I'm a big fan of overlanding but I don't get to do it often because a) i'm a very busy person, and b) it can get expensive depending on how you do it. I did put aside some time during my summer break from school to travel up to the UP in Michigan as it's an area I've been interested in for a long time. I tried to map out the trip on Google but it's impossible to do it accurately. I didn't know where I was at half the time and for a lot of the areas I did know, Google won't let me route through them. So this is a decent estimate.
Overall, I did 1882 miles. I left Cincinnati Saturday morning and crossed the Mackinac bridge 8 hours later. While in Michigan, I passed though the towns of Paradise (full of churches, actually), Christmas (had a giant Santa), and Gay (home of the Gay Bar who's special is the footlong hotdog, ha). I came back through Green Bay, Milwaukee, and spent a couple nights in Chicago as I needed the city after all that wilderness. Here's a few photos. I apologize as they will be 4runner intensive. The point of the trip was obviously to get her dirty.
I like my iPhone photo of the Mackinac better than what I got with my D90 so we're starting with that.
It started raining almost immediately after reaching the UP. It was quick though and once it stopped I got one of my first looks at the shoreline of Lake Huron.
I stopped at Coffee Emporium on my way up so the next day, I was set.
These are my accommodations. Everything I need is right there.
This is the last time the 4runner was clean during the trip.
I got stuck behind a slow driver and pulled off at a random lighthouse. How picturesque is this?
I eventually made it up to Whitefish Point but the weather turned crappy. It was kind of touristy there too which I really don't like. So instead of staying the night as initially planned, I hung out on the beach for a bit, snapped some pics and went on my way.
The eastern side of the UP had a lot of 'roads' like this. They were fantastic!
If you asked me to show you where this gas station was at on the map, I couldn't do it. There were no paved roads anywhere remotely close to this place.
It did look like a forest fire did work nearby relatively recently.
which makes for dramatic silhouettes.
This is the Two Hearted River which should inspire thoughts of the classic Hemingway story or at least the amazing Two Hearted Ale from Bell's
This is one of my favorite pics of the 4runner next to Lake Superior.
A beautiful stretch of road.
People doing real work while I lollygag around. Also, I peed in that port-o-potty and it was pretty great.
blowin' in the wind.
I walked out there.
The sun setting on Kingston Lake.
Miner's Castle. This was a must see on my trip.
found some graffiti in one of the college towns which made me feel at home.
I got bored on one of the main roads so I cut off and took random back roads.
I should have known by some of the blocked / overgrown sections of road that I probably wasn't going to be able to get through it. I tried anyway. I eventually gave up when my GPS wanted me to cross this bridge.
Further down the road, I wound up going about 30 miles out of my way and bought gas at $5 / gallon. I would have been upset if it didn't lead to a beautiful road on the way back.
I made my way through Houghton (cool town) and eventually all the way up to Copper Harbor.
US41 starts there, but right past where the sign says 'Road Ends', some of the best trails I've ever driven start. I didn't take many pictures to prove it as I had a grin ear to ear at such a discovery. It also lead to this view.
pulloff to take in the view.
a small creek crossing aka the closest thing I've had to a carwash in a while.
The first view to greet me the next day. Also, the John Jacob Astor is sunk in them waters. It went down in 1844. There was a guy snorkeling and checking it out. I just drank my coffee.