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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever made the ride from Lewiston to Mackinac? My wife and I really want to do it, but have never done a back packing trip before. I'm just looking for some advice or tips for along the way. We have ridden in the u.p. plenty of times. We are used to one rides. Like i said we just have never done a overnight/backpack ride.
 

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I've found it very difficult to plan back packing trips because the departure point, the destination, and everywhere in-between has to have snow. NOT to mention, enough snow to return assuming you don't have a trailer waiting at your destination. Having said that, my wife and I have done many back packing trips. Some have covered 1,000 miles. I have never done the ride you are planning but none-the-less I always approach the journey in the same manner. Gas availability is of utmost importance so I make sure it is available everywhere on our route. Speaking of routes- make sure there is trail- duh! Yeah, we've been faced with trail closures and re-routes we weren't aware of and that forced us to do some long side-of-the-road stints and crossing frozen (lots of praying) bodies of water relying on directions from some guy at the bar. This can cause some dangerous low gas situations that could leave you stranded. Not to mention possibly being forced into trespassing to get back to a trail. What if your sled lays an egg? This has happened to a couple we were traveling with on a trip in Minnesota. We were a loooong way from home. He got his sled flat-bedded to a dealer and traded it in on a new one. Less than 24 hours later we were back on the trail. Ya gotta do what you gotta do. Always bring a fresh credit card to buy yourself out of any trouble you may encounter. Some times a back packing trip can really test your marriage. Just remember, the stories will last a life time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've found it very difficult to plan back packing trips because the departure point, the destination, and everywhere in-between has to have snow. NOT to mention, enough snow to return assuming you don't have a trailer waiting at your destination. Having said that, my wife and I have done many back packing trips. Some have covered 1,000 miles. I have never done the ride you are planning but none-the-less I always approach the journey in the same manner. Gas availability is of utmost importance so I make sure it is available everywhere on our route. Speaking of routes- make sure there is trail- duh! Yeah, we've been faced with trail closures and re-routes we weren't aware of and that forced us to do some long side-of-the-road stints and crossing frozen (lots of praying) bodies of water relying on directions from some guy at the bar. This can cause some dangerous low gas situations that could leave you stranded. Not to mention possibly being forced into trespassing to get back to a trail. What if your sled lays an egg? This has happened to a couple we were traveling with on a trip in Minnesota. We were a loooong way from home. He got his sled flat-bedded to a dealer and traded it in on a new one. Less than 24 hours later we were back on the trail. Ya gotta do what you gotta do. Always bring a fresh credit card to buy yourself out of any trouble you may encounter. Some times a back packing trip can really test your marriage. Just remember, the stories will last a life time!
Honestly didn't think of trail closures! I'll be sure to look for that before we head out. Thank you!
 

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Just like Saya said, it's an one day there and back trip. My son and I ride it all the time, usually ride up there to see the bridge and get lunch. It's about 170 miles round trip, say 200 from Lewiston. Usually we ride 404 to 4, 4 to 7, 7 to 720, 720 to 9 into Mackinac. We have never stayed over night but have done different loops which leads to different amount of miles. If your planning on spending the night, you could do the route I mentioned on the way up. Then on the return trip you could take 9 all the to Onaway/Atlanta then 449 over to Lewiston. We've done both way lots of times. Another way is 7 down though Pellston/Alanson. We usually don't ride that way because of the water holes.

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I should mention that it would be a good trip to get your feet wet doing a back pack trip. Depending on what day your going there is always traffic on trails and plenty of fuel stops.
 

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We park in St Helen and go up thru Lewiston and come back thru Gaylord and Grayling back to St Helen the next day. We ride at normal speeds and get to Mackinaw around 5pm just in time for a nice dinner at the Keyhole bar. We usually stay at the Vindal motel, get up early and head back down.
 

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Years ago before grooming really became a thing in snowmobiling we did a ride from Houghton Lake to the Mac bridge. It was an all day affair back then. We got there unexpectedly as we had just decided to keep riding cause the trails were actually groomed that day (they used to do it once or twice a week back then) So we get there and all of us are beat so we get a room at a hotel next to the trail and they gave us toothbrushes and we washed out the underwear in a sink lol. The ride back was BRUTAL as the trail had gone to unreal moguls (which actually was more common then than not) We swore we'd never do that again. And never did. That was in 1995-6 winter and I remember it as I had just gotten my brand new 95' Formula S 380. I learned then I needed a bigger engine for riding in places like the Lower or Upper. It was just too slow at 60mph. I bought a 97' Mxz 670 after that. Much better at the time for my style of riding. I did put 5,000mi on that 380cc though and it was a very good machine. I'll remember that trip forever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just like Saya said, it's an one day there and back trip. My son and I ride it all the time, usually ride up there to see the bridge and get lunch. It's about 170 miles round trip, say 200 from Lewiston. Usually we ride 404 to 4, 4 to 7, 7 to 720, 720 to 9 into Mackinac. We have never stayed over night but have done different loops which leads to different amount of miles. If your planning on spending the night, you could do the route I mentioned on the way up. Then on the return trip you could take 9 all the to Onaway/Atlanta then 449 over to Lewiston. We've done both way lots of times. Another way is 7 down though Pellston/Alanson. We usually don't ride that way because of the water holes.

