Saturday, June 28, 2014

Permanent Populaire # 2390: Crystal Lake - Onekama - Bear Lake

A lake-filled jaunt along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

route here
cue sheet
registration form

The route starts in Frankfort, Michigan.  You can get a receipt at the c-store at 7th and Main, or the Family Fair grocery at 10th and Main, or the Crescent Bakery (worth the stop!) at 4th and Main.  All good things are on Main :-)

So.  You'll go east a few blocks before turning onto 9th, and onto the Betsie Valley Trail for a short while.  When you get to Elberta, just over the bridge, you'll turn right onto M-22, which is also USBR 35.

After some ups, with a fabulous view of Lake Michigan and downs, you arrive in Onekama.  There are a couple of convenience stores, a grocery, and a tavern or two along the road.  I recommend the EZ-Mart at the Marathon Gas Station, on the right; the turn onto Third is on the left.  All the rando-friendly food and beverage offerings are at the back on the right.  Clean bathrooms to the right at the door.

Now turning away from Lake Michigan, you proceed up to Bear Lake (Gas station C-store at intersection of Hwy 31, another at 13 Mile Rd, a bit of a detour off the route).

Then proceeding north, away from main roads, and away from places to get food or water, until Benzie.  It is all very quiet up there.

Keep your hands on the brakes on the descent from Forester Rd to River Rd.  Steep drop.

You will get back onto the Betsie Valley Trail at mile 45.6, from River Rd.   The surface will change to crushed gravel, and then sand over gravel.  I have had no trouble riding on either with my 32mm tires.  DO NOT LEAVE THE TRAIL UNTIL BENZIE.  The property owners on either side take a dim view of that.  But do enjoy the views of Crystal Lake!

Benzie has many places to get something to eat and drink.  Recommended: L'Chayim, Cool Cat (ice cream), Lucky Dog (grill).  The Cherry Hut, on US-31 is a tradition, but slow service.

Now, heading out of town, you circle around Crystal Lake, and head back to Frankfort, and the delights of Main Street!

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