If you have no interest in bunny-hopping over logs or switching gears in the face of steep ridges, meander onto easy paths winding along some of Michigan’s most scenic water views.
The Lakeshore Connector Path forms a 20-mile bridge between Holland and Grand Haven along Lakeshore Drive and Lake Michigan, passing two state parks, three county parks and lots of dunes en route (grandhavenchamber.org).
Stretching 26 miles from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs, the Little Traverse Wheelway features a 50-foot-long tunnel, half-mile long wetland boardwalk, rest areas and mist off the bay (trailscouncil.org).
The Lansing River Trail winds 10 miles through the state capital along the Red Cedar and Grand rivers from Michigan State University’s campus to Old Town Lansing’s art galleries and cafes, passing Potter Park Zoo, the Brenke Fish Ladder, Impression 5 Science Center and other attractions along the way (lansingrivertrail.org).
For more pathways to adventure, visit MichiganTrailMaps.com.
— Jim DuFresne
Coast through a tunnel and catch mist off the bay along a Great Lake or winding river.
Into the Wind
Life on two wheels is an amazing journey of the senses.
Close your eyes, lean slightly to the left: Smell the fresh-cut grass, the steaks grilling, the blossoming trees? Now, lean to the right: Feel the hum of the engine beneath you, the grate of the road? Open your eyes and see brilliant blue sky reflecting off chrome and trees whirring by almost close enough to touch.
Every curve on a motorcycle encompasses new sensations — in all kinds of weather.
“Sometimes you just have to go for it,” said Lori Tosh of Grand Rapids. “Rains come and go, but when I’m surrounded by good people, I know I can quickly warm up with the bond of a shared experience among friends, and at times laughter that we made it through; I don’t let the chance of clouds deter me from my trip.”
If you ask a group of motorcycle enthusiasts what they enjoy most, they all have different answers: the freedom, the wind, the smells, the chrome, the speed. But they’ll all agree it parallels sharing a scenic good time. “I love the deep brown color of the dirt next to fields of bright green,” noted Zelpha Smith from Alpine Township, “as well as riding with friends.”
Beyond love of camaraderie, interest in annual motorcycle vacations is increasing with gas prices. Based on three long-distance trips in the past three years, I’ve found the average daily cost of a motorcycle trip averages $50 per person, including fuel, food and lodging in clean and friendly Mom-and-Pop spots. In fact, maybe the best part of lengthier motorcycle trips is that sense of adventure: Not knowing where you’ll end up at the end of each day.
Visit abateofmichigan.org to learn more.
— Karla Jeltema