Added

I should mention that it would be a good trip to get your feet wet doing a back pack trip. Depending on what day your going there is always traffic on trails and plenty of fuel stops.
Getting my feet wet I guess we're my intentions with this trip. We have done plenty of 200 mile trips in one day, but I guess we wanted to try riding somewhere and getting a hotel then riding back the next day I guess is what I was trying to say. The ride from Lewiston to Mackinac is something we have been talking about doing for years and just have never done it. I'll deffinalty be referring back to your post come winter time and map out a ride on those routes. Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Years ago before grooming really became a thing in snowmobiling we did a ride from Houghton Lake to the Mac bridge. It was an all day affair back then. We got there unexpectedly as we had just decided to keep riding cause the trails were actually groomed that day (they used to do it once or twice a week back then) So we get there and all of us are beat so we get a room at a hotel next to the trail and they gave us toothbrushes and we washed out the underwear in a sink lol. The ride back was BRUTAL as the trail had gone to unreal moguls (which actually was more common then than not) We swore we'd never do that again. And never did. That was in 1995-6 winter and I remember it as I had just gotten my brand new 95' Formula S 380. I learned then I needed a bigger engine for riding in places like the Lower or Upper. It was just too slow at 60mph. I bought a 97' Mxz 670 after that. Much better at the time for my style of riding. I did put 5,000mi on that 380cc though and it was a very good machine. I'll remember that trip forever.
Two years ago we rode from Newberry to epoufette to meet some friends for lunch. As the day went on it was getting warmer and on the way back it started to rain. Worst riding I've ever done. I was sweating because it was in the mid 30s so all my cloths were soaked. My jacket and bibs were soaked from the rain. The trails on the way back were so whooped out that I think the fastest we rode was 15-20mph possibly even slower. I know how you feel in non groomed trails lol
 

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Just like Saya said, it's an one day there and back trip. My son and I ride it all the time, usually ride up there to see the bridge and get lunch. It's about 170 miles round trip, say 200 from Lewiston. Usually we ride 404 to 4, 4 to 7, 7 to 720, 720 to 9 into Mackinac. We have never stayed over night but have done different loops which leads to different amount of miles. If your planning on spending the night, you could do the route I mentioned on the way up. Then on the return trip you could take 9 all the to Onaway/Atlanta then 449 over to Lewiston. We've done both way lots of times. Another way is 7 down though Pellston/Alanson. We usually don't ride that way because of the water holes.

Added

I should mention that it would be a good trip to get your feet wet doing a back pack trip. Depending on what day your going there is always traffic on trails and plenty of fuel stops.
That reminds me, we need to do that trip with the return through Atlanta, one of these days. And for sure, on my next trip up, I’m only going if I can cross Mullet Lake. Bruce wants to do it again someday too. Maybe I can even talk my brother in law into it too. It’s a fun Thursday or Tuesday ride.
 

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Getting my feet wet I guess we're my intentions with this trip. We have done plenty of 200 mile trips in one day, but I guess we wanted to try riding somewhere and getting a hotel then riding back the next day I guess is what I was trying to say. The ride from Lewiston to Mackinac is something we have been talking about doing for years and just have never done it. I'll deffinalty be referring back to your post come winter time and map out a ride on those routes. Thank you very much!
Depending on snow conditions, temps, day of the week your planning your trip and miles that your want to ride for the day there is lots of options. You could ride from Lewiston down to Grayling and then do pretty much a straight shot up to the bridge, if your wanting to put a few more miles on.

Where are you by Lewiston? I'm over at Little Bear Lake (LBL) along with Saya.

Two years ago we rode from Newberry to epoufette to meet some friends for lunch. As the day went on it was getting warmer and on the way back it started to rain. Worst riding I've ever done. I was sweating because it was in the mid 30s so all my cloths were soaked. My jacket and bibs were soaked from the rain. The trails on the way back were so whooped out that I think the fastest we rode was 15-20mph possibly even slower. I know how you feel in non groomed trails lol
Funny you brought this up.... Two years ago my Son and I did a backpack ride from Seney to Ishpeming. We rode in a blizzard on the way out, had awesome trails on the way back. We stayed and rode west and east of Seney for a couple of days. On our last day we decided to stay another day, but the place was booked, so we found a room at the American Inn in Newberry. We rode around northeast of Newberry for the day. While at Pine Stump, a guy was talking about the rain heading in. We high tailed it back to Newberry, even taking a short cut. The temps were climbing and the rain started coming as we got closer to the hotel. The trails were about mud by the time we got back. We were soaked. We loaded up and headed back to LBL only to spend the night in our truck in the Mc Donalds parking lot in St Ignace as the bridge was closed because of falling ice. We orginally planned on riding from our place to the bridge, shuttle across, and continue to Seney then to Ishpeming. Once across the bridge there was no snow on the trails, solid ice.


