taking the ferry across Lake Michigan - CycleBlaze

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taking the ferry across Lake Michigan

Kelly Iniguez

We are planning a 2021 summer tour of Michigan and Wisconsin. It seems most riders take the slow ferry to Ludington. I did find mention of a fast ferry to Muskegon. 

To me, the fast ferry seems the way to go. Yet, it seems the slow ferry is 'the' ferry. 

Are there any voices of wisdom here to sway us one way or the other?

Taking the fast ferry keeps us from repeating the section from Manitowac to Milwaukee, where we will be starting/finishing the trip.  Plus, I get sea sick easily, so the faster I get off the water, the better for me. 

Thanks for any input.

Kelly

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6 months ago
Mike AylingTo Kelly Iniguez

Hi Kelly

I know nothing about Lake Michagan ferries but there are several product both pharmaceutical and organic which are said to prevent sea sickness.

Mike

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6 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly Iniguez

An interesting coincidence, because I’ve been looking at these two ferry routes with the same question in mind.  I’d be inclined to the slow boat just because it looks like a better ride going further north, but I’ll be interested to see what you learn.

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6 months ago
jerry witherspoonTo Kelly Iniguez

Kelly, you’re in luck!  Just so happens that ole Harpo and I did that ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon in 2012.  Sounds like long time ago but feels like just last year!  awe stayed with a great warm showers host in Milwaukee, then lucked out by running into a neat person who helped us navigate the trail around Muskegon.  There was an extensive trail system running southeast from there.

Harpo and I found the trip very fast, comfortable and as far as we both were concerned, sea sickness free✌️

If you can find yourself going back to CG, the link is  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/final

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6 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo jerry witherspoon

Spoon,

Did you notice a foul odor in Muskegon? I was told by a transplanted Milwaukee local that they wouldn't take the fast ferry because the paper plant is so odiferous and cycling in the Muskegon area would be no fun as a result.  Indeed, I found this recent article: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/09/lawsuit-claims-michigan-paper-mill-is-stinking-out-its-neighbors.html

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6 months ago
jerry witherspoonTo Kelly Iniguez

Kelly,

  while Muskegon isn’t a bright modern city, it struck me as docile and, if not clean, normal small metro area.  Nope, didn’t smell a thing, ‘cept my upper lip.

spoonn

spoon

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6 months ago
John PickettTo Kelly Iniguez

Hi Kelly

I used the slow ferry from Ludington to Manitowoc back in 2016. I get motion sickness at the drop of a hat but I had no problem with my trip aboard the Badger. The lake was mercifully calm that day.  I eventually ate breakfast after taking a snooze. 

The Badger is a coal-fired ship. I imagine the fumes might be a problem for some people.

I met a retired Navy guy who was doing a tour across Wisconsin and Michigan. He said that the great lakes can get much more turbulent than the open ocean. Caveat sailor.

I took two short high-speed ferries to get to and from Mackinac Island. I tolerated these well too.

Good luck.

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6 months ago
Michael BifanoTo Kelly Iniguez

I never took the fast ferry, though I've been on the Badger twice. Plan on doing it again. The ship is a floating city. Buffet, live bingo, museum, video game room, and even a theater that has two movies each trip. There's a lot to do, a ton to explore. It's like a quarter mile around if you want to go for a walk. And on account of it's almost incomprehensible size, for it used to haul rail cars, it's ridiculously over engineered for its current duties. This means stability. I can't imagine someone getting seasick on that thing. 

All this being said, whether to take it or not depends. Although the Badger is a national landmark and a national treasure, the stretch from Ludington, where the Badger disembarks in Michigan, to Muskegon, the destination for fast ferry, is very worthwhile to see. The Hart Montage Trail isn't far from Ludington, which is newly paved and almost thirty miles long. Most of the trip to Muskegon is on rail trail, with a couple of nice state parks along the way.

That being said, the trip from Manitowoc to Milwaukee is delightful. Worth doing twice if it means not getting sick. You get very long rail trail that gets you into the heart of the city, so either way you get to ride mostly on bike paths. The Michigan side for that stretch is busier during the time you find yourself on roads, but you're on the water more and there's more State Parks, more campgrounds.

I suspect most people end up on the Badger because it's part of  cross country route. Also, the northern part of the lake is much better, so people just drive to the Badger, bike to the other side, then take it back. 

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6 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Michael Bifano

Michael,

Thank you for the detailed reply. Yours is just the sort of answer I was hoping to receive. It sounds as if there are several nice bike paths on our intended route. I hope COVID settles down and services remain open so our trip is a go!

Kelly

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6 months ago
David ChavezTo Kelly Iniguez

I took the fast ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee in June of 2019, it was a pleasant, albeit unremarkable experience. And it is very fast, my phone GPS clocked it at 40 mph.  It's a great way to hop from Michigan to Wisconsin and avoid the crowded cities to the south.   You can find a few pictures on my Instagram post from that day

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6 months ago