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Ride Report: North Shore of Lake Superior(28 posts)

Ride Report: North Shore of Lake SuperiorScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:17 PM
I was on vacation last week on the North shore of Lake Superior for the 4th of July Week. Here's a report of one of my rides. We got a condo near a town called Lutsen. The big town in the area is Grand Marais. This is a report of my ride from Lutsen to Grand Marais. The North Shore is a great place, but for road riding, there's basically one road, Hwy 61. If you're biking north(east) on 61 the great lake is on your right and most roads on your left go about 4 miles inland then turn into dirt fire roads beyond that. So my loop options were pretty limited. This ride was a 25 mile one way turn around and come back on the same path 50 mile ride. Here's the route.
The StartScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:21 PM
Here's the sun over the lake as I started off.
Heading North on Hwy 61 Near my start pointScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:25 PM
Traffic was still pretty light and the road pretty new. It was a beautiful riding day. It was about 62 degrees or so when I started with barely any wind.
Cascade FallsScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:31 PM
About 14,000 years ago or so Lake Superior was 300 feet higher (deeper?). The glaciers were melting and much of the melt water was trapped behind some kind of natural dam. When the dam gave way, the lake dropped 300 feet in fairly short order. All streams and rivers that previously ran into the lake had to find new routes down 4-6 miles of new shoreline. Most of them did it by finding soft spots and cutting spectacular gorges through the rock. As a result the North Shore has a series of rivers with spectacular falls and rapids pounding down deep ravines to the lake. This is the last falls on the Cascade River.
The North ShoreScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:35 PM
Here's a look south from the Cascade River pull over area.
The Best of Hwy 61Scot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:39 PM
The governor, two back from our famous wrestling gov, was from this area. As a result, a bunch of money got channeled into road and highway projects in this neck of the woods. Here's a look at the handy work. A nice 6 foot shoulder in the middle of nowhere. Great for us roadies, and of course a nice view of the lake and countryside.
Good for the Gov, how was traffic?MB1
Jul 10, 2002 5:58 AM
Look like really nice roads to ride on. Might be tough with the wind blowing.
Good for the Gov, how was traffic?Scot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 6:38 AM
I started off a little before 7:00am. (BTW: I probably would have had plenty of light to start at 4:30am, the days are LONG that far north this time of year) There was barely any traffic on the way out (northbound). With the flat, I wasn't southbound till around 11:00am. The road was busier and the wind was up by that time. Still not a bad ride. I had that 6 foot shoulder for probably 50% of the distance. Only one logging truck with it's jake brake booming went by me while on the 1 foot shoulder section.

Scot, try this.MB1
Jul 10, 2002 4:07 PM
I reduced the image to 600 x 400 pixels, boosted the color saturation a tiny bit and sharpened it a tad.
Looks Great, What Tool ? i.e. software did you use? (nm)Scot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 5:19 PM
Ok, My TryScot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 5:27 PM
Mine's still blury, I'll keep praticing (nm)Scot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 5:29 PM
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again....Scot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 6:55 PM
The hazards of road ridingScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:42 PM
About a mile from my turn around point in town, I ran over something on the shoulder that took a dime sized half circle gouge out of my rear sidewall. I little field repair let me limp into town. These nice folks got me back rolling again.
Grand MariasScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:46 PM
While waiting for the steed to be re-shoed I walked around town. Here's the breakwater for Grand Marais's harbor. I'm standing on a prehistoric lava flow. The shoreline 2 inches to the left of the far harbor beacon in this shot is about where I started riding from.
Southbound and HomeScot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 9:56 PM
Since my routes the same back as out, I don't have much new to show you. Here's a southbound shot. In the distance you can see a couple of the peaks. They call the range the Sawtooth Mountains because the horizon looks like a sawblade edge when looking from the north. Can you make out one of the saw's teeth in the distance?
Nice Report/PicsJBergland
Jul 10, 2002 5:55 AM
My wife and I live pretty close by to the area. A couple years ago I talked her into renting a tandem from the exact bike shop you stopped at in Grand Marias... pretty hard to forget a shop painted that color!!:) The tandem ride was 'forgettable' (we had on jean shorts), but the area around the North Shore is epic. Getting off-road is even better!!
Hope you enjoyed the report. Sorry about the big photos...Scot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 10:07 PM
I haven't quite figured out all the nuances working with digital images yet.

