Day 28 Last day Highland Park to Grayslake 25 miles

Well last day how exciting and sad at the same time . We have cycled 1542 km around the shores of Lake Michigan not the complete circuit but tried to take in a lot of the best parts that time allowed. We had no punctures no mechanicals our Viventes were superb as always .

We have learned a new appreciation of the American people they have welcomed us into their homes and never hesitated to assist us when needed . Today we left highland park Marriot a special treat a nice comfy bed swim and lovely dinner and woke to another sunny day . We headed off to the Chicago botanical gardens for a quick look before heading onto the greenbay, Skokie and des plaines trails to get us home . Taking in coffee and cake at Ravinia on the way .

The water fountain at Ravinia

And the trails were pleasant on a hot day providing shade from the sun

Arrived home safely to Grayslake in one piece another great cycle adventure over

Day 27 New Buffalo to Highland Park Illinois 25 miles train and cycle

Well today we went on the train with our bikes . We had asked prior to the journey what preparations was needed and was reassured nothing . We got to the station 30 minutes prior as requested. The train only stops very briefly as it stops across the main toad to the beach.

We had made this decision to avoid cycling through the industrial area at the bottom end of the lake South Chicago

Glad we weren’t anywhere near this motorway.

The guard could not have been more helpful getting the cycles on and off with panniers attaches up and down 4 steps he was strong 💪.

Once at Union Station it was follow the people get in an elevator and get onto the street another cyclist followed us like sheep as we were all going for the street and out of the station. Once outside google wax set in action to go directly down to the waterfront that was easy but once down the waterfront the masses of people were there.

We cycled along the US waterfront cycleway shared by walkers runners skate boards you name it but pedestrians were kept separate.

The riding water levels in the lake are covering some of the paths, there have been incidents of cyclists being washed off their bikes along here. Today being Saturday the waterfront was a buzz of people swimming along here.

Our directions led us off the end of the trail and back a few blocks which was also a bicycle route but shared with traffic glad if was Saturday. We were heading to highland Park so connected with the Greenbay cycle trail even their was a really hot day it was very pretty .

We passed the Chicago botanical gardens so I may have to venture there as we head north again via another trail or two for our final day this tour .

Day 26 Benton harbour to New Buffalo 34.4 miles

We woke after a good sleep at the Eden camping ground in Benton harbour we had our doubts as we had ridden out to get supplies for dinner it was not the usual neighbourhood roads were really rough concrete and broken up. The people were still very friendly. we woke the Sun was shining the tent was really wet from dew. So we took our time to pack up and headed to New Buffalo down the lakeside. We had to head for Silver beach first as everyone speaks of it .

We were fascinated at the rail bridge that turns into place when a train comes usually 4 or 5 times a day .

The first third of the ride was beautiful along with the last third there was a 9 mile stretch on the red arrow highway which was also ok . You can’t take your eyes from the concrete roads as they are very broken up. The Viventes have handled them well .

We enjoyed our walk through St Joseph a very trendy holiday place a gentleman told me there was an art show on over the weekend and 60000 people would visit . No wonder we have found accomodation hard to get . Enjoyed a coffee and cuddle of the bear before leaving

Saint Joseph is a very pretty town

We made it to NewBuffalo with time to look around . Our accommodation was only 7 minutes to the train for tomorrow’s part of our journey. We looked around a very popular place lots of people boats restaurants and breweries. One we had to visit

I guess when there are too many churches in a place what better than make a trendy crafted brew house .

With a very shiny pizza oven . We sampled a beer and headed home for our dinner . Only 2 more days of our cycling left for this tour . Made the most of the hot tub at our stay no camping around here from now until home in Grayslake .

Day 25 south Haven to Benton Harbour 31 miles

Well I know I am on holidays when I don’t have a clue of the day or time . This is always a great thing. Today we had a shorter ride or so google told us we are starting to feel it’s a bit like paying a bill add on 15 % or maybe we go around in circles too much before we leave a town !!. Today we were looking for the visitors centre after circling several times we found it and it didn’t really help us much at all . There is a bike trail out of South Haven but goes inland so we did a combination of lakeshore then the Bluestar highway which really has a very wide edge and wasn’t too bad . We had a look at a few more of the Lakes beaches as we rode along .

This was another of the public access paths in South Haven these are situated between two waterfront homes .

cycling out of town we were able to see the drawer bridge go up for a small passing craft. The vessel pushes a button like you would do at a pedestrian crossing , there is also a person on duty on the bridge

Down the waterfront marina were some amazing boats one which looked like a cruise ship but just privately owned I think . The towns are very pretty here with all their flowers around in pots decorating streets and bridges .

We cycled passed Lake Michigan beach which was most unimpressive not much beach left with rising water levels also the wind was blowing in today

we had phoned earlier to see what camp bookings were like in Benton Harbour as this was half way for staying close to New Buffalo . Google maps gave us a very inter cycle in !! In amongst quite a variety of poorer neighbourhoods and the concrete broken roads were horrible to ride on let alone once out of the neighbourhood we were onto the highway which was also broken up so you had to pay attention to the roads and the traffic . Anyway google got us to Eden springs park a lush green camp with lots of trees .