That reminds me, we need to do that trip with the return through Atlanta, one of these days. And for sure, on my next trip up, I’m only going if I can cross Mullet Lake. Bruce wants to do it again someday too. Maybe I can even talk my brother in law into it too. It’s a fun Thursday or Tuesday ride.
It really isn't bad riding 9 down from Cheboygan fast, but long, at least it isn't like the stop and go, 35 mph on trail 720 for 11 miles. There is a short cut that involves road riding from our place that will bring you out by the DNR station on 33 north of Atlanta. That way you avoid the ride to Lewiston (448, 449, and 4/9) to Atlanta.
 

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Depending on snow conditions, temps, day of the week your planning your trip and miles that your want to ride for the day there is lots of options. You could ride from Lewiston down to Grayling and then do pretty much a straight shot up to the bridge, if your wanting to put a few more miles on.

Where are you by Lewiston? I'm over at Little Bear Lake (LBL) along with Saya.



Funny you brought this up.... Two years ago my Son and I did a backpack ride from Seney to Ishpeming. We rode in a blizzard on the way out came back the on awesome trails. We stayed and rode west and east of Seney for a couple of days. On our last day we decided to stay another day, but the place was booked, so we found a room at the American Inn in Newberry. We rode around northeast of Newberry for the day. While at Pine Stump, a guy was talking about the rain heading in. We high tailed it back to Newberry, even taking a short cut. The temps were climbing and the rain started coming as we got closer to the hotel. The trails were about mud by the time we got back. We were soaked. We loaded up and headed back to LBL only to spend the night in our truck in the Mc Donalds parking lot in St Ignace as the bridge was closed because of falling ice. We orginally planned on riding from our place to the bridge, shuttle across, and continue to Seney then to Ishpeming. Once across the there was no snow on the trails.




It really isn't bad riding 9 down from Cheboygan fast, but long, at least it isn't like the stop and go, 35 mph on trail 720 for 11 miles. There is a short cut that involves road riding from our place that will bring you out by the DNR station on 33 north of Atlanta. That way you avoid the ride to Lewiston (448, 449, and 4/9) to Atlanta.
As long as there is good snow on those roads, I’m in because we all know the hate er I mean love I have for 448. The one time I ran the group up to Atlanta, 4/9 wasn’t bad but I don’t mind short cuts either.

Yeah, even Bruce wasn’t impressed with the 11 miles on 720. Bad part is that Mullet was rideable that day but never being on it, or knowing the exact route across it, I stayed on 720. At least there wasn’t any traffic that day. Not even in downtown Gaylord. It was thin in MC though which is no real surprise.
 

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I love the pictures! The one with the bridge in the background is poster-worthy. In the post above tnts4me mentions shuttling across the bridge. How do you guys get from the L.P. to the U.P. and vice-versa?
 

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I love the pictures! The one with the bridge in the background is poster-worthy. In the post above tnts4me mentions shuttling across the bridge. How do you guys get from the L.P. to the U.P. and vice-versa?
For a fee, you use to be able to get picked up on one side of the bridge by the bridge authority and transported across the bridge (sled and driver) to the other side. I heard as of last year that they are no longer going to be doing this. Guess it's best to call them or unless someone knows for sure.
 

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That would suck if they stop the transporting service. That's just one more hurdle in the way of a totally cool ride.
 

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Funny you brought this up.... Two years ago my Son and I did a backpack ride from Seney to Ishpeming. We rode in a blizzard on the way out, had awesome trails on the way back. We stayed and rode west and east of Seney for a couple of days. On our last day we decided to stay another day, but the place was booked, so we found a room at the American Inn in Newberry. We rode around northeast of Newberry for the day. While at Pine Stump, a guy was talking about the rain heading in. We high tailed it back to Newberry, even taking a short cut. The temps were climbing and the rain started coming as we got closer to the hotel. The trails were about mud by the time we got back. We were soaked. We loaded up and headed back to LBL only to spend the night in our truck in the Mc Donalds parking lot in St Ignace as the bridge was closed because of falling ice.
Did someone say falling ice from the bridge?

2.24.2019 -We had a small issue crossing the bridge this morning trying to get back into the lower peninsula.

First pic is from inside my friends F150. I was riding in the passenger seat, wife was in the backseat.

Second pic is another truck that got hit by falling ice a few seconds before us, luckily he didn’t have a passenger!

2121538

2121539
 
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I remember you posting those pictures shortly after it happened, I think on DooTalk. Glad that nothing happened to anyone as it reminds me of the incident where some kids throw a rock from an overpass by Clio and killed someone. Ice can be just as dangerous especially from the height of the towers.
 

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For a fee, you use to be able to get picked up on one side of the bridge by the bridge authority and transported across the bridge (sled and driver) to the other side. I heard as of last year that they are no longer going to be doing this. Guess it's best to call them or unless someone knows for sure.
I've read more than once that there is a local tow company that will do it for a fee with his flatbed.
 
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