Unearthing Hidden Gems on an 1,800 Mile Eastern Upper Peninsula Ride

Car, Horse, Motorcycle or ORV – No matter what your preferred method of transportation, guest blogger Bryan Much shares his tips for taking the road less traveled on an Eastern Upper Peninsula ride.  

Eastern UP you say?  Yeah, been through there many times. Nice place!”  That was me before I took the time to dig in and really explore the history, scenery, and attractions of the area.  I always thought the eastern UP was “nice”, but now I’m in awe of all that I’ve missed over the years.

I like to do my exploring on an adventure motorcycle, but a car – or even a horse (as I learned along the way) – will take you to treasure.  With motorcycle riding upon us, it’s a good time to share some opportunities for the curious to explore and enjoy.

Rolling along to take in hundreds of points of interest, I covered about 1,800 miles of Pure Michigan goodness.  My goal went beyond the entertainment of taking my own trip.  I wanted to share some information that would make it easier for others to plan a trip of their own. On my trip, I toured counter-clockwise generally along the lakeshores with loops deep into the interior.  I crossed and re-crossed the bridge, ferried to Drummond Island, and rode the highways and back roads that took me where I wanted to go.

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My favorites points of interest usually involve history.  Visiting places and exploring what once was in the past is a very rich experience for me – especially when you add in some interpretive displays or stories from books.  We are still making history today, so the modern and new are equally fascinating.  The thrill of watching a giant ore ship navigate a narrow channel leaves an impression not easily forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

It’s not just the places.  The people you meet and the stories they share make for a memorable trip.  Slowing down and taking a moment to chat often brings great reward.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

The end of the day brings the time to reflect while relaxing on a beach listening to lapping waves while watching the sun slowly sink below the horizon.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Waterfalls, mom-and-pop restaurants, fishing villages, wildlife, and history new and old are all part of the fare.  The pictures and stories from my own trip can be viewed here.  Hopefully, it will help a few people sort out some places they’d like to explore on a trip of their own.

So take a look, make some plans, and go hunting for some treasure of your own!  See you in the eastern UP!

Bryan Much retired from the military after having advanced from Private to Colonel. He now spends much of his time advocating for off-highway motorcyclists and exploring and recording paths for them to ride and enjoy.  He serves on two councils relating to trails and is a member of many organizations related to this recreational interest.

5 thoughts on “Unearthing Hidden Gems on an 1,800 Mile Eastern Upper Peninsula Ride

  1. I have a map and a ride report just like this for the Western UP. Go to the “Ride Reports” tab on cannonshot.net and you will find it. I suppose I should prepare a blog entry specific to that as well.

  2. Would love to see a map like this for the western side. We always traveled the eastern side and then decided to move to the western side. Disappointed that we never traveled this side before moving here…truly the hidden gem! Long drive but worth it! Some might find some relief from the drive by traveling around Lake MI through Chicago & Wisconsin.

  3. There is nowhere in the UP I do not enjoy visiting. Dad grew up in the Bessmer/Wakefield area during the depression and movdd south to Pontiac with the CCCs were he met mom,his memories of life in the UP during the depression must have been pretty bad as he never took us back,I did not discover GODs country untill I was an adult.we wanted to retire there ,had 18acres near Cooks ready to build on but the Lord had other ideas so wefind ourselves in Alabama doing. His work. We visit when possible always straining for that first sight of THE bridge! I pray my ” mansion” in glory is on the north shore of the UP anywhere ! Thanks for sharing your travels.

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