Archive for April, 2018

Leeloo Dallas Multi-Pass

Tuesday, 10th April 2018; 11:12 am

Discovering that your passport expired without you noticing it is one of those middle-class first-world disappointments.

I last used it in 2010, for 1) a day trip into Ontario on my scooter ride along the Lake Huron shore, so I could reach Lake Erie without having to go through Detroit, and 2) a cruise with my extended family that stopped in the Bahamas, Aruba, and Curaçao (where I rented a scooter to explore the island for the day). I intended to use it in 2012 for a quick visit to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, but the long line on the International Bridge dissuaded me. I also looked into going to Bermuda a few years ago, but that’s money I don’t want to spend for now.

Getting into Canada without a passport wouldn’t be that difficult, but if I swam across the Pigeon River instead of going through Customs & Immigration, I wouldn’t be able to bring my scooter, so I guess I’ll do it legitimately. 🙂

In olden days, you could cross the border between the States and the Provinces with just a driver licence, but in the Era of Botched Foreign Policy (aka “the 21st century”), the requirements are more rigorous. To address this, a few border states issue “enhanced” licences with citizenship verification, but Michigan won’t accept an expired passport for that, and I haven’t seen my embossed birth certificate since the Reagan administration.

However, the nations of North America have agreed to the use of passport cards that are valid for travel withing the hemisemisphere, and the State Dept. will accept my expired passport book for that. It’s $80 cheaper than a proper passport book, and it’s also $15 cheaper than the Michigan ID and good for 10 years rather than 4.

The only catch is that it isn’t valid for international air travel, even within North America. (So no flights to Bermuda.) But for riding into and out of Canada (or for another cruise, if my family wants to do that), it’ll be fine. I’ve got my application all filled out… it just needs a current photo and a check attached.


Route around Superior

Monday, 9th April 2018; 10:05 am

I’ve worked out a scooter route around Lake Superior, based on the assumption that I can get dropped off at Mackinaw City. (Or St Ignace if it’s too windy to ride across the Mackinac Bridge.)

There are a few places where the route doesn’t follow the lakeshore. One of them – the Keweenaw Peninsula – is a simple time-saver. I’d love to ride up to Copper Harbor again, but that’d be another day added to an already long ride. The others are a matter of there not being paved – or in some cases, any – roads that go through there.

I have 7 campgrounds selected: 3 in Michigan, 1 in Wisconsin, 1 in Minnesota, and 2 in Ontario. But I’m thinking of spending two nights at Grand Portage MN, so I can take a day trip to Isle Royale.

Some of the highlights along the way by day: 1) Tahquamenon Falls, 2) Pictured Rocks, 3) Porcupine Mountains, 4) Apostle Islands, 5) Lake Superior shoreline, 6) Isle Royale, 7) Thunder Bay, 8) Pukaskwa National Park, 9) the Soo Locks. Most of the places in Michigan would be second (or more) visits, but much of the route would be different from what I’ve ridden before, including a wilderness route through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

This trip would do justice to none of the places I’d be riding through. But I’d rather get a drive-by look at the Apostles (for example) than not see them at all. I’ve also promised myself a proper visit to Isle Royale in 2022, for the 20th anniversary of my first week there. (There’s still one major trail loop I haven’t hiked.)