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View Full Version : Tips for Driving Across Wisconsin & Mich. UP


Ben
07-11-2006, 08:57 AM
We are taking a trip this summer and I was curious if anyone had any route advice or site recommendations. Heading from Detroit to chicago for a few days, then to Minneapolis for a few days, then back home through the UP for a few days.

I'm looking for things to see and do across northern wisconsin, and "Up North", Michigan. We'll have a baby with us, so stops every few hours and activities geared that way are in the picture. Will also have bicycles and baby trailer, but need to stay on paved trails, as baby is still young.

Current plan looks like driving through Wausau (spelling?), and heading east then north from there. Drive to Munising and spend a night there and do local stuff. Then maybe drive to Mackinaw area the next day and stay over in that area, and take a trip to the island.

Any recommendations for both route and activities would be great. Thanks.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-11-2006, 09:04 AM
Check this out (http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=9991)

Danimal
07-11-2006, 09:12 AM
Do not go through Downtown Milwaukee - I repeat! DO NOT GO THROUGH DOWNTOWN MILWAUKEE

The Marquette interchange is all tore up and it is a veritable mess!!

peason
07-11-2006, 09:17 AM
Central Wisconsin has some very good bike trails - I have never been on them but here good things about them - they are north of the Wisconsin Dells - should stop and catch the Tommy Bartlett ski show. Also, we have a great bike trail on the east side of the metro here in the Twin-Cities, which is all paved. Sounds like a great trip.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-11-2006, 09:49 AM
Speaking of the Wisc. Dells. That's a good stop if you have never been. Lots of stuff to do.
Where in Chicago are you going, suburbs, or the city? How long are you staying?
I kid you not about the expressways, be preparred if you think you are going through on a weekend. Consider stopping at the last Mich rest area before coming into Il. there are times you may sit for HOURS depending on the time/day.
UP in summer = casinos, UP in winter = Snowmobiling....

Leroy
07-11-2006, 09:54 AM
UMP has not spoken here yet?????

Trip around the upper midwest and getting to ski some of the best places, great. Getting to visit UMP.....priceless!

3event
07-11-2006, 10:02 AM
Sounds like the itinerary is still developing so here are a few comments on various locations (I haven't boated in any of them though): Door County WI on the peninsula is a great vacation spot. Scenic, with little towns, shops, restaurants, B&Bs.

As already submitted, the WI Dells - Baraboo area has a lot to see, including Devil's Lake State Park (beautiful family camping/swimming/hiking/biking park, but no powerboats >9.9hp).

From Mpls to LaCrosse WI, traveling the Great River Road along the Mississippi is some fantastic scenery. You will also run though Lake City MN (on Lake Pepin - part of Miss.), which is the birthplace of waterskiing. From LaCrosse you can pick up I-90 to I-94 > back to Milwaukee.

Have Fun!

3event
07-11-2006, 10:12 AM
The stretch between Wausau and Mpls has not much to show, especially from Wausau until you get to I-94 at Chippewa Falls. Of course if you like brewery tours you can do Leinenkugel in the Falls, typical WI activity.

chudson
07-11-2006, 10:12 AM
When goin through the Northwoods in Wisconcin and across the UP look out for them deere especially at night!

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 10:13 AM
Go to Sault Ste. Marie Michigan and experience that. The "soo locks" where the huge lake freighter boats lock through from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and vice versa. Neat to see those big boats. Lots of Maritime history there. and If you dont mind driving about a half hour out of your way, drive up to Whitefish point to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum to see a something very neat. The actual ship's bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald is there. The ships bell was controversially removed by a diver in 1995 and brought to the University of Michigan where it was restored via means of a series of chemical treatments to make it bright and shiny again. The bell now hangs on its stand in the museum. The "newtsuit" the diver used to dive 500 ft to do this is also on display there. That alone is worth the 1/2 hour diversion. Its quite chilling to look at that bell and think about what happenend that night, and realize that the bell spent 20 years in 500 ft of water at the bottom of icy lake superior. My parents went there in 1999 for the unveiling of hte ships bell on Nov 10th, the anniversary of the ships sinking. They said it was a chilling experience. Every Nov 10th, on the anniversary, they ring the Ship's bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald 29 times, once for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald, just like the song says. And a 30th time for all others lost on the great lakes. They also have a HUGE Fresnel lens there that is very impressive to see. its about 6 ft in diameter. its quite amazing. amoung some other stuff thats interesting.

Try looking at www.soolocks.com for information. You can take boat tours right through the locks. They have an actual ship turned into a display/museum that you can walk all over and look at the engine room, galley, crew rooms, captains quarters, bridge, etc... thats pretty neat. and they have the usual tourist traps, haunted house, fudge shops, ice cream shops, and a million gift shops. a neat downt town, some nice bars, a few cool restaurants. ONe really neat restaurant thats FILLED with stuffed animals. NO elephants or giraffes or hippos, but darn near everything else is in there. Neat atmosphere. The food used to be outstanding, but now its just "ok". moderate food, moderate service. but a neat expereince. PM me if your interested and I can point out some specific things to you.

as far as driving, there is no "good" way to go. you can drive along the lake if you want scenery, but its a tad longer and out of the way. I highley recommend the locks and the museum if your into that stuff.

