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Author Topic: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015  (Read 20152 times)

Alps

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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2014, 07:26:02 PM »

I'm in. The chatroom people better constantly annoy me about this. Yes, this is a promise.
You said you're in, so you're in. Can't wait to meet you. (Actually, come to Madison in April.)
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2015, 06:49:39 PM »

Now that 2015 is here and hotels around the Mackinaw area quickly start becoming expensive due to the Bridge Walk, we should probably think about where folks might want to make hotel reservations. (Yes... the meet is an entire 8 months away, but no joke... now is not too early to start making more definitive plans if possible.)

Cody Goodman, Sam Scholtens, and I are tentatively planning to spend Friday night in Houghton, Saturday night in Marquette, and Sunday night in Sault Ste. Marie. SSM is only about 45 minutes from the Mackinac Bridge, so the drive down the morning of the Bridge Walk (Labor Day) will be rather quick and easy. I would think hotels in Sault Ste. Marie will be cheaper than in the Mackinaw area.

What are everyone else's plans?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 08:25:09 PM by A.J. Bertin »
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2015, 07:23:01 PM »

Now that 2015 is here and hotels around the Mackinaw area quickly start becoming expensive due to the Bridge Walk, we should probably think about where folks might want to make hotel reservations. (Yes... the meet is an entire 8 months away, but no joke... now is not too early to start making more definitive plans if possible.)

Cody Goodman, Sam Scholtens, and I are tentatively planning to spend Friday night in Houghton, Saturday night in Marquette, and Sunday night in Sault Ste. Marie. Sault Ste. Marie is only about 45 minutes from the Mackinac Bridge, so the drive down the morning of the Bridge Walk (Labor Day) will be rather quick and easy. I would think hotels in Sault Ste. Marie will be cheaper than in the Mackinaw area.

What are everyone else's plans?

I'll go where the party's at, and I know I'll be there all three nights. I still have no idea what the surrounding logistics look like (at the moment I'm planning on flying to NJ and doing a big loop via Quebec and Washington DC, but this changes weekly. The other option is just to drive out from Montana if I don't have as much time. Either way it's arriving in either Houghton late afternoon or Marquette early evening, then hustling south pretty quick after the bridge walk is over.).

I'd been planning after talking with Sam and Alps in chat on the same Houghton/Marquette/Sault itinerary, but I'm locked into nothing.

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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2015, 09:59:54 PM »

With my attendance at Denver in May all but confirmed I suppose I should mention that I am now not going to be present at this. I will, however, be passing through the area on that other trip.
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Alps

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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2015, 10:17:56 PM »

I'll go along Friday/Saturday with whatever. I'm not committing to Sunday yet.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2015, 08:38:08 PM »

Now that 2015 is here and hotels around the Mackinaw area quickly start becoming expensive due to the Bridge Walk, we should probably think about where folks might want to make hotel reservations. (Yes... the meet is an entire 8 months away, but no joke... now is not too early to start making more definitive plans if possible.)

Cody Goodman, Sam Scholtens, and I are tentatively planning to spend Friday night in Houghton, Saturday night in Marquette, and Sunday night in Sault Ste. Marie. SSM is only about 45 minutes from the Mackinac Bridge, so the drive down the morning of the Bridge Walk (Labor Day) will be rather quick and easy. I would think hotels in Sault Ste. Marie will be cheaper than in the Mackinaw area.

What are everyone else's plans?
I'm also doing Houghton/Marquette/Soo.  I am doing the walk on Labor Day and then my plans are grey from there (but I'm looking possibly to cross over to Canada and loop either Lake Superior or Lake Huron, though that depends more on work demand than it does finances.  I don't believe either country's customs officials are going to question doing a circle route around a great lake :bigass:
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2015, 08:45:06 AM »

I can confirm that motel rates in the Soo are generally much less than Mackinaw City or St. Ignace on Labor Day Sunday.

Labor Day night itself has the potential for normal rates again in Mackinaw - most of the tourists have to move out because the kids need to be in school the next day.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2015, 05:16:15 PM »

I just booked the hotel rooms where Sam Scholtens, Cody Goodman, and I will stay. We'll be at the Super 8 in Houghton on Friday night, the America's Best Value Inn in Marquette (technically Harvey) on Saturday night, and the Holiday Inn Express in Sault Ste. Marie MI on Sunday night.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2015, 05:23:49 PM »

I just booked the hotel rooms where Sam Scholtens, Cody Goodman, and I will stay. We'll be at the Super 8 in Houghton on Friday night, the America's Best Value Inn in Marquette (technically Harvey) on Saturday night, and the Holiday Inn Express in Sault Ste. Marie MI on Sunday night.

I should add that since this is the U.P. and all the towns are small, having all the roadgeeks in different motels would not be a huge problem.

