Time to hit the road again – this time, on bicycles!
Dave and I started to plan for a fully-loaded bike tour of Lake Michigan last summer when we decided that he would build me an Ellis Strada Fango as a wedding present. As soon as the bike was built, its first stop was the Philly Bike Expo in November 2015. It was then shipped off to Mountain Flyer magazine for a full bike review – Check out the June 2016 edition of Mountain Flyer magazine for the glowing review! Five months later it landed back in Wisconsin. I rode it for the first time in April.
Although we wed in January of this year, we postponed our honeymoon until June, so we could load up our bikes and head out on the road.
Welcome to a few highlights of our honeymoon ride around Lake Michigan…
- Total Miles: 789
- Average Daily Miles: 67
- Fastest Speed: 40.8 mph (It was quite the hill!)
- Average Daily Speed: 13.9 mph (Dave says I bring down his average speed.)
- # of Days: 13
- Layover Days: 2 ½
- Accommodations: 5 camping, 5 motels, 2 Warmshowers.org
- Ferries: 3
- Ice Cream Eaten: Lots
Day 1: Milwaukee to Sheboygan, 75 miles
We traversed familiar roads from Milwaukee to Sheboygan on the first day of our journey and spoiled ourselves with an air conditioned hotel room to escape the 90 degree weather!
Day 2: Sheboygan to Suamico (Green Bay area), 81 miles
Another hot day as we traveled from Sheboygan to Suamico, WI. Dave got his gravel fix on Devil’s State Trail and a passerby drove 20 minutes out of his way to give Dave the bike gloves he had left behind in Denmark, WI. If all you do is watch the news, it’s easy to forget that 99% of people are genuine and kind.
Day 3: Suamico to O.B. Fuller County Campground (17 miles west of Escanaba), 91 miles
We pushed ourselves to the limit by biking 91 miles on a cold and rainy day – crossing into the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), passing pasty shops, and ending our day with a pot of freeze dried Chili Mac at our lakeside campsite.
Day 4: O.B. Fuller County Campground to Manistique, 70 miles Hot tub. Our butts demanded a hot tub.
Day 5: Manistique, 0 miles
Dave’s bike had a rim failure and our order to overnight a new wheel to rural Michigan resulted in a three night stay in Manistique, population 3000. Day 5 was also a day of unrelenting rain. (I highly recommend coordinating bike repair delays with rain days.)
Day 6: Manistique, 0 miles
The skies cleared, but still no wheel. We walked every road in Manistique and idleness set in.
Day 7: Manistique to Little Brevort State Forest (20 miles west of St. Ignace), 71 miles
We were delighted to be back on bikes and made good time to our campground on Little Brevort lake, a lovely, non-motorized boat lake, but with seriously aggressive mosquitoes. Also, Dave spotted lots of wild iris in ditches along the roads.
Day 8: Little Brevort State Forest to Mackinaw City, 34 miles
We hopped the St Ignace ferry to Mackinaw Island, toured the island, and ate lots of fudge before catching a second ferry to mainland Michigan.
Day 9: Mackinaw City to Petoskey State Park, 53 miles
A leisurely bike tour of Wilderness State Park, the Tunnel of Trees, and the stunning vistas of northwest Michigan were highlights of our tour. We also climbed the first hill of significance outside of Harbor Springs.
Day 10: Petoskey State Park to Elk Rapids, 66 miles
Dave spotted a rare Showy Lady Slipper flower. Google maps also took us down a few unpaved roads today. Gravel-loving Dave was in heaven. For my part, I curse Google maps. Also noteworthy, a 30 mph headwind in the morning to Charlevoix.
Day 11: Elk Rapids to Platte River Campground (near Sleeping Bear Dunes), 79 miles
The day started out sunny and delightful, but ended in menacingly large raindrops as we rolled into Platte River Campground to join friends for the night. The route from Traverse City to Sleeping Bear Dunes via Suttons Bay was particularly lovely. All in all, a great day to be alive.
Day 12: Platte River Campground to Ludington State Park, 84 miles
Our estimated 69 mile biking day turned into a surprise 84 miles. Once again, I curse Google maps. Also noteworthy, hardest hills of the trip.
Day 13: Ludington State Park to Muskegon…and Lake Express ferry to Milwaukee, 81 miles
Google maps recouped my confidence by guiding us onto the Hart-Montague trail for the last 20 miles of biking before taking the Lake Express ferry home to Milwaukee. A lovely way to end our journey!
Home, Sweet Home
And so, we come to the end of another great journey.
Signing off from Lake Michigan,
Deborah and Dave