Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario: The Superior Trip

Text: Luke Swab • Photography: Luke Swab

This story is a gift to my father, Daniel Lynn Swab, the most important person to me on earth. In fact, he’s the reason that I got into photography when I was younger. Not because he enjoyed taking photos, but because there were no photos taken of him.

Born in 1953 into a poor family living in Evart, MI, my father didn’t have the luxury of owning a camera when he was growing up, so there are basically no photos of him as a child and young adult. As a kid I was so curious about who my dad was and what his life looked like before I came into it. I didn’t like the feeling that I might never find out, so I decided to start filming and taking photos of my own adventures, leaving a documented trail of my life so that one day I could show my children. This fit naturally with my love of action sports, and it was equally fun for me to chuck myself off a cliff snowboarding as it was to be on the other side of the lens, capturing the moment. 

What started as a hobby eventually turned into a job, one which gave me the chance of a lifetime this October with an eleven-day Father-and-Son motorcycle ride. My father may not have many photos from his past, but now he will grace the pages of this magazine so that we can look back on them and remember our travels together for years to come. 

The trip was Dad’s idea. A few years back, he suggested that we ride motorcycles around Lake Superior. He was still working at the time, and neither of us owned a motorcycle, so I didn’t take the idea seriously. In fact, I don’t even remember his idea; my dad had to remind me that he came up with it. But then everything changed. He retired in January of 2018, and a few months later he brought up the idea again. This time I paid full attention and went to work to make it happen. I was able to get hold of a pair of beautiful Indians, and we set the dates for early October with the idea that the bugs would be gone and the colors of the leaves would be at their peak. It turned out we were right … sort of. 

Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake. It forms a natural border between the United States and Canada. Parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario make up the 2,726 miles of shoreline for this Great Lake. While researching for this trip, I learned that it is not actually a unique idea to ride around the lake. Many people do it every year. Over time, riders of this route have dubbed it “The Circle Tour,” but in our case I’m calling it “The Superior Trip” because of how important it is for me to have spent time with my dad. 

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the January/February 2019 back issue.