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USA touring suggestions wanted

Old 01-30-20, 07:09 PM
  #51  
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greg and co.
re bears. I grew up hiking, canoe camping etc in this part of Canada, ie Ottawa, Montreal etc and in the nearby states a bit, and in all the years of doing stuff, never had a bear encounter that was more than seeing one far off and it taking off when it saw us. We always did the "put food up a tree on a line" thing and never brought food into tents, as a rule, but what I wanted to relate is that in regular areas that you'd probably be in, bears wouldnt be an issue at all (Im thinking if you were to consider a tour in the Walrus suggested areas)

the only time Ive been nervous about bears was when I was out in British Columbia, hking where there are grizzlies, and the first time I bought a can of bear spray.

I understand your wifes concerns, but using common sense with food, and at least in this part of Canada with black bears and not grizzlies, bear human interactions are rare and they are clearly afraid of us, and on a bike trip, you just wouldnt be in their environment really , ie deep woods.
And camp grounds that are near bear stuff always have those food lockers and proper garbage containers, ones that are bear proof, ---so bears dont come around cuz they know they cant get food.

re elevation. Around Montreal and this area down to Vermont, its not bad. Vermont is of course mountainy, but its also very beautiful. Ive ridden from Montreal to Boston, about a week, and yes there is climbing, but it was a very pretty ride, and got busy only at the end near Boston.---but you wouldnt be going that far, and Vermont in general is quiet and drivers very polite.

re language, a lot of people speak english, and when they dont, you work it out, maybe moreso than in europe because quebecers usually know some. But this is part of the charm here.
The st Lawrence river is a pretty neat area, and Quebec City is a neat city, N Americas oldest French city (ish) and very European looking in the old part of the city (a nice place to visit)

anyway, more ideas and details.
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Old 01-31-20, 01:25 AM
  #52  
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Vancouver Island is pretty cool. Lots of logging back roads, hidden lakes and rivers to swim in and shed loads of black bears. Even a ferry out to Bamfield then ride through the back roads to Victoria. food and stuff is more expensive in Canada though. We did a loop up from Vancouver, across to the island then down to victoria, ferry to Port Angeles then Through Olympic National Park to Olympia, we cheated and caught a train to Portland, then went up the Columbia River, wind was awesome, got blown uphill the whole way., highway 101 down the Hood Canal was pretty ****ty, though the cars and trucks were real good compared to Australia.
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Old 01-31-20, 10:56 AM
  #53  
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Amtrak is a great way to get to more out of the way places, but they only load and unload bicycles at stations that handle baggage. That eliminates many of the smaller stops. Be sure to check before you book
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Old 01-31-20, 12:06 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Slasharoo View Post
Amtrak is a great way to get to more out of the way places, but they only load and unload bicycles at stations that handle baggage. That eliminates many of the smaller stops. Be sure to check before you book
This is not true for all routes. Check the individual routes to find out if it applies to a route you're considering. There has been some discussion of the GAP/C&O trails which largely parallel the route of the Capitol Limited. That train has roll-on bike service at all stops. Space for bikes must be reserved ahead of time, and you roll it on yourself, but you can roll it on or off at any stop. I don't know what other routes this is true for, other than routes that go between Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, but I suspect there may be other routes that offer bike service at non-baggage stops.
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Old 01-31-20, 12:25 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Slasharoo View Post
Amtrak is a great way to get to more out of the way places, but they only load and unload bicycles at stations that handle baggage. That eliminates many of the smaller stops. Be sure to check before you book
That used to be true, but RobE is correct.