All the lodging in Houghton/Hancock and Sault Ste. Marie is within 4-5 miles of everything in their towns. A.J. happened to pick the most remote chain motel in Marquette, and even that is only 5 miles from downtown and 8 miles from the furthest end of all the restaurants and strip malls (where the speed limit is mostly 45+ and part of the journey is expressway).
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2015, 05:50:48 PM »

All the lodging in Houghton/Hancock and Sault Ste. Marie is within 4-5 miles of everything in their towns. A.J. happened to pick the most remote chain motel in Marquette, and even that is only 5 miles from downtown and 8 miles from the furthest end of all the restaurants and strip malls (where the speed limit is mostly 45+ and part of the journey is expressway).

According to Hotels.com, there weren't too many reasonably-priced hotel options in Marquette for that particular Saturday night. The hotel in Harvey is a pretty good deal and it's not a bad place either (average at worst). My partner and I actually stayed there in the summer of 2010 and we didn't have any issues with it. And yes... the drive from there to Marquette was quick and easy.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2015, 06:09:01 PM »

I just booked the hotel rooms where Sam Scholtens, Cody Goodman, and I will stay. We'll be at the Super 8 in Houghton on Friday night, the America's Best Value Inn in Marquette (technically Harvey) on Saturday night, and the Holiday Inn Express in Sault Ste. Marie MI on Sunday night.

I should add that since this is the U.P. and all the towns are small, having all the roadgeeks in different motels would not be a huge problem.

All the lodging in Houghton/Hancock and Sault Ste. Marie is within 4-5 miles of everything in their towns. A.J. happened to pick the most remote chain motel in Marquette, and even that is only 5 miles from downtown and 8 miles from the furthest end of all the restaurants and strip malls (where the speed limit is mostly 45+ and part of the journey is expressway).

How much trouble is the Soo border crossing? The Super 8 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario looks quite a bit cheaper at least for me (CAD$89)- I don't plan on getting intoxicated on Sunday night since I'd have a long drive on Monday, so that part is not an issue (and having to deal with border guards would be incentive to keep me at my word). Maybe crossing the border in Monday morning will be bad idea though with Canadians going to the bridge walk.  If that's more trouble than it's worth I'll gladly stay in Michigan.

I've stayed at the Super 8 in Houghton- it was fine, I'll book it again. Probably go the same route as you guys in Marquette too.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 06:55:44 PM by corco »
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2015, 06:52:35 PM »

Ok, I created the Facebook events, and some invites have gone out already. Please RSVP there, if you can. The links are:


If you know of other interested people, please see that they get invited. (The events are also visible to the public for those who aren't Facebook users.)

I haven't figured out which restaurant to pick for Marquette yet, partly because my original first choice when I was planning this has closed. The numbers of attendees will influence my choice, but I'd like to pick something with a local flavor as best as possible.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 07:34:16 PM by bulldog1979 »
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2015, 07:03:19 PM »

How much trouble is the Soo border crossing? The Super 8 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario looks quite a bit cheaper at least for me (CAD$89)- I don't plan on getting intoxicated on Sunday night since I'd have a long drive on Monday, so that part is not an issue (and having to deal with border guards would be incentive to keep me at my word). Maybe crossing the border in Monday morning will be bad idea though with Canadians going to the bridge walk.  If that's more trouble than it's worth though I'll gladly stay in Michigan.

As far as dealing with customs, Canada has always been a breeze for me here. The U.S. guys give you more of a hassle than your average crossing, but I've never been sent to the secondary inspection area. One time they spent 5-10 seconds looking in my trunk but I didn't have to move my car or get out.

Your biggest issue is traffic, because it's a slow crossing. A former local tells me you'll be fine if you cross before 8:30, though.


I haven't figured out which restaurant to pick for Marquette yet, partly because my original first choice when I was planning this has closed. The numbers of attendees will influence my choice, but I'd like to pick something with a local flavor as best as possible.

Border Grill!  :sombrero:

(Since it's not a traditional sit-down restaurant, I'm half-kidding.)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 07:36:15 PM by getemngo »
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2015, 07:11:48 PM »

I just booked the hotel rooms where Sam Scholtens, Cody Goodman, and I will stay. We'll be at the Super 8 in Houghton on Friday night, the America's Best Value Inn in Marquette (technically Harvey) on Saturday night, and the Holiday Inn Express in Sault Ste. Marie MI on Sunday night.

I hope you got Portage-side rooms in Houghton.  We've always liked staying there.

We stayed at Holiday Inn Express at the Soo once, and it was great.  Especially good if you get an upper floor room overlooking the Locks (about a mile away).

For the other question about border crossing, you do need a passport or enhanced license to get back into the US now.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2015, 07:23:11 PM »

How much trouble is the Soo border crossing? The Super 8 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario looks quite a bit cheaper at least for me (CAD$89)- I don't plan on getting intoxicated on Sunday night since I'd have a long drive on Monday, so that part is not an issue (and having to deal with border guards would be incentive to keep me at my word). Maybe crossing the border in Monday morning will be bad idea though with Canadians going to the bridge walk.  If that's more trouble than it's worth I'll gladly stay in Michigan.

I've done the crossing once into Canada, and twice into the U.S. (the second time after entering Canada south of Thunder Bay).  The crossing into Canada was hassle-free.  The first crossing into the U.S., the jerk with CBP gave me a hard time about why I wasn't married, but no secondary search.  The second crossing went more smoothly, perhaps CBP was too tired that late in the evening to play games with returning U.S. citizens.

