Great Lakes Road Trip: St Ignace to Glen Lake, Lower Peninsula, Michigan

Arriving hungry, after checking into our hotel which was delightful right on the lake with Mackinac Island right in front of us, we headed downtown in search of food. My research had suggested The Galley, our hotel receptionist also recommended it, so that’s where we headed, not that there was a mass of choices in the small town. After a mediocre fish dinner we went for a stroll along the boardwalk…. not for long as we were plagued by large black insects, yuk! So we made for the Main Street again and wandered past the – mainly closed – souvenir shops.

Waking to a very foggy morning didn’t bode well for our trip to Mackinac Island, confirmed by the ferry captain as we boarded that the trip would not be going under the Mackinac Bridge due to the weather, five minutes later he changed his mind as the clouds had started to lift. Having decided to sit inside for the trip I scrambled to the open top deck to take some pictures while I could,

before heading straight back down out of the icy wind.

The island is completely motor vehicle free, horses bikes or shanks’s pony being the only means of getting around.

The town is an amazing step back in time, beautifully maintained period houses,

arty shops amongst the fudge shops (visitors are called fudges because they all buy fudge!). Unfortunately we had arrived on the day the entire sixth grade of the local schools were on a field trip!

Now Amr has been dying to get on a bike for ages now, and I’ve never been keen, too hard on the derrière for my liking. Anyway, as the island is flat I decided to cave in and fortunately the bike shop rented ‘comfort’ bikes, ie big seats! So off we go, well Amr went sailing off and I kind of wobbled and swayed,

praying everyone would get out of my way so I didn’t have brake! Anyway, I soon got the hang of it and as we headed out of the main town horses, people and bikes lessened and I began to feel slightly more comfortable. The clouds continued to lift and the sun began to shine as we progressed

and the views from the lakeside road which circumnavigates the island for eight miles are superb. Difficult to believe Lake Huron is inland lake,

the water an aquamarine colour round the island. Occasionally we came across groups of the dreaded black insects but being on a bike meant you could speed up and get through them. As my confidence on the bike increased I actually began to enjoy the ride, even had a play with changing the gears, not very successfully.

There were storyboards around the route telling the story of the native Indians, and how badly they were treated by the European invaders, such a recurring theme around the world sadly. In what seemed no time, we were back in the main town and I was surprised when returning the bikes that it had taken us two hours, of course there were numerous photo stops and staring into the views not cycling all that time but the average time apparently is one and a half hours so we didn’t do too badly.

We decided there were too many schoolchildren entering the fort for us,

so we grabbed a sandwich and sat in the park watching the lake before a walk around town and then heading back to the mainland.

Continuing our journey southwards today our first step was to cross the Mackinac Bridge which I had photographed from below yesterday.

Unfortunately road works meant single file and a huge truck in front of us so my photos were restricted.

We headed to Cross Village to start the Tunnel of Trees for twenty miles. Bit of a disappointment really as it was nothing out of the ordinary,

and no stops for the promised amazing views of Lake Michigan, however the cloud was very low so there wasn’t much of the lake we could have seen anyway.

Stopping in Harbour Bay we walked around the delightful town,

obviously quite upmarket judging by the building and shops. Strolling to the marina we were attacked by the dreaded black insects

so made a rapid departure.

Further along the coast we stopped at Petroskey,

another delightful town, again plagued by insects. Stopping slightly out of town by the lake I had hoped to spot a Petroskey Stone or two

but no luck, maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough!

The small town of Charlevoix was pretty and we enjoyed a stroll window shopping,

before driving past acres of cherry orchards. Fortunately they were in flower and looked so pretty,

of course Amr wants to return in July when the fruit is sold by the roadside!

After negotiating the busy Traverse City we found ourselves deep in rural life, before we found our small motel by Glen Lake.

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