Lake Loop

Duluth, MN and Michigan’s UP

    Photo: Joyce Pendola

Retrofit Your Ride

So you want to sell your Prius and build the ultimate road-trip vehicle. Here's how MacGyver would do it.1. Buy a pickup truck: Anything that was built after 2000 should do. 2. Get a shell: Leer's 100XQ comes with tinted windows, a lockable interior storage box, and keyless entry (from $1,800; leer.com). 3. Build a sleep deck: A DIY steel- or wood-frame pallet divides the bed space. Your stuff goes below; you and a friend go above. 4. Store your gear: Skis, paddles, wet stuff: It all goes in a roof box like Yakima's 16-cubic-foot SkyBox Pro 16 ($519; yakima.com). 5. Go overboard: Have a welder build a customized gear carrier with folding side tables for cooking or carrying kayaks.*
—GRAYSON SCHAFFER

*Lumber rack strictly optional

Lake Loop
Stretched out, Lake Superior's twisty coastline would extend from New York to Los Angeles. Lucky for you, the circumnavigational route we've picked is considerably shorter. Starting in Duluth, Minnesota, cruise east along Wisconsin's coastal wetlands and into Michigan's pine-covered Upper Peninsula. After hiking in the surprisingly rugged Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, spend a night in one of the park's rustic cabins ($60; midnrreservations.com). (Call ahead and request the private, waterside Buckshot Cabin.) On the Ontario side of the lake, Pukaskwa National Park is home to 75 miles of coastline—almost all of it deserted. Pitch a tent on the yellow-sand beaches at the mouth of the Willow River (backcountry camping permits, $10; pc.gc.ca). Back in Minnesota, be sure to stop at Palisade Head, a 300-foot cliff rising directly from the shores of Superior in Tettegouche State Park. Put your kayak in at Silver Bay, paddle beneath the cliff, observe the climbers dangling above, and hitchhike back. Before driving the last 50 miles to Duluth, fuel up at Our Place, in Finland (5195 Hefflefinger Rd.), where a bartender who calls himself the Moose Whisperer serves up the best pancakes in the world—or at least in northern Minnesota. Miles: 1,090 Days: 4 Theme Song: "In the Garden," Willie Nelson

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