The time has come once again to slip the surly bonds of work and touch the face of America (to paraphrase one of Reagan’s more articulate speechwriters). Paul and I decided to get the band back together after my solo venture around the country last year, so the two of us set aside about three weeks to reprise our Alaska adventure with a new destination. We talked about a couple of options, including a long ride through the South to Key West, but the Upper Peninsula of Michigan kept coming up as we weighed the pros and cons of each route. Paul had met a couple of touring riders on his ferry ride down from Skagway to Washington, and they had really sold him on the UP as a destination. I took a look at some routes and kept finding more and more good roads and national parks along the way, so the UP was selected.
Over the next month or so I picked a route and booked places along the way. After our troubles with housing in Jasper and Dawson City on the Alaska trip, I wanted to have a bed for the night locked in. The tradeoff is that we are riding to a set destination each night, which takes away a little from the spontaneous feel of the thing. But the truth was we were doing that same thing in 2019, just without a particular lodging in mind. I’m hoping that this will improve the trip without taking away the “it’s the journey not the destination” feeling of the open road.
The outbound trip is straight riding every day, after a brief sojourn in Vegas to cleanse the mind. Once we hit the UP, though, we’re taking a couple of days off to spend on Mackinac Island, the vacation destination for this area of the country. Then its a long haul down to Chicago for a long weekend. The outbound trip then ends just a bit up the road in Milwaukee before we turn and head home down Route 66. Along the way we’ll be passing through more than 10 national parks (if all goes as planned), several monuments, and some of the best roads in the country.