It is my understanding that roll on/roll off is reserved ahead of time when you buy your ticket.
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Old 01-31-20, 06:16 PM
  #56  
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We had a black bear walk right through our campsite, and he didn't even look at us. My wife and daughters were eating breakfast, and the bear went between them and the green food storage box on the left side of the picture. There was plenty of food on the table. He was on a mission; the river was just to the left of the shelter. That is where he was headed. Use the usual precautions, and there should not be any issues. We were in BC, Canada




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Old 01-31-20, 07:03 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
We had a black bear walk right through our campsite, and he didn't even look at us. ...
Your story reminded me of camping on a large island in the Apostile Islands on Lake Superior on a kayak trip. The campground was run by the National Park Service (USA). I was organizing some of our food in the food locker (steel box, bear proof) and I saw a couple bears which I assumed was a mother and cub slowly approaching our campsite as they were foraging in the brush. Then she lifted her head up and got a good whiff of what was going on, they then both started foraging in a different direction away from our campsite. Later I saw a park ranger, I congratulated him on their well trained bears. Described my observation, he asked if she had a tag in each ear, I said yes, he said - yeah, I know which bear you are talking about.
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Old 01-31-20, 07:14 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Do you enjoy touring in Tassie? Some suggestions in similar vein:

The "edges" of North America have often been my favorites.
- On the Alaska Panhandle, taking the ferry to Haines and then cycling over the coastal range to Haines Junction, Whitehorse and back to Skagway to catch the ferry back. This pushes your 35 miles/day and there are bears but otherwise one of my favorite trips. With six weeks, I would then combine with other destinations in British Columbia/Washington/Oregon including: the San Juan Islands (haven't been but good reports), perhaps Vancouver Island and otherwise parts of the northern Pacific Coast in Washington and Oregon. Some areas with traffic but overall not too bad. Also ideal time to visit this area.
- Atlantic Canada also among my favorites. Nova Scotia well set up for tourists with various "trails" to ride. The Cabot Trail is more famous for cycling, but also areas along various parts of the coast. PEI isn't large - but has some good cycle places to visit. Newfoundland was more rugged when I visited - and less touristy - which is it's own charm. I also enjoyed cycling along coast of New Brunswick in cross-Canada trip. Maine also gets pretty interesting once you get off US1 and down into some of the peninsulas. Weather is ok, though early in summer does have potential for obnoxious black flies.

For six weeks combining together routes in either Pacific Northwest or Atlantic Canada has a lot to offer and this is the right time weather-wise to visit. You can dial it more towards the tame (e.g. PEI) or more towards the rugged (e.g. L'Anse aux Meadows up in Newfoundland) depending on preferences.
Thanks for the suggestions Mev ... We have only been to Tasmania once ... In 1980 on a motorcycle tour of the island (caught the overnight ferry from Melbourne) ... fantastic experience. The thing about Tassie is that many of the best places to see are relatively remote and/or mountainous. I'm not saying it's a bad choice for bicycle touring, and many people do so quite happily, just something like that is probably more challenging than we are looking for this time around.
The softer options of Atlantic Canada look interesting and I will investigate the area some more.
Is it bear country? ... we are nervous about bears ...
Can you/anyone else tell us more about the black flies? ... how to protect against them?
What would be a good fly-in point to that area (we would be coming from Sydney)?
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Old 01-31-20, 07:19 PM
  #59  
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geez, non sequitor here, but has anyone else seen that Herzog documentary from 2005, Grizzly Man? About that (imo) nutbar who would go live with the bears way up in Alaska or somewhere and film them, and ended up being killed along with his girlfriend....
I found it interesting, but scary, and man, what a flakey nut that guy was.....

back to route ideas. It's interesting to think of what to suggest to someone coming from Australia, of what areas are worth seeing and would be very different than Australia and perhaps parts of Europe that they have already seen.
Greg, I plan to do the same as you , asking on a British cycling forum about route ideas of going up to Scotland. Might do this trip one day to visit family in N Scotland, so plan to get ideas from Brit riders just as you are doing here.
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Old 01-31-20, 07:22 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
  • Greg, re bugs. Not sure what sort of biting insects you have, but mosquitoes and black flies are the norm here, but amount and how bad can depend on the specific areas, time of summer, and how wet or dry the season has been.
  • So basically you can't easily get a magic reliable answer for how they will be, but some areas are worse than others traditionally at a given time of year.
  • Usually bugs are worse in morning and end of day, mosquitoes, but depending on the day black flies can be particularly annoying. So the reality is that having bugs are part of being in North America. But really depends on where and when.
  • I grew up doing hiking and canoing, in the area around here, Ottawa Montreal, so can at least give sort of reasonable ideas of bugs for here.
  • Anyway, just a heads up
  • PS, didn't mean to do bullet point things and am too lazy to correct it!
Thanks djb ... are there effective repellents and avoidance strategies?
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Old 01-31-20, 07:26 PM
  #61  
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re bugs, I've used one of these type of head nets for decades. They pack super small, super light, and if the bugs are really bad at dusk or whatever, along with loose long pants, long shirt, a hat and this sort of thing, you are covered pretty well.
I personally dont like using DEET that much, and will only use some on back of hands if its really bad, same goes for OFF or whatever bug spray, and or a bit on socks showing. Covering up with clothing is the best thing, and generally the mosquitoes and black flies are worse at morning and dusk, usually....but again, it really does depend on the specific area, the weather etc.

