I just stumbled on this group while looking around for other Chicago touring/camping bike people. Looks like a good place to be!
My wife Allison and I just got back from an 8 day ride around the bottom half of the lake and had a great time. If anyone needs route information for that, please feel free to let us know.
See you all out on the road!
I'd be interested in your route information for the bottom half. I've seen maps on Bikely and other forums but they're short on details and much of this area either has pretty heavy traffic or is sketchy neighborhood-wise. Also, if you decide to do the top half, let me know. I was looking for a riding companion for it earlier this year and came up empty so I didn't do it.
Hi Gail! We rode up to Manitowoc in WI, then ferried across (at night! it was a hoot!) to Ludington and then down. Well I can tell you this for sure: the route gets less fun the closer you get to chi. South of Benton Harbor there's a long stretch on 12 with little/no shoulder. We did it on Friday afternoon and that was somewhat tense. We ended up skipping our last night of camping (was to be the Indiana dunes) and rode the 80ish miles from Warren dunes back into the city. It is mostly on bike trails though, and the towns/hoods are fine. It's just suburban and not all that scenic. If you're thinking of doing it, you definitely want to look into USBR 35. Except that patch outside of Benton Harbor, it's amazing.
And yes, let's keep in touch. We'd REALLY love to do the top half (drive to Manitowoc, ride around to Ludington, ferry back) next year. It's somewhat longer (~550 miles) but promises to be super pretty.
Btw, we documented our trip while underway on our twitter account @velokallos and we're putting pics up on our site: http://roadsgoevereveron.com
We also have our own ferryboat out of Milwaukee, the Lake Express, which takes only 2 1/2 hours to cross from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI. I had a very positive experience, except for a couple of flats on the same tire and an absent boat on my second crossing, on the Michigan side of my trips. My observations helped to get bike racks on Milwaukee County buses.