Ludington - Frankfort, MI - The Only Thing Fast On This Tour Is The Ferry - CycleBlaze

July 3, 2021

Ludington - Frankfort, MI

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This morning seems a long time ago. We had agreed on a 9 AM depart in honor of climbing the Three Sisters, whom we had heard about from several sources.  We had a lack luster bag breakfast at the motel. I ended up making my own oatmeal in the room, fortified with dried cherries and pecans. 

At 9:45, we were out the door. Crossing the road was an exercise in patience. Morning traffic was very heavy. It is Saturday of a holiday weekend. Everyone has somewhere to go. 

It was a long mile until we turned to the right. Traffic let off slightly, but there was zero shoulder. 

I had warned Jacinto today that I expected a pee spot every hour or ten miles, whichever came first. We were at our first stop when John and Diane from Bellingham, WA stopped to see if we needed anything. They had come across on the Beaver Ferry and had camped in Ludington at the campground next to the cemetery. We let them leave first and did not see them again all day.

Riding was easy. Temperatures were pleasant. Humidity was acceptable. The sky was cloudless. If it weren't for the traffic, it would be an excellent riding day.

We had several turns - Bertha was on duty. One turn took us onto a beautifully paved road with a ~3 foot shoulder. OK! This is the life. 

We have decided to continue following Bicycle Route 35, for which we see frequent signs. Our thought process is that they must have researched the best route. I tried not to think of ACA and how their routing isn't always the best . . .  . .  BR 35 and ridewithgps frequently disagree on routing, but we've been deferring to BR 35. 

We rolled into the very busy tourist town of Manistee. Jacinto waited for me on a corner. It was wall to wall people, celebrating the weekend. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. 

We rode over the bridge that said 'walk bicycles' - I think because of the grated bridge surface. It wasn't wet, we were fine.

Not far down the road we came upon a tiny beach with just a few people. This is more my idea of a holiday weekend. Jacinto pulled over to take some lake photos. We really haven't seen the lake much this trip. As we were taking photos, a woman stopped by and said she had seen us twice today, both times she could see our lights 'from at least a mile away'.  That was good to know, especially with no shoulder and heavy traffic.

I have been telling myself for weeks not to worry about climbing the Three Sisters. We have plenty of climbing in Colorado - surely they are nothing to worry about. Marilyn told me not to get complacent, that there were some steep climbs on our tour and the sisters counted. 

I knew the climbing would start at mile 38 today. I think Jacinto was a little worried about it because he had so much weight in his panniers. He said that at the worst, he could walk. I don't think Jacinto's ever said he could walk. 

I don't know where people buy gas around here, there have been a noticeable lack of convenience stores. Jacinto pulled over at a busy one in Onekama. I really, really didn't want to fight my way across the road. I knew it would be good to take a break, drink a cold electrolyte drink, and approach the sisters refreshed. I pulled on in. There were two mountain bikers outside and we chatted a bit. One man said with confidence that each of the climbs were 300 feet. I could certainly do that! The degree of the climb might have me walking, but at least not too far.

Jacinto bought a can of peanuts because he didn't know where in his stuffed panniers our TWO cans of almonds were located. He also had  a Armour electrolyte drink. I ate a banana. We had some jerky. Then we discussed if that food would be sitting like a lump in our stomaches during the climb. I speculated how long we should sit there to digest. I just wanted to get going. This starting late is not my style. The day was getting hot. That being a relative term, as the high temp was 79 for the day.

Onekama looked like a cute lakeside town. We haven't seen many towns so far because the bike path goes around them. We just get glimpses at the cross roads.

One advantage to starting early is beating some of the traffic. We talked about holiday traffic and how last year we rode into Evanston, WY on a dirt road with zero traffic. Evanston is not a tourist area . .  . .

The climb up the first sister started on the edge of town. Good! Let's get this done. We had a relatively short granny gear climb to the top. Jacinto waited for me. Then it was fairly flat for six miles before a downhill and another climb. The second sister had the steepest pitch and I was riding in the direct sun. I was mentally cussing myself for not making the climb earlier in the day. I ate a Hammer brand Perpetuum tablet and a couple of Hammer Anti Fatigue capsules. Jacinto scoffs at supplements, but Oren introduced me to the Hammer products during our Sierra Cascades trip. I think they help.

Jacinto waited for me at the top again. I just wanted to get the day done. I was ever so happy that the last sister was heavily shaded. I climb so much better when I'm not overheated. 

Jacinto was ahead of me on the downhill. We rode through Elberta before Frankfort. We watched for a place to eat, but saw nothing. Our lodging in Frankfort was slightly outside of town. This is an expensive tourist area on a holiday weekend. We had to take the room for two nights, $246. for two nights. We got a basic, old motel room with a very small shower. Our bikes have to stay outside, although there is plenty of room inside. The towels are about the skimpiest I've ever seen. Jacinto said it took him a towel and a half to dry off, but I could have the other half. Wasn't that kind?

