My wife and I just completed our long planned trip around Lake Michigan. I rarely plan trips like this long in advance but because of my wifes schedule this was the only week we could do it.
Luckily for me the wind was on the same schedule!
We left Madison around 7 pm on Sunday after a pretty wild weekend of kiting on Lake Mendota
Our plan was to travel North and go around the lake clockwise. With a short stop over in Green Bay we made it to Menominee MI and crashed for the evening.
Monday morning started off our drive along the lake shore. Following Hwy 35 along the shore of northern Green Bay we could see all the way over to the Door County Peninsula and the chain of islands to the north. The wind was blowing from the NW and was offshore making the waterfront glass calm and exposing all the shallow sandy kiteable shoreline.
As we got further along and the hwy turned N into Escanaba and Little Bay De Noc, the wind was now side/ side off and blowing hard down the bay. The town of Escanaba did not offer any good launches so we continued on Interstate 2 along the northern shore and headed down the Stonington peninsula and ended up at the Little Bay De Noc rec area. Side shore wind and a couple shallow slicks.
My session lasted an hour our so and after the wind got a little shifty we decided to make our way east towards the Mackinaw Straits and the crossing into lower MI. We spotted this guy having a solo session along the beautiful open shoreline between Brevort and Gros Cap MI.
Shortly after taking that picture we arived in St. Ignace on the Northern side of the Mackinac Straits. The bridge is really something else and going across it was a thrill in itself.
We set up camp at Wilderness State Park, just to the west of Mackinac city.
Tuesday was spent driving along the shores of Traverse Bay and the Old Mission Peninsula. I had a great flat water session of the north west tip of the peninsula. We kayaked out to a long treeless island and rode behind it.
We made as far as Glen Haven with a short stop in Leland for the sunset.
Wednesday could easily have been a wash if the craziest thing on the trip didn't happen that morning.
We woke up to pouring rain both outside our hotel room and all over the radar for the day. We decided to just put some miles on with a plan to stop at Point Betsie.
The rain let up as we pulled into a parking lot occupied by only one other car. I decided even though the weather was crappy that I would at least walk out and look at the beach. I get to the beach and there is only one other person out there and he is walking toward me. As he approaches I began thinking "I know that guy". Sure enough it was fellow southern Wisconsin kiter Dave Yanu ( i bet i just murdered his name). He was in the Traverse area with family and heard this was the place to ride. We had the whole place to ourselves for a nice little between the storms session.
Once lightning started striking to our south we decided to pack it in. Emily and I chased the storms the rest of the afternoon as we headed down the coastline ending up in Grand Haven. Here is a shot of the storm that was to the south of us while we were kiting.
On the way I called a good friend and local Michigan kite Eric Ardema and went and watched him play a gig in Spring Lake. The Cheap Dates
It was still pouring after the show so we just got a hotel room and rested up for what Eric promised to be a good day in St. Joe.
We hung out on Silver Beach all day Thursday. Over the course of the day Eric and a bunch of other local riders showed up to take advantage of the steady 20 mph north wind and swell.
My wife and photographer was suffering from a bad sunburn so there aren't as many shots of the afternoon as we would have liked.
We made it to Ogen Dunes to watch the sun set over Chicago. We didn't realize that we didn't have a camera until we got to the top of the dune. After the 4 days we had neither one of us was going back down to get it.
We made it home by midnight and by the time we pulled in our driveway we had driven just under 1200 miles. It was so worth it. Lake Michigan is a vast (mostly underdeveloped) coastal wonderland.