Sunday, August 14, 2016
Permanent Populaire #3164: Frankfort - Sleeping Bear - Glen Arbor 102km
Note: while I charge no fee for this perm, you MUST purchase a park pass to ride through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. The fee was $7.00 in 2016.
This route takes you from Frankfort, through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, into Glen Arbor, and back again.
Starting at 4th and Main in Frankfort, your options for a control are Crescent Bakery, L'Chayim Delicatessen and maybe the coffee shop across the street whose name I do not remember.
You head east on Main Street, away from Lake Michigan, turn left onto 7th Street, which rapidly becomes M-22, heading north.
Three rollers out of town, and then you ride along Crystal Lake until the left turn onto Sutter Rd. I am ever so pleased to report that Sutter Rd has been repaved! It hasn't gotten any flatter, though.
The deer statues seen by the side of the road and in yards are not statues. You might also spot a flock of wild turkeys.
At the end of Sutter Rd you turn left onto M-22 again, and there's minimal navigation for miles and miles and miles. You'll pass the Platte Lake store (Riverside Canoe Trips, mi 11.7) if you need anything; there's nothing for the next 10 miles. Well, lots of trees, as this is Up North. Eventually the terrain starts rolling.
When you see the Radome up ahead, Empire isn't far away. You'll drop 200 feet into town.
Right at the intersection of M-22 and M-72 (traffic light), there is an EZ-Mart, which may be more interesting on your return.
But, more importantly, you can turn right onto M-72, go a block, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore office on the left will sell you that park pass.
Continuing north on M-22, you'll climb up a bit, and then turn left onto M-109.
You'll see the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail on your left, and you may prefer to cut over to it when you get a chance. I hopped on at Pierce Stocking Drive. There are driveways, and eventually, the Duneswood Resort. It is a lot nicer riding on the trail - shaded and no RVs or pickups hauling boats!
If you did not get your park pass in Empire, you must buy one in the parking lot just past Hunter Rd, mi 27.3.
On your left is the famous Dune Climb, where people (mostly children) scramble up and down for hours. There is also hiking at the top. This is not to be confused with the EPIC dune climb at the end of the Pierce Stocking Drive, where the dune plunges precipitously down to Lake Michigan, and there are signs warning that you must pay for your own rescue if you can't climb back up. Good times.
So, continuing along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail - there are a few steep bits, but they are all short - you'll eventually come to the first info control. The sign is on the right, and it is the second sand turnaround.
By now the trees have receded into dune scrub foliage, and a mile or so later, you will arrive in the restored historic town of Glen Haven. There's another info control here, or you can buy something in the General Store. Note: they DO NOT sell anything to drink, but there is a water fountain outside, as well as very nice restrooms.
Continue on the path between the store and the restrooms, heading to and straight through the D. H. Day Campground. The trail pops out the other side, ending at Pine Haven Drive. Turn right, and then left on M-109, for a short couple of miles into Glen Arbor.
Glen Arbor is the turnaround control. You'll find a market on the corner of M-22 and M-109, and continuing straight (M-109 merges into M-22 North), you'll find ice cream places and a coffee shop. There is also Art's, with their famous pool table on hydraulics, but service might be slow.
And then you turn around and retrace the route back to Frankfort. By then, Crescent Bakery is probably closed, but Stormcloud Brewing will be open, as will The Cool Spot (ice cream!) as well as many other places to get something to eat and/or drink.