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Northern Michigan Mini-Tour - Advice?

Old 04-19-19, 04:38 PM
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gary10509
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Mid-Michigan Mini-Tour - Advice?

My wife and I are planning a leisurely mini-tour somewhere in Middle Michigan the first week of June. We're looking for a three or four day route, preferably a loop, with a total distance of about 100 miles, or a little more. We'd like to meander about, stopping off along the way each day to see sites, grab a sandwich, etc. We'd like find a place to sleep each night, like a motel, AirBnb, etc., and conclude the loop back at our car. Seems like there are lots of things around the Traverse City area, like a loop around Torch Lake, up to the lighthouse, etc. We're not married to any particular route and are looking for suggestions. We could also do a handful of mini-loops from a home base. Anyone have recommendations? We can do an out and back, but I don't enjoy those as much. The "back" part always gets a little boring in a "been there, done that" kind of way. Any help would be much appreciated.

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Old 04-20-19, 07:00 AM
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Some of us consider that "mid-Michigan" , but it sounds like a nice ride/tour.
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Old 04-20-19, 03:13 PM
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There, fixed.
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Old 04-24-19, 09:03 AM
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Will you have a car? If so you could consider basing in the Traverse City area and driving to a starting point for each day's ride.
1. Riding around Torch Lake is easy but probably more than 25 miles.
2. Leelanau Peninsula from Leland to Leelenau State Park and back, could be a loop by using M-22 north and inland roads back. You'll see lots of vinyards and hills inland. Again, probably more than 25 miles.
3. Old Mission Peninsula
4. Start at Charlevoix and ride around Lake Charlevoix, including taking the ferry at Ironton.
5. Start at Glen Allen and ride around Glen Lake - see Sleeping Bear Dunes while you're at it.
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Old 04-26-19, 09:55 AM
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This is what I would do: https://www.strava.com/routes/3043771

Here is what RAT looks like (Ride Around Torch lake): https://www.strava.com/routes/3043868

And of course the Pinky Traverse: https://www.strava.com/routes/2271560

Mission Penninsula is one of the nicest road rides in the state, as it is a loop along a shoreline most all of the way. I tend to plan to ride into the wind in the morning, as the wind is stronger in the afternoon. Can get pretty breezy on that one.
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Old 04-29-19, 09:55 AM
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Get a copy of "Michigan Trails" magazine (https://mitrails.org/). They usually have them at various visitors centers. It's the definitive guide to all the multi-use trails around the state, some of which are in the area you're looking at and offer a nice alternative to riding on the roads. You can combine some of these trails with regular road routes to create some nice loops. I'm doing a 6-day tour this summer with Carolina Tailwinds in that area, and it's a combination of roads and paved trails (Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Little Traverse Wheelway, etc.).
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Old 04-30-19, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by gary10509 View Post
There, fixed.
No fix was needed. My comment was mostly in jest as my wife and I consider Northern Michigan as starting at the St. Ignace side of the bridge. Not everyone shares our view though.
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Old 04-30-19, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
No fix was needed. My comment was mostly in jest as my wife and I consider Northern Michigan as starting at the St. Ignace side of the bridge. Not everyone shares our view though.
True dat, but it depends on your perspective. I consider anything north of Clare (billed the 'Gateway to the North') to be "north."
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Old 05-01-19, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
True dat, but it depends on your perspective. I consider anything north of Clare (billed the 'Gateway to the North') to be "north."
Hmm, Clare, yup, different perspective.
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Old 05-02-19, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
True dat, but it depends on your perspective. I consider anything north of Clare (billed the 'Gateway to the North') to be "north."
Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Hmm, Clare, yup, different perspective.
When I was growing up on the East Side of Detroit, going up North meant the Thumb, particularly Port Austin and Caseville.