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 10:16 AM
UMP has not spoken here yet?????

Trip around the upper midwest and getting to ski some of the best places, great. Getting to visit UMP.....priceless!
UMP has now spoken Leroy!:D His yooperness has given thy blessing for Ben to enter the UP and traverse it freely. ;) Doesnt sound like Ben will be on a "ski" trip, but if he wants to ski, he can look me up and we can ski. Depending on what way he goes, he may drive right by me. if its in the evening or weekend, and the water is calm, we can SKI!

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 10:18 AM
Here's a question for the Cheeseheads. Is the "House on the Rock" still around?? that was impressive!!!! I saw that about 20 years ago. If he is in that area, and its still open, I HIGHELY recommend seeing that.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-11-2006, 10:21 AM
Ben, let us know when you come though Chitown, there are quite of few members around here, so let us know what your plans are.

I hear Steve's always looking for a good reason to stop off at the local Hooters.... Of course I have NO reason to disagree...:D

P.S. If hUMP even suggests doing YOGA with him, RUN!!!!

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 10:25 AM
Ben, let us know when you come though Chitown, there are quite of few members around here, so let us know what your plans are.

I hear Steve's always looking for a good reason to stop off at the local Hooters.... Of course I have NO reason to disagree...:D

P.S. If hUMP even suggests doing YOGA with him, RUN!!!!
Dont listen to WFT Ben, He is just jealous cuz UMP was the ONLY guy in Yoga class with all those ladies!:D Dont hate me because I am smart WFT!:cool: I may be dumb, but I aint stoopid! the only thing I can say is "Boom chicka boump bowwww";)

Datdude
07-11-2006, 10:27 AM
You can stop by Minocqua (1 hour North of Wausau) and watch the Min-Aqua-Bats ski show. It is a tourist area with plenty of stuff to do. You should also look into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward. I am not a fisherman, but it was still a pretty cool place to see. There are Lumberjack shows in Minocqua and Hayward that are also fun to watch. There is a big hotel in Wausau with a waterpark if that interests you. PM me if you need any specifics and enjoy the trip

If you are interested, I can offer you some complimentary pulls while you are in the area

jlf
07-11-2006, 10:27 AM
I'd definetly make a pit stop in Wisconsin Dell's there is lots of activities to do especially with young children. It doens't sound like your trip will be bringing you my way close enough, but if you make it towards the LaCrosse area let me know. There is quite a bit to do around this area, a paddle boat ride on the Mississippi Queen, very nice Children's museum, I'd be happy to try to work something out with a pull or two if you had the time, there are tons of bike trails here, not paved, but they are pretty smooth and of course the City Brewery does tours and you can visit the world's largest six pack. I am not sure what there is to do up north, I only drive through it in the winter to get to my snowmobile destination. If you get to the cities, check out the Mall of America if you've never been there. It is fun to visit once. The drive up the Mississippi on Hwy 61, I believe it is, is a very pretty drive, if you hit it on the weekends you tend to get stuck behind Sunday drivers if you catch the drift and it is a two lane highway.

chudson
07-11-2006, 10:29 AM
Oh and another thing someone mentioned above the Dells area and there is a water park called Noahs Ark(http://www.noahsarkwaterpark.com/) and it was rated on the Travel Channel as the top water park in the U.S. A friend went with his family and said they had a blast. They stayed at a place called the Flamingo and he said you can walk out of your room right into the water park plus you get 2 free tickets to the park for staying there.

jlf
07-11-2006, 10:29 AM
House on the rock is still around, I forgot about that. That is cool worth checking out.

jlf
07-11-2006, 10:32 AM
It is supposed to be in or near 100 with lots of humidity this weekend and into next week, the husband and I are planning a trip to Noah's Ark next week, always a blast.

Ben
07-11-2006, 10:41 AM
Wow, this is great. Given the replies, I'll post a few more details to see how much better it can get.... Maybe some skiing, but unfortunately won't be the focus of the trip.

Leaving Detroit sat am to visit buddy on W/SW subs of Chicago. This should be the worst traffic of the trip I hope. Plans are up to him for sat pm & sun. Leaving there monday morning (won't be going through Chicago OR Milwaukee as he is decently far west) to go to Minneapolis to visit family. Bro in law has buddies ski boat in garage, so I think I'm ok there (other than I won't mention the brand...). He's responsible for activities in MN.

