Tuesday, August 13—Petoskey and Charlevoix, Michigan

With one more day in Mackinaw City, we both stated our desire to pack up and depart for new horizons. Regretfully, we have reservations and a schedule (a lesson to be learned). Digressing a bit and waxing philosophically, we’ve done most of the RV-related items on the bucket list, except for Washington and Oregon. I’m at a point in our travels, and life, where it’s great just to take the RV somewhere for several weeks, establish semi-residence, and really experience the area; I think Kay feels the same way. And we like spending time at home and with family, particularly in the spring, early summer, and early fall. This might account somewhat for our “hitch itch.” Having said that, Door County, Wisconsin, really struck an accord with us, and it’s a place to which we definitely want to return, perhaps for 6 weeks or so.

130813 WIMI E 002

Last evening, wind from the northwest began after the partly rainy day, and continued through the night.  It was in the low 50s this morning, and winds were gusting at 15 to 20 miles per hour, making it seem even colder.  Isn’t there a happy medium somewhere?  We drove south again today—our third time—for Kay to further explore Petoskey and Charlevoix, and for me to ride Michigan’s Little Traverse Wheelway. The Little Traverse Wheelway is a paved bike path extending from north of Petoskey south some 23 miles to Charlevoix. Locals reserved much of the waterfront in the 1880s and 1890s for a walking and bicycling path before the railroad claimed it for a railway after the turn of the century. Then when the railroad abandoned it, locals reclaimed it and converted it into a great bike trail. The Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan (shown above) shoreline is visible from much of the trail. Just before Petoskey, we pulled onto a side street, unloaded the bicycle, donned helmet and day pack, and bid each other farewell. The trail through Petoskey was awesome, with the high seas crashing against the shore. Winds on the order of 20 miles per hour were forcing the 4 to 5 foot waves directly onto the rocks, and made for spectacular views, but made for very difficult riding when the bicycle trail changed directions and the wind blew directly towards me.  Bicycle traffic was heaviest near Petoskey and Charlevoix, but sparse in between. There was little foot traffic. Though only 16+ miles, this was an incredible ride, taking about and hour and a half. It’s definitely worth doing. Kay had just pulled into a parking space at trail’s end as I arrived—great timing.

Kay’s exploration and the bicycle ride ended our activities in the Mackinaw City area. Back at the RV, the tanks were emptied,  the RV interior cleaned, and most items stowed for the short trip to Empire, Michigan, tomorrow. That leg of the trip will end our Wisconsin and Michigan tour.

P.S. Michigan has some 1200 miles of bicycle trails, and those we’ve ridden have provided an enjoyable riding experience. They also have a large number of campgrounds, and their residents take advantage of the camping opportunities. We saw lots of young families camping here, in Munising, and in Copper Harbor, and the family units are large by our standards, with each young couple having 4 or 5 children. The Little Traverse Bay area of Petoskey, Charlevoix, and Bay Harbor exude wealth and affluence, and one can only guess that the large houses are mostly summer places for Michiganders (almost all license plates in these places were from the state of Michigan) since there are lots of exclusive golf courses, the summer weather is coo, there doesn’t appear to be any significant business enterprises except for tourism, and the weather here is very cold and snowy from October thru mid-May!

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