Walking back to Elberta was closer, according to google. The man at the desk said it was a pleasant half mile walk to town on the bike path. He lied. Even Jacinto said it was far more than a half mile. We ate at the first place we came to, which was the Smokehouse. There wasn't any indoor seating and we had to sit outside in the sun. It was really hot. I had the toughest brisket I've ever eaten. Jacinto order smelt and said it tasted like fish. The side dishes were tiny little cups. Our meal wasn't commiserate to our effort today. 

We walked across the street to the grocery and bought ice cream as a consolation prize. Jacinto also bought a beer. 

We have a day off tomorrow, because we had to take the room for two nights. The internet is really, really slow. I'm feeling sorry about our sucky day off location. I've looked at lodging options in town, wondering why I picked this one. It's significantly less money than other places, that's why. The reviews are good . . .  if I had good wi-fi and my bike in the room, I could over look the squishy bed and the skimpy towels . .  .

I've told Jacinto that I will walk to town once tomorrow. We are going to go further into town and check out other places to eat. For breakfast I have oatmeal (on my day off!) and Jacinto has leftover breakfast sandwiches. We have some hard boiled eggs from the breakfast this morning, but Jacinto forgot them on his bike outside and when I put them in the fridge, they were hot from sitting in the sun. He will eat them, but I don't dare. 

We only have three days off the entire tour. I was looking forward to enjoying every one. Jacinto has a 35 mile route that he might ride tomorrow, without panniers. Depending on how bored he is.

On our next riding day, we go to Leland, via Sleeping Bear Dunes, which have been often mentioned as a must see. 

 Jacinto pointed out that we've ridden together three days in a row and when was the last time that happened? He also said if the weather gets hot that he's not going to leave early with me. He's fine to ride together if I will ride on his relaxed start schedule. Let's see if the weather continues to cooperate. It is nice to share the day.

Now it is 10:05 PM and I'm going to get the ice cream out. I'm on vacation!

We frequently see eggs for sale. This display was above average.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I haven’t seen many old barns while riding yet.
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John and Diane are on an 11 day tour. They drove out from Bellingham.
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Movie theatre in Manistee.
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GTO 1969?
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Jacinto waited for me so long, he had time to open a pannier and have a snack.
Heart 3 Comment 0
I saw this style of pruning near Chelan, WA.
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I am not usually successful photographing birds. I got a shot this time!
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Bill ShaneyfeltProbably Red-winged Blackbird
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1 year ago
Happy 4th of July! What opportune placement.
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Also seen in Elberta. I did not see any children.
Heart 2 Comment 0
A good display in Elberta.
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Jacinto’s photo while crossing the bridge in Manistee.
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We had a short view of Lake Michigan today.
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Today's ride: 59 miles (95 km)
Total: 147 miles (237 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Robert FlynnI see you entered dune country today and all of its up and downs . Frankfort is a neat town with the historic district and the nice homes there . A suggestion for tomorrow is to take the Sleeping Bear Heritage trail just out of Empire that goes for about 17 miles and rejoins M-22 . There is a resource for all trails in Michigan . . Cherry Republic is nice stop in Glen Arbor along your route .
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1 year ago
Rachael AndersonSounds like you had a long, challenging hot ride. The humidity and lack of shade makes it feel a lot harder.
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1 year ago
Dale FreemanI saw you and Jacinto while heading south of Onekama. I didn't recognize you at first, but as soon as I saw Jacinto, your name popped into my head.

I started following you on CGOAB and then noticed you were gone and found you here. I am not sure why you left there, but I can guess.

Happy trails and enjoy the strawberries.

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1 year ago
Kelly IniguezTo Robert FlynnRobert

Thank you for suggesting this trail. Interesting that ridewithgps only shows a short mile inside the sand dunes. We think Komoot has more of it and are going to try to figure it out today.
Thanks for pointing it out to us!
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1 year ago
Kelly IniguezTo Dale FreemanDale

I’m happy you found us! Onekama was a cute little town.

We were looking at routing choices, trying to figure out the least traffic way to ride as we anticipate lots of traffic after the holiday. We looked at going inland slightly, near Honor. There is a drive in movie there! The Cherry Bowl!

In the end we are going with the suggested route and not past Honor.

I don’t suppose you’ve ever been to that drive in?
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1 year ago
Dale FreemanTo Kelly IniguezI have been to that drive in. It is a fun nostalgia experience. I think that they still have the old speakers that hang on your drivers side window, but I used the radio for the movie sound.
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1 year ago