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Old 01-31-20, 07:28 PM
  #62  
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you won’t have issues with black flies while you ride your bicycle. When you stop, you should have long sleeves and some pants and socks and maybe a hat. Black flies do not bite through fabric like mosquitoes so almost any clothing covering your skin will work. Black flies will land, find exposed skin, coat it with blood thinner and then bite and scoop up the blood. They like to crawl behind your ears, on your ankle etc... in my experience the flies go down at night so no big deal. The bite does not hurt...but does itch afterwards




Originally Posted by gregmacc View Post
Thanks for the suggestions Mev ... We have only been to Tasmania once ... In 1980 on a motorcycle tour of the island (caught the overnight ferry from Melbourne) ... fantastic experience. The thing about Tassie is that many of the best places to see are relatively remote and/or mountainous. I'm not saying it's a bad choice for bicycle touring, and many people do so quite happily, just something like that is probably more challenging than we are looking for this time around.
The softer options of Atlantic Canada look interesting and I will investigate the area some more.
Is it bear country? ... we are nervous about bears ...
Can you/anyone else tell us more about the black flies? ... how to protect against them?
What would be a good fly-in point to that area (we would be coming from Sydney)?
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Old 01-31-20, 07:28 PM
  #63  
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oh, I know I will have to ask the same questions to Scots about "midges", which are supposed to be real little buggers and a pain in the ....
So will be asking all the same stuff to them if I ever get serious about riding up to Scotland from London or something.
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Old 01-31-20, 07:52 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by gregmacc View Post
Thanks for the suggestions Mev ... We have only been to Tasmania once ... In 1980 on a motorcycle tour of the island (caught the overnight ferry from Melbourne) ... fantastic experience. The thing about Tassie is that many of the best places to see are relatively remote and/or mountainous. I'm not saying it's a bad choice for bicycle touring, and many people do so quite happily, just something like that is probably more challenging than we are looking for this time around.
The softer options of Atlantic Canada look interesting and I will investigate the area some more.
Is it bear country? ... we are nervous about bears ...
Can you/anyone else tell us more about the black flies? ... how to protect against them?
What would be a good fly-in point to that area (we would be coming from Sydney)?
Thanks for the Tassie comparison. I've been there bicycle touring twice. Once a four-week loop in 2001 and before that eight days in 1998. There were a mixture of more remote bits in the west as well as Port Arthur, Hobart and places east. So that gives me a reference point...

Based on that, I would take Newfoundland off the list, but think Nova Scotia and PEI are worth consideration. I don't know more about bears than what Google tells me. I didn't have an impression it was much of an issue when I went - and also didn't notice anything, though a search told me otherwise. I am still under impression a lot less bears than in Alaska/Northern BC/Yukon where I have seen plenty...

Halifax is the largest airport in the region and where I would start looking for flights. I've flown out of it once with my bike and perhaps it was my route selection but getting into Halifax and to the airport was pretty busy on my bike. On that trip I had started in the US and taken an overnight ferry from Portland, Maine. Those ferrys seem to change around every so often so may be something else now.

