Life is more fun in Northern Michigan

Trip Start Jul 01, 2013
Trip End Sep 07, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Sunday, August 4, 2013

Today began with a gorgeous lakeshore sunrise at the Hiawatha sportsman's club beach. Crystal clear skies reflected on the water for a world that was twice as bright. Other than some sand in places no camper wants sand, it was a perfect morning.

I had not heard at this point whether or not I would be able to head south to Cheboygan for some relaxation at the Kelly household, some old family friends. Coming out of breakfast at the crossroads of two very different directions, one heading onward to Canada, one turning south toward Cheboygan, I finally got the text to head south. A few minutes later and I would have been headed north, never turning back.

Luckily it came in time because the day's ride was all along Lake Michigan with beautiful beaches and cliff faces the whole way. I had not expected the UP to be so beachy; it could have been a freshwater ocean for all I could tell. The scenery was just such all the way to St Ignace, and from there I took a ferry to Mackinaw Island, as bikes are not allowed over the Mackinaw bridge to mainland Michigan.

And it is quite fortunate that they are not, otherwise I never would have seen the island. Apparently I have been there before, as I sent a picture to my mother saying, 'you would love this place!'. She responded by saying, 'i did love it, and so did you, when you were there.' What, I was young... The island is not unlike the setting for the Chuck Palanuik novel 'the Diary', a white utopian getaway with 345 permanent residents sporting some of the country's most classic, expensive Americana homes. It is Main Street Disneyland in real life with no cars or motor vehicles of any kind. People arriving by ferry to one of the gorgeous hotels on the island have their luggage transported by bicycle, some piled five or six suitcases high on front of a flimsy beach cruiser. Storefronts sell fudge and souvenirs, rent bicycles, and serve food and drinks. That's about it, but what more do you need on an island paradise in the middle of Lake Michigan?

After biking over and around the island, I took the second leg of the ferry to mainland Michigan and followed a 'rail to trail' bike path down to Cheboygan. The program transforms out of use railways into bike paths, some that stretch across several states. As I arrived in downtown Cheboygan, my phone struggled to find the Kelly household, so I phoned Terry for help and was promptly received by a big truck that took me and my bike to their house.

And what a beautiful house it is, a log cabin on the Cheboygan river. It was a quite comfortable evening; we went out to dinner and had some drinks at the house. Time to crash after another long day.

Naubinway MI > Cheboygan MI, 75 miles, day 34
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