When I packed for the trip, I optimistically included cue sheets for both 1603 and 2390, as well as perm cards and a registration form. All my riding this calendar year has been the North Plains Banks Vernonia Perm Pop, and not a whole lot of that.
So there we were, and I was looking at the perm pop and "nah, not this time. Don't want to face those climbs..."
Revisiting the 200k (really 218k), I thought I might find a good 100k in there, to Glen Arbor and back. And, pulling the route west between Empire and Glen Arbor, I was able to do just that, plus get to ride the brand new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.
Mapping out a route with RWGPS on an iPad is a little tricky. And I couldn't download the cue sheet and edit it - I had to write it out and type it into Google Sheets.
Crista promptly approved the route. Then the weather went slightly disagreeable for a few days.
When the weather improved, my husband basically ejected me out of the cottage and onto my bike. He doesn't usually do that.
So I rode into town to the Crescent Bakery, and started the ride at 1pm. Rode back out of town (brief pause to start RWGPS), then up and over Sutter Road (OMG the new pavement!), and points north. It was all good until I passed the canoe outfitters at the Platte River (11.7 miles), and then entered into the "nothing to see here" for the next 11 miles to Empire. Well, lots of trees. Some cornfields. Climbing. Need to work on my mental state for that stretch.
After winching myself back out of Empire, turned onto M-109 and started looking for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. M-109 may be USBR-35, but it was also prime trailer and boat season. Also, every camp and summer program in the area does a day trip to the dune climb, and M-109 is how one gets there. The trail parallels the road, and I hopped on at Pierce Stocking Drive. It was nice and shady, if a little bit more rolling that the road.
Rode by the Dune Climb, and was getting pretty excited about going through Glen Haven - it is a restored village with a General Store (no food/water), a Maritime Museum (the old Coast Guard station), a restored cannery, and other things. Also nice clean bathrooms and water.
Moving along, the trail goes through a campsite and then the original routing had continuing straight on Pine Haven. Nope. Sand road. The reroute goes right on Pine Haven, and returns to M-109 a long block or so sooner.
Glen Arbor doesn't really start until the intersection with M-22, so it seems like a longer ride into town than it is.
But anyway, I found myself some expedient ice cream, and sat outside the shop chatting with the proprietor. Glen Arbor has many opportunities for food.
The return is a reverse of the route, and fairly uneventful. I did stop in Empire for many things to drink, because it was humid. I'd been drinking all afternoon, and needed more. An older guy was returning empties, and the clerk asked for his birthday. Something-something-1980. I was looking at him thinking "wow, hard life." The clerk was more forthright - "my son was born in 81, and you weren't born in 1980". He finally coughed up a plausible birth year, finished his transaction and left. The clerk and I looked at each other and cracked up.
Fitz was heading home from a golf outing, and passed me on the road just after the climb out of Empire.
More slogging along, although Empire to the Platte River is easier than the other way. A pause on the Sutter Rd climb. A pause at the cottage to establish a meetup spot in town, and, finally the last couple of rollers (one pause) and done.
Stormcloud Brewing is my finish location of choice; they even have a cool rubber stamp, although if they are busy it might not be a good idea to send the bartender looking for it.
And hey, RWGPS in offline mode worked great! Didn't hardly drain the battery at all!
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Sunday, August 14, 2016
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.