I recall black flies as being pretty small and their initial bite isn't as bad as the itch/inflammation they seem to cause. I find them more obnoxious that mosquitoes. Folks living closer to the area can comment more - I'm mostly a tourist who has enjoyed my travels through the area, many of which have been outside black fly season.
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Old 01-31-20, 09:30 PM
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the ferry no longer runs out of Portland but out of Bar Harbor instead.

if you do find yourself in Maine feel free to contact me anytime.




Originally Posted by mev View Post
Thanks for the Tassie comparison. I've been there bicycle touring twice. Once a four-week loop in 2001 and before that eight days in 1998. There were a mixture of more remote bits in the west as well as Port Arthur, Hobart and places east. So that gives me a reference point...

Based on that, I would take Newfoundland off the list, but think Nova Scotia and PEI are worth consideration. I don't know more about bears than what Google tells me. I didn't have an impression it was much of an issue when I went - and also didn't notice anything, though a search told me otherwise. I am still under impression a lot less bears than in Alaska/Northern BC/Yukon where I have seen plenty...

Halifax is the largest airport in the region and where I would start looking for flights. I've flown out of it once with my bike and perhaps it was my route selection but getting into Halifax and to the airport was pretty busy on my bike. On that trip I had started in the US and taken an overnight ferry from Portland, Maine. Those ferrys seem to change around every so often so may be something else now.

I recall black flies as being pretty small and their initial bite isn't as bad as the itch/inflammation they seem to cause. I find them more obnoxious that mosquitoes. Folks living closer to the area can comment more - I'm mostly a tourist who has enjoyed my travels through the area, many of which have been outside black fly season.
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Old 01-31-20, 09:39 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
re bugs, I've used one of these type of head nets for decades. They pack super small, super light, and if the bugs are really bad at dusk or whatever, along with loose long pants, long shirt, a hat and this sort of thing, you are covered pretty well.
I personally dont like using DEET that much, and will only use some on back of hands if its really bad, same goes for OFF or whatever bug spray, and or a bit on socks showing. Covering up with clothing is the best thing, and generally the mosquitoes and black flies are worse at morning and dusk, usually....but again, it really does depend on the specific area, the weather etc.
yep ... standard equipment for any Australian bicycle tourer ...
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Old 02-01-20, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by gregmacc View Post
yep ... standard equipment for any Australian bicycle tourer ...
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Old 02-01-20, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by gregmacc View Post
yep ... standard equipment for any Australian bicycle tourer ...
Repellents with Deet are generally effective. I have switched to repellent that uses Picaridin, that is not supposed to damage equipment if the repellent gets on the equipment like Deet can.
https://www.rei.com/b/sawyer/c/deet-...sect-repellent

That said, there was one campsite in Nova Scotia where the bugs were REALLY bad where I dug into my bag and found my tiny little bottle of 100 percent Deet.

The photo was from PEI, the mosquitoes were gathering outside my tent door waiting for me to open it.



After my Maritimes trip I invested in a bottle of Permetherin. I wished I had sprayed my bike jersey and some of my other clothes before I went there.
https://www.rei.com/product/768970/s...mp-spray-24-oz
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Old 02-01-20, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Repellents with Deet are generally effective. I have switched to repellent that uses Picaridin, that is not supposed to damage equipment if the repellent gets on the equipment like Deet can.
https://www.rei.com/b/sawyer/c/deet-...sect-repellent

That said, there was one campsite in Nova Scotia where the bugs were REALLY bad where I dug into my bag and found my tiny little bottle of 100 percent Deet.

The photo was from PEI, the mosquitoes were gathering outside my tent door waiting for me to open it.



After my Maritimes trip I invested in a bottle of Permetherin. I wished I had sprayed my bike jersey and some of my other clothes before I went there.
https://www.rei.com/product/768970/s...mp-spray-24-oz
Thanks for the links tourist ... OMG! ... man eating mosquitos
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Old 02-01-20, 12:05 PM
  #70  
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greg+other half
mosquitoes and black flies are part of the landscape, and I hope we arent putting you off. I've been rather lucky with bike trips in that Ive never really had bad bug experiences, but if you are at least familiar with dealing with bugs, like Mev's very funny photo shows, then at least you are mentally prepared and this is a big part. I go back to my French friends who had their knickers in a knot over any mosquitoes....I really do think of the poor buggers who arrived here from Europe coming to the new world....35c in summer and pesky bugs, -35c in the winter and a winter unlike in England nor France....

