Tag Archives: Little Traverse Wheelway

Petoskey Wrap-up

We’ve enjoyed our month here in the Petoskey area. When we weren’t biking, hiking, and visiting famous tourist places like the Soo Locks and  Mackinac Island, we also did quite a bit of touring on the motorcycle along scenic roads. One of these is known as the “tunnel of trees“, a winding, hilly byway which reminds me just a bit of the Smoky Mountains roads. There are so many beautiful views of water here, one around almost every bend.

Sometimes you encounter the unexpected, too. The other day, we were taking a motorcycle ride around a lake and found that the road crossed an inland waterway. Not by a bridge – by ferry! Propelled by a chain drive, the ferry chugs back and forth transporting an endless stream of passenger cars. We waited in line for a bit, as the ferry capacity was only 4 cars.  When it was our turn we drove on, paid our $3, and took the five minute ride across the water. Upon reaching the other side, we simply drove on. You don’t see that every day!

I’m still painting rocks, and found the mother lode here on the rocky beaches of Lake Michigan. Since free is good, we took bins to the public beaches and loaded up! Lake rocks are perfect – rounded and smooth.  No exaggeration, I probably stowed at least 75 pounds of rocks in the basement – hopefully a year’s supply! Jeff used to fuss about weighing down the bus, until we got an actual weight on our rig that showed us to be 8000 pounds below capacity. He no longer says a word about my rocks!

We also took full advantage of the Little Traverse Wheelway bike path. On a busy art festival day, rather than drive and hunt for parking in downtown Petoskey, we rode our bicycles the 5 miles into town. No muss, no fuss. We browsed the art fair displays and I acquired a Petoskey stone, in jewelry form.

Going south on the bike path takes you to Charlevoix, another charming harbor town. It’s a pleasant 25 mile bike ride (round-trip) from our campground. We spent a fair amount of time in Charlevoix – browsing the shops, walking the parks, and watching boats go through the drawbridge channel.

Charlevoix hosted its annual Venetian Festival last week, so one of our final activities in the area was attending the festivities. At the concert venue (a harbor-side bandshell with grassy risers), you are permitted to set up camp chairs beginning at 8 am, which we did. Jeff joked that in Miami, you’d go back and your chairs would be gone! Here, people still respect others’ property – our chairs (and everyone else’s) were just fine. We went back later in the day to enjoy dinner, the carnival, live music, a boat parade, and fireworks. All free!

Attending functions in a small town creates a completely different atmosphere than in a big city. Sitting in my camp chair, watching the local audience of several hundred in their chairs (or sprawled on blankets),  I could see all ages chatting, relaxing, and enjoying the music. A group of three little girls danced in circles while a toddler jumped up and down to the beat. Two young boys played tag around the blankets. Between bands we chatted companionably with the couple next to us. The air was just comfortably warm as we watched the sun set behind the harbor. No public drunkenness, no angst, no apparent conflict. It was all so peaceful … and just happy. These unique moments are what make RV life so special.

The weather here was (most of the time) lovely, with cool nights and warm days. We made new RV friends and caught up with a couple we originally met in Orlando. We’ve enjoyed this beautiful RV park – I’m spoiled now!

But now it’s time to move on to the upper peninsula and our next adventure!


Cycling Petoskey: Little Traverse Wheelway

016We are finding in our travels that many towns have embraced the concept of off street paths for biking and walking. It’s SO much safer and more pleasant to ride dedicated bicycle lanes, enjoying the sights and exercise. I hope the trend continues and expands!

The Little Traverse Wheelway passes literally across the street from our RV park. The street happens to be a busy highway, which is a bit of a pain to get across, but once on the other side we have full access to the paved path. The 26 mile “rail to trail” bike path extends from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs, and we are located just north of the middle. On the 4th of July we saddled up, crossed the busy road, and headed north toward Petoskey.

The trail followed along the road for a while, then ducked toward the shoreline through city parks and private lands. At this point we were on a bluff above the beach, but soon the trail descended to lake level as we approached Petoskey. Late-blooming lilacs scented the cool breeze. We took occasional breaks to walk the shore and search for Petoskey stones. We strolled out on the Petoskey harbor breakwater to the small light house at its tip. We watched as two youngsters dove from a passing boat to swim (race) to the breakwater while their parents docked the boat. We observed to make sure they made it OK (it seemed like a long way to me), but they handled the distance quite competently!

We cycled through Bayfront Park, which was surprisingly uncrowded on this 4th holiday. In South Florida, every park would be overflowing! The scenic lakefront park includes a waterfall flowing down the bluff which was popular on this warm day.

Continuing on past downtown Petoskey, we headed north toward Petoskey State Park. We didn’t reach the northern terminus, but flipped it around after reaching the 10 mile mark, to head back south. Near town, we happened across a carriage preparing to take a bride to her wedding. We called out our congratulations as we cycled by.

It was approaching lunch time (and it had gotten QUITE warm), so we stopped for a bite. A steep ramp / staircase from Bayfront park led up to the Petoskey downtown area. We had originally targeted a Thai place, but it was closed for the holiday, so instead opted for American cuisine at Chandler’s Restaurant. My cobb salad was delicious and Jeff’s 5 Dragons sandwich (their spin on a classic Reuben) was so huge, he packed half home. Cooled off, rehydrated and replete, we remounted our bikes and took a leisurely spin back home for a total of 20 miles.

Next time, we’ll head south and see what is happening in that direction!