The ride was great. We went last weekend and managed to dodge most of the rain. We left Thursday from IL and road straight to Tomahawk, WI and stayed at the Best Western. Nice place and right on a lake. On Friday we road over to the factory which was only about 5 miles from the hotel. The tour lasts about 45 minutes. At this factory they make sidecars, windshields, tour packs, hard saddle bags, and side panels for the Touring bikes. They also do the painting for when someone orders a replacement body part or decides years later they want to buy something like a tour pack. It was interesting to see how things are made. For example, windshields are cut with a robotic router 4 at a time on large sheets of Lexon. The flat shields are then sent over to another area for DOT stamping and then off to an oven to harden them and give them the curved shaped. After they cool off they go to get the hardware installed manually, then in the box they go with an instruction sheet.
If you're into technology, it's cool to watch the robotic plastic mold machines that make the Touring side covers and saddle bag parts. They just pop out parts one right after another. It takes about 60 seconds to make a side cover. They also show you how side cars are made. They produce about 2 a day, mostly a manual process.
If you're in the area and have the time, definitely worth seeing. Makes you want to visit the other factories and see how they work. I gather from a comment the tour guide made is that they are not usually busy. We had about 10 people on our tour and another 10 waiting after us. He said that's the busiest they have been in a while. It's first come first server for the tour. The gift shop isn't much at all. Mostly a few T-shirts and some souvenior crap.
The rest of our trip was supposed to go around Lake Michigan. But we got as far as Iron River and an old timer we met suggest going up to Copper Harbour and Houghton area. The UP was a great ride. We loved the hills and forests. Kind of reminded me of riding in parts of South Dakota. He also liked the ride from Mackinac City to Traverse? City. Unfortunately after going all the way up to the UP time didn't permit us to go that route. We went back down by Green Bay, Door County area and followed the lake back down to IL.
Next trip we'll make it around the lake.