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The Great Lakes RV Lifestyle Shoreline Tour

| Updated Nov 6, 2021

We're about to set off on a 3,500 mile trip that will take us farther than if we drove across country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And although we till visit eight states, we will never really leave the Midwest.

Verizon-Roadtreking-489x250_4-3We'll be driving much of the U.S. shorelines that touches the five Great Lakes.

I've wanted to do this trip for years.

shorelinechartNow, thanks to Verizon Wireless and in partnership with Pure Michigan, we're about to set off, starting from the Lake Ontario shoreline near Otswego, NY, and then making our way to Lake Erie and Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan; continuing in Michigan along the shorelines of Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan, and also visiting Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois where Lake Michigan also shapes a vibrant coastline lifestyle.

We'll travel in our Roadtrek Erek motorhome, Jennifer and me and our Norwegian Elkhound, Tai, breaking the route into 10 different segments, and writing about the interesting people and places we encounter, sharing our reports, photos and videos here, as well as on the Verizon Wirelsss blog and the Pure Michigan blog. We'll also tweet and post in Facebook and social media with #VZGreatLakes and #vzwmidwest.

The cool thing about this is, other than a general rote that will take us close to the Great lakes shorelines, we have no plans, no schedules, no firm appointments.

This will be totally serendipity. We'll stop whenever something catches our eye, talk to people, learn about the places we visit and try to document the amazing beauty, recreational opportunities, shoreline lifestyle and significance of the Great Lakes. Because of technology – that's where Verizon comes in – I'll be totally wired and connected the entire route, able to post pretty much from wherever we are, no matter how isolated or remote.

Jennifer and Tai along the Lake Superior shoreline last summer

If we were to drive the shoreline of the entire Great Lakes where they touch Canada and the U.S., it would be an amazingly long trip. We can't, do that, of course, because some spots have no roads. But if we could, it would be a near 10,000 mile trip.

The significance of the Great Lakes is staggering. According to the Great Lakes Information Network, an informational clearing house on the Great Lakes group supported by U.S. and Canadian governmental agencies and various civic-minded organizations,the five lakes contain:

  • One-fifth of the world's fresh surface water (only the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia contain more); 95 percent of the U.S. supply; 84 percent of the surface water supply in North America. Spread evenly across the continental U.S., the Great Lakes would submerge the country under about 9.5 feet of water.
  • More than 94,000 square miles/244,000 square kilometres of water (larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined, or about 23 percent of the province of Ontario). About 295,000 square miles/767,000 square kilometres in the watershed (the area where all the rivers and streams drain into the lakes).
  • The Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44 percent of the circumference of the earth, and Michigan's Great Lakes coast totals 3,288 mi/5,294 km, more coastline than any state but Alaska.

As we travel, we'll camp in our Roadtrek, sometimes find hotels and B & B's, sample local food, attend festivals, meet and profile the locals and soak as much in as possible. We plan to do all this in a month's time.

Got any ideas or suggestions? Use the contact form to send them in.

And if you happen to see us out there, honk, wave or come say Hi.

The adventure starts Thursday, June 12.



Mike Wendland

Published on 2014-06-11

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

21 Responses to “The Great Lakes RV Lifestyle Shoreline Tour”

June 17, 2014at1:06 pm, Virginia Farrug said:

Hi Jen and mike we wanted to take this trip but alas not to be we will enjoy it through you Joe and Ginny

June 16, 2014at5:22 pm, Nick said:

Hi Mike, if you need suggestions for place to eat while in Wisconsin, I’d love to help you. POI’s, I have some of those as well. There are parts of the Circle Tour that are under construction, easily avoided by back-roads.


June 16, 2014at8:51 am, Doc said:

I don’t know if you follow The Bayfield Bunch but their trip up to the Bruce Peninsula looked pretty sweet. I was thinking of taking the same trip from Cleveland this Fall.

June 13, 2014at8:21 am, Marty Lang said:

Happy travels. Hope you have a safe and enjoyable journey !

June 12, 2014at1:55 pm, Ione Jones said:

What a sight, but it’s Mich. so not a surprise.

June 12, 2014at8:58 am, Karl Widak said:

Holland State Park, and Petoskey State Park both have campgrounds close to (or ON) great vistas of Lake Michigan, and both are close to everything you might want in the vicinity. Stop for a bite at Papa Lou’s Pizza Pub and Grill in Petoskey and take in the view of the Little Traverse Bay while dining. I repeatedly visit these areas, but personally prefer private full hookup campgrounds nearby that give me a little more space, and can more easily accomodate the length I haul (F150 + 34′ Travel Trailer). I like these State Parks when we go biking and looking for great sunset-on-the-beach photo ops.

June 12, 2014at12:07 am, Mart Rogers said:

Thanks for sharing, so rnjoy the pictures

June 11, 2014at11:34 pm, Tess Carrillo said:

enjoy your trip. looking forward to your blogs.

June 11, 2014at11:28 pm, Tess Carrillo said:

this is the plus of living in an RV….sights one normally won’t see in their own homes. looking forward to full time RVing by August

June 11, 2014at7:45 pm, Richard Weber said:

It’s a cold place in the winter though. Do it in the summer.

June 11, 2014at5:27 pm, Ralph Shirkey said:

Dave a dealer in Lakeland Florida has some CS Roadtreks with both solar and propane. They also have two that have the CS interior with solar only. RV Lakeland Florida

June 11, 2014at4:46 pm, bill walters said:

Never thought to mention this to you Mike, but if you are still in Cape Cod, get a cup of Atlantic Ocean water and pour it over your e-Trek and then when you make it to the Pacific Ocean, do the same. Many years ago on a motorcycle trip cross country we did it. Always something to talk about at campfires. One vehicle wet from both oceans in the same year.

June 11, 2014at2:43 pm, Sweedy Carlson said:

damn that is so very beautiful

June 11, 2014at2:12 pm, Dave Speakman said:

Hope you have a great trip. My cousin and I did a road trip from Tamiskaming Shores (way North Ontario) to Huntington Beach, CA. We did the entire southern half of Lake Superior. The have a guide and map and info on all the nice things around the lake. We’re sorry that time did not allow us to do the top half. My wife and I are going to buy a CS Adventurous unless we can find one of the few CS E-treks that the factory told me they made.
Dave Speakman

June 11, 2014at11:59 am, Barbara Dalderis said:

Mike and Jennifer,

Great route you’ve outlined. We’ve traveled in our RT on those roads a few times. A couple of places come to mind The Stone Canvas at Aguwa Rock. It is worth the exciting walk to see the pictographs. Your pub will love swimming in the great lakes. I have so many pictures of our Abbey fetching in the lakes. Not a historical site but a great place to visit is Grand Marais. The Grand Marais Rec Area CG is great CG. On the lake and you can walk everywhere.
Have a wonderful time!!!

June 11, 2014at10:48 am, Ronda Deel said:


June 11, 2014at9:02 am, Pat Mesic said:

I have RVed across Canada and it was great, but I would love to do it on the US side. I am looking forward to hearing about your adventures. Safe travels!

June 11, 2014at8:02 am, Shelley Gosselin said:

Wow!!! This is stunning!!!!!

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