Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Today, we drove for six hours from Shipshewana, IN to the Holiday RV Park Campground in Traverse City, MI. The weather held for the trip and the RV/truck performed flawlessly.
This campground is quite nice and the bulk of the spots here are ones that are purchased by RV owners and then they can come here whenever they wish. They are also able to "rent" out their spots when they are not here. It is an investment in a spot in this campground. We walked the campground and found that many campsites are permanent and well landscaped. Some are located on Silver Lake and even have their own docks. There is a boat launch and several swimming areas here too. Pretty nifty.
We loaded the kayaks on the truck, and then prepared the bikes for a bike ride tomorrow. We can load the bicycles into the truck even with the kayaks mounted on the racks on the truck. This makes it very easy to jump from kayaking to biking at will. Tomorrow, we plan to check out the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore where there is a biking trail and several lakes and streams where we can launch the kayaks. Tomorrow, we plan to ride out bikes on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail that begins in Empire, Michigan.
Monday, July 17, 2023 - Today, we drove to Empire, Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan to visit the Visitor Center for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. We checked out the visitor center and found that we could park there to begin our ride on the Heritage Trail. The trail is 21 miles long and we added about two additional miles to the trail by starting at the visitor center. We rode the trail to the small town of Glenn Arbor.
We checked out a kayaking business there that will shuttle us back to our start point on the Crystal River. We would kayak down the river to the business and they would then take us to our start point for a charge of just $12. Turns out that the river meanders quite a bit, so the distance to the start point is not that far. The river is properly names since the water is crystal clear. There is not much current, so it is very easy to make the four hour trip downstream to the kayak business.
We then continued our biking trip on the Heritage Trail to the end of the trail in the national preserve. Part of this trail from Glen Arbor to Bohemian Road contains about 30% packed gravel that I was able to navigate with the Cervelo and 25mm tires. We then turned around and returned to Glenn Arbor to have lunch at the local grill. After lunch, we returned to the beginning of the trail in Empire. After loading the bikes, we went to a small ice cream shop to a treat. Then it was back to the RV. In total, we rode for 46.5 miles and completed 1,000 feet of climbing. It was a great ride. The weather was great with blue skies and little puffy clouds and some wind that did not impact us when the trail meandered through the trees. This is an excellent trail and we would recommend it to anyone. There are some "ups-and-downs" with up to 12% grades, but they are not that long. Most of the grades are 5% or less which makes it pretty easy to ride. It is paved for most of the distance and the paved part is very smooth. It is a fun ride.
Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - Today we went for a kayak float, but we chose the Platt River instead of the Crystal River in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. The Platt River trip seems to be longer and with a little deeper water. We may still do the Crystal River, but we will see about that,. We drove to the Riverside Canoes business near the town of Honor, Michigan. We offloaded the kayaks at the business launch area and I, then, drove the truck to the end point of the float at the National Seashore parking lot at the mouth of the Platt River. I then was shuttled back to the the Riverside Canoes starting point. It cost $12 for this shuttle which is a very good price. Lisa stayed back and watched the kayaks and gear. We then launched at the business and began the float down the Platt River. The river was fairly congested with floaters and created a situation where we had to maneuver around them at times. It was not a big deal, but would have been much more of a problem on a weekend. The water was warm, clear, and shallow. The average depth of the water on the river was about two feet. We did not see any fish on the entire float. Our Eddyline kayaks are pretty nice, but we did not see any advance canoes or kayaks on the float. After getting out at the end of the trip, we drove to a picnic area and had a picnic along the river. It was a great float.
We then drove to the coastal town of Frankfort where we walked the main street and purchased ice cream cones. Frankfort is a very nice little town. WE then returned to the RV to relax and make plans for tomorrow's bike trip on the Leelanau Trail. this is a 17 mile paved trail that winds through the countryside of northern Michigan.
Wednesday, July 19, 2023 - Today, we are off for a bike ride on the Leelanau Trail. We arrived at the trailhead at about 10:00 am and parked the truck. We were about 1.5 miles from the south end of the trail, so we decided to ride to the south towards the near end of the trail. After about 1.5 miles, we reached the south end of the trail that coincides with the "TART" trail (Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail) that continues further to the south through the town of Traverse City. We chose not to continue onto this trail because there are so many cross streets to consider and also a few instances where you ride on the road. We turned around and started heading for the other end of the Leelanau Trail to the town of Suttons Bay. Along the way, we rode through forests, along open fields, near lakes, and on were able to see fields of grapes, cherries, nuts, and apples. The trail is extremely smooth all the way to Suttons Bay and did cross roads in several places. It was easy to stop and cross the roads since we had good visibility in both directions. There were quite a few other cyclists on the trail with many riding EBikes. There were several groups of cyclists that we had to negotiate a path through to pass them on the trail. The Leelanau Trail is an excellent trail and one of the best that we have ridden so far in our journey. We ended up with 32.5 miles and 500 feet of elevation change. The grades on this trail are slight and generally did not exceed three percent.
Thursday, July 20, 2023 - Today, we planned to go into Traverse City to run some errands and get some chores done. The weather calls for rain off-and-on today, so we thought it would be a good time do some "indoor" things.