Friday, August 16, 2019

Sleeping Bear

Our friends and biking buddies Brock and Leola have been showing us around the Traverse City area of Michigan.  Tuesday we explored the inland area south of the city.  Wednesday we rode north along the inside (eastern) edge of the Leelanau Peninsula, and yesterday we poked along the spit of land in the middle of Grand Traverse Bay.  
Today's ride took us along the western edge of the peninsula where we visited the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  The Lakeshore runs from just south of Leland to halfway between Platte River Point and Betsie Point.

We began our exploration by riding through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.  Once a dock, sawmill and farming community, the sawmill closed when the trees were all cut, and poor soil conditions forced most families to move.  Today the National Park District is gradually restoring the abandoned buildings.

We stopped at the Sleeping Bear Point US Life-Saving Service Station Maritime Museum.  From 1871 to 1915 courageous surfmen and keepers rescued over 178,000 people from shipwrecks in the Manitou Straits.  In 1915 the USLSS merged with the US Revenue Cutter Service, forming the US Coast Guard.
Rescue boats were launched into the lake via these rails.

We were in time to join a presentation of how the rescue lines were shot to the wrecked ship where the crew secured them to the ship.  Crewmen were then ferried from the ship to the shore.  Boats were sometimes launched, but the line rigging was the most common method of rescue.

Glen Haven was a stop for ships to take on fuel wood, and provide food, lodging, and services for travelers along Lake Michigan.  Visionary businessman David Henry Day bought land in the area and developed it into a lumbering, agricultural, and tourism center.  The Great Depression ended the town, but the Park District maintains the fruit cannery (now a boat museum), general store (gift shop), and working blacksmith shop.

We saw the big sand dunes area via the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, a beautiful rolling paved road linking 10 overlooks offering views of various points along the dunes. (This is a fee area, but we flashed our National Parks Passes and were waved right in.)

We stopped at two.  This one shows Lake Michigan on the horizon.  To the right 

we saw part of Mr. Day's farm holdings in the left and Glen Lake on the right.

Stop 9 had a viewing platform of this steep 145' dune.  Lots of people ventured down the dune anywhere from a few feet to the shoreline at the bottom.  They all had to climb back up in the loose, shifting sand.

Our tour ended at the town of Empire where we found the park headquarters at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center.  (This was to have been our starting point, but we missed a turn and ended up going south instead of north.)
The Center held displays of plants, animals, pictures, maps and other information about the park.  We stamped our National Parks Passports here and at Glen Harbor.

I was most impressed with this Lakeshore mural.  It is impressive when first viewed, but simply amazing when you realize it is four quilt panels!

Details of the fabrics and stitching used on the water, grass (each stem is a seprarate piece of fabric),

and small bushes (each leaf is a tiny snippet of fabric).

Leaving the Visitor Center we wound through Empire until we found a place to try locally made hand dipped ice cream.

It was tiny, eclectic, and welcoming.  After being disappointed on the UP (see Hunting And Fishing blog), I finally found some plain chocolate ice cream.  It was really good.

Our tour done, our ice cream eaten, there was nothing left to do but head home.

No more rides planned.

Louise and Duane

Thursday, August 15, 2019

In Between

Showery weather kept us off the bikes but not indoors today.  Brock drove us on a further tour of Grand Traverse Bay north of Traverse City, MI.  
On the left is the peninsula we explored yesterday ending in Leelanau State Park.  On the right is the Old Mission Peninsula, our exploration for today with arms of the Bay on both sides.  To the right, not pictured is the eastern edge of the Bay with the road we took south on Monday after we exited the UP.

This peninsula has a few cherry orchards, but is known for its wineries.
We passed thousands of vines in various stages of growth.

The peninsula is very narrow with views of the Bay on both sides, 

sometimes at the same time.

The one main road is mostly straight and flat, passing, besides the vineyards, one village--Mapleton--which consists of a general store, a small church and a few houses.  

The road ends in a turnaround at the end of the peninsula where we decided to park and explore.

We found several points of interest.  First was the location of the 45th parallel.

Next was the little Mission Point Lighthouse where we perused the information in the little museum and signed the guest book in the gift shop.

The light looks out on the Bay where we could see the two arms of land that form the Bay--Lake Leenanau State Park on the left and the mainland on the right with Lake Michigan access between.
The water babies also decided test the water temperature which turned out to be perfect for wading.

To complete our afternoon outing we stopped at a fruit stand for fresh tomatoes, blueberries, and of course cherries,

and we couldn't leave wine country without stopping at a winery.  We drove until we found one not on the main road--Brys Estate Winery and Tasting Room.  I tasted their pinot noire riesling, and liked it enough to buy a bottle. 

From there we meandered our way back south enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Tomorrow--back on the bikes.

Louise and Duane

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Today Brock and Leola showed us another part of their favorite Michigan stomping grounds.
From Traverse City we went up a peninsula that formed the west edge of Great Traverse Bay.  Our turnaround point is the point of land on the left.

This is a short ride with several planned stops.
At Suttons Bay we took time to get acquainted with ISEA, Inland Seas Education Association.  

ISEA's main concern is invasives on land but mainly in water.  

We found lunch in Northport, the last marina on the Bay.

After lunch we continued north to Lake Leelanau State Park, the northernmost point on the peninsula.  We turned around at the park entrance, retraced our route to Northport, then continued south along the west side of the peninsula on the east shore of Lake Michigan.

Our last stop was at the historic Leland Historic District (Fishtown), at the mouth of the Leland River, which Brock and Leola informed us was about 3 feet above normal level.

We shopped the near side of the river.  I did not stop in the building at the left--Dam Candy named for the small dam next to it.  I had to go into the shop called Cheese, though, and found some Michigan smoked gouda and Wisconsin smoked cheddar.  

Down the row we found the main reason for our stop here.  This is where Brock buys his favorite snack--smoked whitefish.

The rest of our trip south took us away from Lake Michigan and inland along Lake Leenanau 

then back to Traverse City.

While we wound 

and climbed along the peninsula, we passed lots of trees,

and orchards

and a few big farms.

At one point we passed a fairly large Bison herd with lots of babies.

While we were in Leland we saw this amphibious car sitting in the parking lot.

A little later it took a short cruise around the bay

accessed the boat ramp

and drove away.

Tomorrow, chores in the am, riding after lunch.

Louise and Duane