Now the big part... Leaving MN thursday morning (the second the baby goes down for nap) to head to UP. Exact destination unknown still, thinking Munising to check out the pictured rocks scenery. I'll need some stops along the 8 hour trip to keep baby happy. This is where I'm looking for tips - across Wisconsin & the UP, maybe good parks or other good places to get out and strech or eat. Unfortunately, I doubt much ski show stuff will be happening on a thursday morning, although I'd really like to see that.

Other spot I'm looking for tips is the 2nd day in the UP. Tentatively planning to drive a little bit the next day and either check out Mackinaw or maybe the Soo area based on UMP's advice. Then returning home saturday so we don't get stuck in the sunday traffic returning to Detroit area from Up North.

Thanks again.

chudson
07-11-2006, 10:43 AM
Also at Osh Kosh, Wisconcin is the Air Show July 24th-30th http://eaa.org/. If you like planes at all a day or two there is well worth it, make reservations early though cause rooms are all taken up within a 100 mile radious, unless you just goin for the day. During the Air Show that air port is the busiest in the world. Just go to the web site it'll tell you everything.

shepherd
07-11-2006, 02:53 PM
I guess having a baby with you may limit what you want to get into. I'll second the idea of visiting Sault Ste. Marie/Soo Locks. The Lakers that pass through the canal are cool to watch. They are some unique ships.

I've never been, but I understand Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior is one of the most beautiful in the country.

If you have any interest in aviation, definitely visit the Oshkosh Fly-in, but be prepared to do a LOT of walking in the hot, humid air. But they have great airshows and mind-boggling displays of aircraft of all types (homebuilts, classics, warbirds, etc.) on the ground and in the air.

There's a cheesy little indian casino in Brimley just west of Sault Ste. Marie, but you'll have the critter with you...

If you're not ready to hightail it straight home by then, a visit to Charlevoix and the Traverse City area for fresh picked cherries would be nice.

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 03:41 PM
to further what shep said, Isle Royale is a beatiful place IF you love rugged wilderness. Personally I didnt care for it. Its out in the middle of ******* nowhere in lake superior. only way there is by plane or boat. My friend just got caught in 10 foot seas out by Marquette on Sunday. wicked lake man, wicked. You need to plan some extra time too for weatther, the weather out there is MUCH different from the rest of the world. its always windy, its usually cold, and you can get stranded for a day or two more if the weather is bad and you cant boat/fly home.

also, there are tribal casinos scattered all over the UP. if your into that.

and I second his idea to see the Osh Kosk air show. its a great show, lots to see, but yes lots of walking.

There are other attractions up here, but nothing really spectacular, and if you have a baby some would be difficult.

Maristar210
07-11-2006, 04:20 PM
My advice:

Hammer down, stop to see the Soo Locks and hammer down again. Not much up there as far as family tourist spots. Great snowmobiling and Dirt Bike trails for the big kids though. The Two Hearted area on Lake Superior is a very nice view. Different way of life up there. No one is in a hurry to do a damn thing, except maybe ski, right UMP?

Steve

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 04:42 PM
Different way of life up there. No one is in a hurry to do a damn thing, except maybe ski, right UMP?

Steve
It is a different way of life up here and you got that "not in a hurry" part right Steve. My girlfriend is trying to adjust to that now. she is from the city and its a BIG adjustment for her to live here. We have had people come in here from downstate to buy a car, and they cannot believe how relaxed and easy pace we are. Nobody gets wound up, we just go with the flow. This guy was expecting us to be forcing him to sign papers instantly, getting credit approval before a test drive, etc. they just didnt understand how business gets done at our pace up here. its a pretty low stress lifestyle. I have friends/relatives who visit here and just marvel at our slow pace lifestyle. They even get caught up in it and find themselves just gazing at the lake on a calm summers evening, doing nothing.

But I DO hurry to ski!!!:banana: :headbang:

shepherd
07-11-2006, 06:15 PM
Ok, scratch the Isle Royale idea. I guess that's why I've never been there... :rolleyes:

JohnnyB
07-11-2006, 07:13 PM
Coming from MN, if you take US 2 across the UP, I can probably give you directions to a dozen differnt waterfalls...some are in parks and some are "off the beaten path".....found by dirt roads and landmarks....some are lots of fun to swim in. The best waterfalls are w/in a 30min radius of Hurley area, but there are many stops along US 2 with other falls. Also, if you go to the Munising area, I can recommend a great motel (know the owners from staying there lots snowmobiling). Also, in Munising, I can recommend some great restaurants and also can get you to some waterfalls/caves that are typically only "locals" attractions. Can probably connect you with the hotel owners as they own the hotel and one of the Marinas....great people who can probably steer you toward attractions as well.

I have snowmobiled somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000-10000 miles in the UP and can probably find interesting things for you no-matter where you wind up....keep me posted on your itinerary and I can provide info based on that.

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-11-2006, 08:19 PM
I have snowmobiled somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000-10000 miles in the UP and can probably find interesting things for you no-matter where you wind up....

Is there anywhere interesting around me I keep wondering if it is or not!;) 8p