My girlfriend (now wife) and I did a pleasant, low-key tour around 1974 from Detroit to Midland, then up the Thumb, and back to Detroit following along M-53.
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Old 05-02-19, 09:51 AM
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Glad to know that the PURE MICHIGAN ads with Tim Allen voiceovers are still working.! No trick photography, the Mitten State shoreline and inland lakes are highly scenic. I have no idea how many visits you plan to Michigan, but along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, I would include the following destinations:

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire to Glen Arbor
Harbor Springs and M-22, the tunnel of trees
The Leelanau Peninsula - lots of vineyards to sample and mild rolling terrain
Petoskey, Bay View, Lake Charlevoix - Victorian architecture, Grand Traverse Bay
Mackinac Island

Grand Rapids is worth a visit too on its own.
Grand Traverse Bay from Goodhart


GT Bay from Goodhart at dusk


Mackinac Island State Park Marina


Ludington Lighthouse


Northport View of Lake Michigan


North of Northport - private land


The two routes below that chas58 recommends fall within your distance limit, but don't incorporate all of the above.

Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
This is what I would do:

Here is what RAT looks like (Ride Around Torch lake): https://www.strava.com/routes/3043868

And of course the Pinky Traverse: https://www.strava.com/routes/2271560 Skip the lighthouse at the tip, it is wayyyy out.

Mission Penninsula is one of the nicest road rides in the state, as it is a loop along a shoreline most all of the way. I tend to plan to ride into the wind in the morning, as the wind is stronger in the afternoon. Can get pretty breezy on that one.
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Old 05-02-19, 10:11 AM
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I'd recommend focusing on the Traverse City / Torch Lake area. I've ridden around the thumb (I made it a 4 day thing covering 350 miles or so) and it's incredibly flat. While the views of the lakes and from Port Austin are beautiful, the image I think of the most from that trip the Chainsaw Bugsy....



... wave to Ronald....
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Old 05-02-19, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post

The two routes below that chas58 recommends fall within your distance limit, but don't incorporate all of the above.
True, LOL, but he was looking for a 3-4 day loop, 100 miles total.

If you want to ride 400-500 miles instead, you can do it all (this specific route cut out the Leelanau Peninsula because of some seriously impressive storms that moved in across lake Michigan and destroyed things - making roads impassible. But you can add my Leelanau Peninsula route above if you want to do 500 miles...

Here is the your full tour (minus Lelanaw)
https://www.strava.com/routes/11948956
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Old 05-02-19, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Glad to know that the PURE MICHIGAN ads with Tim Allen voiceovers are still working.! No trick photography, the Mitten State shoreline and inland lakes are highly scenic.

I have no idea how many visits you plan to Michigan, but along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, I would include the following destinations:…
Originally Posted by mrv View Post
I'd recommend focusing on the Traverse City / Torch Lake area. I've ridden around the thumb (I made it a 4 day thing covering 350 miles or so) and it's incredibly flat.

While the views of the lakes and from Port Austin are beautiful, the image I think of the most from that trip the Chainsaw Bugsy....
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
When I was growing up on the East Side of Detroit, going up North meant the Thumb, particularly Port Austin and Caseville.

My girlfriend (now wife) and I did a pleasant, low-keytour around 1974 from Detroit to Midland, then up the Thumb, and back to Detroit following along M-53.
Beautiful pictures, @oddjob. The shoreline views remind my of the Maasachusetts coast north of Boston, though with sandier beaches and minus the tides and waves. Growing up, it always seemed that Lake Huron was in the Detroit sphere of influence, and Lake Michigan a Chicago destination, though not so much anymore.

We did our first tour around the tips of lthe little. ring, and middle fingers of the Mitten around 1986 starting from my parent’s cottage in Cheboygen:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
The only riding my wife and I have done in western Michigan was a round trip ride from Cheboygan to Mackinaw City, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Traverse City and back by way of Douglas Lake.
Harbor Springs reminded me of a typical town on Cape Cod.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...When I was asked a few years before starting my career, while living in Boston,“Where would you like to live?.” my criteria were living near a big body of water, and the ability to live without a car as I had been much of my earlier two-plus decades; and I was already an avid cyclist.

I learned to love the water from the Great Lakes in Michigan, and the Atlantic Ocean in Boston.
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Old 05-02-19, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Beautiful pictures, @oddjob. The shoreline views remind my of the Maasachusetts coast north of Boston, though with sandier beaches and minus the tides and waves. Growing up, it always seemed that Lake Huron was in the Detroit sphere of influence, and Lake Michigan a Chicago destination, though not so much anymore.

