Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leelanau Peninsula


Our original plan was to ride to Macinaw City this morning and take the ferry over to the island. However, with strong thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon, we decided to go with Plan B. Instead, we head west to Leelanau and the larger of the two peninsulas. Our first stop was at McDonalds so that Rickee could get her biscuit and Dr. Pepper. Just down the road, I pulled into an Ace Hardware to get a can of Plasti-Dip. This is basically like a liquid rubber used primarily for putting a rubber coating on tools, like pliers' handles. I plan to use it on the metal hooks on the bike cover to keep them from damaging the paint.

OK, with biscuits and hardware behind us, we ride west until we reach M22 North. We ride in and out of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Even though the roads are not filled with twists and turns, the amazing foliage, huge trees and lack of traffic make for a relaxing and beautiful ride. We pass by dozens of amazing lakefront homes and properties, many of which are up for sale. Apparently, the recession has taken its toll here. No signs of recovery. Much of the economy here depends on the evil rich people that many want to tax into oblivion. Most of these are second or third "summer" homes, and the state of Michigan has decided to levy property taxes of 18% to 20% on non-homestead properties. The result? A lot of homes up for sale and few buyers. If it were not for the tax, we might even consider a summer home someplace like this.

We make an early stop at Good Harbor Vineyards to check out their Riesling. We enjoy a nice conversation with the lady working there who recommends a couple of other stops for us in Leland. We purchase a bottle and continue our journey north. The landscape is filled with farmland and groves of cherry trees. We can already see signs of the coming cherry festival next week when 500,000 people will pack this area.

We ride all the way to the very tip of the peninsula where there is a lighthouse. However, we stop short of going into the state park to actually see the lighthouse. After all, it is more about the ride today than the destination. We make a u-turn and head south down M201 and ride down the east side of the peninsula. We make a stop at Leelanau Cellars, our last winery stop, and do another quick tasting. We buy a bottle of their Riesling and continue on to Traverse City. By the time we get back, it is lunch time and we are getting hungry. I make the executive decision to find a local Chinese restaurant that I read about on the Internet. We end up at China Fair in Airport Way road. Big mistake. The food was average, at best.

After lunch it is obvious that rain is on the way. We head back to Cambria Suites to drop off our wine purchases and check on the weather. We decide that instead of riding in the rain, we will cover the bike and walk over to an adjacent museum to check out the Body Human exhibit. Rickee has been wanting to see this for over a year and now is a perfect opportunity. We spend a couple of hours walking through the exhibits which consist of plasticized human bodies that have been dissected so that every muscle and organ is visible.

Tomorrow our goal is Macinaw Island. Pray for good weather!

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