Category Archives: Vacation

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 6 — August 21, 2014

Green Bay, Wis. to Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Our last full day of vacation had arrived. As usual, I checked the weather while he made coffee. So, you know all that rain we’d been having throughout the trip? Yeah, it was nothing compared to the splotches of yellow, orange and red all over the radar. The storms were large, strong and everywhere!

Archived Radar

This archived radar data shows exactly what we faced on our ride from Green Bay to Wisconsin Dells.

Although we had been looking forward to a stop on the day’s itinerary, we whole-heartedly agreed on a more direct route to our destination. I consulted my trusty iPad mini (the ideal size for saddlebags) and hastily scribbled our new directions on the back of the day’s original plan. Messy, but effective.

The bags were loaded, and we were off in a flash. We dodged rain drops through Appleton and Oshkosh. Our luck would not last long. Noting an ever-ominous sky, I snuck a look at the radar while at slower speeds in Ripon. The truth was undeniable: We were going to get very wet! But, we were in for the long haul and continued west. Continue reading

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 5 — August 20, 2014

Newberry, Mich. to Green Bay, Wis.

Well, it’s about time I finish this story, isn’t it?!

The morning of Day 5 was cold. Bone-chilling cold that felt more like mid-October than mid-August. Fortunately, the weather report promised no rain. At least there was that.

Heading south on 115, the cold started to take hold. I shivered a bit, thankful I put my leather on that morning. I was trying to keep my mind on other things, especially after he mentioned the temperature had dropped into the 50s. No wonder!

By the time our route brought us back to the lake, the rain had started. Darn weather report! Of course, we were caught without our Toggs, so we got a little wet, mostly on our legs from the splash off the road. So now, I was cold and wet … again. BUT, I was still persevering AND having fun along the way. Continue reading

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 4 — August 19, 2014

Traverse City, Mich. to Newberry, Mich.

I still can’t believe it … after three whole days of riding, I woke up ready to rock and roll. I might even say I was excited, surprising since Day 4 posed the biggest hurdle of the entire trip (in my mind, at least): crossing the Mackinac Bridge, but we’ll talk about that later.

Unfortunately, there was some confusion about when the hotel started serving breakfast, so we opted to head out early and grab something on the road. The radar, something I had become quite familiar with over the past several days, showed a break the rain that we wanted to take advantage of to start our day. We packed the bike pretty quickly — thanks to the West Bay Beach Resort and their offer of the covered, front-door parking — and were on our way. Continue reading

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 3 — August 18, 2014

Grand Rapids, Mich. to Traverse City, Mich.

I Climbed Big Sable Point Lighthouse sticker.

Sticker recognizing us for making the 130-step climb up the lighthouse.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but we are early risers — often, super-early risers. It’s not that we plan to get up early; heck, we don’t even set the alarm, but we always seem to wake up at the crack of dawn (or before) raring to go. Thankfully, most places we stay have early breakfast hours, so we don’t have to wait too long to grab a bite before hitting the road. This day was no different, and the continental breakfast at the CityFlats was quite enjoyable.

Once fed, we grabbed our bags, stowed them on the bike and pulled out of the parking garage into sunlight. We had three lighthouses and lots of dunes to see, and we were ready to get started. Continue reading

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 2 — August 17, 2014

Cedar Lake, Ind. to Grand Rapids, Mich.

We woke up early Sunday morning ready to roll. After a quick shower and goodbyes with the family, it was time to hit the road. We were super excited to get going because we were about to see our first (real) lighthouse of the trip and would end the day with an evening in 2012’s co-“Beer City USA.”

Our directions actually took us a bit out of our way around the top half of the Cedar Lake, but hey, adventuring is part of the ride. We had purposefully chosen a route that would keep us out of the city until we approached our first stop in Michigan City, and it turns out that was a great plan.

As we started out, all our roads wiggled just enough to keep it interesting. The scenery was just amazing: Gorgeous little houses with immaculate lawns, picturesque farms, and just enough crazy stuff (you know, the kind that “Makes you go, hmmm”) to keep my head on a constant swivel for quite a while. Continue reading

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 1 — August 16, 2014

Peoria, Ill. to Cedar Lake, Ind.

What a crazy summer it’s been! The short version is that our poor bike — like this blog — was ignored for way too long. I’m ashamed to admit how long I went between rides, but I will say that I am really glad we took that three-day ride over Memorial Day weekend. Since I don’t have a lot of adventures from this summer to write about, I decided it’s about time I shared the story of last summer’s epic trip around Lake Michigan.

It was exactly 199 days before we left that Wally proposed the idea to me: Let’s ride the bike around Lake Michigan and see as many lighthouses as we can along the way. I was shocked to find myself agreeing to it, but then, he did have to deal with my questions. Continuous. Daily. Highly detailed. Questions. Questions about questions. And, even more questions. He was a trooper — and driven.

We bought a large print atlas to explore and plan our route. We researched cities, landmarks, activities and events along the way. We spent hours upon hours on the computer, fine tuning our plan to one of perfection. It would be six nights, seven days and an average of about 250 miles a day, which would allow for plenty of sightseeing stops. Continue reading