We successfully navigated down the road with a few toots from cars to the Aldi where we bought some supplies and beer 🍺 only problem it was warm . The owner of the camp kindly gave us ice from her home and we had a pleasant evening working out tomorrow’s stop before catching the train to Chicago on Saturday

Day 24 Holland to South Haven 35 miles

Today started with waffles for breakfast you can tell it wasn’t a camp . Had a great sleep at the country inn and suites in Holland even though she was only 2 star. The bikes were able to come into our room as we are getting closer to more built up areas . We decided to take it leisurely which may have been good or bad as the temperatures were heating up . We have planned out the rest of the trip so Are trying to get camping at the correct distance or accommodation of some sort .

We took time to look around the windmill village which was lovely.

A real windmill that was transported piece by piece and relocated the Dutch had to come over and reconstruct it . Also the amazing organ that came over and was built in around 1922

The hardens were beautiful along with all the wind chimes

We could have looked around more but time wouldn’t allow . It will be in my memory as when I returned to my bike I noticed one of my casual crocs gone . Oh well down to one pair of cycling sandals now . We found great coffee in the city centre about the third cup so far

Sling with beautiful healthy food not all sugar loaded .

I am so glad if google maps on these occasions as we had a easy ride out rod the city . We actually got onto a pathway built for bikes which enables us to have a little more shade today. The ride was still undulating but not steep . I had a heart turn when we seem to be directed to the interstate but sometimes they combine the highways and we had to go on it for 4 miles .

Once we turned off it I was a lot happier I had seen my first roadkill of deer on this .

One really lovely moment today on a quiet back road out of town we came across a little girl in her front yard I thought selling lemonade , being so hot we stopped she had a jug of cold water and small cups. She was not selling it , when asked why? She replied I just want to make people happy 😃 she would have been about 8 years old . I explained where we came from the land of kangaroos 🦘 and we gave her a donation and went on our way .

We passed through Saugatuck a very trendy little place

We made it to South Haven and needed to cool down so after checking into the Jensen RV park where we had a room / cabin we took off to the lake . The owner was delightful had a good sense of humor and directed us to free beach access and where to buy beer very important in such a hot day

The entrance to this beach was between 2 very smart homes .then it was home for dinner . Still 28 degrees 9.39 at night

Cheers 😜😜

Day 23 Muskegon to Holland 39 miles

Well it was a rough night for me noisy neighbor who partied all night not what you want after doing a days riding . Anyway in the morning the sun was shining we had coffee with some Kiwis we had met from Timaru they live 6 months in Muskegon and 6 months in Timaru . That’s the way to get the best of both worlds . Their camper was in an amazing spot in the camp . This morning the lake looked particularly beautiful as it was so calm

We were not going to do a long ride today so set off on a trail that we either lost not sure but ended riding about 8 miles through downtown started off very slow with a head wind .

Today was pretty non eventful and very hot .

I was able to take a picture crossing the big bridge that raises going through Grand Haven it really doesn’t do justice to the view at the time

We arrived in Holland a little place settled originally by a lot of Dutch families so we have been told . They have a tulip festival every year . The village was just beside our accommodation tonight .

We are planning the last week of our trip and have decided to get the train from New Buffalo into Chicago city and then ride to our home base from there. We still have a few more days to travel down the coast. It is pretty but as it gets busier it is not so attractive.the best riding is always beside the lake but sometimes this is not possible.

Day 22 Pentwater to Muskegon 52 miles

Well I am writing this in the tent escaping from savage mosquitoes. We had a great ride today in cycle trails the whole way . Quite remarkable really such a distance . We started out from Pentwater passing through the Pentwater marina so many boats

We were hoping to follow the coast but there was a detour as Highway 35 had lost its causeway to a rising lake level. First time we have turned into a main highway and had to retreat and follow the detour . It was fine the road sth passed through the country farms and asparagus fields to fruit trees .

We made our way to Hart where there is a bike trail that goes through to Montague . It was the best sealed smoothest trail we had ever been in easy to ride nice and shady from the hot sun . It also provided us with little towns cafes and ice cream shops you ride by . Along with toilet facilities this was a first we had not experienced once so good here in USA We stopped at the beginning for a snack

The rolled along enjoying the relaxed off road atmosphere

we stopped at Shelby for our lunch and found a nice table realizing it was in a pet cemetery oh well they provided a BBQ as well looked like a park ! Usual lunch of tomatoes on crackers .

We then of course had to stop at country dairy for ice cream there were crowds-of people there being school holidays

It ended up being a long ride but we found we also connected with another trail from Montague to Muskegon there was a very helpful lady at the tourism in Montague, we only had a small amount of highway and we went into another local bike way that led us directly into our camp Fisherman’s landing . Another big day had finished

A hill of salt waiting for winter and sunset over the lake