Harbor Springs reminded me of a typical town on Cape Cod.
Jim, thanks for the photo compliment. North of Boston is quaint with 200+ year old architecture and rugged coast. I worked at the EYC in Marblehead during a college summer and loved it. Never learned to sail though, because I was working every weekend. My GF's sibling has a stunning vintage NH oceanfront. But I like Nantucket best of all, great memories of a summer stint there too. Good biking territory in all places.



Ironically, Harbor Springs to me is so different from Cape Cod, particularly the slower pace and the clean scrubbed preppy look of HS. Also, an absence of weathered white oak shingle style homes. Also, so many more SUVs and not so much Volvo and Subaru wagons, lol. Grand Traverse bay sailing or viewing is hard to beat.



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Old 05-02-19, 11:20 PM
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[
Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Jim, thanks for the photo compliment. North of Boston is quaint with 200+ year old architecture and rugged coast. I worked at the EYC in Marblehead during a college summer and loved it. Never learned to sail though, because I was working every weekend.

My GF's sibling has a stunning vintage NH oceanfront. But I like Nantucket best of all, great memories of a summer stint there too. Good biking territory in all places.

Ironically, Harbor Springs to me is so different from Cape Cod, particularly the slower pace and the clean scrubbed preppy look of HS. Also, an absence of weathered white oak shingle style homes. Also, so many more SUVs and not so much Volvo and Subaru wagons, lol. Grand Traverse bay sailing or viewing is hard to beat.
Thanks for your reply. When we went by Harbor Springs, we just passed by, and did not explore the town. It did look ritzy, so that’s I thought of Cape Cod.

I recognize your one picture of a grassy marsh, which I think it called a tidal marsh, very common on the North Shore. Since you know that area, you may be interested to know that we have a second home in Rockport.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...In addition, for the first time we bought a second home in a resort town on Metro Boston’s scenic North Shore, a nice cycling route 40 miles long north of our condo in downtown Boston.

The region is also good for road cycling, and train service with the fully assembled bike is readily available. I described it in my Cycling Guide to Metro Boston as
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…North Shore: Beautiful Atlantic coastline, especially north of Lynn, to include Nahant, Marblehead and Marblehead Neck, on through Salem, Beverly and into ritzy Beverly Farms, and up to seafaring Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich, etc…
...So one could travel by train from Boston to Rockport, and then it’s a short walk to our place. Our house is also a short walk to Rockport [Center] which itself is an interesting walkable resort town, including beaches.

Rockport is on Cape Ann on the North Shore, and known as Boston’s "other Cape," in distinction to Cape Cod, which begins at about 80 miles from Boston, with no train service, requires crossing one of two bridges with horrendous traffic jams on the summer weekends, and is best traversed by car.

Just last night I was chatting with a colleague who has a vacation home on the off-Cape Island of Martha’s Vineyard. They have to plan their weekends months in advance to secure car passage on the ferryboat.

ADDENDUM: Parking in the center of Rockport is extremely limited. and visitors who drive there often have to park a couple of miles away and be shuttled into town by bus. Rockport as a convivial tourist destination was featured in the movie Coma (but not as the scary part).
Since "the Islands” of Nantucket and MV are off-shore of the Cape, I have been to Nantucket only once, and personally prefer the more laid back ambiance of the Vineyard; and good friends had a house there in Oak Bluffs.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-03-19 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 05-03-19, 05:35 AM
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During the non-winter, living car-free in Nantucket is easy peasy, due to the island’s compact nature.
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Old 05-03-19, 06:15 AM
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Planning to do this in September, 208 miles(one way), camping at state or county parks along the way. Starts in Traverse City with a loop west to pick up Sleeping Bear Dunes. It's a mix of rural roads & bike trails that includes the tunnel of trees route.

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Old 05-07-19, 08:06 AM
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Looks nice!

I would stop off in Leland, as you are riding right past it.

Arts Tavern in Glen Arbor is my choice for lunch. ;-)
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Old 05-07-19, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Looks nice!

I would stop off in Leland, as you are riding right past it.

Arts Tavern in Glen Arbor is my choice for lunch. ;-)
Thanks for the suggestions. Leland sounds good..that would be the second day..fairly light..we'll have time to add it in.. Will also check out Arts..thx
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