Lake Michigan Circle Tour – Day Two

Spent some time, the previous night, mapping out Day Two’s ride. Using Google Maps and the Ride Michigan book, determined the roads we were going to ride and some of the specifics on those roads. After a free hotel breakfast, we rode out of Ludington and continued north.

Day Two:

day2

Day Two Best Roads:

day2-best

From bottom to top:

Michigan 22 gets you really close to Lake Michigan, beautiful views, sweeping curves, and altitude changes. Great road, with one spectacular road side park. If you ride M-22, you must stop, take a break, and take pictures of the lake and the vistas. While there, we watched a lake tanker making its way north. It looked so small and insignificant on the lake.

Michigan 119 is also known as Tunnel of Trees. A great motorcycle road. Very tight, the road is a bit more than one lane. Keep your wits about you as bicyclists and other cars could be just around the corner. As I was leading, I rode farther ahead of the others, riding to the left of the center line, so that CJ and Doug would have ample time to move to the right in the event of an approaching car. And there were quite of few of them on this beautiful day. There is a portion that goes down to Lake Michigan, of which we rode a little, as it heads south and away from our true route. If you do go down to Lake Michigan, watch for sand on the road. Back on M-119, you’ll know when you get to “Devil’s Elbow,” the road takes a 90 degree turn and then goes up. Simply awesome! Riding M-119, you are truly in a tunnel of trees. We stopped at a little roadside post office/deli/store and picked up some pins, patches, and stickers. Except for CJ, who doesn’t understand vests, pins, or patches. Or putting stickers on your helmet. Too bad for him. Gorgeous road, highly recommended.

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Mackinac Bridge. Are you kidding? Nearly 5 miles of bridge. The outside lane is paved, the inside lane is grate. We rode the grate, to pass semi tractor trailers and to get a great look of the Straits of Mackinac, 200 feet below us. Toll is $4, which is collected on the north side of the bridge. It was a bright, blue beautiful day to ride the bridge. And the wind wasn’t bad, which is important to know if you’re riding two wheels.

Michigan 123, heading to Whitefish Point. You have to see this to believe just how close you ride to Lake Superior. Beautiful vistas with the lake basically lapping at the road. And Whitefish Point? This is where you can see the actual bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald. While the museum had closed by the time we arrived, the views and the grounds are great.

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Our first experience with the Upper Peninsula. Two things we learned in our short time in the UP:

  1. Gas stations are few and far between. Just because you know that there is a town up ahead, it may not have a gas station. Make smart decisions with respect to your fuel levels and don’t be hesitant to fill up even though you still have 100 miles to empty.
  2. When the sun goes down, it gets dark. Really dark. Because there are few sizable towns/cities in the UP, there is no light pollution. And zero street lights. It is really, really dark. Keep your wits about you, there are big things in the dark, like moose. And deer.

As night fell, we rode into Newberry. First hotel stop, they didn’t have room for us. Although we doubted that was true, because of the lack of cars in the parking lot. They may not have had rooms for us because the registration desk saw three guys, in armored jackets, arrive on motorcycles. After asking about other lodging, we headed down the road to another hotel. The second hotel had rooms for us. And, bonus!, it was located next to a bar/restaurant, just a short walk from the hotel. Perfect! Newberry eventually worked out okay for us.

Total miles: 350

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