On all my bike trips I've always had a pair of quick dry hiking pants, light material so light overall, roll up in a small package, and then some sort of long sleeve top. These "travel" type clothes are so common, but of course have the added bonus of working as reasonable looking "off the bike civvies" for going to a restaurant or whatever, are nice to have in cool weather, and can be layered with stuff underneath if need be---but of course work great to cover up for biting insects. Having just your hands and face exposed is the ticket, and then if really bad, do the net thing and maybe some bug spray on back of hands and socks. (pant legs tucked in socks if bad too)

I guess the analogy for us is being concerned about poisonous snakes and whatnot that can kill us Down Under....sure its a reality, but manageable with the proper knowledge....

hey, is beginning of June set in stone ? I know ticket prices go up significantly after end of June generally, but just curious. Guess it ultimately depends on "where" decisions to see if later in June would be of any benefit....
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Old 02-01-20, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
That said, there was one campsite in Nova Scotia where the bugs were REALLY bad where I dug into my bag and found my tiny little bottle of 100 percent Deet.
The photo was from PEI, the mosquitoes were gathering outside my tent door waiting for me to open it.
Our tour around the coast line of Nova Scotia last year was fun. We found that the little black flies (midges?) were worse than the mosquitoes. They were difficult to see until biting. However, along the water (here in northern NS) the wind kept them away. It was important to find open places to camp.
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Old 02-01-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
where are you flying in from? If from Europe and if this is your first USA rodeo then head for the Arizona/Utah/Colorado sandstone routes. This is something special for an Euro based visitor.
Probably the most spectacular area to tour in the whole USA, in my opinion. But June? Could be cooking hot.
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Old 02-01-20, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Probably the most spectacular area to tour in the whole USA, in my opinion. But June? Could be cooking hot.
there waa a couple from France who a few years ago put up their videos of travelling in the states on a tandem I think, and those states certainly were impressive, with the landscapes we've all seen in old western movies.
Greg et al, it might be worth looking into bike trips in those areas, just from the spectacular angle, although distances might be Australia esque..
check out crazy guy on a bike journals maybe for weather and heat.
ill try to remember the couples names and YouTube search name for three vids
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Old 02-01-20, 02:03 PM
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Found them. It was only last year.
Fred and Sveta on YouTube
I guess the other thing in those states is that it may be limited for smaller roads?
more food for thought, and some neat vids with good visuals to show what it's like.
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Old 02-01-20, 04:04 PM
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Lanesplitter
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I'd have to agree with those who suggested the Great Lakes. One could fly or take a train to Milwaukee and head north to Door County, Wisconsin (a 90-mile long peninsula). Once there, ride the length and take the Ferry to Washington Island, which has a hundred miles of paved roads and very little traffic. Head back down the peninsula and North at Green Bay towards the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Michigan won't be as quiet as Wisconsin, but you'll have a huge shoulder the whole way until the Straits of Mackinac. Once there you can take a ferry to Mackinac Island, a place beyond compare. No motor vehicles are allowed, and it's encircled by a magnificent 8-mile trail, plus many more on the interior.


You can use your return ticket to get to the Lower Peninsula and hug the coast along Lake Michigan, south. Just like Wisconsin, there are a series of rail trails along the way. Keep going south until Ludington where you can take the Badger across the lake. From there, it's only like eighty miles to get back to Milwaukee.


Most of the trip will be on rail trail, or on roads that see very little traffic. Wisconsin especially. The drivers and people there are absurdly friendly. There's also tons of places to camp with lots of remarkable, scenery including Sleeping Bear Dunes and Door County in general, plus there's side excursions if time permits, for instance Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, and Torch lake. The main downside is the bugs. Sometimes they can be bad that time of year.


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Last edited by Lanesplitter; 02-04-20 at 04:26 PM.
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