When doing your lodging comparisons, make sure you include taxes, which run higher in Canada.  Expect Super 8s in Canada to be more dodgy than their U.S. counterparts (basically, Super 8s and Motel 6s usually switch places in the hierarchy of cheap Canadian lodgings, though there are a few nice Super 8s in Quebec).  I was also unimpressed with the Howard Johnson (another Wyndham property) on the Ontario side.  For the second southbound border crossing mentioned above, I did a quick check beforehand and decided the lodging options were better on the U.S. side, so I pressed ahead with crossing the border at night.  I wound up staying at the Holiday Inn Express on the U.S. side, and agree with GaryV. 

EDIT:  Don't forget to factor in the round-trip bridge toll.  And if you're popping into and out of Canada just for overnight lodging, with little time to do other sight-seeing in SSM on the Canada side, that escalates the odds of border hassles, since that looks suspicious.

I'm on the fence right now about going to the meet.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 09:26:21 PM by oscar »
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2015, 07:36:48 PM »

^ I've stayed at the Super 8 in SSM.  It's very new, and is a pretty nice hotel as far as Super 8's go.

I've only crossed at SSM once (Canada to US).  I didn't have any hassle whatsoever, but it was a weekday in April, which is probably not indicative of Labour Day traffic.  I'd bet the border is fairly busy on a summer holiday so there will probably be some queuing.

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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2015, 10:23:23 PM »

Why would customs hassle you for not being married - that's wrong on so many levels...
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2015, 12:16:25 AM »

Quote
EDIT:  Don't forget to factor in the round-trip bridge toll.  And if you're popping into and out of Canada just for overnight lodging, with little time to do other sight-seeing in SSM on the Canada side, that escalates the odds of border hassles, since that looks suspicious.

I wouldn't see it as too suspicious at Mackinac Bridge Walk time, just because area hotels fill up and the ones in Canada probably do last because that's a hassle. My excuse would be "bridge walk, this was the closest hotel I could find" which hopefully isn't suspicious.

That being said, it's a hassle and I did forget about the bridge tolls. Especially since this trip will likely be combined with a visit to Quebec, there's no point in crossing in again, so I'll stick with America and make reservations this week.

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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #43 on: January 12, 2015, 01:28:23 AM »

I just booked the hotel rooms where Sam Scholtens, Cody Goodman, and I will stay. We'll be at the Super 8 in Houghton on Friday night, the America's Best Value Inn in Marquette (technically Harvey) on Saturday night, and the Holiday Inn Express in Sault Ste. Marie MI on Sunday night.
I may end up in Marquette for both nights, because it's that much closer to Milwaukee where I'll be flying in Friday.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #44 on: January 12, 2015, 08:45:06 PM »

Talked it over with the wife and looks like we are out on this one, since I am doing the Denver meet and we are both takeing a BIG road trip out west this summer, if anything changes we will see.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2015, 06:48:47 PM »

How much trouble is the Soo border crossing?

As far as dealing with customs, Canada has always been a breeze for me here. The U.S. guys give you more of a hassle than your average crossing, but I've never been sent to the secondary inspection area. One time they spent 5-10 seconds looking in my trunk but I didn't have to move my car or get out.

Your biggest issue is traffic, because it's a slow crossing. A former local tells me you'll be fine if you cross before 8:30, though.

I thought I'd chime in on this as well. The last time I did the Soo border crossing was in December 2012. I agree 100 percent with Sam. Getting into Canada at the Soo is a breeze. When my partner and I crossed into Canada, the Canadian customs agent was really friendly. Getting back into the U.S. was okay, but in general, the U.S. customs agents are not as nice. I think getting back into the U.S. in the Soo is easier than it is, say, in Port Huron MI.

And yes... the crossing getting into the U.S. is slow. Part of is has to do with the fact that the International Bridge is only one lane in each direction. I don't recall there being a ton of lanes available at the customs gate.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2015, 12:31:40 AM »

They're in the middle of expanding the Customs booths on the US side. They should be finished up (or close) by Labor Day.

I'm probably not going to attend the meet - I'm in the U.P. a lot. But I will wholeheartedly recommend others go - it's a very beautiful part of the country with a lot of history. Bring a good camera and lots of SD cards.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2015, 09:54:20 PM »

If you haven't booked in Houghton by now and plan to - do it NOW! The rooms are filling up.  The Houghton Super 8 is booked solid, but there are others nearby.
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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2015, 10:28:02 PM »

If you haven't booked in Houghton by now and plan to - do it NOW! The rooms are filling up.  The Houghton Super 8 is booked solid, but there are others nearby.

Damn, good call Sconsin. I'm booked at the Travelodge for now.

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Re: Upper Peninsula "National" Road Meet, September 2015
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2015, 11:03:10 PM »

If you haven't booked in Houghton by now and plan to - do it NOW! The rooms are filling up.  The Houghton Super 8 is booked solid, but there are others nearby.

Damn, good call Sconsin. I'm booked at the Travelodge for now.
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