Traveling Michigan with Friends.

Last week we went on a mini vacation – after all, it’s summer.  Most of you know my husband and I are bikers and when we travel, we travel by motorcycle.  Love it.  So, allow me to bore you with our pictures.  (Go get a glass of wine and sit in a comfy chair. ;-)) Okay, ready? ]]>

We have a group of friends from Dubuque IA who we have been riding with for over 10 years now.  We met them through the Dubuque Harley Davidson when we were scouting great roads in that area for a future ride.  They put us in touch with their activities director from the HOG Chapter who brought a group from their chapter on the weekend that we were there, and we’ve stayed in touch and manage to get at least one if not two rides in a year with them.  Mike and Angie (from Dubuque) had a daughter getting married on Friday, June 24th and Gene and I were invited to that wedding.  So, our vacation started with us biking to Dubuque for the wedding. We stayed with friends, Steve and Jean while there and then on Saturday, Mike, Angie, Steve and Jean biked home to our house in Green Bay for a Saturday night dinner and to meet up with more friends who would be joining us on our vacation.  Bill and Mary, Paul and Nancy and Dennis joined us for dinner and drinks on Saturday and, I must say, my cheeks were sore from laughing.  

Sunday morning we set out for Mackinaw City, MI.  We rode hard the first three hours, only stopping after a couple of hours for gas and to unfold our older bodies from the sitting positions we had been in since leaving home.  I dubbed this week, “Biking with Old People”.  Since most of us are in our fifties, now, we each realized just how age can affect the stiffness in our joints.  But, I digress. 

We arrived in Mackinaw City around 4:00 in the evening, checked into our hotel and then searched for a place to eat.  There is a restaurant we’ve enjoyed there before, Nonna Lisa’s, and it was our first choice.  Not only is the food delicious, the restaurant is decorated in the most unique decor with taxidermied animals and twisted wood throughout.  Most of our dinner conversation was around this picture.  

Anyone know what this is?  We tried figuring it out and we all looked like a bunch of teenagers on our smart phones trying to locate an animal that looks like it.  The closest we came was baby water buffalo.  If you know what it is, please comment below so we can solve the mystery.

We walked along the pier and took a few photos (gotta take a picture of the Mackinaw Bridge while there!)

Mackinaw Bridge at Sunset.

Our group minus 2 (they were taking pictures)

We went back to our hotel and had a few drinks together and discussed what the next day would bring.  Next stop – Traverse City.

We arrived in Traverse City around 3:30 pm and after checking into our hotel (oh, and it was so windy! Gosh, we were beaten up when we got there from fighting the wind all day).  But, we had a couple of drinks and then the hotel had a shuttle. We went to Slabtown Burgers for supper and, if you get the chance, do yourself a favor and eat there. It’s an old victorian converted into a hamburger place.  The staff was friendly, the food was to die for.  I had a mushroom swiss burger and Gene had an olive burger and both were large, juicy and delicious.  I’d link to their website, but they don’t have one.  

Walking back to the hotel, we found a brewery called North Peak Brewing Company.  We sat outside and had a drink and the laughing continued.  Just before we found the brewery, Dennis found a scooter and had us in stitches with his rendition of an old man (see-biking with old people.)  

Back to the hotel and the maps to plan our direction for the following day.

We were on the road by 10:00 am and getting out of Traverse City was a bit, let’s say, interesting.  That is a heavily traveled city and so many rude drivers.  We had a group of seven bikes and more than three times, drivers cut in between us as they were weaving and bobbing around.  Not only is that irritating, its dangerous.  The couple of seconds it took to let all of us pass, would not have changed those drivers’ lives in the least. All I can say is RUDE!

But, we were heading towards Muskegan, MI.  There aren’t that many miles between Traverse City and Muskegan, so we found some things to do along the way. We stopped in Harbor Springs, and I fell in love with an old house.  The meter man told us it was a seasonal rental, and I’ve dreamed since then of living there and writing for the season.  If you look at the top right of the house, you’ll see a patio surrounded in glass which must be a fabulous wind break, but it over looks the harbor and the water.  The patio had a bar and what looked like a fireplace surrounded by lounge chairs. Sigh!

On to Frankfort, MI.  Frankfort is a smaller little town on the water along Lake Michigan.  Standing on the beach you can see two piers that each lead to a lighthouse.  We walked to the middle of the first pier and then the cement narrows.  It’s the closest I’ve ever been to a lighthouse and I’ve always wanted to see one up close.  I continued on alone, on my lighthouse quest.  As I reached the halfway point, my heart began beating rapidly as a large gust of wind made me pause and question my bravery, and then a large wave whooshed over in front of me and managed to get me wet. I briefly turned back and saw our group standing on the pier watching me, so I wasn’t about to turn around.  I was a bit nervous at that point wondering if this was the smartest or dumbest thing I’d ever done.  I decided it was neither and continued on.  I did reach the lighthouse and I walked all the way around it before venturing back. TOTALLY WORTH IT!


Can you see me?

We had lunch at Villa Marine Bar and Gene, Dennis and I shared the best pizza I’ve had in a good long time.  Our waitress, Monique, was friendly, efficient and super sweet.

After lunch we headed to Sleeping Bear Dunes to dip our feet in the sand.  The roads into the park are scenic and tree covered. I managed to video a little bit of it.  Check it out.

video0103 from Patti Fiala on Vimeo.

While in Muskegan at the hotel, I was thrilled and excited to be able to meet my fabulous editor, Mitzi Carroll, and her husband, Pat.  We sat and chatted for a while and caught up on the world of editing, books, things in our lives and so on.  They are lovely people and I feel so grateful to have them in my life.

The last day of our trip, we boarded the Lake Express Ferry and zoomed across the lake to Milwaukee and then headed for home.  It was a fabulous vacation and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  Now, we’re back to life in Green Bay, which is a pretty awesome life and waiting for our newest little grandson, Noah, to be born.

Tell me about your vacation travels, and show pictures, I love seeing them.