Michigan UP Tour Idea

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Oldav8tor
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Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:01 pm

I got thinking the other day that rather than waiting for people to plan tours to places I'd like to see... maybe I could do it. I've led a color tour and am working on the Michigan Jamboree right now. I've also led some tours for my Military Vehicle Collectors group. My problem is that I came to Model T's at age 69 (last year) and have a lot of catching up to do, tour-wise. For my tour you would not have to be affiliated with a particular club to attend although we would follow the safety guidelines of the MTFCA and MTFCI.

I wonder if there is any interest in a 5-6 day progressive tour in the UP, probably after Labor Day, maybe end of September early October (color season)? I was thinking of starting in Munising, swinging thru Houghton, up to Copper Harbor in the Keewenaw then down to the Porcupine Mountains and back to Munising. We'd make arrangements to leave our modern vehicles and trailers in Munising although we might bring a vulture wagon along with the group. I have a large Sprinter van and flatbed that could haul luggage and any disabled vehicles. I'd be looking at a group size of maybe 10 vehicles which should be manageable.

Motels can get expensive up there so I would seek out simple, mom and pop places that were clean and affordable. I would try to keep the lodging costs under $100 double occupancy. I'd like to find pet-friendly motels for those who can't leave their critters but it's too early to say if that would be possible. I would plan to book the motels ASAP and then give them out as people register. Cancellations would be without penalty.

If I proceed with this crazy plan, I would likely go north in July with my camper van and scout the route and attractions as well as check out that the motels were as represented. The only fees I would charge would be for tour books and anything for the group I paid out of pocket. You would pay for your own lodging, food, admissions and the like, as would I. The scouting trip would be on me.

What do you think? Am I wasting my time (or losing my mind?)
Tim
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by DHort » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:14 am

Tim

It is hard to find people who are willing to drive over 100 miles a day. So many want to stay near home unless it is a National tour that stays in one hotel the entire week. I do not know if they just do not trust their cars, or if this type of tour is unusual.

This fall I was thinking of touring the UP the week after the OCF. I have a couple of people here in Wisconsin that are willing to consider a tour to the UP. My plan was to leave Milwaukee and head up to Copper Harbor by way of Iron Mountain and return west of there. I was planning on camping, but willing to find a hotel close to a campground for those that need a hotel, and then we can still stick together. Somewhat winging it and hoping that the hotels have openings, but that should not be a problem in September. October might be a bit too cold when traveling in a Model T.

Dave


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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by DHort » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:16 am

OCF this year is Sept 12-13.

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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:19 am

Dave, your earlier post is what got me thinking. Right after OCF would be a great date but unfortunately for me, my daughter and son in law will be on a cruise and we’ll be dog sitting. I was thinking September 27-Oct 2 or 3. Same time as last years covered bridge tour in Indiana. Temps there were in the 90s. Historically high temps in the Keewenaw around 60. You’re correct that this kind of tour would not be for everyone. You’d need to be a little adventurous. It’s more the kind of thing they did a century ago but on better roads with better accommodations. Out hundreds of cars in the Great Lakes region it could be hard to get 10 who’d want to go, but what a group they would be! Fortunately, in such a group you’d likely to have enough skills and spare parts to deal with all but catastrophic failures. For those you have the vulture wagon. I’ve been plotting daily legs in the 70-80 mile range. People will want to stop and see the sights, not engage in an endurance race. I’ve already got some feelers out to possible motels. Being February I’m a little ahead of the tree-peeping crowd so I think it’s doable. I’m familiar with the area and already have ideas of what people might like.

When I get some more feedback I’ll decide, but don’t want to wait too long to get reservations, even if I have to cancel them later.

Thanks for sharing your insights.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Gonenorth » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:37 am

Scheduling any outdoor event north of the hard winter line can get problematic in the Fall. Having lived in this part of the planet most of my life, I've learned that you have until roughly mid October before the temps fall off the edge. Usually we can count on "Indian Summer" sometime around October 10th-14th. 3-4 days of glorious weather...then temps fall 20 degrees in the next couple days and keep heading south from there. My T goes into storage on the 15th/16th and get winterized. Don't bother pulling it out again until late April.

