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
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 .
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 .
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
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
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.
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
After a comfortable night at Highway 31 cabins we were off on a lovely sunny day . We planned to stop in Scottville at our friends and pick up extra things were were traveling with which we had left there before heading north into the hilly area . We had not missed anything and once again we need to cycle lighter next time
Our day was pretty uneventful and we picked up some more supplies and headed to Pentwater avoiding Ludington which we had previously visited and rode the coast again with a few hills we passed an electricity hydro plant .
We got to Pentwater and had booked a campsite which was lovely away from all the caravans and RV. ‘S
The beaches were also pretty but there was a cold wind blowoff the lake
We have one week left for cycling and are trying to work out our route as we wish to cycle through Chicago .
Well today was a long day. We had sun cloud drizzle and lots of riding . We left our Riverside acres and headed out to go south a steep climb to begin warmed us up as the day was cloudy . When we put in an intended destination for our journey google maps suggested the Betsie river trail and bike route 20. Being cyclists sounded good to get off the main roads . The trail was easy to find and we passed another cyclist who made the comment there were some ruts in the trail and to be careful he also mentioned the trail ended at Thompsonville. Our map directions sent us off the trail and down some back roads into route 20 . Well it was soft sand so we backtracked onto the trail route 29 was not for us and headed on it as far as went to Thompsonville. We visited the village store for a cold drink and some advice on heading south .
The directions got us moving but eventually lead onto highway 55 we cycled it for some time but it is a busy road even for a Saturday. Traffic is still very good and give cyclists a wide birth .We had enough of the busy road and decided to head to Stronach it was getting late and we were getting tired. A couple of gentlemen made comment we had to go North for the Casino last thing we wanted and the shop owner came out to see if she could help. She must have known we had had enough and was able to get accommodation from her neighbor who had cabins We then went into the shop and bought a few snacks to get us there 45 minutes away .
Noticed this fellow while riding so encouraged him off the road with a push from behind .
On arrival at the cabins we were greeted by the owner making us very welcome and even offered to run u into town if need be. This was not necessary we can always find some yin the pannier for a meal . A few relaxing beers and dinner we were ready for sleep and another day tomorrow.
These were the cutest cabins and we were made very welcome
A busy 100 km today .
Even though our accommodation is on a busy road it got reasonably quiet at night and allowed a good sleep . Very comfortable rustic cabin . We had decided to have another day here and go exploring without a load on board . We got off the main roads and headed for Empire it didn’t take long even with some steep climbs . It’s nice to ride lighter for a day . We found a little few in Empire as it was morning tea time the. Headed down to the beach while the weather was nice
Well the town beach was very busy and made us both feel grateful that we don’t have to pay to access our beaches in Australia. There was a constant treat of cars into the car Patel at $1 per hour to park . Free for us !!
I enjoyed a swim in the lake the 3 rd I have had on our trip the water was much warmer as the lake was shallow here . After a rest we had our usual lunch at the nice picnic tables provided and headed off to the Sleeping bear dune bluff walk. We decided today we did not want to ride too much so we were hoping for a view from Empire instead of riding another 15 miles and returning to Riverside . The walk was around 29 mins both way and very pretty.
When we left the beach we could see a haze coming and that turned out to be a fog from the south from the north there were black clouds . When we reached the viewing point unfortunately the dunes were obscured by the fog
The weather here is quite unpredictable and one minute it’s hot then the haze and clouds roll in . We enjoyed our trip never the less we bought some fresh farm Tomatoes on our return trip for tomorrow s lunch called in for more supplies at the local grocery shop and returned home feeling refreshed and relaxed today’s trip.
We would have like to get to Mackanaw island but time wouldn’t allow this trip .