Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lake Michigan Circle Tour


The weather this morning was spectacular! Finally, the clouds and wind are gone. The sun is shining and it is a cool, but comfortable 60 degrees when we pull out of the parking lot of Country Inn and Suites in Marinette, WI. After filling up with gas and airing up the trailer tires, we head north on US 41. Since Marinette sits right on the border with Michigan, we literally crossed the state line within minutes. Soon, we were riding on M35, part of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour road.

Today we rode just over 300 miles from the Northwest side of Lake Michigan to the Northeast side of the lake. Its a BIG lake! The first couple of hours were very peaceful with only a few other vehicles encountered along the way. After we got to the "top" of the lake, traffic began to pick up. We saw a lot of other riders along the way and we even tagged along behind a small group of Harley riders for about 75 miles.

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge was exciting and technically challenging. The five mile long bridge is the third longest suspension bridge in the world. Today, it was getting pummeled by 35-45 mph crosswinds. The Goldwing acts like a big plastic sail in crosswinds, so keeping her upright takes some finesse and concentration. It cost $5.25 to cross the bridge, and yes, they do charge extra for the trailer!

Once on the other side of the bridge, the roads became much "greener" and the scenery just continued to improve. Quaint little villages and towns dot the highway down the coast into Traverse City. We passed by lots of fresh fruit stands and farm markets that we will no doubt be visiting in the coming days. This area is famous for cherries, so we will definitely be trying to score some of those along the way.

We arrived at the Cambria Suites in Traverse City at 5:30pm (we lost an hour crossing into the Eastern time zone). After unloading the trailer and shedding our riding gear, we decided to take advantage of the hotel's "happy hour" and have a glass of wine in the lobby bar. The hotel looks nice and this should be a good base of operations for the next four nights.

Tomorrow is Sunday so we will most likely get a later-than-usual start. Our plan for now is to ride up the peninsula to see a lighthouse and check out some wineries along the way.

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