"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door" … "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
~ Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 2.1 - Sleeping Bear a Great Start for our Next Stag

Our Route: Watervale Inn - Glen Arbor

Again the threat of thunderstorms diminished to an hour's worth of light rain as we headed out for a day exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park

Departed:May 25, '15, 09:52AM
Starts in:Benzie County, MI, US
Distance:44.8 mi
Elevation:2128 / - 2106 ft
Max Grade33.6 %
Avg. Grade0.3 %
Total Duration:08:35:56
Moving Time:03:54:52

Max Speed:33.0 mph
Avg. Speed:11.4 mph


We'd prepared ourselves for heavy, day-long rain on this our first outing without support. But it seems, the heavy downpours overnight played themselves out and we were left with a warm damp day. Got a little rain mid-ride. Caused two flats, one for me and one for Robb. Small stones, glass, bits of sharp things stick to tires more easily in the wet than in the dry pavement. Its a double frustration. But luckily it did not rain while Robb and Will set about fixing them. I must admit to be an observer in the game of changing tires when surrounds by experts.

Despite the rain and the two flats we arrived safely in Empire, the entrance to one of Lake Michigan's great treasurer, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We rode through the park in what has to be one of the best and prettiest bike paths I've ever experienced - Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

Robb and Will decide to tackle the challenging Pierce Stocking Drive with its beautiful overlooks but 12% - 14% grades. I give that particular folly a pass and head to the Dune Climb and to the beach at the northern end where we meet up with our friend Bill to explore the Plover nesting area.

Enjoy the photos - I have few words to add:

Those tiny little dots on the dune are PEOPLE

A slightly distorted, panoramic shot of the Dune Climb

I've always been a bit jealous of long-distance cyclists when I've seen them with their
gear at national or state parks. Today I realized - I ARE ONE!

Riding the Heritage Trail was like hiking in the woods -
only better because I was on a bike.

Plovers, one of our most endangered species, make their nests right on the beach. 

To protect the Plovers during mating and hatching season, volunteers rope off areas
and place predator-proof cages around the nests

A Plover nest momentarily abandoned by the father. Mother seems to have gone AWOL

1 comment:

  1. Now you're in familiar territory. I loved this ride up to Mackinac. Enjoying your story and the photos.