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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by john in kzoo » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:42 am

A stop on Michigan Tech's campus (my old stomping ground and where two of my kids went to school) would be fun. Plus plenty of Breweries in Houghton

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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by WayneJ » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:48 am

My Grandparents lived in Iron Mountain so I have always had a fondness for that area. I would certainly consider either tours, if life doesn't get in the way.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by WayneJ » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:06 pm

Tim you might consider joining Dave on his tour for 2020 (bring the dog along?) and plan your tour for 2021?
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:51 pm

Wayne, that would be four dogs in a model T-one of whom weighs 130 pounds. Not this year but hey, I’m up for anything :D
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Marty Bufalini » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:52 pm

Tim, I think it's a great idea. I love the UP, eh. I have no problem trailering my 1914 up there. tBut, it would depend on cost. Also it depends on how close it would be to Hershey and OCF.


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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:53 pm

Tim

I've done National Tours and I've done private tours. They each have their Pluses and Minus'. Over the years, I've found that for pure relaxed enjoyment and comeradere, the private tours have far more Pluses and far fewer Minus'. A particular feature that I really enjoyed was a 'burger cookout outside at least one afternoon after the drive, as well as beer/drinks (I don't drink, but the "social hour" is really fun). You really get to know the other drivers and spouses, worry more about their well-being, and enjoy sharing the successes and failures of the day.

National Tours are indeed fun, and when I can, I will continue to participate, but the driving itself is often a race to the next food stop, with little regard for the sights and experiences along the route that the Tour Director and volunteers have arranged for. Small tours are delightful in just experiencing the drive and the people.

I highly recommend you team up with a few people and run your own tour.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Ron Patterson » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:00 pm

Don't forget the Ford Sawmill and logging sites in the UP.

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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:57 pm

John - Do you have a designated driver? :lol:

Marty - that would be great! I'm doing my best to keep costs down. Should cost less than a typical tour. The dates I'm looking at are two weeks after OCF and the tour would wrap up by the weekend before Hershey starts, giving most guys 3-4 days before they have to hit the road again. It gets busy that time of year which i certainly can appreciate. You can't do everything.

Scott - thanks for the encouragement. You voiced some of my thoughts on the subject and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks along those lines. Being new to Model T touring I have a lot to learn but I'm raring to go! Time waits for no man...
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Pipebomb » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:03 pm

Im in the hancock area would love to have yall stop by !


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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by DHort » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:00 pm

Ron - they sawmill appears to be closed. :(

Greg - you are on the list of stopping points.

OCF is Sept 12-13
Hershey is October 7-10

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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Ed Baudoux » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:46 am

You have my interest. The small town of Grand Marais, some 40 miles east of Munising, is a real treat. The road through Pictured Rocks National Park is nicely paved now, and connects Grand Marais and Munising.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Dallas Landers » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:59 am

Ed is correct. We were there on the bike a few years ago and I thought it would be a great T road. We have a cabin north of Newberry and 123 to paradise is a great drive also. Lots of dirt roads to explore also. You can stop at DNR office in Newberry and get county maps of all the roads. One word of caution, the dirt roads are sand and ussually rreally bad washboard. One of the bikes in our group was a trike and he couldnt keep it straight for the washboard road.


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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Ron Patterson » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:06 am

Dave
The sawmill and town built by Ford at Alberta still exists and can be toured.
In the town of L'Anse the Ford port, buildings and water tower with Ford script still exist.
Near Ishpeming the huge Ford sawmill is abandoned but still standing. It takes some sleuthing to find it though.
And don't miss the two huge unique ore loading pier and docks in Marquette. The one in town is not operating and the rail tracks have been removed but just West of town there is another fully operable ore loading dock along with the rail tracks leading from out of town where the ore was loaded to the end of the pier where it was loaded onto the Ford ships headed for the River Rouge plant.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Ed Baudoux » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:33 am

