An early morning will make up for yesterdays laziness as we ride to the southern point of the island-South Baymouth-to catch the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry for a 9:10am departure. Lunch on the Bruce Peninsula, then a cruise along rustic Ontario 21 will keep us alongside Lake Huron for the first half of todays ride. We will surely note the presence of more traffic in these parts, and once we cut across to Lake Ontario, the 5th of the Great Lakes on our tour, we will be glad to ride as a well coordinated group. Our destination will surely be a highlight at the end of the day looking towards Lake Huron.
DAY 8 – Saturday 6th July. Our final day’s ride will take us along the Niagara River to the astounding Niagara Falls for a morning visit and photo op. There will also be one of the more scenic international border crossings here with views of the Falls from the International Bridge. Our return route to Cleveland will give us panoramic views of eastern Lake Erie with a return to Cleveland in time for Eagle Rider renters to return their steeds. This will conclude the 10th annual Long Reach Long Riders Charity Motorcycle Ride… 10 Great Years, 5 Great Lakes!