Good stuff but you do have to reduce the size of the images.MB1
Jul 10, 2002 5:47 AM
Having to scroll around makes it a little harder to see everything. I try to keep my images to not wider than about 650 pixels and not higher than 425 pixels. Then I preview before I post.

I'll tell you one thing about your posts though....makes me want to ride there. Thanks for the post and keep it up!

BTW I'd go for those dirt roads.
I'm still learning this stuff. I'll get better.Scot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 6:46 AM
My first ride report I scanned from prints, so I was able to control the size of the image and file size via the scanning process. This time I had my disposable developed to a CD. The images were way too big to fit under the 200K limit so I brought them into Micrografix Photo Editor. This the first time I used this program. I got it as a side effect of buying Micrografix Draw. I found the feature that would let me reduce the resolution to get under the 200K limit, but I couldn't find the feature that let me change the physical size of the image. I'll work on it or find a better software solution, maybe one will come with the a future digital camera purchase.

Thanks for the feedback

Another nice job, Scot - and a beautiful ride. Thanks! (nm)RhodyRider
Jul 10, 2002 4:57 AM
Ahh, the big Gitchee Gumee!Mel Erickson
Jul 10, 2002 5:40 AM
Love that area, one of my favorite stomping grounds. Thanks for the ride review. Isn't the climate perfect (in the summer that is)? How were the black flys?

Another great Lake Superior ride is up and down the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan. The picture on the masthead of the What's New section is of me and a couple friends relaxing after a 70 mile day on that trip in '79. It reminded me of what Door County, Wisconsin must have been like before "modernization".
Black FliesScot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 7:35 AM

If you live in the area you probably know that the Army worms overran the region a few weeks ago. I heard they were using snow plows to clear the Grandma's Marathon route two weeks prior to our trip. The worms had largely gone (into their cocoons), but the Army Fly that eats them was still well represented. The Army Fly is a nusance, it dosn't eat humans, mostly just uses you as a perch and buzzes, but in certain areas we ended up looking like people out of a Save the Children ad. Flies crawling all over us head to toe. The Black Fly that sucks your blood was not out yet. I think they are more of an August bug.

Black Fliesbikesforpeace
Jul 10, 2002 8:47 AM
The black flies come out earlier in the spring. I just came back from a bit further north in Canada. The black flies were terrible up there. Worst I've seen in years.
Black FliesMel Erickson
Jul 10, 2002 12:29 PM
There are several hatches of black flies throughout the "growing" season. Yeah, the army worms have been devastating parts of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Haven't seen them where I live (Eau Claire), yet. The flies that are parasitic to the worms can be annoying. The north country sure sounds like a terrible place to be when discussed in these terms, doesn't it? Yeah, better to just stay away. ; )
I was up there toot-bill
Jul 10, 2002 7:48 AM
My wife and I were up there last week too. We drove around the whole lake from Chicago. Great pics. I cant wait to get mine back. I did some riding myself, although nothing as long as yours. We rode on Madeline Island (Aspostle Islands) in Wisconsin, in Lake Superior Provincial Park (Ontario), and in da' U.P. I loved Cascade falls, but the black flies were something else.

I would highly recommend the trip, but get ready for some lung searing climbs.
re: Ride Report: North Shore of Lake SuperiorLC
Jul 10, 2002 8:24 AM
How did you get all the cars off the road? Special connections with the State Dept of Transportation? There is not even one in sight!
I was pleasantly suprisedScot_Gore
Jul 10, 2002 9:52 AM
I had never biked Hwy 61 before, but had driven it many times and frankly I was worried about the traffic and road conditions before hand. I have to say, 1) the traffic was pretty lite. With the flat I rode south in mid day and even then there was not much traffic. When I started in the AM I had the road to myself for most of the ride. I bet less than 20 cars went by me in 25 miles on the northbound leg. 2) The road was in great shape along this entire leg.