If we will be based in Munising, Grand Marais and back would be a nice day trip. There's a 1950's diner, beautiful harbor, one gas station, and plenty to see along the way. Hurricane River, the Log Slide, Grand Sable Dunes, Pickle Barrel House.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:42 am

I think September after OCF would be OK, but early October brings the risk of frostbite. You can have decent weather in early October, but the fickle weather gods can sometimes come up with a pretty unpleasant surprise. Several years ago we had a local tour here that kicked off on October 3, a day with cold, blustery north wind, and we're far south of the UP. If it can happen in northern Oklahoma it can sure happen in upper Michigan.
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:56 pm

Steve,
You are correct - such a tour would require a hardy person, like one who would sleep under a tarp in a Walmart parking lot. When my late daughter was attending NMU in Marquette we used to go up the first of October for a color tour. Yes, weather can be unpredictable but it should be doable if one plans ahead. Worst case, you abort, cancel motels and head back to the parking lot :D Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


I'm moving ahead with planning but no final decision has been made. IF you would like to be kept informed of my progress please email me and I will send you periodic updates. I've prepared a PDF with my ideas for a route and ask that you take a look, fill in some info and send it back to me.

I have only mentioned this on the forum so far but will be telling the clubs I belong to soon. I don't think I'll have trouble finding ten cars who'd like to go. If this trip goes well... I'd consider making it an annual event with different routes.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by gldavis » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:38 pm

A couple years ago we did a solo trip to the UP in our 1926 Tudor the end of October. We rented a cabin in Mackinaw City and drove across the Mackinaw Bidge (for those not familiar with MI, this is the bridge that connects our state's two peninsulas). We drove over to Detour Village and then crossed to Drumond Island on the ferry. Had a great lunch at a Mexican Restaurant and when we headed back the car died on the ferry. The ferry crew shoved us off on the main land. The tow truck from Mackinaw City was swamped so we had to call a taxi....which was a $135 taxi bill... While we waited we enjoyed several nice Bud Lights at the Detour Inn. Fun adventure! But, yes, it was cold....wouldn't want to do it with an open car that time of year.
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by DHort » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:41 pm

Ed

Both my plan and Tim's plan are circle tours. Different hotel or campground every day. No skipping a tour one day and relaxing in your bed. Every day you drive with the rest of the group.

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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:12 pm

George,
We have access to a cabin on Drummond Island and usually go up around mid-October. A couple of times I've trailered my 1952 M38a1 Jeep up and driven some of the trails (great Jeeping country - some of the trails qualify for a Jeep "Badge of Honor.") Our Jeep is not enclosed but I've found if you dress properly you're fine unless it rains. The Mexican restaurant is Esther's - it alone is worth the trip.

Your experience is a good reminder that the Upper Peninsula is rough country for a breakdown. Some places you can drive for miles and not see any signs of habitation. The UP is the size of Denmark but has a population of only 311,000.

It's too bad Dave and I can't collaborate but this year his dates just don't work for me. In another year I'll try to get on the family calendar a little earlier :lol:
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Re: Michigan UP Tour Idea

Post by Oldav8tor » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:03 pm

Update:
I know people need facts in order to make a decision so I’ve been running down motels along my proposed route. I haven’t made any reservations but I have some prices and local information. For 5 nights it’s looking like $215 per person ($430/ couple) for double occupancy in modestly priced motels. Single rooms also available for a bit less. All are pet friendly (40 lbs and under) although a couple have a fee. I’m planning for ten cars…IF a few more people really want to go there is one locale where I’d have to put them up in a little more expensive motel 5 miles away.

Dates are 9/28 to 10/2, Munising to Copper Harbor to Munising.

Other info of interest:
Sunrise 8 AM Sunset 7:30 PM 11.5 hours daylight
Average High Temperature 58, Low 44
Last year’s actual High 71, Low 48 (October 1st in Houghton)

If interested send me an email. No money up front, ability to cancel later, waitlist if need be.
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