Michigan’s Shoreline West Tour
July 26 – August 3, 2003
It had been six years since I first rode Shoreline West, but I still had fond memories from the ride. And I was anticipating this year would be even better with cycling friends from Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan agreeing to join me there. Experience has taught that bike tours are more fun when ridden with friends. Julie and I met Friday afternoon at Indiana Dunes SP and Myrle joined up with us on Saturday morning. The three of us had a nice 25-mile ride and picnic lunch at the beach before driving on to Michigan and meeting the rest of the gang.
The tour began in Spring Lake, near Grand Rapids, and proceeded north along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Each day’s route would take us through beautiful small towns with colorful flowers and along the waterfront and harbors with their pretty sailboats. Each town provided us with ample opportunities for snacks, lunch or an afternoon ice cream. Several days, as the route would follow along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, we would face the temptation to stop peddling, park our bikes and go for a cool swim or take a stroll along the beach in the soft white sand.
Nightly campsites were usually located within walking distance to town where we could hangout with old friends and meet new ones. We saw spectacular sunsets over the lake and ate some of the best ice cream available anywhere. Breakfasts and dinners on this tour, included as part of the registration fee, were very good and a couple of times outstanding, like the night we had large steaks cooked on outdoor grills. The layover day in Traverse City was great and provided us with several options.
Some of the highlights of the tour were Cherry Point Market, Mac Woods Dune Rides, Sleeping Bear Dunes NP, the Pie Factory, Charlevoix, the Tunnel of Trees and Mackinac Island. In summary, this is a great tour with lots to see and do and should be a “must do” on anyone’s list.