Thursday, July 24

H.O.M.E.S. = Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior

Did everyone learn the Great Lakes with that little acronym? Or, was that just a Midwest thing?

Well, it's that time of year when I motor around one of the Great Lakes. The previous two were easy decisions. Lake Michigan is a stone's through from me and it made sense to go there first. Then, everything I've read about Lake Superior as the "crown jewel" of the Great Lakes, the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, its wolf-like shape, made going there next easy too.

Three lakes (Erie, Huron, Ontario) are left to complete before I end my Great Circle obsession. It seems simple to just pick one and go. But I rarely make decisions that simply. If I select the Lake Erie Circle Tour, I can go over some familiar ground and visit three states (OH, PA, NY) I've yet to cover on two wheels. That would be a huge bump in expanding my "Where I've traveled" map at the bottom of this blog. Lake Huron adds nothing new but allows me to hang out in Ontario much of the time, which would be absolutely fine with me too. Lake Huron poses another question. Do I have the time to do it justice and go all the way around the lake and Georgian Bay. As William Murphy says in, Motorcycling Across Michigan, about Georgian Bay, "'s sometimes referred to as the sixth Great Lake"--it's that large! If I go that far, I'd want to go around the whole thing! Lake Ontario is out of the question for this summer because I think I'd want more time than I actually have.
If you're interested in the Great Lakes Circle Tours, I highly recommend Murphy's book on Michigan and his book, Motorcycling Across Ohio, not just because he outlines these tours better than anything else I've read, but because each book will detail more trips that you will ever have time to take. Reading about them in the dead of winter gets me through the harsh cold and gray days here. You can trust Murphy's every word--he's traveled these places and knows well the endorphin-releasing roads and the must-see historical sites.

I'd like to put 10,000 miles on my bike, Jesse Owens, before its forced hibernation over the winter. With 3000 miles on it now, I still have many miles to go. At minimum, I'll only add a couple of thousand miles with one of the lake trips, which I'm looking forward to doing. Still to come on the trip wish-list are OH, TN, NC and that ever waning opportunity to go to Nova Scotia this year.

Anyone been around Erie or Huron and can share a preference of one over the other? I can devote about 8 days to the trip. I'm leaning toward Erie but I'm wishy-washy and can be convinced to go elsewhere. I just really want to get on two wheels and go...

Ride safe!


Unknown said...

With 8 days and your new steed, blast through the areas and do a figure eight. Clockwise for Lake Huron and Counter clockwise for Erie. Jesse would gladly like that kind of mileage.

For only one, I would think that Huron would been the better adventure and ride. I used to live in Albany, NY and drove back to the Midwest twice a year. From Erie to Buffalo was a heavily congested area.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Jeffry, great suggestion, one I've thought of too. But therein lies the challenge. Blasting through or touring? As a history buff, I can't help stopping at every historical marker, lighthouse, attractive building, site of some skirmish, etc. Now that I've done Lake Michigan and Superior, I'm gung-ho to "blast" through either of them on Jesse since I've seen the amazing sites. The tiny bit of Erie I've already done tells me it's going to provide a lot of meditative and historic moments where I'll want to stop and stare out at the lake or visit a museum.

Regarding Erie to Buffalo congestion--is that true even hugging the lake as much as possible?

Unknown said...

Probably not as congested along hugging the lake. Cleveland to Buffalo was the most boring part of the ride from Albany. I forgot to take into consideration the stopping for history. Then again, I am a non reading librarian, go figure. One of my favorite guides for historical travel is the Smithsonian Guide to Historic Travel. Volume 6 covers the Great Lakes. I have used the series for travels in the New England Area.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...


"...non reading librarian"--there's has to be an interesting story behing how you ended up becoming a librarian!

Thanks much for the mention of the Smithsonian travel guides. They look great! I've ordered two!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sharon:

There is a certain degree of satisfaction in simply finishing a thing... And yet there is nothing that says you can't make a lifetime study of a subject too.

You are riding a Beemer now and you the curse of the marque -- distance. I suggest you look sat the ride that will take every minute of eight days to complete, then add 100 miles to it and go. Ride like you are a haunted soul. Stop long enough to take a picture of things that stick in your mind.

Then go back during the course of the next three months, taking longer weekends to revisit specific places where you wanted to spend more time. You'll learn the roads better. You'll pick up details you almost certainly would have missed. You may make a few new friends at various libraries and little historical sites. I almost said strip joints, honkey tonks, and points of cultural refuge, but then I remembered who I was writing this too. :)

Another advantage of this system is that you may get to see some beautiful stuff at different times of the day or year.

I road 40 miles for the first time in 27 days on Sunday. The arthritis in my knees fought me for control of my soul. I sort of won, and got caught in a raging thunderstorm for my efforts.

The details can be found at:

Come take at look at rustic Pennsylvania. You can stay here with Leslie and me.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
The Lindbergh Baby
Often copied... Never imitated.

Jack Riepe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Jack, I love your ideas. Your first paragraph grabbed me--you're a wise man--no matter what your friends say!

It was so good to hear that you rode a little and won a good fight to cover those miles. Congrats! I had wondered how you were doing and kept checking on the site. Next, time I'll drop you a PM.

I do just want to ride to places close and far away. I've got to figure out a way that I have the entire summers off--had I gone into teaching I wouldn't have this issue, but it's too late for that.

I do want to flesh out this idea I have of the two wheeled historian and going to places, revisiting them, and perhaps throwing in a few of those strange places you slipped in! One day I'm going to really shock folks and do something really wild--like drink an entire glass of wine--in a bar--haven't done that yet--but it's on my bucket list.

Hang in there--and Thanks!