Probably one of the best days I’ve had riding in Michigan, possibly one of the best ever, full stop. We started out day two at the Dunewood Resort in Empire, and ended up at the foot of the Mackinaw Bridge, in Mackinaw City. We took the road less traveled to be sure, M22 up around the Leelenau peninsula through Traverse City and Charlevoix and the road to Grand Traverse Lighthouse as well. Then M22, to 119 (the Tunnel of Trees road.)
This some of the prettiest scenery in Michigan. The roads wind through orchards and pastures, and the coastal towns along Lake Michigan here in the northern part of the state. The tunnel road is lined with dense woods and homes, and you get to enjoy miles of dappled sunlight and pleasant (even challenging) curves. It’s hard to know what to look at, if not the amazing blue waters of the lake, it’s the equally amazing coastal homes and communities. But the one thing you HAVE to pay attention too is the traffic. At some point I’ll post some of the ride videos, and it’s clear that there are a lot of tourists (of course we were among them!) and not everyone has their head in the game.
There is of course one thing that makes the adventure work, and it’s not the bike or the route or the destination (though they are important). It’s the people you ride with. My long-time friend and motorcycling adventure partner is Ulysses. He blames me for his affliction when it comes to this particular bike, though he’s been a rider as long as I have been. We’re both on the R1200GS Adventure from BMW. It’s a great machine. But having someone to ride with, that’s as agreeable and flexible (and as capable a rider) as my friend makes all the difference.
We like to plan the ride, but we realize that when it comes down to doing it, the plans sometimes don’t work out. We both agreed not to push a lot of mileage each day and we’ll wind up where we wind up. On our last ride we did 500+ mile days to keep the schedule and at the end of it we decided that we needed a more sane schedule. I’m not up to par on this trip and I’m running out of steam fairly early in the evening. So today we ended up in Mackinaw City. We had a great dinner of fish and chips, and topped it off with ice cream. The hotel is right across the street from the park at the foot of the bridge, so we got some good pictures there. Tomorrow we’re over the bridge and to points north in the UP.